The Order of the Stick Start of Darkness: How to Get the PDF File for Free or Cheap
Order of the Stick Start of Darkness pdf
If you are a fan of fantasy webcomics, you have probably heard of The Order of the Stick, a hilarious and epic comic series by Rich Burlew that parodies and celebrates tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. But did you know that there is also a prequel book that reveals the origins and secrets of some of the main villains in the comic? It's called Start of Darkness, and it's a must-read for any Order of the Stick enthusiast. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about this book, and how you can get it in pdf format.
Order Of The Stick Start Of Darkness Pdf
The plot of Start of Darkness
Start of Darkness is a 112-page book that was published in 2007 by Giants in the Playground, Burlew's own publishing company. It tells the story of how Xykon, a powerful lich sorcerer, and Redcloak, a fanatical goblin cleric, became allies and enemies in their quest for world domination. It also features other characters from the main comic, such as Dorukan, Lirian, Eugene Greenhilt, and the mysterious Creature in the Darkness.
The book is chronologically set before any of the other books or comics, with events starting over a century before The Order of the Stick #1. However, it is recommended that you read it after No Cure for the Paladin Blues, because some of the information in it will spoil parts of that book, especially regarding Xykon's phylactery.
The book is divided into four chapters, each focusing on a different stage in Xykon's and Redcloak's lives. The first chapter shows how Xykon was born as a human sorcerer with a rare gift for magic, but also a complete lack of morals or empathy. He soon became obsessed with becoming immortal and powerful, even if it meant killing his own family and friends. He eventually discovered a way to transform himself into a lich, an undead creature that can only be killed by destroying its phylactery, a hidden object that contains its soul.
The second chapter introduces Redcloak, a young goblin who lived in a tribe that worshipped the Dark One, a god of goblinoids who promised them a better future. Redcloak was chosen by the Dark One to be his high priest, and was given a crimson cloak that granted him divine powers. He also learned of the Snarl, a cosmic monster that was created by a mistake in the gods' creation of the world, and that could destroy everything in its path. The Dark One revealed to Redcloak that he had a plan to use the Snarl to free the goblinoids from oppression and create a new world for them.
The third chapter shows how Xykon and Redcloak met and formed an alliance. Xykon was looking for a way to control the Snarl, and Redcloak offered him his help in exchange for his support in the Dark One's plan. They also recruited other minions, such as the hobgoblin warlord Jirix, the ogre Thog, and the demon Zz'dtri. Together, they attacked and killed Dorukan and Lirian, two powerful wizards who had created magical gates to seal the Snarl. They also encountered the Order of the Stick, a group of adventurers who opposed their schemes.
The fourth chapter reveals the secrets and betrayals that shaped Xykon's and Redcloak's relationship. Xykon learned that Redcloak had hidden his phylactery inside one of the gates, making it impossible for him to destroy them without killing himself. He also discovered that Redcloak had a brother, Right-Eye, who disagreed with his fanaticism and wanted to live in peace with other races. Xykon decided to manipulate and torture Redcloak, forcing him to choose between his loyalty to the Dark One and his love for his brother.
The themes of Start of Darkness
Start of Darkness is not just a fun and exciting prequel, but also a deep and dark exploration of the themes and messages of The Order of the Stick. It shows how evil is not always born, but sometimes made, by circumstances, choices, or influences. It also shows how evil can be different, depending on the perspective, motivation, or goal of the person or group involved.
One of the main themes of the book is morality, and how it can be relative or absolute, depending on one's worldview. Xykon represents an absolute evil, as he has no regard for anyone or anything but himself. He does not care about the consequences of his actions, as long as he gets what he wants. He enjoys causing pain and suffering to others, and sees them as nothing but tools or obstacles. He has no redeeming qualities or sympathetic traits, making him a pure villain.
Redcloak represents a relative evil, as he has a noble cause, but uses immoral means to achieve it. He cares about his people and their plight, and believes that he is doing the right thing by following the Dark One's plan. He does not enjoy killing or hurting others, but sees it as a necessary sacrifice for a greater good. He has some redeeming qualities and sympathetic traits, making him a complex villain.
The book also explores how morality can change over time, depending on one's experiences, influences, or decisions. Xykon started as a human who had some potential for good, but chose to embrace evil because of his greed and ambition. He gradually lost his humanity and became more monstrous and ruthless as he pursued his goals. Redcloak started as a goblin who had some potential for evil, but chose to follow good because of his faith and compassion. He gradually lost his innocence and became more fanatical and conflicted as he followed his god.
Another theme of the book is humor, and how it can be used to cope with or contrast with tragedy. The book is full of jokes, puns, references, and parodies that make fun of fantasy tropes, gaming conventions, or pop culture. The book also uses humor to lighten up or mock some of the dark and serious situations that the characters face. For example, Xykon's transformation into a lich is accompanied by a musical number that spoofs The Wizard of Oz. The book also uses humor to highlight or subvert some of the expectations or clichés that the readers might have about the characters or the story. For example, Xykon's origin story is revealed to be very mundane and boring compared to other villains.
The art and style of Start of Darkness
Start of Darkness uses the same art and style as The Order of the Stick, which is based on stick-figure drawings and comic strips. The book is mostly black and white, with some color pages at the beginning and the end. The book also uses various fonts and symbols to represent different languages, such as Common, Goblin, Draconic, or Infernal.
The book uses this simple and minimalist art and style to convey its complex and rich story. The stick-figure art allows the readers to focus on the expressions, actions, and dialogues of the characters, rather than their appearances or details. The comic strip format allows the book to use visual humor, timing, and pacing to enhance the narrative and the mood. The book also uses this style to contrast with the seriousness and darkness of some of the scenes and themes, creating a balance between comedy and tragedy.
The art and style of Start of Darkness have both strengths and weaknesses. On one hand, they make the book accessible, engaging, and entertaining for a wide range of readers, regardless of their age, background, or familiarity with fantasy or gaming. They also allow the book to parody and subvert some of the tropes and clichés of the genre, such as evil overlords, dungeon crawls, or prophecy fulfillment. On the other hand, they also limit the book's ability to depict some of the aspects or nuances of the story, such as violence, gore, or realism. They also make the book dependent on the readers' imagination and interpretation, which can vary depending on their preferences or expectations.
The reception and impact of Start of Darkness
Start of Darkness was well received by both fans and critics of The Order of the Stick. The book sold out its first print run within a week of its release, and was nominated for an ENnie Award for Best Regalia in 2008. The book was praised for its clever and compelling story, its humorous and insightful commentary on fantasy and gaming, its memorable and complex characters, and its surprising and satisfying twists and revelations.
Start of Darkness also had a significant impact on the main comic and the genre of fantasy webcomics. The book added depth and context to some of the main villains in The Order of the Stick, making them more interesting and relatable for the readers. The book also set up some of the plot points and mysteries that would be explored or resolved in later books or comics, such as Xykon's phylactery location, Redcloak's true name, or Right-Eye's fate. The book also inspired other fantasy webcomic creators to explore their own villains' backgrounds or motivations, such as Erfworld's Book 0: The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Girl Genius' Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank, or Goblins' Tales from Tempts Folly.