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Eric: Not a real conversation. Results may vary. (And dude. Some spoilers ahead.)

Order of the Stick

(From Order of the Stick! Click on the thumbnail for full sized "ooooo, buuuuurn.")

So. How's your year been?

Really? Good, good. No, I'm doing okay. Yeah, money. Heh. Me and everyone else, right? But what's going on with--

Oh, you started a webcomic?

Hey, no, that's cool. I'm looking forward to seeing it. You should--

Excuse me?

Hold onto my hat?

Why do you think I should hold onto my hat.

Oh. Your 'plot is in high gear.' Things are happening like firecrackers. No, I get it. I'm sure they are....

No, I'm not being dubious. It's just... well, I've got a high standard for 'plot in high gear now.' Do you read Order of the Stick?

Oh -- you lost track around the end of last year. Oh. Heh. Yeah, you missed a few things.

What things? You want to be spoiled? Well... Okay. In brief?

Elan broke free from prison with the help of Thog dressed in a Leprechaun outfit, whereupon he took a level or two in a third party swashbucking prestige class called the Dashing Swordsman--


No, I'm not making this up. Look, we've got a lot to get through.

Of course. Anyway. That gave Elan the skills to finally defeat Nale once and for all (with the help of the rest of the Order of the Stick, who also took down the Linear guild). In the process, Haley broke her speech impediment block when she admitted that she loved Elan. This made her nervous, but as it works out, Elan was okay with it.

Still with me? Good. Because we're just getting started. See, with essentially all the subplots resolved it seemed like our heroes had things good. And they got Lord Shojo to agree to keep the Linear Guild in antimagic cells for at least the next two months. During this time, Shojo monologued about the whole Roy Show Trial thing from the last couple plotlines... and his nephew Hinjo and Stick-up-her-butt Paladin Miko heard the whole thing. Hinjo was mad. Miko freaked out. And was convinced she was entirely right, and no other interpretation could possibly be correct.

As it turns out, she was wrong. And Oh My God it was seven thousand kinds of awesome. Seriously, if you distilled Awesome in some kind of Awesome distillery, it would look just like that one comic. #407, I think. But I digress.

Anyway, Hinjo and Roy gave Miko the beatdown we all wanted her to get from her first appearance. (And somewhere in there an obscure joke about Treasure Type letters had me laughing by god damned ass off.) Of course, Xykon's army is coming to attack the city, which they now know all about, and that means that Hinjo needs to recruit our heroes to help fight in the battle. They agree, preparations are made -- which are problematic, as a number of powerful men leave the city with their soldiers, but preparations are still indeed made.

This includes unlikely recruitment processes, it's worth noting. And it's also worth noting that apparently the Linear Guild is free again. But that's as may be. Because it's just about combat time, and in the process Elan, Vaarsuvius, Vaarsuvius again, and Haley all get character moments of pure awesome. And the battle hasn't even started yet.

I mean, you see what I'm saying? In a couple of months Rich Burlew's blown this whole thing on its ear. It's stunning how good it's been, with major awesome following major awesome and new things that blow your mind and throw you for a loop in such rapid succession -- well, it's next to impossible to even quantify them all

So... you know. You tell me your webcomic's been action packed lately, I'm gonna believe you -- but bear in mind the standard that statement's being judged--


Oh. Well, whenever you do want me to have a look, let me know. I'm sure it's just great.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at March 22, 2007 2:34 PM


Comment from: Megalomaniac2 [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 5:48 PM

Let me get this straight.

Today, Thursday March 22nd 2006, I comment on the auctioneering post requesting Order of the Stick snark.

On the EXACT SAME DAY, said snark appears, and it as awesome as its subject matter. Clearly, I have stumbled upon some secret of enslaving bloggers to my whims and desires-

No, wait. Checked the times, and it's just an uncanny coincidence. Carry on as usual, everyone.

(Oh, and so much word on OOTS's... transcendence of itself, its characters, and webcomics in general. If not for the relatively obscure gaming niche that it occupied, I'm sure it would be about as big in terms of Internet culture as Penny Arcade by now. I mean, it's starting to freakin' scare me how good it's gotten.)

Comment from: LurkerWithout [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 6:15 PM

Pssst. Megalomaniac2, demand a Home on the Strange snark.


Do it..

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 6:16 PM

Didn't we just have a Home on the Strange Snark?

Man, give a guy a superpower....

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 6:18 PM

No, wait. Checked the times, and it's just an uncanny coincidence. Carry on as usual, everyone.

Well, and I've been trying to frame this thing for a while. I mean, that's a lot of stuff. So I came up with this thing.

Comment from: Montykins [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 6:18 PM

Yes, Order of the Stick has really upped the ante for action scenes. You know what else went crazy-good at the same time? Girl Genius. That whole fight scene that started around mid-December was amazing.

Comment from: Darth Paradox [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 6:45 PM

Yeah, Montykins, and it also validated my girlfriend's decision to only read Girl Genius as it was published in books. She's a lot less accomodating to the pacing issues that webcomics often have than I, and trying to read that fight scene at three pages a week would have infuriated her.

Meanwhile, Agatha's spent the last two weeks arriving in Mechanicsburg. Shoutouts aside, there were some fantastic pages in there... but dammit, I wish I could just go forward in time ten years and read the whole thing, because three pages a week just isn't the way something like this is meant to be read.

Comment from: The Ferrett [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 7:31 PM

(((Pssst. Megalomaniac2, demand a Home on the Strange snark.)))

What? Right after the Order of the Stick snark?

Christ, I know I'm going to come off SO bad in that comparison I don't even want to see. I like the Snark, but man... OOTS is the king of goddang webcomics. Its mere shadow would crush me.

Comment from: Alexandra Erin [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 7:42 PM

I -just- started reading Order a couple months ago, after having heard my friends (now staff) raving about it forever.

What's funny about it... well, pretty much everything (hee hee... Treasure Type O)... but what's meta-funny meta-about meta-it... is that it's a "stick figure parody comic" with incredibly well done and often highly involved art, and one of the best storylines going. It never stops being what it is, but it's not limited by it.

Actually, in retrospect, what got me reading it was an argument. Some of my readers really hate it when my characters seem to break the fourth wall, so we were having a discussion about when that does or doesn't work, and OotS kept coming up, so I read its entire archive and concluded, it doesn't actually break the fourth wall as often as was suggested... all the D&D rules stuff is internal to the universe, just as the laws of physics are internal to ours.

But, anyways, don't you just hate it when you join a strip in progress right when it's getting good? You devour the archive in a day or two, and some parts are slower than others but at least there's always something more to read next, then you get to midway through something that seems like it's going to be HUGE... and then suddenly you're clicking on a next arrow that isn't there. After having absorbed years worth of stories in the course of one weekend, you're getting a few strips a week. The whole thing seems agonizingly slow, even though it really isn't.

Comment from: Plaid Phantom [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 7:44 PM

For some reason I find the most interesting part of this snark to be this ethereal "other strip". I'm a sucker for plots that happen to be in "high gear".

Comment from: Montykins [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 7:47 PM

Darth, I liked the slow pace of the fight. It's like Achewood's "Great Outdoor Fight" storyline; when it takes that long, it starts to feel truly epic.

Comment from: Rothul [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 8:32 PM

Wait... the Linear Guild's back on the loose? Was this shown outright, or is that what your taking implied by the comment during the "recruitment" strip?

Comment from: Spatulus [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 8:52 PM

I love the art, it's a good style and he does a lot of good things with it, but I think part of what makes OotS so action-packed is that it allows him to do huge pages, unlike most other webcomics.

Comment from: Megalomaniac2 [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 9:46 PM

"Wait... the Linear Guild's back on the loose? Was this shown outright, or is that what your taking implied by the comment during the "recruitment" strip?"

I don't think the LG's out of the hoosegow just yet- they were last seen safely incarcerated, and Sabine alone is going to be busy for a while looking for a chiropractor (See: Miko, reasons why I still love her). But, since Azure City's leadership is now unaware of their existence, the groundwork has definitely been laid for their escape during or after the battle.

Comment from: eben [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 9:47 PM

OOTS has indeed been incredible lately -- it has been, as the kids apparently say, "off the hook."

But so long as requests are mysteriously coming to pass, any chance you'll toss of a short snark about the bombshell that got dropped in Goats today?

Comment from: Mr Myth [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 9:54 PM

I'm sometimes amazed by how much advancement OotS is able to accomplish in a given period. Of course, then I realize that, when the plot is hitting hard and heavy, you can tell Rich himself is really into the game by the fact that some updates consist of two... or three... or even four freaking full-sized pages!

Which, really, just leads to an entirely different level of amazement.

And to agree with Alexandra Erin that, for being stick-figure art, Rich has developed a style that is incredibly visually appealing. Given that there are now other comics starting out that are specifically making use of his style for their own strips, I'd say that he's left a pretty cool mark even outside of the sphere of his own comic.

Comment from: Doug Wykstra [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 10:29 PM

I am completely floored by Order of the Stick. The term "firing on all cylinders" is insufficient. There is some other cylinder here OOTS is making use of, and I have no doubt that as long as Burlew keeps his promotion efforts up, his game will be at least as popular among tabletop gamers as PA is among videogame gamers, assuming Burlew isn't ahead already; as Megalomaniac2 pointed out, tabletop games are pretty niche. However, I love the strip, and I've never played any tabletop games. I played Baldur's Gate 2 for about two hours, and that is the extent of my D&D knowledge, and I still find this strip hilarious. When a strip about D&D can be funny even to those who've never played a tabletop game, that strip is doing something right.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 22, 2007 10:40 PM

There's no "for being stick figures" about it. You have to know your craft in and out to be able to reduce it to basics and still be effective. One of my earliest memories is of my father or someone in my father's family saying of Jack Benny's violin playing, "You have to be good to be that bad."

Comment from: CameronCN [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 23, 2007 12:33 AM

But I haven't even started my "high gear" storyline yet!!! You're right, though; it probably won't hold a candle next to OOTS. Anyway, one of the things that's so great about OOTS is that I was able to read and appreciate the archives even though I have had no experience with roleplaying games. The humor (for the most part) can be understood from the context.

Comment from: quiller [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 23, 2007 2:07 AM

I think that must be one of the amazing things about OOTS. For a comic that tells such great inside jokes for those of us who have been playing since the days of 1st Edition (or longer, since I know people who played with the booklets), and has so many rules mechanics jokes, the fact that the plot and the human comedy is so compelling to people who aren't in that group is remarkable.

That being said, the dashing swordsman prestige class is at least six kinds of awesome.

Comment from: sun tzu [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 23, 2007 4:56 AM

Order of the Stick is one of those comics that just don't stop getting better. From "kinda funny" in the first few dozen strips, to "funny and interesting" with the introduction of the Linear Guild, to "Really good" with the end of the first book, and so on. With recent events, OOTS has upgraded itself to pure awesome.

Comment from: Alexandra Erin [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 23, 2007 6:57 AM

"Pure elemental awesomeness."

Comment from: alienpriest [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 23, 2007 9:41 AM

Just out of curiosity, now that you've mentioned it: About how many "Hey check out my new webcomic" emails do you get in a given week?

Comment from: theliel [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 23, 2007 2:46 PM

Point of order: the linear guild did not escape, and since shojo put them there he certianly knows about it.
That seemingly throw away line sets up YET ANOTHER huge surprise/story that's going to pop up.

and i feel bad for the dwarf.

Comment from: Alma Mater [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 23, 2007 2:52 PM

Even though I've never played any of the games it's based on, I've really been enjoying Order of the Stick. It's clear that Rich Burlew has really thought his characters and settings through, which pays off when the story takes an epic turn; what could become cliché if the characters weren't developed becomes deeper and more interesting, because the idiosyncrasies of the world and its inhabitants come into play. In particular, I enjoyed Haley's explanation of Xykon's ploy, which moved the plot forward but also illuminated the key aspects of her character and the strategies of the opposing troops.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 23, 2007 4:10 PM

It all depends on if they meant "a clerical error" that the Linear Guild was in prison in the first place -- in which case they would have been let out -- or if the "clerical error" was in losing their paperwork, and so they were kept in just in case they were traitors.

My read was "oh man. They were let go to correct the clerical error and they aren't bothering Shojo with the details yet." Time will show if I'm right. ;)

Comment from: oball [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 24, 2007 1:28 AM

I doubt they'll be bothering Shojo with details any time soon, seeing as he is dead. Hinjo is another matter entirely.

Comment from: Tyck [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 24, 2007 5:15 AM

Woo. Thanks for the recap.. I'm not good with time. I always forget just how much stuff has been happening lately, until somebody does something like this. (On the plus side, I won't really notice the stepdown when this is over and the scenes don't get quite so much finely reduced and concentrated Awesome. Also, when are we getting the third OotS book?)

I'm not sure how you claim that the battle isn't started yet- surely pitching elemental boulders at the wall is the opening move of a battle? There were hobgoblins at the breach, too (was that supposed to be V's awesome again moment, or did you count the paper beats rock strip as two awesome things?)

Comment from: Doug Wykstra [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 24, 2007 2:33 PM

I took the comment about the bookkeeping error in comic 420 to mean that the lack of a record meant that the Linear Guild would stay there until Hinjo could be bothered with a bookkeeping error. I'm guessing Hinjo will be none too pleased about the Unlawfulness of the situation.

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