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The Order Of The Stick: On The Origin Of PCs by Rich Burlew
Cover Artist: Rich Burlew
Review by Paul Haggerty
Giant in the Playground Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780976658016
Date: 22 March 2006 List Price $13.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Read the Comic / Show Official Info /

The story of The Order of the Stick began either already in the Dungeon (if you just read the webcomic), or just outside (if you bought the book). In either case, many questions have remained unanswered until this day. Not the least of which is why the heck are they called The Order of the Stick? Perhaps tired of being pestered day in and day out by his many fans, author Rich Burlew as finally given us some of the answers.

The Order of the Stick:
Start of Darkness
On the Origin of PC's
Dungeon Crawlin' Fools
No Cure for the Paladin Blues

This is a shorter book (only 71 pages) by comparison with the other two currently available: Dungeon Crawlin' Fools and No Cure for the Paladin Blues. And while it's greyscale rather than full color, it has the advantage over the others in that none of these strips have ever seen the light of day on the internet. This is all brand new material, and it's as good as anything Rich has produced to date.

The book tells the back story, or at least a chapter or two, of each of the main characters, leading each of them to the point where Roy agrees to incorporate them into his brand new, lich-busting team. After all, why would sensible people choose to put their lives in mortal danger. Some are greedy, some want to belong to something greater, some really really need to get out of town, some are dedicated to the goal, some have nothing better to do, and some fit into more than one category. But while each character is explored to some degree, there will always be more depth and surprises to come.

I heartily suggest the entire Order of the Stick series, and while you don't need this volume to understand the on-going on-line series, it adds a lot of background and is well worth owing in its own right. If you've ever played a fantasy role-playing game, you'll be right at home. While some of the jokes are specific to the D&D game, Rich presents them visually and situationally to the point that the actual rule becomes irrelevant and the joke takes on a life of its own. If you know the rules, that's even better.

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