Sunday, May 1, 2011

Erfworld and Strategy: The Perfect Warlord

I’m moving on to webcomics for a short while, everyone.  Got to keep you on your toes.  Don’t know if I’ll do several this week on them, or just do the one for now.  We’ll find out on Wednesday!

Erfworld has to be one of my three favourite comics, if not the outright favourite.  It is incredibly well drawn (Book 2 far more than Book 1), has a beautifully crafted story, sharp and witty dialogue, and above all, a world which constantly fascinates.  The rules by which Erfworld operates form a significant part of the plot, and Rob Balder manages to create gripping suspense and cliff-hangers out of revealing new game mechanics and abilities.

In short, Erfworld is the story of a dungeon master who becomes the target of a magical summoning spell searching for the Perfect Warlord.  He gets sucked into (in his eyes) a game world, where the world is turn-based, everyone has stats, and he’s in the employ of a besieged lord who needs his expertise to survive.  Things kind of take off from there.  Anyway, ignoring the rich cast of fascinating characters and the complex web of intrigue and the fantastic sense of humour that Rob has (especially for references... some are completely hilarious), one of the best things about Erfworld so far is the strategy.  Parson (the DM and protagonist) is summoned because he is the best strategist the spell could find.  And he shows it.  Book One of Erfworld I could happily recommend as a guide on How to Do Strategy the Right Way.  I learned quite a lot from that book, and have even tried to apply some of its lessons to my life, sad as that may sound.  “We try things.  Occasionally they even work,” is by far the line I quote the most frequently.

Quickly, the best page on strategy, for those who are interested.  I don’t think there’s really much in spoilers there:

Other webcomics have a great story (FreakAngels and Goblins) or are very funny (Dr. McNinja and Questionable Content) or are particularly intelligent (xkcd and HappleTea).  Erfworld has all of this, and gives a subtle course on how to play an RPG at the same time.  So often when facing up against a particularly difficult battle, especially in D&D, you need two things: strategic planning and a knack for finding exploits.  In a fight where you’re outnumbered?  Stand on the stairs so they can only come one at a time.  Need to wipe out a fortress?  Sneak in the back door or burn them out.  Facing off against an Ancient Dragon?  Teleport inside it and start hacking wildly!  Exploits and strategy.  Parson Gotti excels at both and it adds a great element to an already amazing webcomic.  I highly recommend it to everyone interested in role playing, strategy, or just want to read a really good story.  It will probably be brought up again in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I loved this webcomic too. Hooked me despite the strange cartoony feel at the beginning. And delivered!