The Order of the Stick, by Rich Burlew

The Order of the Stick is a band of Adventurers struggling against adversity, evil masterminds and idiot paladins in the magical world of Dungeons and Dragons.

If you’ve never heard of Dungeons and Dragons, aka D&D, much less played it, it’s time you got a life. Role-playing games (hereafter RPGs and live with it) are an excellent way to get together with a few friends and have some harmless fun while whetting the grey stuff. Mind you, some people’s grey matter is easier to whet than others’, and the Order of the Stick aren’t especially sharp.

Whether you’re predominantly a player or a Game Master (aka GM. That’s the person who provides the scenario and guides the players through it: RPGs can be likened to a play or film with a lot of improvisation), you’ll recognise a lot of the situations depicted: The Passing of Levels, The Failing of Dice Rolls, The Solving of Problems In A Way The GM Didn’t Expect. Weaknesses on either side of the GM screen are gleefully underlined: unoriginal plot, players whose character behaviour doesn’t follow their alignment, and so on. And it’s hilariously funny. We’ve all played through at least one of these situations, go on, admit it.

The use of stick figures by the author is a deliberate choice as he can, in fact, draw well enough. He’s also an experienced GM and has been known to write for Wizards of the Coast, who publish D&D and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Now go read.

Don’t Panic: The site may be saturated at update time by eager fans desperate to read the latest installment. Just be patient, and come back in an hour or so.

Dead Tree Version Dungeon Crawlin’ Fools is currently occupying a place on my bookshelves. Apart from the first part of the campaign, it contains lots of little extras, including bonus strips and a rant from Belkar Bitterleaf. I give this one a double thumbs-up: it’s as good as the original strip, if not more so. Highly recommended.

Added incentive to click: the site now hosts the first book of a second comic, Erfworld. Graphic novel format (this means a pagefull of update, not one measly strip), glorious technicolor and some serious fun poked at turn-based strategy-gaming.

Most readable. Go to it.

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Go on, bother me. You know you want to.

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