Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nuts & Bolts #55 - Good for a Laugh


OK, So technically this probably shouldn't be a Nuts & Bolts column since I won't be steering anywhere near game mechanics. On the other hand, I've been pretty liberal with my subjects already, and this is gaming related ... kinda.

Basically I want to point out a handful of comics I read regularly. Two of these are full on RPG related, and two are ... more tangential.


The Order of the Stick is the one webcomic I will never stop reading. At least until it reaches its final panel, which is something that may well happen. OotS focuses on a typical adventuring party in a D&D-esque world run with D&D-esque rules. Early on the humor came from the game behind the world as much as it did from in-strip developed humor. After 1000+ strips (!!) however it has shed most of its 4th wall breaking "poke fun at D&D" humor and uses the situations and character to develop the jokes instead. The characters have grown and changed as much as the intentionally simple artwork. Even if you don't play D&D (like me) I cannot recommend this one enough. Fair warning though, the irregular updates can get a bit frustrating for some.


Table Titans is a newer comic and lately has been rocking and rolling with four updates a week. This comic follows a GM and his group. The story is told in game and at table depending on the needs. There is probably a little less humor, but the stories as great, and this one is a great example of how I think most of us perceive our hobby.


Atomic Robo is a real comic turned webcomic that is still a real comic ... yeah, that sounds complicated, but basically after dealing with a small publisher the creators decided to turn Robo into a webcomic for free using Patreon to try and make their living. Atomic Robo is a non-linear tale of one Atomic Robo Tesla the nuclear powered "automatic intelligence" creation of Nikolai Tesla. The stories jump around to various points during Robo's life following his exploits as an "action scientist".  Also there is a FATE based game based on the comic now. It's a great read that is full of action and heart. If you like pulpy tales this one is for you.


The Last Halloween is the newest of these as far as I know. Told in all black and white, it's probably the least humor focused. The story of a little girl thrust into a world where monsters are not only real, but have taken action to take over the world it's a great "fish out of water" type tale on one side, and a wonderful "good monsters" tale on the other. Urban fantasy/horror that has a really different take.

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I'm not getting anything out of promoting these comics. These already have pretty big followings as it stands, so it's not like some new indie thing I am trying to help stay alive.  No I wanted to single these out as examples of the kinds of storytelling that I strive for in my RPGs. They show that humor can have its place, that horror doesn't need to devolve into tropes, that high action can still have heart, and that a good RPG can bring together people in ways they didn't even know. It this the "good stuff" in my opinion. And if you aren't one who reads these already maybe check them out.