The Order of the Stick
|The Order of the Stick|
|Update Schedule||Random (about 1/week)|
|Launch Date||2003 |
|Format||paperback (8" × 10")|
The Order of the Stick, nicknamed OOTS, is a stick-figure webcomic about a group of adventurers. It is drawn and authored in a deliberate stick figure style by Rich Burlew, a graphic designer and game designer formerly from Queens, currently residing in the Philadelphia area. The humour is centered mostly on Dungeons and Dragons, along with other role-playing games. While it is principally published on the web, four collections and two print only stories have been published as books. Starting in November 2005, OOTS also began running monthly in Paizo Publishing's Dragon Magazine, the longest-running and most widely-circulated D&D periodical in existence, and continued until the magazine ceased publication.
Besides this webcomic, Rich's website also features Open Game Content ideas for Dungeons and Dragons or any other mediaeval fantasy role-playing game, tips for gamemasters, ready to use materials, and some background information about himself (naturally). There is also a large message board for those who are interested in discussing the comics, playing play-by-post campaigns, and talking about Dungeons and Dragons in general. He recently published a book entitled Dungeon Crawlin' Fools featuring the Order, and the pre-order sales numbers encouraged him to quit his day job and write OOTS full-time. Before that, OOTS was twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. Since then, he has published On the Origin of the PC's, full of print-only content that highlights the past of each of the members of the order, and No Cure for the Paladin Blues, which is the second collection book he's published.
A significant portion of the humor of the strip is based on the characters being aware of the game rules which govern their lives -- they discuss their hit points, their class levels, the chances of random encounters, and stop in the middle of combat to check their "to hit" modifiers. The humor of OOTS is best appreciated by those who are familiar with the conventions and cliches of paper & pencil roleplaying games (specifically, the d20 system, as the Third Edition of D&D is known), but over the years the humor has strayed away from roleplaying to accomodate a wider audience.
OOTS is currently updated at random, approximately once a week, contingent upon unforeseen circumstances such as illness, marauding landlords, or being stranded in another part of the country.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow
 The Order of the Stick
- Roy Greenhilt
- The leader and veteran fighter of the group. Roy, in a reversal of the dumb fighter cliche, is smart enough to have an MBA (Master of Battle Administration) and smart enough to be frustrated at the stupidity of the party. He is leading the party against the evil Xykon, a lich, who killed the master of Roy's father before his eyes (the eyes of Roy's father, not Roy). Roy is a specialist with the Greatsword, but his family sword was broken by Xykon during their fight. He now fights with a Greatclub he made from a log until he gets his sword fixed. He also carries a Bag of Tricks- he hated it initially, but finally found a use for it when the other party members were captured by bandits.
- He recently used his favor from Lord Shojo to have his sword reforged, and the Starmetal that he acquired from the sidequest that Nale sent him on allowed him to make it even more powerful than it was before.
- Belkar Bitterleaf
- A vicious, bad-tempered and distractable halfling multiclass ranger-barbarian. He has no patience and little morals, and would kill party members for experience. He would rather slit throats than take prisoners. Although it is almost certain his alignment is evil, the fellowship lack actual proof.
- Durkon Thundershield
- A stereotypical dwarven cleric of Thor, and severely afraid of trees. He entered human lands on orders from the High Priest of Thor.
- Elan the Bard
- A frivolous, annoying, and genre-savvy bard who has the intelligence of an empty soup can; probably because he was hit on the head by his evil twin brother as a child. Responsible for the new religion known as Banjoism (worshipping a hand puppet with a banjo). He frequently annoys Roy with his incessant singing and failure to actually accomplish what Roy tells him to.
- In an effort to rescue Haley from another of Nale's dastardly plans, Elan comes across a rogue celebrity named Le Scoundrel, who teaches him his first level of Dashing Swordsman. With his new found combat expertise, Elan saves Haley, and they get together (finally).
- Haley Starshine
- A rogue who uses her feminine wiles, and a lot of fast talking, to keep most of the treasure for herself - which she is evidently saving to pay her father Ian's release from jail. She has a crush on Elan but keeps it hidden, expressing it mainly through sticking up for him and insulting women who find him attractive (he has a Charisma 18 so that's a fair few).
- Haley's hesitance to admit her feelings for Elan apparantly stem from long entrenches issues of insufficiency, and family loss.
- The elven mage of the group, who continually shows off intelligence by using long and convoluted phrases and blowing up enemies. Vaarsuvius's gender is intentionally unclear and (s)he is as frustrated with the party as Roy most of the time.His/her name may have been based upon Mount Vesuvius.
- Vaarsuvius is the only married member of the Order.
 Recurring characters
- The Bad Guy of the comic, an evil power-mad lich who had taken over the Dungeon of Dorukan and sought to unseal Dorukan's Gate to gain unheard-of magical powers. He had a picture-in-picture scrying crystal to spy on The Order of the Stick, and hundreds of goblin, mercenary and undead minions to crush his enemies. Roy destroyed Xykon's physical form, and most of his original minions are now dead or in hiding as Elan destroyed the castle, but he has since regrown his body. He liberated his old tower from an infestation of good-aligned creatures and now has control of a rather large evilgasm-inducing hobgoblin army. He is currently plotting revenge upon the Order and starting another scheme to gain power.
- Goblin high priest and chief minion of Xykon. Presently honorary hobgoblin, after defeating their alleged leader in ritual combat (i.e. a single 'slay living' spell). Redcloak is apparantly a member of an old organization of goblins that bear a similar Crimson mantle, and are sworn enemies of the Sapphire Guard, that Miko is a part of.
- Monster in the Dark
- Every evil overlord needs a big vicious monster to reveal at the last moment to thwart the heroes. Since Xykon never had the chance to call the monster out of the darkness in his first battle with the heroes, it remains hidden. The monster currently hides under an umbrella that spreads magical darkness, and is known to be fond of nutmeg with his adventurers. The MiTD (as he is commonly referred to) has an intelligence that is inversely proportional to his strength, as illustrated when he accidentally swatted Miko several hundred yards through a brick wall.
- The Linear Guild
- A team of bad guys who are the perfect foils to the Order. It consists of Nale (Elan's twin brother), Thog (very dumb half-orc barbarian), Hilgya Firehelm (dwarven cleric of Loki who had a short relation with Durkon and has since left the Guild), Zz'dtri (dark elf wizard, dragged off by lawyers for being a copyright violation of Drizz't Do'Urden), Yikyik the kobold ranger (slain by Belkar), and Sabine, a shapeshifting succubus. The guild is currently trying to find replacements for the slain/deserted/sued party members.
- The Linear Guild was temporarily host to a gnome druid by the name of Leeky Windstaff who was defeated by a questionable usage of the Control Weather spell by Durkon. Pompey, another soon-to-be-ex-member of the Linear guild, was recruited from a magic school, and left in order to be a cohort of Leeky Windstaff.
- Miko Miyazaki (deceased)
- A Paladin in the employ of Lord Shojo. Looking for the party since the destruction of Dorukan's Gate, she takes them as prisoners. Roy has led the party to follow her back to Lord Shojo and explain the circumstances (the gate was effectively and accidentally destroyed by Elan), but Haley believes Roy has some other kind of interest in Miko.
- In what amounted to a long series of events that chronicled the various milestones representing a loss in Miko's sanity, Miko eventually cracked, murdering her Lord Shojo, and losing her status as a Paladin. She died after destroying the Gate
- Roy's Father (as a ghost)
- Roy's dad visits him from time to time to give him foreshadowing clues. He's currently dating the ghost of Violet, since his wedding vows were only "till death do us part." He helped Shojo rig the trial that the Order of the Stick was in in order to get word to Roy that Xykon was still alive.
- Celia is a Sylph who worked in the dungeon of Durakon until it was destroyed, and later defended the Order of the Stick in their trial in Azure City. She and Roy begin a romantic relationship in the third book.
- Lord Shojo (deceased)
- The Chaotic Good leader of the paladins of the Sapphire Guard. Not a paladin himself, the high level Aristocrat feigned senility to avoid assassins, and manipulated those around him for the benefit of the world. Miko, upon discovering his manipulations, assumed that he was actually planning to let the approaching hobgoblin hoard kill the paladins of Azure City, and killed him for it.
- Lord Hinjo
- The new ruler of Azure City, as of the death of his Uncle, Lord Shojo.
- Red demon-roaches
- The red demon-roaches are red cockroach-like bugs that first appeared in Xykon's previous castle, The Dungeon of Dorukan. They were attracted by the Monster in the Dark eating popcorn. They currently follow Xykon, Redcloak, and the Monster around, providing comic relief. They briefly met some blue bugs, which appeared to be blue angelic roaches; however, the blue angel-roaches have not been seen since.
The Order of the Stick is printed in book format through the author's self-publishing company, Giant in the Playground Games. They area available for sale online or through local gaming stores.
- On the Origin of PCs (Volume 0)
- The second OOTS book is actually a prequel, showing how the characters first met one another in a series of print-exclusive comics. 74 pages, black and white.
- Dungeon Crawlin' Fools (Volume 1)
- The first collected volume of the Order of the Stick runs from OOTS #1 to OOTS #121, with additional bonus strips. 160 pages, color.
- No Cure for the Paladin Blues (Volume 2)
- The second collected volume, which runs from OotS #122 through to #300, with 14 additional bonus strips. 244 pages, color, forward by Scott Kurtz.
- Start of Darkness (Volume -1)
- The newest book is a prequel to even the OTOoPCs. It details how the main villains, namely Xykon, Redcloak, MitD, and the demon roaches met. It also introduces a new character, Right-Eye; Redcloak's brother.
 See also
 External links
- The Order of the Stick
- Giant in the Playground
- OOTS's entry at Wikipedia
- OOTS's Wikiquotes page
- Review of OOTS at the Webcomic Overlook, June 2008
|This page was originally based on an entry from Wikipedia and is used under their GNU Free Documentation License.|