06 October 2007

Great reads: DMotR and D&D

I've always had links on this blog to a few of my favourite webcomics - Irregular Webcomic!, Day by Day, Freefall, The Whiteboard, The Order of the Stick. (Look over there in the right-hand margin, above the NeoCounter display.) But I'd like to take this opportunity to point out a couple of others.

Last year I started reading DM of the Rings, by Shamus Young. Then my computer got virused, and by the time I had it up again I'd forgotten about DMotR. I went back to it a few days ago, though, and read the whole thing straight through. Basically, it's the story of The Lord of the Rings, told by taking screencaps from the three Peter Jackson films and treating them as the frames of a comic book. But....
Lord of the Rings is more or less the foundation of modern D&D. The latter rose from the former, although the two are now so estranged that to reunite them would be an act of savage madness. Imagine a gaggle of modern hack-n-slash roleplayers who had somehow never been exposed to the original Tolkien mythos, and then imagine taking those players and trying to introduce them to Tolkien via a D&D campaign.

Thus reads the intro to the first episode, and as the story proceeds, so do the interactions amongst the characters, and between the characters and the NPCs - and between the players and the DM.

Shamus does an absolutely incredible job of matching the characters' expressions in the screencaps to the dialogue, whether in-character or otherwise. And the "players" are great - the clueless sod playing Aragorn, who can't be bothered to read the 200 pages of backstory provided by the DM; the dedicated roleplayer, who's been playing for over twenty years, playing Gimli; and the hyperactive type playing Legolas.

Unfortunately, the strip has ended. There are 144 episodes of actual storyline, plus ten extras, so there's plenty there to amuse roleplayers and LotR fans (whether of the films or of the books). But there's something else in progress....

David Morgan-Mar, of Irregular Webcomic!, is now also producing Darths & Droids. He's using the same format - screencaps with added word balloons - and is planning to do all six Star Wars films, beginning with Episode One. The premise is the same: Two players* who have never heard of Star Wars are now experiencing it as an RPG.

I heartily recommend both of these excellently done projects.

* Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, in this case.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Photos (screencaps) are copyright unspecified years by the makers of the respective films from which they were taken, and are used without permission for parody purposes by the makers of the webcomics. Additional text copyright 2007 by Shamus Young (DM of the Rings) and David Morgan-Mar (Darths & Droids). Webcomics are used here, without permission of the authors, for illustrative purposes.

1 comment:

Angelique said...

I have no idea how many people I referred to your blog that day. :) But it was quite a few, many of whom love the whole concept. :)