The Order of the Stick is a webcomic that satirizes medieval fantasy and tabletop role-playing games. It is written and illustrated in the comic using a stick figure design.
The comic takes place in a loosely governed world by Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition rules. It follows six adventurers' adventures to save the world and stop an evil lich wizard. The comic's humor comes mainly from the characters' awareness and anachronistic understanding of modern culture. The author often uses this knowledge to mock fantasy fiction and role-playing games. The Order of the Stick is a comedy series serialized in short, one- to four-page episodes. There have been over 1200 episodes.
It is distributed chiefly online via the website Giant on the Playground. However, seven book collections have been published. These include several print-only stories ( The Origin of PCs and Start of Darkness) and Good deeds Go Unpunished. A second version of the strip was published in Dragon for 22 issues. These strips, along with others, can be found in Snips and Snails and Dragon Tales.
The Order of the Stick was launched on September 29, 2003, on Rich Burlew's website for gaming articles. Burlew initially intended the strip to feature no plot whatsoever--depicting an endless series of gags drawn from the D&D rules instead-but Burlew quickly changed his mind and began laying down hints of a storyline as early as strip #13. The original purpose of the strip was to entertain visitors to Burlew's website who were looking for articles. However, it quickly became a popular feature and led Burlew eventually to abandon writing articles.