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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default What's going on OoC?

    This has been on my mind for a while. Maybe people have talked about it before but I don't see a recent thread so...

    What the heck is going on with the Order of the Stick's players and DM?

    I mean, the OOTS is supposed to be a group of PCs so somewhere off-panel there are players controlling them. And I'm starting to get the sense that Rich is chronicling a once-fun dungeon crawl that is falling to pieces IRL.

    Here is what I mean:
    Spoiler
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    -One player's character is dead (Roy) but the player seems to be very attached to the character, despite the difficulty of getting a Res.

    -The DM seems unsure of how to appease Roy's player, first handing out some "cutscenes" in the afterlife, and even an afterlife encounter to keep the player included.

    -Now the player is probably temporarily playing Celia so they don't have to sit at the table bored each session, but she's not the character they want to play and there is a lot of bickering with Haley's player (and probably all the players).

    -The party is split. Never a good thing, and judging by the number of encounters they have now been split for at least two full sessions - maybe more if they take a lot of time RPing out all these conversations and political intrigues. Two sessions is usually about the longest the party can stay split without things falling apart and players losing interest.

    -V's player started playing V as evil or at least reckless. This is usually a sign that a player is bored or feels frustrated by a DM's heavy hand.

    -Either the DM switched V's alignment to evil, forcing V out of the party (and that player has to roll up someone new) or else the player struck out on his/her own with V willingly, giving the party a three-way split. Ouch.

    -The overall feel of the campaign changed justbefore all this stuff happened. It used to be a straightforward dungeon crawl, with some urban and wilderness encounters. But instead of getting a new dungeon the players got captured by a paladin and thrown into a mix of mass battle and politics. If the players prefer a hack-n-slash game, they might not like this new tone.


    It is possible that Rich is writing the plot solely with the in-game PC's in mind, but he's obviously an experienced roleplayer himself. He's got to be aware that many character actions are determined more by emotions at the table than by any in-character motivation. I wouldn't be surprised if he is intentionally writing this as the story of a gaming group gone wrong.

    Thoughts?
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

    Proud to GM two Warhammer Adventures:


    Plays as Ulrich, Student of Law

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Rich said they are no players just the charatures

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Yeah, there are no players in the OOTS world, it's just a world where D&D rules are like natural laws.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    I don't think that's entirely true.

    In the forward to one of the graphics novels -- I think it's Origin of the PCs -- there is an introduction by Redcloak, who tells us that there is a difference between NPCs and PCs and how he isn't upset about not having a player. He thinks PCs are a bunch of spoiled primadonnas.

    So I don't think this is entirely true -- or perhaps the Giant's writing isn't fully consistent on that point. But I interpret it to mean that there *are* players, since RC explicitly says there are. It's just that, unlike Knights of the Dinner Table, we're never going to pull back and see a cluster of players at a table tormenting a guy with a DM screen. The players or DM -- whatever that means -- will never appear in the comic. But that's not *quite* the same thing as saying they are nonexistent.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by someonenonotyou View Post
    Rich said they are no players just the charatures
    [Citation Needed]
    Kungaloosh!

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    What Another_Poet means is that he thinks that there are real, flesh people that played the OotS adventures, and that Mr. Burlew wrote the comic inspired by their play.
    Actually, Mr. Burlew explicitly told that it not true, but there could be fictional player playing the OotS characters. I say "could be" as a matter of fact, while I think that this issue is not going to be touched ever.
    Characters in OotS acknowledged their fictional nature, but never questioned their free will, nor they actually hinted to any aspect of supposed players. This could be the ground for some philosophical metaphysics that it's only to go bad...

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    There are no actual players who play Oots characters.

    Oots characters are PCs, but this does not mean there are actual players. In Dungeons and dragons you have the adventuring party and the rest of the world. The adventuring party came to be known as PCs and everyone else was an NPC. This label sticks, and is so prevalent, that even in situations where the adventuring party is not actually comprised of players, it is justifiable to refer to the adventuring party as PCs.

    The distinction between PCs and NPCs is not simply a distinction of who is being played by a player. When I had a character killed, I roleplayed my DMs NPCs for him. That did not suddenly turn them into PCs in the eyes of our adventuring group. There is more to being a PC than having a player, and in fact, having a player is not required.

    The term has moved beyond its literal meaning.
    Last edited by Theodoriph; 2008-10-08 at 12:43 PM.

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    I don't think that's entirely true.

    In the forward to one of the graphics novels -- I think it's Origin of the PCs -- there is an introduction by Redcloak, who tells us that there is a difference between NPCs and PCs and how he isn't upset about not having a player. He thinks PCs are a bunch of spoiled primadonnas.
    Since that is a forward, it is massively out of universe and fourth wall breaking. It should not be considered in any way a statement of the reality they exist in.

    Rich has stated there are no players. There has never been any indication in comic of players. Even if there were players, assigning reasons for events to the players and not to the plot would be horribly sloppy and terrible writing. Roy is dead because he overestimated his abilities (and Rich needed a way to seperate the party). He's still dead because Haley hasn't found a cleric.

    If Roy's player were to show up in a new character and say "Hey, I'm Roy's player's new character" it would have beem absolutely the stupidest, worst cop out of any story ever, and Rich would have to be completely insane and a relentless hack to even consider it. Especially since Roy is still around and active, given the universe as stated way back in the begining where his father was still attempting to influence the mortal world to fulfill his blood oath.

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurentio II View Post
    What Another_Poet means is that he thinks that there are real, flesh people that played the OotS adventures, and that Mr. Burlew wrote the comic inspired by their play.
    Sorry Laurentio, that's not what I meant, though I can see how you'd get that. I'm sure OOTS is inspired by one or more real campaigns, but that's not what I was getting at.

    I also didn't mean that we're going to see the players in the comic. The comic is about the characters, I know. I meant something more like what pendell said. Essentially:

    The comic is about the characters and the characters only. But I suspect that Rich's GM side is as strong as his writer side, and that he understands table dynamics too well to leave them out. When something happens to the OOTS, he might very well ask "Well what would my gaming group do if that came up?" The characters continue to act like characters controlled by out-of-game people.

    And now the once-effective characters are splitting apart and acting out just as the nature of the campaign changes and some Bad Things happen. I think that reflects some definite consideration for the typical behaviour of players and DMs in a regular gaming group.

    Of course, if Rich weighs in to the contrary, I'll believe him.

    ap

    EDIT: And I think it should be noted that my view in this post is consistent with NerfTW's view in the post above. You can write the events for entirely plot-based reasons with no reference to players, while still designing your D&D-inspired plot with D&D dynamics in mind.
    Last edited by Another_Poet; 2008-10-08 at 01:10 PM.
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

    Proud to GM two Warhammer Adventures:


    Plays as Ulrich, Student of Law

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Another_Poet View Post
    The comic is about the characters and the characters only. But I suspect that Rich's GM side is as strong as his writer side, and that he understands table dynamics too well to leave them out.
    This isn't a story about a group's D&D game. It is a fantasy story set in a world that uses the rules of a D&D game. Think of it this way, do you wonder what Drizzt Durden's player is doing in Salvatore's novels? Or Elminster's player?

    No, you don't. Therefore, why would you assume any different here?


    As for your edit, that's actually something he's mentioned in the commentaries. The Snarl, for example, is a reference to in group bickering destroying the game. Belkar is a fairly direct reference to "kill everything" players. But there isn't a player dynamic in the background.
    Last edited by NerfTW; 2008-10-08 at 01:12 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    It is possible for Rich to say there are only characters and no players and still have players. It is a metaphysical transcendental thing, to be sure, but it is possible.

    Rich says no players as in "there are no players, in real life, here, on Earth, playing this campaign with these characters."

    But, in the shadowy existence that is the fictional "real world" where made-up players control their own made-up characters, who is to say there isn't a party of "real" but "not real" people manipulating the characters... who really only exist in the mind of Rich, and we only see as phantasms anyway.

    Think of Plato's Cave. There are the shadows on the wall, made by unseen people moving figures in front of a fire. But the people exist only in the parable. So do they exist at all? They exist in the mind of Plato. But do they exist in the mind of the reader? Or does the mind of the reader only contain a figment of the people?

    These are deep, deep philosophical questions. A graduate student could do a Ph.D. on philosophy on this.

    I'm serious.
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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by GSFB View Post
    It is possible for Rich to say there are only characters and no players and still have players. It is a metaphysical transcendental thing, to be sure, but it is possible.

    Rich says no players as in "there are no players, in real life, here, on Earth, playing this campaign with these characters."

    But, in the shadowy existence that is the fictional "real world" where made-up players control their own made-up characters, who is to say there isn't a party of "real" but "not real" people manipulating the characters... who really only exist in the mind of Rich, and we only see as phantasms anyway.
    Offhand, I'd say Rich is. He created the OotS universe, therefore the existence or non-existence of any players that the Order has is his to declare.

    Think of it this way. Rich controls the OotS universe, therefore he also controls any fictional universe that lies above the OotS universe.


    I read "Godel, Escher, Bach" too.






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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by GSFB View Post
    These are deep, deep philosophical questions. A graduate student could do a Ph.D. on philosophy on this.

    I'm serious.
    If I were a Philosophy major, I would give that idea some serious consideration. Actually, hell, I might be able to work that into Communications somehow. Eh.
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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Another_Poet View Post
    I'm sure OOTS is inspired by one or more real campaigns, but that's not what I was getting at.
    This has been specifically denied; none of the events or characters of OOTS are based on any actual D&D games that Rich ever played, he's inventing it all for the comic.
    Congratulations, you can link to TV Tropes. This does not mean you have special insight into the storytelling process, much less the author's mind. Stories don't need to fit into neat boxes, you know.
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Another_Poet View Post
    This has been on my mind for a while. Maybe people have talked about it before but I don't see a recent thread so...

    What the heck is going on with the Order of the Stick's players and DM?

    I mean, the OOTS is supposed to be a group of PCs so somewhere off-panel there are players controlling them. And I'm starting to get the sense that Rich is chronicling a once-fun dungeon crawl that is falling to pieces IRL.

    Here is what I mean:
    Spoiler
    Show

    -One player's character is dead (Roy) but the player seems to be very attached to the character, despite the difficulty of getting a Res.

    -The DM seems unsure of how to appease Roy's player, first handing out some "cutscenes" in the afterlife, and even an afterlife encounter to keep the player included.

    -Now the player is probably temporarily playing Celia so they don't have to sit at the table bored each session, but she's not the character they want to play and there is a lot of bickering with Haley's player (and probably all the players).

    -The party is split. Never a good thing, and judging by the number of encounters they have now been split for at least two full sessions - maybe more if they take a lot of time RPing out all these conversations and political intrigues. Two sessions is usually about the longest the party can stay split without things falling apart and players losing interest.

    -V's player started playing V as evil or at least reckless. This is usually a sign that a player is bored or feels frustrated by a DM's heavy hand.

    -Either the DM switched V's alignment to evil, forcing V out of the party (and that player has to roll up someone new) or else the player struck out on his/her own with V willingly, giving the party a three-way split. Ouch.

    -The overall feel of the campaign changed justbefore all this stuff happened. It used to be a straightforward dungeon crawl, with some urban and wilderness encounters. But instead of getting a new dungeon the players got captured by a paladin and thrown into a mix of mass battle and politics. If the players prefer a hack-n-slash game, they might not like this new tone.


    It is possible that Rich is writing the plot solely with the in-game PC's in mind, but he's obviously an experienced roleplayer himself. He's got to be aware that many character actions are determined more by emotions at the table than by any in-character motivation. I wouldn't be surprised if he is intentionally writing this as the story of a gaming group gone wrong.

    Thoughts?
    I'm amazed at how all the people responding failed to see your point, which is interesting. I don't think Rich is writing the story thinking of an off-panel bunch of players and their reaction. Doing it while NOT specifically stating it would require a high perception to be noticed, and it would ultimately be a waste of talent. Sure, you might have just rolled high on perception, but I don't think it's very likely he *only* has the group of players in mind.

    Still, it's fun and intriguing to *also* look at the story from this point of view.

    Kudos for the intelligent post. Liked it and found it interesting.

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    I see your point too, and as aware as I am about the "there are no Players" idea, this does, indeed, feel like a Campaign going wrong.

    The Railroading of the players (Miko encounter), the death of the group leader, the Breaking up, the quite obvious feeling of boredom that seems to lurk behind certain PCs (hello V). All that seems to indicate that the DM decided to change from fun gaming to Deep Roleplay (tm) without talking about it with his players. Or that they changed DM mid Campaign, Or that this is their first Campaign together and the players thought they were doing Dungeon Crawl but the DM had other plans all along.

    If I didn't trust the Giant's word that there are no players, I would definitely believe that V's player is so fed up with the "long boring sideplot crap" that he starts acting out against the DM; still only in-character, but it would not be long before he stopped showing up at game sessions.
    Last edited by Avilan the Grey; 2008-10-09 at 07:03 AM.

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    I'm sure it was in a comic somewhere, may have been a guest strip, or something similar, but didn't we at one point see the OotS characters as players, rolling dice etc. I think it went something like this...

    Belkar's Player: This sucks, can't we play World of Warcraft?
    Roy's Player: Blasphemy!

    I could be wrong, and can't find the strip now. But hey, I'm sure I remember it.
    I lack a humurous opinion/outlook

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by orcmonk89 View Post
    I'm sure it was in a comic somewhere, may have been a guest strip, or something similar, but didn't we at one point see the OotS characters as players, rolling dice etc. I think it went something like this...

    Belkar's Player: This sucks, can't we play World of Warcraft?
    Roy's Player: Blasphemy!

    I could be wrong, and can't find the strip now. But hey, I'm sure I remember it.
    Yes, it was one of the guest strips, the second one down in fact. But besides that, what we are actually seeing is Roy and Belkar (And the others) playing D&D themselves, in much the same way Roy does in Heaven.

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avilan the Grey View Post
    All that seems to indicate that the DM decided to change from fun gaming to Deep Roleplay (tm) without talking about it with his players. Or that they changed DM mid Campaign, Or that this is their first Campaign together and the players thought they were doing Dungeon Crawl but the DM had other plans all along.
    Yeah, that's exactly what I meant.

    I think that there is an easy way to tell whether Rich is considering player/GM dynamics or not. If he is, the following prediction will come true within about 20 strips:

    Spoiler
    Show
    Either V will re-join the party or a new character will join the party for the long-term. Because the party has to have the same number of members, because each player gets 1 character.


    In addition, we'd have even more evidence if the following prediction comes true in the much longer-range future:
    Spoiler
    Show

    If Roy ever gets Res'd, Celia will soon stop adventuring; at no time will Roy and Celia both be in the party as main characters for more than a couple of strips. Again, each player has to have 1 character: no more, no less.


    So, I guess we'll see! :P
    Last edited by Another_Poet; 2008-10-09 at 11:48 AM.
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

    Proud to GM two Warhammer Adventures:


    Plays as Ulrich, Student of Law

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Another_Poet View Post
    So, I guess we'll see! :P
    I still don't understand why you're trying to prove that The Giant is working with a group of "players" in mind when he has explicitly stated that he isn't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Thank you, FujinAkari.
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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayabalard View Post
    [Citation Needed]
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showp...6&postcount=93

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant
    I always thought of OOTS as "What if the world really worked in accordance with the D&D rules (and fantasy cliches)?" So yeah, I never think there are actually players behind the characters, but it's a common assumption, given the gaming point of view.
    Last edited by FujinAkari; 2008-10-09 at 02:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Thank you, FujinAkari.
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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Actually, looking at webcomics that depict PCs as played by (fictional) players, such as DM of the Rings, Darths & Droids or the unfortunately dead Chainmail Bikini, having players join and leave is perfectly possible.

    In OotS, we only see the characters' side, in CB we saw both sides and in the two screencap comics listed we only see the characters' side but it's the players' side we hear.

    So that means that we don't know what happens on the players' side in OotS. They might as well be effectively non-existent since they don't matter. The comic doesn't delve on the interactions between players, only on the characters.

    (Nota bene: I used "character" in the RPG sense because, of course, DM and players are also characters in the story sense.)
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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by FujinAkari View Post
    I still don't understand why you're trying to prove that The Giant is working with a group of "players" in mind when he has explicitly stated that he isn't.
    I'm not, at this point. I accept the Giant's words at face value, especially now that someone finally posted a link.

    I do suspect both of my predictions will come true, and that we will continue to see OOTS mimic the actions of a campaign that is not goign so well on the player end of things. But at this point I suspect it is mostly subconscious on Rich's part, a sort of accidental inclusion of player dynamics from his years of gaming.

    In other words, I know he's not doing it on purpose, but I doubt he's doing it by accient.
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

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    Plays as Ulrich, Student of Law

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by SPoD View Post
    This has been specifically denied; none of the events or characters of OOTS are based on any actual D&D games that Rich ever played, he's inventing it all for the comic.
    I believe Belkar is loosely inspired by one of Rich's old campaign characters: A chaotic evil halfling ranger with racial enemy: human. I think he said so in an interview, I'll try to find the quote.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGiant
    This is a very popular misconception, but no, none of the characters in OOTS are directly based on any actual role playing game characters that I (or anyone I know) have ever played. OOTS isn't a transcript of an actual gaming campaign; it's been created from scratch specifically for the web comic format. Now, that being said, do certain characters reflect the actions of many different players I have gamed with over my life? A little, yeah. Play the game with enough people and you start to see patterns of behavior, and many of those patterns make it into the comic. Also, some of the early strips reflect actual jokes cracked around my gaming table at the time, but the characters and situations were different.

    The closest I've come to running any of the OOTS characters as PCs was that I once briefly played (for like 3 sessions) a halfling ranger with a badass attitude that selected humans as his Favored Enemy, but unlike Belkar, this character didn't have a sense of humor at all. Also, I've played a foolish bard before, but he wasn't enough like Elan to really qualify as being the same character. So, no, the characters are not really taken from any role playing campaign.
    Last edited by T-O-E; 2008-10-09 at 02:45 PM.

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    Default Re: What's going on OoC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Troll View Post
    I believe Belkar is loosely inspired by one of Rich's old campaign characters: A chaotic evil halfling ranger with racial enemy: human. I think he said so in an interview, I'll try to find the quote.
    Uh. He's specifically saying that none of the characters are based on characters he's played, and that the absolute closest relationship is one which is entirely superfluous and with characters not even remotely alike beyond a few words.

    This is more like if, upon Rich introducing a half-elf cleric (for instance), he mentioned that he'd once played a half-elf cleric. It doesn't mean that the two are related; lots of people have played half-elf clerics.
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