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The Order Of The Stick: Dungeon Crawlin' Fools by Rich Burlew
Cover Artist: Rich Burlew
Review by Paul Haggerty
Giant in the Playground Games Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0976658003
Date: 01 February 2005

Links: Read the Comic / Buy the Book / Show Official Info /

The Order of the Stick: Dungeon Crawlin' Fools compiles the first 121 strips of Rich Burlew's masterful webcomic The Order of the Stick, featuring Roy Greenhilt and his band of misfit stick figure associates. If you've every played a Fantasy Role Playing Game you'll feel right at home here as the team takes on monsters weak and strong, vagaries of the genre itself, and the bizarre ramifications of the rules of the game.

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

Roy Greenhilt, human warrior, is on a mission to destroy a lich. And of course, he's doing it for the worst reason. His dead father told him to, even though his father felt sure that Roy could never pull it off. So, now feeling that deep down desire to prove his father's lack of faith him wrong, Roy has gathered together your typical collection of fantasy role-playing characters: wizard, bard, rogue, cleric, and ranger. Of course, also in the grand tradition of role-playing, each character has unique depths that need to be introduced gradually over the course of the story, such as Belkar, the psychotic, murderous halfling ranger, or Vaarsuvius, the power-mad, gender-ambiguous elven wizard.

Having assembled his team off-page (actually covered in the pages of The Order of the Stick: On the Origin of PC's), Roy leads the way to the Dungeon of Dorukan where they must do battle with goblins, ogres, ninjas (don't think about that one too hard), chimerae, evil versions of themselves, more goblins, teenage goblins, lots more goblins, and ultimately Xykon the Lich.

Even if you don't have much of a role-playing background most of the jokes and situations will still make sense, but a background in Dungeons & Dragons (the further back the better) will make it all even more hilarious.

And, of course, the drama and combat packed finale is only the set up for the next installment where new enemies, old enemies, current enemies (is that enough enemies?) and a strange assortment of friends wait to make their lives even more complex then they are now.

Why should you buy a book when most of its content is available free on-line? Because hauling around your computer gets to be a bit awkward. Books are far more convenient to curl up in an armchair with for a good laugh. Then there's the bonus material. Included in Dungeon Crawlin' Fools are 18 additional comics not available on-line, plus commentaries, and a few other extras.

So go read the comic for a while. Then, once you've convinced yourself of the utter necessity, go buy the book.

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