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WIP The Order of the Stick By Richard Burlew - T - Original Webcomic

Discussion in 'Original Fiction' started by Quiddity, Jun 21, 2015.

  1. Quiddity

    Quiddity Auror

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    Title: The Order of the Stick
    Author: Rich Burlew
    Rating: Roughly T
    Genre: Adventure/Humor
    Status: WIP (980 "pages" in)
    Fandom: Original Webcomic, based on (to some extent) the Dungeons and Dragons system.
    Summary: Taking place in a magical world that loosely operates by the rules of the 3.5 edition of the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), the comic follows the sometimes farcical exploits of six adventurers as they strive to save the world from an evil lich sorcerer. (Wikipedia.)
    Link: Here.

    This is probably my favorite webcomic, combining humor and drama into a surprisingly good adventure tale, all told through a simple stick-figure style. Whilst it starts as a simple parody of D&D (which I enjoyed, despite never having played), it expands quickly into a proper and enthralling story, with each of the characters individually eventually receiving surprising depth.

    It remains, however, very lighthearted throughout, whilst managing to touch on some proper issues within the format without ever losing sight of itself as a story.

    The D&D jokes slowly fade away, although they're still part of the underlying system, they're simply not the focus of it anymore. If they don't do it to you, but you're still interested(/bored) enough, I'd recommend sticking around until strip ~#120, the end of the first arc, to get a feel for it.

    It has a slightly eclectic update rate, with no fixed schedule but coming in fits and bursts - for example, there was a period recently with maybe 5 in 2 weeks, but it's been slower since.

    5/5, in my opinion, although the first half (or so, it's hard to tell when exactly) is probably more like 4.5
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015
  2. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    Easy second. Love this webcomic. Love the various characters and the humour. Especially the villains, all the factions, are excellent. Redcloak, Tarkin, the three Archfiends and Xykon, all of them.

    So, yeah, great webcomic, one of my favourites.
     
  3. Clerith

    Clerith Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    I've only been following this for like eight years? If you're into D&D and webcomics, easy 5/5.
     
  4. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    Love it to bits. Been following for, I don't know, 5 years? I usually check in every 4 or 5 months, once there's a decent backlog of new stuff, and catch up.

    I basically agree with everything Qgqqqqq said about it.

    One of the things I like best is how gradually it builds up and shifts tone. Like Q said, it starts a fairly standard, lighthearted - even whimsical - D&D parody. But slowly, things start to get a little more serious (though it never loses its sense of humor), and then a bit more serious still, and the stakes keep ratcheting up, and suddenly a character you like is doing something really dark and you're like "holy shit."

    Most of the characters are great, and there are very few duds. Even really annoying characters like Miko Miyazaki are annoying in a great "foil for the other characters" way. (Plus, with Miko, there's certainly no "Umbridge gets carried off by centaurs" unsatisfying comeuppance. Her arc is nothing if not satisfying.)

    Has some really, really awesome Wham Episodes, making full use of the fact that hundreds and hundreds of strips gives one plenty of time for some serious foreshadowing.

    Plus, a special shoutout to Belkar Bitterleaf, the halfling Ranger/Barbarian and one true Heroic Comedic Sociopath. I mention him because not only is he a great character, but he's basically the blueprint for a very tough character type to pull off - one that DLP in general (as much as any statement like this is true) seems absolutely taken with when done right.
    Basically Shezza's version of Harry Potter in the Denarian series is what we're talking about here. It's an insane tightrope act for a writer - just read the above and note the many, many pitfalls such a character could fall into. Belkar, after nearly 1,000 strips, (seriously - most recent at the time of this writing is #990) is still someone I get excited to see when he shows up in the first panel. So, I'd say it pulls it off pretty damn well.

    5/5
     
  5. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen Prestige DLP Supporter

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    10/10 would read again.

    Seeing the so far stereotypical greedy/selfish rogue read a ransom letter about her father killed any and all thoughts that this was nothing but a comedic series
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015
  6. Invictus

    Invictus Heir

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    Order of the Stick is one of those things in the internet that after reading it for years you just kinda forget that not everyone knows, because it's just an integral part of your life. You don't need to explain what GoT is today to someone, do you?

    I love it, and agree with everything said. If you like comics, D&D, fantasy, good writing or clever writing, read it.
     
  7. Typhon

    Typhon Unspeakable

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    Can I just say I both love and hate you guys? I read all of this in a little less than a week, and it was amazing. But now I don't have any more, and for that I'm bitter.

    Seriously though, awesome rec. 5/5, no doubt.
     
  8. oakes

    oakes Auror DLP Supporter

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    Found out about it after my DM kept telling me about how my play style was way too similar to Elan. Still can't decide whether that's an insult or not, but at least I do have fun.
     
  9. Innomine

    Innomine Auror Prestige DLP Supporter

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    So, this comment makes me think I might be missing out on some good shit.

    Just went through all of OOTS, and enjoyed it. Wondering if there's any more good web comics or stuff like it that's worth reading.

    Any recommendations?
     
  10. CheddarTrek

    CheddarTrek Set Phasers to Melt Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Nimona is a fun webcomic, but it's not much like OOTS. But it's complete! (Unless I'm mistaken)
     
  11. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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  12. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Not gonna bump the other thread, but my personal rec is A Girl and her Fed. It's about a liberal mid-20s girl who can see the ghosts of famous politicians and the federal agent with a malfunctioning microchip in his head who is assigned to tail her. Conspiracy theories abound and the romance is well written. It's pretty awesome.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  13. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    Loving the dialogue, pretty entertaining.
     
  14. Agayek

    Agayek Dark Lord

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    Eight-Bit Theater is always a good read, which is to Final Fantasy what OOTS is to D&D.

    It's also pretty much my favorite webcomic of all time. The characters are lively and brilliantly written, the plot is both refreshingly new and vaguely familiar in all the right ways, and the visuals, while (usually) fairly simple, are employed extremely well. It's kind of amazing what the author manages in terms of emotion and life from a set of pre-packaged sprites and a couple lines of dialogue.

    Edit: Plus, it's complete and been so for a few years now.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  15. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    I second that one pretty hard. has been my favourite web comic for years and I have read through it numerous times and I still laugh at the jokes.
     
  16. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    Just caught up on the last ~30 or so strips.

    Goddamn Belkar is still killing it. That "Thanks, Sacred Knight of the Expository Aside" quip was gold.

    Also, Belkar's whole arc with vampire!Durkon is just incredibly satisfying. Vamp!Durkon was just basically mopping the floor with everyone, and even Belkar with a solid hunch couldn't get it done, repeatedly. Plus, we get constant asides to the entity in Durkon's head so you know the evil scheme, pretty much. It's one of those really satisfying "take that!" situations where I can just tell that he's going to swoop in at the 11th hour with the save and the perfect one-liner.

    Also, when it's revealed what the Godsmoot was about... uh. I think that qualifies as a pretty big "oh shit" moment.

    And now I'm all pissed off that #1013 is smack dab in the middle of the climax.

    Note to self to check this in another six months or so. But yeah, the last batch of strips has been quite good. A solid reminder of why this is a great comic after the whole gnometown arc, which dragged a bit in my opinion.
     
  17. Quiddity

    Quiddity Auror

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    We're up to #1042. We've just checked back with Xykon and it looks like it's about to pan back to the Order for a new arc. So this is a good time to catch up, for anyone who reads it in chunks.


    More importantly, and the reason I'm posting, is that Rich has started offering the books as PDF's, which means I for one can purchase without $80 in shipping. You can find more information here, but basically there are 4 main books, which contain the story of the main comic, with a bunch of bonus strips and content mixed in, 2 prequels, which have entirely original content not available online. There's also a really short story (8 pages) featuring Belkar.

    Of these, I highly recommend Start of Darkness, which follows the Villains before the comic begins, and has an amazing storyline. I'm cautious about spoiling, but it mainly follows Redcloaks background (though both Xykon and TMITD have plenty of coverage), which doesn't redeem him but does provide more context. I emerged from it more empathetic but less sympathetic, think Tarquin's 'arc' in the fifth book. Some of the information which was novel when it was released (such as Redcloaks motivations) won't be any longer, but I read it from that position and it didn't take away from the narrative at all, and the ending still wrecked me.