I would be remiss if I did not mention the glorious precursor to console and computer gaming, the tabletop game. All hail Gary Gygax and David Arneson, who, through their creation of Dungeons and Dragons, have ushered in the era of dice-rolling and paved the way for several other pencil-and-paper games, and various other applications of of the genre. Boffing, anyone?
If you’re new to this, here’s the scoop: Each Wednesday we will showcase five indie webcomics based on a theme. Each one is highlighted here on the merits of its ART, STORY and APPEAL. This will give you an opportunity to support indie artists and the amazing work they do.
This week on Webcomics Wednesday, we’re taking a look at five webcomic artists who have created webcomics based on RPGs!
Without further ado, this week’s selection!
Comic: Order of the Stick
Story and Art: Rich Burlew
Primary RPG Influence: Dungeons and Dragons
In their own words: The Order of the Stick is a comic that parodies fantasy roleplaying games, specifically, Dungeons & Dragons.
In our words: Perhaps the most successful RPG-focused webcomic ever written, this list would have prompted shouts of “What rock were you hiding under?” were it not included. To address the elephant in the room, yes, the Order of the Stick Kickstarter raised an amazing $1.25 million dollars to get their older books back in print. And reading the comic will show you that this response is justified. What starts out as a charming, well-executed vehicle for in-jokes about game mechanics quickly evolves into classic Dungeons & Dragons at its best, an engrossing story with action, laughs, and an epic quest that will keep you rolling your dice– I mean, clicking the “next comic” button.
Story and Art: Tarol Hunt
Primary RPG Influence: Dungeons and Dragons
In our words: Anyone who has picked up a twenty-sided die has probably crossed paths with a goblin, and has dispatched said goblin to meet its maker without a second thought. Goblins, kobolds, orcs, gnolls, trolls, and ogres are monsters, evil beyond redemption and without feeling, right? Why should any adventurer take the time to consider their lot on the way to the treasure chests and glory set before them? Tarol Hunt does. The result is an adventure of underdogs fighting against the world where the odds stacked are against them, and confront human problems from a humanoid perspective.
Comic: 8-Bit Theater
Story and Art: Brian Klevinger
Primary RPG Influence: Final Fantasy
In our words: A smashing start to a franchise, Final Fantasy had monsters, adventure, and an incredible world to explore. But the party members, while colorful, were completely flat. Not so in 8-Bit Theater, the sprite-based webcomic, whose wonderfully exaggerated cast of characters have quite the penchant for wholesale mayhem, buttkicking, and explosions. A well-balanced party ensures there’s that there’s a variety of kinds of violence, for the connoisseurs in the reading audience. The series has been completed, so readers should rest assured knowing there’s a goal to reach.
Comic: RPG World
Story and Art: Ian Jones Quartey
Primary RPG Influence: Final Fantasy VII
In our words: RPG World is a rather obvious yet charming Final Fantasy VII parody, down to the nameless soldiers with funny helmets and guns. The humor clearly speaks to the console RPG gamer who loves the genre, yet can’t help but notice some of the ridiculous elements that so many RPGs have: waiting around for your turn before attacking, how unfazed characters are by being shot in the face with guns, powerful villains who show up to just almost kill the heroes and leave them almost alive for plot purposes. With a well-rounded cast of characters and a more involved adventure than the introduction would have you believe, this webcomic was quite a page-turner. Unfortunately Ian has moved on to other projects, leaving faithful readers without an ending. Bearing that in mind, RPG World is still worth a read.
Comic: Looking for Group
Story and Art: Ryan Sohmer
Art: Lar De Souza
Primary RPG Influence: World of Warcraft (and a bit of Dungeons & Dragons. Just can’t get away, can we?)
In their own words: Looking for Group is a fantasy-themed Canadian webcomic written by Ryan Sohmer and drawn by Lar DeSouza. The Comic follows the adventures of Cale’Anon and Richard, as well as their companions. Since its launch on November 26, 2006, it has received positive attention from the webcomics community at large.
In our words: It is difficult to completely cover the amount of awesomeness in Looking For Group, but there is a lot of blood, action, character development, and consistent laughs. Looking for Group uses the bones of the World of Warcraft setting, but takes its characters (including one memorable undead warlock) on a completely different journey, neatly avoiding the issues of messing with the lore of the original setting. With an adventure full of intrigue, challenges, and all-out warfare, Looking For Group satisfies an appetite for the epic.