Look, it's a book!
The Order of the Stick: Good Deeds Gone Unpunished is the latest book (ninth overall!) in the Order of the Stick saga, featuring tales of Azure City and beyond. Join your favorite Azurite heroesóand some all-new facesóthrough hilarious action and thrilling edge-of-your-seat comedy presented in patented greyscale "PrequelVision." Five tales tell the story of Azure City before, during, and after its conquest by hobgoblins (whoops, spoiler!) through the eyes of its residents, paladin and commoner alike:
- That's the Spirit: Kazumi and Daigo are settling in to their new island home, but a chance encounter with a lost soul leads to trouble for the expectant couple!
- Scruff and Tumble: Cold, alone, and hungry behind enemy lines, Mr. Scruffy must dodge hobgoblins and other dangers on a quest for yummies.
- Spoiler Alert: Therkla just wants to read her book on her day off, but a surprise assignment from Kubota sends her hurtling toward a fateful encounter with fate!
- Pier Pressure: Teenagers Daesuk and Lien just want to hang out on the dock and maybe smoke cigarettes or something, but then things get, like, super weird.
- How the Paladin Got His Scar: When a series of mysterious raids bring the Azurites and the neighboring hobgoblins to the brink of war, Captain O-Chul of the Azure City Army must lead an unlikely band of misfits in a desperate mission to avoid a bloody retribution.
At 160 pages of original material that's not available online as part of the main comic, Good Deeds Gone Unpunished is our biggest black-and-white prequel-type book yet. And for the first time ever, we're offering it in both printed and digital editions at the same time! You can pre-order physical copies right now from Ookoodook or digital copies from Gumroad, and they'll get delivered when the book releases in August.
For additional information, check out the Product Page, or keep reading to have some questions answered.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Is all of this material new?
A: That depends. If you didn't support the Kickstarter in 2012, then all of the material in this book is new to you; it's never been available to buy before. If you did support the Kickstarter, then the stories about Lien, Mr. Scruffy, and Kazumi and Daigo are entirely new, while the stories about O-Chul and Therkla are ones you received as PDFs when they were initially completed.
Q: How long is each story?
A: The centerpiece of the book is How the Paladin Got His Scar, which is 94 pages long (over 20 pages longer than On the Origin of PCs). The other four stories range between 11 and 16 pages each.
Q: If I already have the Kickstarter stories, can I get a PDF with just the new material for less money?
A: Unfortunately, no. I'm choosing to release it this way partly to give people an incentive to buy the entire book, so that everyone is getting something new with itóbut the financial reality is that I can't support the physical printing process if a large portion of the potential audience is only purchasing a smaller product.
Q: What number is on the book's spine?
A: The book is numbered "1/2" to represent the fact that the stories take in the middle of other books. For example, O-Chul's story takes place in between parts of Start of Darkness, while Therkla's story occurs during the events of War and XPs. I felt that using a fraction for the book number properly suggested the fact that book could legitimately be shelved in several different places, chronologically speaking.
Will there be a comic later?
A: Yes, as soon as I get all this marketing stuff released.
Q: When will the physical books from Ookoodook ship?
A: They're currently scheduled to ship at the end of July or beginning of August. We don't want to lock down an exact release date because there tends to always be something that pushes it back a few days.
Q: Can I pick the physical books up at GenCon?
A: Yes! Ookoodook is offering GenCon pick up for pre-orders, just select the "GenCon pick-up" option for your shipping method when you order. I recommend printing out the confirmation email and bringing it with you when you go.
Q: Will the physical books be on sale at GenCon?
A: Yes, unless something has gone horribly wrong with the printing process. I will not be present to autograph books, however.
Q: Will the physical books be available in my local gaming store?
A: Yes, assuming they've carried Order of the Stick books in the past. This title will be fully available to game store distribution, though I'd expect them not to show up on store shelves until closer to September.
Q: What if my game store doesn't carry Order of the Stick products?
A: Then you should ask them to! Our stuff is available through all major hobby game distributors, even those outside the US, so just go to your local gaming store and ask them to place an order.
Q: Why is the overseas shipping so expensive?
A: Because overseas postage rates are expensive, and most of the companies you're thinking of that charge less have international warehouses they can ship from, or use bulk rate shippers due to the large volume of products sold. Ookoodook is a very small company that does not have those kinds of resources, so they have to bring them to the post office like everyone else. If the postage is too high for your budget, we suggest either purchasing the digital edition or waiting until it shows up on your local gaming store shelf.
Q: Why is this book more expensive than the previous black-and-white prequels?
A: Two reasons. First, it is much longer; at 160 pages, it is more than twice as long as On the Origin of PCs and 43% longer than Start of Darkness. In fact, it's the same length as the first color book, Dungeon Crawlin' Fools. Second, if you're wondering why it's the same price as that color book that I just told you about even though it's not in color, it's because that book was first printed (and given its MSRP) in 2005, and printing and paper costs have gone up substantially in the intervening 13 years.
Q: Why should I pre-order rather than just waiting until the book is released?
A: Good question. Pre-ordering lets me to judge how many copies I should print, and accurately estimating that is what allows me to produce a printed product at all. If I print too many copies, I spend too much money now and end up with loads of unsold inventory that costs more to store. If I print too few, I have to reprint right away and due to the economies of scale, that costs more than it would to print a larger run the first time. Only by getting it pretty close to where demand is can the numbers work out such that I can pull this off without losing a lot of money. So if you care about the financial health of the comic (because you would like me to keep doing this), it's helpful to pre-order.
Q: Can I buy this book as a digital PDF file?
A: Yes! You can pre-order it from Gumroad today.
Q: When will the digital PDF files be released?
A: The a link to download the digital files will be automatically sent to your email inbox on August 15, 2018, at 12:00 pm Eastern Standard US Time.
Q: Why are you delaying the PDFs until August? Why can't I download it today?
A: It's being delayed until the physical book is published so that some customers don't have to wait longer than other customers to read it. We really want the print edition to succeed, and if readers thought they could read the story three months earlier by buying the digital edition then they would be far more likely to do so. By holding the digital edition back to be published at the same time, we ensure that people buy the edition that they really want rather than rushing to get the one that comes out first.
Q: What does the watermark look like?
A: It's on the first page (the cover), and it's a small grey ribbon-shape with the Gumroad "G" logo, next to which it says "Sold to" and then the email address that you gave when you purchased the book. So don't buy using your top secret email.
Q: Why are you using Gumroad instead of (insert name of other company)?
A: Because they charge the lowest commission, which means I could lower the price more. Plus, most other companies that offer a watermark service add it to every single page, which seemed like overkill to me. One page is enough.
If you have any other questions, go ahead and ask them here and maybe I'll add them back up to the FAQ afterward.