Wednesday, June 17, 2009

If I Had Super Strength, I Wouldn't Fight Crime: I'd Build Stuff

- Two Awesome Webcomics -

I've never really enjoyed pen-and-paper games. This includes both the "typical" pen-and-paper RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons, but it also includes other board games and tabletop games that require you to write things, like Clue. (Crossword puzzles and word searches are different, although I don't really like the latter that much.)

I said all of that as intro for a couple of the most awesome webcomics I've ever had the privilege to read.

Giant In the Playground is host to Order of the Stick and Erfworld. The first is written and illustrated by the owner of, and the latter is created by a couple of equally talented individuals.

Order of the Stick is about a party of heroes in a Dungeons and Dragons-based world. That's the basic premise in a nutshell. However the author, Rich Burlew (who goes by the moniker "Giant in the Playground") has given all of the major characters extremely intricate backstories and personalities. They interact with each other more realistically than do characters in most other D&D-based comics I've seen, and the overarching plotline is nothing short of epic. All of this is acted out by, hilariously enough, stick figures. Still, the wounds displayed on the characters after tense battles seem real enough, and it definitely doesn't keep the main villain, Xykon, from seeming intimidating and downright evil at times. If you never read another webcomic in your life, make sure you at least give Order of the Stick a try. It's seriously awesome.

However, equally awesome (and better-drawn, if that matters to you), is's other webcomic. Developed by a couple of guys named Rob and Jamie, Erfworld explores what would happen if a tabletop game enthusiast's dearest dream became reality. Parson Gotti is transported into a world that's both strange and familiar ("strangely familiar" would actually be a good way of describing it). Turns out he's been magically summoned into a world much like the tabletop games he's been designing, and he's the new warlord of a faction that's pretty close being eliminated from the face of the planet (or whatever Erfworld is).

Honestly, it seemed pretty silly to me when I first started reading it, and it started out slow (which the authors admit), but it gets so, so much better around halfway through the first book (and it's not exactly boring before then, either). You can tell that the authors really put a lot of work into designing the game-world and its rules, and I seriously want to see an Erfworld video game. The world itself isn't the only well-designed aspect of this webcomic, either: the story itself is solidly sewn together, compelling, and (probably most importantly) entertaining.

With the conclusion of book one, Erfworld has been moved to its own domain. Frankly, I'm excited for what's to come, and I definitely suggest this webcomic as well.

Friday is one of my personal favorite blogs.

-- Pawn --

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