11/26/2018 - |
Order of the Stick |
by Amber E. Scott|
by Amber E. Scott
by Amber E. Scott
by Rich Burlew|
by Rich Burlew
by Rich Burlew
As you no doubt have seen, today marks the 400th "Order of the Stick" comic strip. Since I missed out on my usual New Year's speech due to some issues in my personal life, now seems like a good opportunity to sum up 2006 for posterity.
I've been lucky enough to create stories (well, one story) for a living for about two years now, which is kind of bizarre. And while not ever strip (or story arc) is the favorite of every fan, you have been supportive and excited about these odd adventures of stick figure adventurers as they journey through trials both physical and emotional (and literal, in one case). Thanks to all of those who have stuck with the story through thick and thin, through the slow updates last July and August and all the double- and triple-strips in September and December. (I imagine the latter was a little easier to suffer through.) While there's no shortage of people who read the strip once in a while, it's the dedicated fans--the ones who overload the server at 11:59 pm hanging around waiting for the next update--that make this possible. Without you, I'd have given up long ago.
Speaking of servers, though, there have been a lot of changes at the website this past year. Some of them, like the new server, are less noticeable. People rarely notice when something is working right! Others, like the new look, the new message board software, and the start of new content, are more obvious. My hope is that there are more changes next year as we grow beyond being one guy's personal site. Some of that has begun, with enlisting friends to help provide you with free stories and gaming articles, but the truth is, it took most of the year just to get those systems in place. 2007 will be the year of actually starting to deliver on the promise of daily content of one form or another. At least, that's the plan.
A big part of that plan is to increase the Comics section beyond just OOTS, with our first such addition already in place. A few weeks after its premiere, I'm happy to see that Erfworld is finding an audience among GiantITP.com visitors, especially now that the plot is starting to kick into gear. It's not for everyone, but then, that's the point: to offer a complimentary alternative to OOTS, a completely different way of approaching the idea of the Fantasy Gaming-Themed Comic Strip.
So, yeah: 2007 will be the year of increasing the rate and quality of what we're already doing. The pieces are in place, now it's just time to make each one shine. I hope you'll continue to join me daily as we make Giant in the Playground into the best destination for gaming-related entertainment on the web--or anywhere. Thanks, and Happy New Year.
Oh, and the next hundred OOTS strips? Time to secure your safety harnesses and make sure your hands and feet are inside the vehicle at all times. It's going to be a wild ride.
Just a quick note to say that there will not be an Order of the Stick comic for Monday, December 25th, because of Christmas.
Also, I've gotten a bunch of emails praising me for recent references to Monkey Island. Which would be great, except that I've never heard of anything called "Monkey Island" and I'm certainly not referencing it with this plotline. Sorry. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Erfworld is here! Now remember, if you click on the latest page that's displayed in the sidebar, you're coming in on Page 6. Make sure to go back and start on Page 1, otherwise it's going to make no damn sense at all. Here, I'll link it for you: Erfworld Page 1.
So, when I unveiled the current design for the website, it was always my intention to begin posting new gaming articles. To that end, I contacted a few of my friends in the industry and asked if they'd like to volunteer something, anything, just for the fun of writing something that they didn't have to worry about being edited past the point of death and well into some sort of ghoulish unlife. The first person to respond was my good friend and/or long-time archrival, Keith Baker. Keith finished his article, detailing a new NPC class that bridges the gap between the commoner and the druid, about 8 months ago, and I have been a horrible, horrible human being for sitting on it for this long. But, things are finally starting to get into the shape I had imagined for them so long ago, so this seemed like as good a time as any to finally debut his article. Enjoy.
In case you missed it, the Erfworld cast page went live yesterday. Tomorrow's the big premiere; we'll start with six full pages of comic, just to get everyone into the story right away.
Time for a big announcement. We're adding another webcomic to the site! Erfworld: The Battle for Gobwin Knob is a brand-new comedic fantasy (or is that fantastic comedy?) story from the skilled hands of author Rob Balder (PartiallyClips) and illustrator Jamie Noguchi (Angry Zen Master). This great new story will appear twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting next Thursday, December 7th. Until then, we'll be running some teaser art in the place where the comic will be. Just click on the Erfworld link to the left under Comics.
Now, this strip will be a little different from The Order of the Stick. While OOTS has an ongoing story, it is also largely a gag comic, with a punchline at the end of (most) every page. Erfworld will be more like a graphic novel, with one page appearing at a time but without a guaranteed joke each and every installment. The humor is more likely to spread over the course of an entire scene; some jokes will take several pages to be told.
I'm very happy to be able to offer GiantITP.com as a host for this new project. I'll be reading it for the first time alongside all of you (well, a little ahead, since I have to post the strips for them), but what I've seen so far has floored me. Jamie's art is just fantastic, capturing a great mixture of epic fantasy and animated cartoons, while Rob's humor keeps the same offbeat subtlety of his clipart webcomic. I'm pretty excited about it.
We're also adding an Erfworld message board to the forums, so you can discuss the comic.
In other (less important) news, I got so many emails about flubbing the lyrics to "Meet Me in St. Louis" that I decided to go back and fix it. I have thus far done my best not to think too hard about the potential subset of fans who both play D&D and can immediately pick up errors in lyrics from 1940's musical comedies. My brain thanks me.
Well, the holiday season is upon us, which means it's time for a new batch of OOTS shirts from our shop at CafePress! We've added a big stinking heap of new designs, from new quote shirts ("Go, Team Cleric!") to the huge-at-GenCon "Explosive Runes" design. To make things even sweeter, CafePress has added its own stinking heap of new options, including long-sleeved black shirts, dark red, olive, or navy t-shirts, and improved printing on dark colors. The shirts have never looked better nor come in a more bewildering variety; even last year's quote shirts (like "evilgasm," below) are now available in color. Here's a few samples now:
The 2006 OOTS Holiday Ornament is here, too, featuring Haley's "Snowball Sneak Attack!" on Vaarsuvius. Long-time readers will tell you that once January rolls around, this design will be retired and that'll be it. No ornament for you. So if you have the first two (or if you want to start collecting now), now's the time. Especially since CafePress is offering 25% off all ornaments until November 19th (which is this Sunday).
To sweeten the pot further, any order of $50 or more will qualify for free ground shipping within the US until December 20th. Note, however, that CafePress recommends that orders be placed by December 4th to ensure an arrival by Christmas via ground. (2-Day and Next Day shipping are also available for procrastinators, though they're not free.)
OK, enough naked commerce. Other news: The "Miko vs. Xykon" story is over, so I'm back to a three-a-week schedule. Also, the exciting climax to The Duke's Wolf is now up. Enjoy!
I'm happy to announce that the Order of the Stick prequel book, "On the Origins of PCs," is back in print--our third printing so far. If you're one of the fans who has been asking about it, it's available to order right now, direct from our friends at APE Games. If you haven't read it yet, you're missing out on the print-exclusive story of how the Order met and what they were doing beforehand. So quit reading this and go order it now.
As you can see, the strip online here has turned away from the main characters for a brief interlude featuring the lovely and divisive Miss Miyazaki. Now, while this section of the story is sort of critical, I realize you're all waiting to see what happens to poor Elan. Therefore, I'm going to try to get through this section as soon as possible, running one strip a day (barring an emergency) until it's done, probably in 5-6 strips. So tune in tomorrow evening for bonus Saturday OOTS.
If you found yourself unable to logon to the new forum, please try again. We believe this issue is now resolved.
For those who haven't seen the message yet, the Forums are back, only with a new URL: www.giantitp.com/forums. You may have some trouble getting into your account due to the switchover to vBulletin, but check out the Board Issues forum for ways to troubleshoot the problems. Also, not everything is 100% set in stone about the way the forum works or looks, so keep that in mind while you peruse.
In other news, board-certified comicologists report a 75% chance of extra OOTS later in the week, due to the troubles encountered last week posting comics. We'll keep you updated as this story progresses.
So, if you are seeing this message, you are looking at the new server for Giant in the Playground. Wooooo! The move went smoothly, right up until the point where little old technologically-incompetent me tried to log in to the server to post Monday's comic and discovered that I couldn't. The problem is fixed now--note the new comic is up.
The message board is still down for now, however. The problem with posting the comic had to take precedence over finishing the board update. I can say that the boards did successfully import the majority of thread data, so when we turn the new boards on, your old posts should be waiting for you.
OK, I'm leaving for UberCon VIII in about an hour, so if you're in NY, NJ, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or really like long car rides, I'll see you there. I just got boxes of the board game in yesterday, so I can confirm that I will have them for sale (as well as all the books and some remaining t-shirts from GenCon). I've also got two panels scheduled: at 6:00 pm Friday, we've got a general Webcomics panel, with all of the convention's webcomic guests, and at 3:00 pm Saturday, I have a solo OOTS panel. Come and ask some questions.
Now, on to the server. The migration has already begun; you can tell because the message boards have been shut down. Which means that you won't get to comment on the new comic that I just posted early because of all of this. Anyway, it might take a while for everything to get switched over to the new server, but hopefully by Monday we will be back. You should still be able to read the site in the meantime, but beware that there may be some weirdness.
Also, we'll have new message board software by then. We may not have worked all the kinks out--I'm not sure it will be set to the familiar tan-and-brown color scheme, or that all of the buttons will match--but the new software seems much more effetive and efficient, and I'm looking forward to some of the new features it will bring.
OK, everyone, pack it up....time to move!
Tonight's OOTS will be an hour or two late. The script has turned out to be way too long for a single strip, necessitating a double-length strip. Since it's 8:46 pm right now, there's no way I can get a double strip done by midnight. However, I am starting it right now and it WILL be up tonight. Sorry about the delay.
We've got some tentative solutions for the server issues. We're going to be migrating the site to a new server, AND we're going to switch the message board software to something that doesn't suck up all of the resources. The schedule on this is uncertain, but there's a good chance it will happen next weekend (October 20-22). While it's going on, the message board will be completely shut down, probably for several days. It is strongly advised that if you have any material on the message board that is particularly near and dear to your heart--homebrew game material, posts from an active play-by-post game, a PM with a girl's phone number--that you make sure you have a copy on your hard drive BEFORE October 19th. We're going to attempt to import the existing message board into the new software, but it may not work 100% and we are not responsible if something you poured your heart and soul into gets eaten.
In the short term, the Search function has been disabled on the message board until further notice, in order to lighten the server load.
In other news, we'll be at UberCon VIII in Secaucus, NJ, that weekend, which will make the transition process ever so convenient. But we'll have books and maybe even games for sale, with autographing potential no less.
The third and penultimate chapter to Amber's story is now up as well. The delay was all mine, do not hold it against Amber.
In case you haven't noticed, we're having some issues with our server these days. Mostly with the message board, but also with the system we use to add content to the site. (I had a heck of a time getting this news post added, for example.) We're addressing the problem on our side, and may have some (fairly drastic) solutions, but until those are in place we have to ask the following:
STOP REFRESHING THE SITE!
Yes, the comic has been up fairly regularly around midnight for a few weeks, but when you sit there and refresh it over and over, you are sucking down tons of bandwidth that eventually bring down the server so that NO ONE (yourself included) can see the comic. Limit your refreshes to no more than once every 15-20 minutes, at the absolute most, and refresh THIS page, and NOT the message board. The message board is a resource hog; we went through the trouble of putting the link to the latest comic on the sidebar specifically so you wouldn't need to refresh either the comic page or the message board. Please, for the sake of everyone who wants to see the comic, refresh this page (or better yet, one of the article pages) instead of the board.
Finally, to encourage people to stop waiting with trigger fingers to post, "FIRST POST!" when the comic goes up, effective immediately, we will delete all message board posts that say anything referring to the number of posts that have occurred in the thread. There, now no one has any reason to care whether they see the comic the moment it goes up.
With a little patience and restraint, we will struggle through this and end up with better service that will allow us to keep growing. Thanks.
I've been told that the OOTS Adventure Games has reached Houston, and is being shipped out to those who preordered them right now. Kevin predicts they will all be shipped by Monday, along with any copies of Paladin Blues ordered. Note that this only applies to people who preordered directly through APE Games; if you ordered from some other website, you'll have to wait until the games get through several layers of distributor before you'll see anything. That's one of the perks of ordering direct from us. Well, that and a free Belkar magnet, while supplies last.
As near as I can tell, APE hasn't actually hit the 1000 copy mark on the game. If you order now, you might still get them next week, instead of waiting. No pressure, I'm just saying.
Just a quick note: I'll be making a personal appearance at a Webcomics Symposium being offered by Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, this Friday and Saturday. There's a big panel discussion Friday night at 7:00 pm, and workshops on a variety of subjects the next day from 1:30-5:30ish. Joining me will be Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary, Shaenon Garrity of Narbonic, and Eric Burns and Wednesday White of Websnark. All of whom are frankly much more talented than I am in at least one way, so you should listen to them.
You can get driving directions here, and then make your way to the Science Center. If you're within an hour or so of Philadelphia, I think it will be worth it. Plus, I'll probably drag some books and t-shirts with me to sell, so you can snag an autographed copy of the new book.
Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and our fine Forum Moderators have dressed their avatars up in full pirate regalia for the day, as have many of the regulars. We also have a pirate design contest going on in the Design Contest forum, for those interested in statting up their own pirate. You may notice that I'm not talking like a pirate right now, but this is because technically, this is writing, not talking, and Write Like a Pirate Day is sometime in May, I think, and at any rate was never very successful due to the high percentage of illiteracy among buccaneers of the 17th century.
In other news, I've been told that APE games will be freezing preorders of the OOTS Adventure Game at 1000 copies, which they are not too far from reaching, in order to make sure that the first print run has enough product to fulfill retailer needs. So if you don't have a game store near you that you think will carry it, you might want to head over to APE now and order before the cut-off. As it stands now, we expect the first print run to sell out fairly quickly at the distributor level, which means if you see it in the store, you might want to grab it before it's gone (or at least temporarily unavailable while APE reprints).
The games are inside the US, incidentally, on their way to APE's Houston corporate headquarters. From there, they will spread through the world like a virus! A virus packaged in an 11" square cardboard box, but a virus nonetheless. When they ship to stores, so will No Cure for the Paladin Blues, so we're very close to me having an exact in-stores date on that for you. Of course, Paladin Blues is on sale right now in APE's online store, if you want it shipped to your doorstep. The previous two books are currently sold out, but we're working behind the scenes to get them reprinted.
Also, some of you may have noticed that the schedule has returned, if somewhat clarified. I figured it would be best to meet the schedule for a week or two before making it formal. Arrr, we're havin' clear sailin' ahead, me mateys.
So the book signing was a big hit up in Cambrisdge last week. We had about 60-70 fans come by and get their books signed, as one is wont to do at a book signing. Luckily I have a break from the personal appearances for a while...we won't be anywhere in an official capacity until UberCon in October. I can actually stop parceling my time out in terms of "Days Left Until X" and concentrate on things here.
If you didn't notice, the second chapter of Amber's story, The Duke's Wolf, is up now. Go read it!
If you happen to be anywhere within driving distance of Cambridge, Massachusetts, this Saturday, stop by to visit our friends at Pandemonium Books and Games. I'll be there speaking and signing books, including No Cure for the Paladin Blues (but NOT including the Adventure Game...I couldn't get my hands on any copies in time). Come at 1:00 pm for a Q&A panel, followed at 3:00 pm by signings. If we can, we might break open my demo copy of the game afterwards and teach people how to play.
Oddly, this event isn't yet listed on the Pandemonium site schedule, but rest assured, I'm driving up to Boston this weekend so I will be there.
Hey all, so I guess some of you didn't get that there weren't going to be any new comics while I was in Indiana, so for that I apologize. I'm still on the road home, but I was able to get a strip done here at a hotel along the way.
As far as the site redesign, I must stress again that it is a work in progress. We will be tweaking a lot of things. For example, this News page is forcing horizontal scroll right now because of the piece of art two posts down. That needs to be fixed, there shouldn't be h-scroll. The sidebar is also going to have some art going down the side under the content, but it's not finished yet. And yeah, the News header appears on the forums, and other places. But keep in mind that angrily demanding changes to the design is likely to result in being ignored. We just don't work that way.
GenCon was fantastic, by the way. We'll have pictures and words and (gasp!) even movies of the convention soon, once we get back to Philadelphia.