About this project
What's Going On Here?
I've been self-publishing my comedy-fantasy-adventure webcomic The Order of the Stick in paper format since 2005, but one of the hardest parts about doing it all on my own is keeping the older books available. This project is designed to get at least one of those books back into print. The Order of the Stick: War and XPs was the third compilation of the color webcomic, covering a bunch of cool battle scenes like this and this and even this. Look, here's the cover now:
Problem is, we ran out of copies sometime in 2010. That means that many readers (especially those who only discovered the comic in the last two years) have had no opportunity to get it. Because it's such a long book (288 full color pages, the longest OOTS book yet), the cost of a second print run has been too high for me to raise on my own. Readers ask me every week when it will be available again, and thanks to Kickstarter, I now have an answer: Now (or never).
The goal, listed over in the top right corner, represents the amount of money we need to raise to print the minimum number of copies of War and XPs to place it back in stock on our website and in local gaming shops around the world (plus enough extra to cover domestic shipping for the pledge rewards and such). If we reach that goal, then I’ll call the printer up at the end of this pledge drive and begin printing almost immediately. If we don’t reach that goal within 30 days, though, no one will be charged anything; you only pay if the project is successful. (Obviously, if the drive is not successful, the book will also stay out of print for the foreseeable future.)
What's In It For Me?
Good question. Well, take a look to the right and see the different rewards that are available for different pledge amounts. You'll notice that most of them include a newly-printed copy of War and XPs, which will ship once they've been reprinted. But that's only part of the story.
If the drive is successful, everyone who pledges $10 or more will get a special never-before-seen The Order of the Stick story in PDF format. Titled "How the Paladin Got His Scar," this tale tells the story of how Azurite soldier O-Chul first joined the Sapphire Guard and includes appearances by many of the other Azurite characters from the online comic. I worked out the basics of this story for last year's Snips, Snails, and Dragon Tales book, but it ended up being too long to include. If the drive is successful, I'll go back, finish it, and release it to everyone who makes the minimum pledge as a digital file.
Furthermore, with most pledges, we'll also be sending out a brand new Roy Greenhilt fridge magnet, matching the ones we've made in previous years featuring OOTS characters Belkar, Elan, and Vaarsuvius. This magnet is exclusive to the pledge drive, so this is pretty much your only chance to get it.
Finally, we have a handful of premium rewards available for backers who really want to show their support (or who just happen to already own War and XPs), including crayon drawings of your favorite OOTS character by creator Rich Burlew (that's me again); a chance to commission an additional OOTS story featuring your favorite character; and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a walk-on cameo for your favorite D&D character in the actual The Order of the Stick webcomic! Seriously, they'll be part of the story forever. It doesn't get much more exclusive than that.
What If You Beat Your Goal?
The best part is what happens if we go over that goal, though. The more that is pledged, the more copies can be printed, ensuring that the book stays available for new readers in the coming years. But if we get enough money, we can also reprint our original prequel book, The Order of the Stick: On the Origin of PCs, which has been out-of-print for almost as long. Since this is a portion of the story that has only ever been available in print, that'll let more people discover the otherwise-hidden origins of Roy, Haley, and the rest of the Order of the Stick.
If we get close to that goal, we'll let everyone know (and add the ability to get copies of the book to the reward options). And if we get that far and still have time left, all additional funds pledged will be saved toward reprinting the next book that needs it, No Cure for the Paladin Blues.
Whatever happens, thanks to all the fans who have been waiting patiently for me to come up with a plan to get this book into your hands. With luck (and enough support), we'll get the whole The Order of the Stick story back in print in time for the next new chapter to be published.
What If I Have No Idea How Kickstarter Works?
If you're not familiar with Kickstarter or how it will work, here's a brief overview (or you can read the official one, here). For the next 30 days, you'll be able to make pledges to help support this project, ranging from $1 to whatever you can afford without your spouse/parent/financial advisor slapping you. For your pledge, you can select one of the reward packages—listed to the right—of equal or lesser value to your pledge. You can always pledge more than the minimum to get a reward if you want (and for some packages, you'll need to do so if it must be shipped internationally). Your credit card or other account will not actually be charged at the time you make your pledge, and you can change your mind right up to the final deadline.
If the final deadline comes and we've reached our goal, then everyone gets charged the amount they pledged at once and we get to work printing and mailing books and magnets and whatnot. But if for some reason we don't meet our goal, then the whole thing is called off. No one gets charged, no fees are applied, everyone just keeps their money. So there's no risk of putting up money and then the reprint project never getting off the ground. Of course, if we fail to meet the goal, then no one gets any rewards, either, and some of those rewards are pretty cool, in my highly biased opinion.
What If I've Never Heard of The Order of the Stick?
Why, then you're missing out on the finest tale of comedy, action, and adventure ever to be serialized on the internet using brightly-colored stick figures. The Order of the Stick is a webcomic by Rich Burlew (me), started in 2003 and continuing ever since. It tells the tale of the eponymous band of heroes living in a fantasy roleplaying game world as they struggle to overcome their enemies, their environment, the rules of the game, and their own crippling incompetence (not necessarily in that order of importance). Much of the story is available for free on my website, Giant in the Playground, too.
The story starts here, though be warned that the art is pretty crappy at that early stage, and the roleplaying game references are numerous and dated. But it gets better after that, such that I would rate the current art as "less crappy" and the gaming references as "virtually unnoticeable." It's not for everyone, but if you enjoy a fantasy epic that doesn't take itself too seriously while still delivering a good story, you might like it.
For most of the rewards, packages will be fulfilled by our sister company, http://www.ookoodook.com/. Don't worry, you won't need to make an account there or anything. They're just the ones physically packing the boxes. For the rewards with autographed products or original drawings, I'll be personally mailing them myself from my living room. Most packages mailed to United States addresses will be sent via https://www.usps.com/send/service-chart.htm (2-3 day service), while packages leaving the country will get https://www.usps.com/send/service-chart.htm(listed as 6-10 days, but leave time for your country's customs process). Orders with just magnets will be sent in a First Class envelope.
There are a lot of reasons, starting with the size of the book, the fact that it is in full-color on every page, and the fact that we need to print a few thousand copies in order to put it back into distribution to local game and comic shops. We also choose to print here in the United States, rather than abroad in China like many larger companies do. Finally, the books are printed on high-quality FSC-certified recycled paper, which adds to the overall cost. The end result is a shiny professional product that you can be sure will last a long time.
Yes, you definitely get a Roy magnet. The omission is a typo, but I can't alter the text of any of the reward levels once a backer has selected it.
The crayon drawing will be 8x10 or larger and will feature one or two of the OOTS characters of your choice. You can choose a direction for the scene (i.e. "Belkar and Mr. Scruffy killing hobgoblins") but the exact joke and/or dialogue will be my choice. The scene may include props or scenery needed to make the joke, but will not feature full block color backgrounds unless necessary for the scene to make sense.
For Don't Split the Party, the books we put up for rewards were literally the only copies I had; unless the people in the warehouse find any more, that's it.
For War and XPs, signed copies can still be obtained in conjunction with the crayon drawings at the $250 level. I'm also looking at adding additional packages that will include more signed copies, so keep an eye on the updates. You can always change your selected reward package if new options become available later.
We may be adding the option to get certain in-stock OOTS books signed along with a signed War and XPs, but I have to confirm availability first. Keep an eye on the updates (and your email, if you've pledged already) and remember that you can switch your reward if new options become available.
At this time, we have no definite plans to offer this story (or any "bonus" stories earned by backers pledging at the $1250 level) in print. We may, at some future point, collect them into an anthology book alongside other material, but such a book would not see print until at least 2013.
Yes, the pledge drive will run until February 21 regardless of how much is pledged. In fact, we would very much like to go over our goal and far beyond it, so that we can put more than one book back in print. If you check the update tab (at the top), you'll see that we have goals far beyond the amount of the initial goal.
It's a quirk of the shipping rates. See, one book fits in a US Priority Mail flat rate envelope, while two or more books require a US Priority Mail flat rate box. The box has a higher rate than two of the envelopes, unfortunately. But there is good news: that box can hold up to ten books, with no further increase in postage! So if you're ordering two books overseas, see if you can find a friend to chip in for a third one. You'll all save money, and we'll save on packing supplies. Everyone wins!
No. The magnets will be mailed regular First Class, rather than Priority Mail, and the difference between the domestic and international rates is under a dollar. We're just eating that cost to keep things simple. One caveat, though: First Class is a lot slower than Priority Mail, so people who order a book and a magnet will get their package before people who order just a magnet—even though the magnet-only packages will probably be mailed first!
I don't know yet. They have until the end of the pledge drive to make their choice, and I don't want to rush them. When I do hear from them, though, I'll be happy to announce it via the project update page. The important point is that there will now be 24-36 pages of additional content added on to the end of the O-Chul PDF, regardless of which characters are featured!