Monday, 1 February 2010

My favourite things: Order of the Stick

Medium: Webcomic
Author: Richard Burlew
Updates: Irregular
Style: Stickmen, plot heavy.

Order of the Stick a stickman comic about a party of six adventurers in the D&D Universe. It starts out as a basic gag-a-day, mostly parodying Dungeons and Dragons. However, beneath the humour there is a very finely woven plot backed up
by excellent writing. The main characters all get developed adding to the depth of the jokes. The plot gains more urgency around strips 10
0-200 and drives the comic compellingly along.

Order of the Stick doesn't just to funny very well. The comedy is an excellent foil to the occasional tragedy, and named character deaths are always beautifully played. Near the end of the "Don't Split The Party" arc, an superb look at the nature of good and evil gets thrown in. These breaks aren't jarring, though, since they are worked so well into the plot.

Order of the Stick:
Roy Greenhilt: Leader. A master fighter but stereotypically intelligent. He has taken on his father's oath to avenge himself on Xykon, the evil sorcerer. He is brave and pragmatic. Although he doesn't always make the best choices initially, he usually gets it right in the end.

Haley Starshine: Second in command. A feisty rogue who's very very
introvert. Expert at stealth and marksmanship, but tends to get overpowered in a straight fight.

Elan: A bard who mostly plays the incompetent buffoon for comic relief. He is very genre aware and able to use storytelling conventions to his advantage. He is extremely child-like, and it takes some time before the whole party accepts him.

Durkon Thundershield: Dwarf and cleric to Thor. While playing on many Dwarf stereotypes, Durkon is also the most morally upstanding and aware. He is pious, but not in an annoying, preachy way (to the reader anyway). He shows very great wisdom, and often opts for the diplomatic solution. Durkon has been exiled from his homelands.

Vaarsuvius: An androgynous elven wizard. The lack of known gender for V is a running joke (I tend to use the feminine pronouns, but masculine seems more common). V is powerful and skilled, but somewhat arrogant about it. She tries to view the world as an inherently ordered place and can be very frustrated. She is very close to Haley in the backstory. V and Belkar sniping each other is also the source of many many many moments of brilliance.

Belkar Bitterleaf: Omnicidal maniac. Oh, and a hobbit. Crazily powerful with his twin daggers, Belkar is happiest eating something, or killing something, although the party keep him in check. Thus far, Belkar is the least developed character.

Xykon: A sorcerer who, in death, bound his soul to a phylactery and lives on as a lich. He seeks to dominate the world by taking control of one of five mystical gates (his attempts have so far mostly resulted in the destruction of said gate...if too many gates get destroyed, the Universe ends, though. So that's quite bad). Xykon thinks nothing of the lives of others, gets bored easily and is viciously powerful in combat. He is so stylish about being evil, though.

Redcloak: Guardian of Xykon's phylactery. Redcloak is a goblic cleric who seeks to destroy all humans. He is subervient to Xykon, but uses his better organised nature and longer attention span to maintain some control over him.

Monster in the Dark: Unknown monster enshrouded at all times in a magical darkness. We only ever see his yellow eyes. Very child-like, really powerful, easily distracted. I'm not totally convinced of the evilness of this beast though. We wait and see.

Check OotS out. You won't regret it!

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