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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Greetings to all people of the Playground, and welcome to
    The Ultimate Order of the Stick Book Tournament II!


    Back in 2014, I ran a series of polls to determine the forum's favorite OOTS book. Start of Darkness won that tournament, defeating Blood Runs in the Family by one vote. Since that time, the number of available books has increased, and the readership has had more time to reflect on earlier stories in light of more recent events. Hence, I felt it was time for another tournament. Without further ado, I present

    The Contestants

    Dungeon Crawling Fools
    On the Origins of the PCs
    Start of Darkness
    No Cure for Paladin Blues
    War and XP
    Don't Split the Party
    Snips, Snails and Dragon Tails
    Blood Runs in the Family
    Haleo & Julelan + Uncivil Servant
    Good Deeds Gone Unpunished
    Utterly Dwarfed


    I have grouped together the two stories which are currently digital-only. The 11 contestants will compete in a double elimination tournament, with your votes deciding who wins each match. The winner of the entire tournament will be crowned Grand Champion of the Stick!

    Due to the fact that there are more than 8 but fewer than 16 contestants, five books will get a free pass on the first round. The contestants were seeded randomly. You can see the entire tournament bracket on Challonge.

    Vote once in each match by posting your vote in this thread. I will be visiting family next week, so the voting for these matches will close Thursday, January 2, at which time I will post the next two matches. I will vote only in the case where a tie-breaking vote is needed.

    The Current Matches
    Match 5: Start of Darkness vs Utterly Dwarfed

    Match 6: Blood Runs in the Family vs Don't Split the Party
    Last edited by 137ben; 2019-12-19 at 10:48 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Schroeswald's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    5. SOD, I loved both of them but, y'know, its SOD

    6. BRITF, it was a really good story, we got focus on Elan+Haley, character development affected every character this book, just all around a great story.
    Arrrgh, here be me extended sig!
    Spoiler: Read this if I've posted a theory in the post above
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schroeswald View Post
    I recognize that Conservation of Detail is Overrated, but I find the event that I am using as evidence for my theory above important enough/given enough focus to qualify for what I call Elanís Exception, ďWho wastes perfectly good foreshadowing like that?Ē. Also I have never correctly predicted any event in any piece of media so take this theory with a grain of salt (I call this Peeleeís Ye Old Reminder).

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    5. Start of Darkness

    6. Blood runs in the family

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    5) Itís an interesting matchup because while SOD is an origin story for Team Evil, UD is, in addition to its present-time plot, an origin story for Durkon, a Good character.

    I think Durkonís origin story and his evolution as a character is is well done, Sigdi is fantastic, the new information from Thor is revolutionary, Hilgya is an entertaining character, and the gnomes are cute, so I vote for Utterly Dwarfed

    6) Two of the best standard OOTS books. I like DSTP best because of Vís plotline, as well as the arcs between Redcloak, O-Chul and MITD. BRITF has the founding of Gobbotopia, which I love, but I feel like some of the story arcs kind of drag (and not just in the final Obligatory Climactic Battle section, where thatís done deliberately). So I vote for DSTP.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Gluteus_Maximus's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    5. SoD. I have not yet had the chance to read UD but either way SoD is just better

    6. BRITF. Both have great story for my 2nd and 3rd favorite characters, Elan and V, but BRITF has content for my fav, Belkar. So, to repeat: BRITF.
    Quote Originally Posted by Requilac View Post
    Wow, i canít believe it, WotC actually made the rules compatible for a situation in which an ape demon is leaping into the air to knock a vampire out of a Poylmorphed T-rexís jaws who is flying 120 feet above the ground.
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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Gluteus_Maximus View Post
    5. SoD. I have not yet had the chance to read UD but either way SoD is just better

    6. BRITF. Both have great story for my 2nd and 3rd favorite characters, Elan and V, but BRITF has content for my fav, Belkar. So, to repeat: BRITF.
    I'm confused, you haven't read up to the most recent comic on the site?

    As for my vote, I haven't read SoD so I guess Utterly Dwarfed it is. Don't split the party and blood runs in the family are both full of memorable moments, but I think I have to go with BRitF for, among other things, the glibness scene and V's "what have I done" moment.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Quote Originally Posted by RatElemental View Post
    I'm confused, you haven't read up to the most recent comic on the site?
    A books value (at least for me) is not only defined by the main story, but also by commentary of the Giant, forwords by the characters, bonus strips, etc.

    I liked Britf the most, simply because of the story in the back (Quoth the familiar, IIRC),though I liked the story of w&xp the most...

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Quote Originally Posted by RatElemental View Post
    I'm confused, you haven't read up to the most recent comic on the site?
    I imagine they have, but reading the whole thing as a book in a few sittings (or in one!) can make a big difference and it's arguably the proper way to judge the books. Most people lack that kind of perspective when it comes to UD, and that was always going to penalize it, especially against a collection of comics that has only ever been experienced as one cohesive book, not as individual strips being published over the years (which is probably part of the reason why SoD is often considered the best OotS book - we'll see if that still holds, though).


    Anyway:
    5. Start of Darkness
    6. Blood Runs in the Family
    Last edited by hroĢila; 2019-12-19 at 05:54 AM.
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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    The Current Matches
    Match 5: The Start of Darkness vs Utterly Dwarfed

    Match 6: Blood Runs in the Family vs Don't Split the Party
    Match 5: Utterly Dwarfed. Durkon is a major character in OoTS. He is Roy's best friend. And Crystal is finally dispensed with. Also, we get some serious meta story from "here is how the deities and their quarrels impact on the Order's mission"
    Also, I like Bandana.

    SoD is bad guys trying to justify being evil. Not even a contest. I appreciate it's being part of the larger story since having villains who are not two-dimensional helps a story; SoD was a good effort to hit that mark.

    ----------------------------------

    Match 6: BRiTF by a large margin.

    Some art style improvements, two good new villains (Malack and Tarquin), and some Belkar character growth. As I went back to read through it last weekend, I like the whole illusion / fantasy montage better this time through. It might be that with Durkon's arc change I see a few more things in that than I did before. Also, Roy's defeat of Thog was a very satisfying batch of scenes.

    a. DSTP is clunky in a lot of places.
    - Banjo / Giggles, tone wise, is a jarring juxtaposition with Vaarsuvius' quest to solve the comms problem by magic and the over-the-top soul splice+familicide thread. Haley's ongoing frustrations with leadership as a role she got forced into was reasonably well presented.

    - Therkla mini arc: it almost worked. I felt that it was the old "great intentions, but tricky to pull off just right" thing. I still like its conclusion, with Elan granting her a great headstone ... that was a nice touch.

    b. As I read through it a few months back, it dawned on me that DSTP was pretty hard to write in terms of (1) keeping a lot of balls in the air and (2) timing the scene shifts from one part of the world to the other. When I was doing a monograph a few decades ago, I discovered that when you try to scale up a transition paragraph into a transition chapter in a large work, the order of magnitude goes up a bit in terms of "degree of difficulty" and DSTP is a transition book.

    c. MiTD teleporting O-Chul and V out of harms way. While I am glad that MiTD's power manifested itself and saved V and OChul - I love O Chul as a character, and I like V well enough as a character- that little scene smelled a little bit of *deus ex machina* However, when the reveal of "what kind of monster is MiTD" comes I suspect that concern will be erased. (And to be fair, there was a foreshadowing of how powerful MiTD was with the earthquake scene).
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2019-12-19 at 09:38 AM.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Gluteus_Maximus's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Quote Originally Posted by RatElemental View Post
    I'm confused, you haven't read up to the most recent comic on the site?
    I have not yet had the chance to read the book, which is what I believe we are voting on. (Because my order still hasn't been shipped out, apparently.)
    As far as I care, comics #947 to #1189 are just those numbers on the site, while the book is UD.

    Basically, I have no idea if the bonus content in the book will push it over to be better than SoD, or if the way it flows makes it worse than it.
    Last edited by Gluteus_Maximus; 2019-12-19 at 10:30 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Requilac View Post
    Wow, i canít believe it, WotC actually made the rules compatible for a situation in which an ape demon is leaping into the air to knock a vampire out of a Poylmorphed T-rexís jaws who is flying 120 feet above the ground.
    Amazing Avatar by Smutmulch

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Your first match could have been the final. I hope it will be - I'll reread both to double check. SoD generated all sorts of feels with me and certainly informs the reader to some behind the scenes motivation & will feed some plot threads in book 7. Lots of MitD clues too! However, comics 1126 through 1130 started with a sucker punch to the gut and made me cry. (Bonus: Read Uncivil Servant or any early Belkar centric-stuff, then read 1130 & 1131 again.)

    5, Utterly Dwarfed
    6, Blood Runs in the Family (Love Tarquin & Malack!)

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    5) Start of Darkness, by far.

    I liked UD but I didnít really care that much about the crew of the mechaneís squabbles or the wrap up with Crystal.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    UD
    BRitF

    Tarquin vs Elan is what pulled me into OOTS originally. I love the meta-story story.

    SoD vs UD is tough, they're quite different. Maybe it's because UD is so fresh, but I feel like the character development is better and the reveal with Thor in the Astral Plane was awesome.
    You found the secret message! Don't forget to edit the wiki!

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    Joerg's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Start of Darkness
    Don't Split the Party
    Last edited by Joerg; 2019-12-19 at 02:50 PM.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Utterly Dwarfed. *Really* tough call, but I think the thematic elements here, jaw dropping reveals, beautiful art, and the Order's Development being on full display wins out.

    Don't Split the Party. Probably the Order's darkest hour and a lot of development to go around. Blood Runs in the family is great too though, but something about it feels a little... isolated from the rest of the story. Dunno.

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    Peelee's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Match 5: Start of Darkness (also, it's not "The Start of Darkness," it's "Start of Darkness." It's a riff on Heart of Darkness.)

    Match 6: Don't Split the Party
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    Spoiler: Someone's screaming my name
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    If anyone has a crayon drawing they would like to put on the Kickstarter Reward Collection Thread, PM me.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Match 5: Start of Darkness (also, it's not "The Start of Darkness," it's "Start of Darkness." It's a riff on Heart of Darkness.)

    Match 6: Don't Split the Party
    Thanks, I fixed it.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    5: Utterly Dwarfed. This was truly epic and deserves to be the overall winner, although Start of Darkness is really good and was my favourite OotS book for a long time.

    6: Blood Runs in the Family. Tough call here.

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Match 6, I'm going Blood Runs in the Family, no doubt. Love the ending to Don't Split the Party but I think it drags a bit otherwise.

    Match 5 I need to think about; these are two of the three or maybe four best OOTS books.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    The Start of the Darkness
    The Family Has the Runs and It's Bloody
    THE SCRYING EYE AT THE END OF STRIP #698 WAS ZZ'DTRI'S (SOURCE)

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    Goblin

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Utterly Dwarfed and Blood Runs in the Family. Tarquin is simply a wonderful character, and I'm a fan of both the new art style in UD and Durkon's development (SoD was good but can't quite compare).

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    IĎm thankful for the extended voting period because Iím definitely going to have to come back and revise this once I finally get my hands on the entirety of UD. As it is, i think for now I will go with Start of Darkness, which remains an excellent work.

    The other matchup isnít much easier. As I said earlier, while the middle of DStP is not my favorite, the beginning and end are fantastic. That said, BRitF was good basically from start to finish and even if I donít think the climax is quite as good, itís still really excellent. So, I will go with Blood Runs in the Family.

    Also, looking back on the old tournament thereís definitely some votes of mine that I would definitely not be making these days.


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    Gluteus_Maximus's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    After opening (and subsequently reading) UD I'm going to keep my vote the same. The new style is stunning on the glossy paper that it's printed on, and the commentary doesn't leave much do be desired. The double page spreads are especially mesmerizing- the best of the two being the spread with the planet-graves. The fact that they expand into the distance horizontally rather than down as depicted online, gives a much more massive scale of this cemetery of worlds. The bonus strips are even better this time around, since they characterize Tinkertown and what it's all about, and the map of the northern continent is great.

    "But Uncle G_M, you're keeping your vote the same. Why?" I hear you say. First of all, I'm way too young to be your uncle, get out of my house. To answer, it's because some of the half-pages that end in punchlines fall entirely flat with the pacing of the pages. That, and I've already voted and don't want to have our host look at two posts and get confused. UD definitely has my vote all the way through the losers' brackets though, even if it comes up against SoD at some point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Requilac View Post
    Wow, i canít believe it, WotC actually made the rules compatible for a situation in which an ape demon is leaping into the air to knock a vampire out of a Poylmorphed T-rexís jaws who is flying 120 feet above the ground.
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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Start of Darkness and Dont Split The Party are the best books in the series. So easy.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    6: DStP.

    I voted SOD for 5.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    5. Start of Darkness
    6. Blood Runs in the Family
    All thanks to half-halfling for the avatar.

    There must be some sense of order - personal, political or dramatic - and if no one else is going to bring it to this world, I will.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    So, now that Iíve read UD, my vote is also going to be unchanged. UD is definitely an incredible book; Iíd both artistically and narratively itís the most complex book of OOTS to date. However, I think what puts SoD ever so slightly ahead are two things. 1) While it doesnít involve interwoven memories, the plot of SoD is still pretty incredible. Itís a lot of exciting backstory with some of my favorite characters and itís just as emotionally moving in some ways. 2) SoD benefits from being a cohesive story told in one go. There arenít any arcs that might drag behind and it doesnít carry any weight over years of release. Iím not sure thereís any other book that beats UD (maybe GDGU?) however.


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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Start of Darkness is probably my favorite OotS book.

    Blood Runs in the Family gets my vote, I'm kind of thorn though, Don't Split the Party is incredibly good too, probably one of the best as well.

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    Dr.Zero's Avatar

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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Start of Darkness
    Blood Runs in the Family
    Last edited by Dr.Zero; 2019-12-27 at 10:31 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ultimate OOTS book tournament 2: Matches 5 and 6

    Start of Darkness
    Don't Split the Party

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