Sunday, 8 September 2013

Roleplayer! the Comic Strip


Some 10 years go, a chum from the world of Rolling Dice And Running Around With Rubber Swords phoned me up and asked if I wanted to do a little comic strip for a magazine he was working on for a newish roleplaying company.

Now since 'Do your own comic book' had been on my To Do list since the age of six, I readily agreed, and began sketching out - literally - my ideas for a series of 3-panel strips, not a million miles away from Yamara and Knights of the Dinner Table. Only more bitter in tone and drawn by a palsied homunculus.

The result was Roleplayer!, the prototype of which follows below. Since I am a) not a very good cartoonist, b) rubbish with Photoshop and c) lazy, it involved an awful lot of photocopying a handful of basic images, cutting them out by hand and overwriting (poorly) with Tipp-Ex and felt tip. Still, I thought it was funny.

Roleplayer! Playtesting a new system
"Great," said the friend from the magazine, "only we're now thinking we'd like a full-page comic. Can you manage that?"

Um, OK, says I. Since I like rilly wanted to do my own comic strip. So back to the drawing board I went (dining table, actually), and came back with this next effort. You may recognise the theme from the Player Archetypes article I had written around the same time (Module G4 - Mock-Tudor Coaching Inn of the Stone Giant Voivode).

Roleplayer! Petz
"Great," says the friend again, "only now we've got this fantastic new idea for a story about three games developers and a talking rodent, sitting around a table talking about their new company. Do you think you could draw that for us?" A script was duly sent to me. It read like a self-indulgent portrait of the actual games company guys. And worse, it wasn't very funny.

So now I had gone from the writer and artist of my own little 3-panel strip to the artist of someone else's not-very-funny script. And after a week of trying and failing to draw a funny talking rodent, I contacted my friend and begged off the entire deal. There endethed my glorious career in RPG satire comics, thus leaving the field wide open for Rich Burlew's The Order of The Stick...

But I like to think that in alternative dimension, things went a little differently, and I am even now closing the deal on the fifth collection of Roleplayer! graphic novels, and reaping the royalties from the associated gaming spin-offs and Lego figures.

(I still think Spumebeak is a great name for seagull familiar).

3 comments:

Jack said...

I have to say I found roleplayer to be quite fun. I felt for the exasperated dungeon master. Those bloody kids not getting into the spirit of the game. D2 seems perfectly workable.

The Chocolate Ocelot said...

You are most kind. I quite agree about D2.

mark nicole said...

Eagerly awaiting next issue ;)