the Little Red Reviewer

Order of the Stick: Dungeon Crawlin’ Fools

Posted on: August 19, 2011

The Order of the Stick: Dungeon Crawlin’ Fools (graphic novel type thing), written & Illustrated by Rich Burlew

where I got it: husband’s stack of webcomic goodies

why I read it: he kept laughing his head off.  Redhead want to laugh head off too!

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I follow a handful of webcomics, but when push comes to shove, I’d rather read them in book/graphic novel format.  Good thing Rich Burlew, creator of Order of the Stick is just as cool for old skool.

Ahh yes, Order of the Stick,  the webcomic that started in 2003 out as a dungeon crawling group of role playing adventurers, who broke rules, hated the new rules, forgot some really important rules, found an plot-arc, awkwardly flirted with each other, and slaughtered plenty of goblins in the meantime. This is a little like Looking for Group but with more seniority and farcicalness, and Dungeon Crawlin’ Fools is like the Directors Cut with commentary (literally) version of the webcomic. And did I mention it’s laugh out loud hilarious? Seriously, if you’ve ever been into role playing, or gaming, or D&D specifically, this is the comic for you.

The first few pages of Dungeon Crawlin’ Fools includes an introduction by RedCloak, and a few bonus pages that introduce the characters so you don’t go into the first strip deaf and blind.  We’ve got Roy Greenhilt, the fighter and party leader who spends most of his time trying to keep the rest of the party under control; Haley Starshine the sexy (as sexy as a stick figure can be) rogue thief, who when she’s not stealing everything that’s not nailed down has a burgeoning crush on Elan the bard. Vaarsuvius the genderly ambiguous elf wizard, Durkon the dwarven cleric and Balkar the grumpy ranger halfling round out this team of treasure grabbing, dragon smashing, ogre killing player characters.  Wait you say, I’m missing a dark elf? Bah, that’s not a player character race, is it?

Granted, I’m not an RPG’er, when it comes to that kind of thing I cut my teeth on Munchkin. But having dating far too many gamers & RPG’ers, and ultimately marrying one, I picked up plenty through simple osmosis.  If a vicarious nerd like me can get more than half these jokes, then this comic is for everyone.

Most of Dungeon Crawlin’ Fools is strips right from the webcomic, in the order of creation. So it takes a little while for Burlew to figure out exactly what this group of adventurers is up to. In the meantime, it’s gaming and D&D jokes, ninjas, ghosts, Elan’s awful bardic singing, three headed monsters, obscene amounts of pop culture jokes, and Xykon the skeleton-y bad guy villian. Yes, Xykon, who kills goblins for fun, keeps something really scary in the shadows, and has a need for someone with a pure heart.

You’d actually be surprised how much of a plot line six useless player characters can find. Burlew does a damn good job balancing humor and tension, stabbityness and um, death.  Good thing I’m not gonna run out of Order of the Stick anytime soon.

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2 Responses to "Order of the Stick: Dungeon Crawlin’ Fools"

Thanks for writing this review! I’ve been following the OOTS strip for a few years. It’s witty, charming, and very “Dungeons & Dragons”. As a long-time EverQuest player, I found a lot of resonance in this strip. I should order the books, because it’s so much fun to read, and it’s nice to support the author’s work.

Cool! I haven’t heard of this but it sounds great. My role playing has always come by way of computer/console games since I didn’t grow up around folks who played these kind of games, but I still feel an affinity to the culture and have loved other works incorporating these themes. This looks like a really cool gift idea for a friend of mine who is really into Knights of the Dinner Table.

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About this redhead, etc.

Redhead is a snarky, non-politically correct 30-something who reviews mostly science fiction and fantasy and talks about all sorts of other fun scifi and fantasy geekery. She once wrote a haiku that included the word triskaidekaphobia.

This blog contains adult language and strong opinions. The best way to contact her outside of this blog is twitter, where she is @redhead5318 .

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