Spilled Ink: Order of the Stick

Welcome to Webcomic week!  We will showcase at least one comic a week here at 42 Webs!

What do you get when you cross meta-world Dungeon and Dragons joke with stick men?   Normally you’d be left with very awkward sex scenes with an inn waitress but in this case we get Order of the Stick.

Giant in the Playground, the organization/website that host the webcomic Order of the stick, was founded on September 29, 2003.

The humour of OOTS is based on Dungeon and Dragon and other roleplaying games with characters freely discussing game mechanics, such as experience points, skill sets, and random encounters.  The main characters have sentience that they live in a world controlled by the rules of roleplaying games, but attempt to function normally within it.  It doesn’t always go well.

OOTS Writer Rich Burlew’s satirical humour addresses many of the clichés of the fantasy genre as a whole, often by twisting them in new and different ways.  Burlew also uses his comic and his character to address common problems and deficits among roleplayers.  Be they Miko Miyazaki and her need to ‘police’ the remainder of the party or the OOTS creation myth which shows a group of gods bickering over how to create the world—accidentally creating the world-devouring Snarl through their refusal to compromise.

The art, which is based off of stick figures but has been expanded on – Stick Figures+, while some people have praised it as “Surprisingly expressive art” (PVP cartoonist Scott Kurtz) [1] 46  others have criticized it “good for someone who isn’t really an artist.” (Girly cartoonist Josh Lesnick) [2].  Burlew has defended his art style several times in public statements, stating he has no lack of proficiency at drawing, but intentionally developed a clean and simple style to help the reader focus on the humour.[3]

All in all what you get is a hilarious comic that many have tried to imitate.  The comic has actually expanded past his web origins to publish print books of the series, including one compilation of his Dragon strips (found not online but within the Paizo run of Dragon magazine) and two print only books about the origin of the badguys and good.  Scott Burlew has even created The OOTS board game.

It is a wonderful webcomic for the DND or roleplaying fan, one that should not be missed.

  1. Creer, Jeff. Order of the Stick: 4.5 out of 6, The Official Time-Waster’s Guide, August 18, 2005. Retrieved March 10, 2008.
  2.  Lesnick, Josh. “Artistic Critiques…“, Josh Lesnick’s Horsejournal, June 10, 1007. Retrieved on November 8, 2007
  3. Burlew, War and XPs, Introduction, p. 5.
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One Response to Spilled Ink: Order of the Stick

  1. Pingback: Spilled Ink: Goblins | 42 Webs

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