Wednesday, October 24, 2007


A little question for the RPGers among you - ever feel sorry for the NPCs? I mean, seriously - ever felt a twinge of guilt as you walk through the blood of that kobold family you just slaughtered around their own hearth? Ever wonder if there was a family at home waiting for that wandering villager you just speared and relieved of his belongings? Ever wish you could give them a little of the power you hold? Watch them kick some ruthless newbs ass and steal his shit? Revel in your humanity, what shreds are left in your gamer soul, and head on over to Goblins.

Goblins is an epic tale of a small group of... well... Goblins that have declared themselves player characters. The premise may seem simplistic, but creator Tarol Hunt has written a deep and affecting plot that pulls the reader though the full range of emotions. A careful construction of character first plays on the reader's sense of empathy and justice while tying them to the individuals they'll follow throughout the story. There are certainly some touching moments along the way, but I've never found the comic cloying. The humor is genuine, the plot engaging, and the action easy to follow - in fact, I don't believe there's any writing aspect in which the comic falters.

Originally drawn in simple black-and-white outlines, the comic quickly progressed to full color. Characters are easily differentiated, and body postures and structures are consistent. The backgrounds are varied and quite complete, giving a full sense of scene without being over bearing. It's difficult to say if the colors are realistic, considering the completely fictional nature of most characters, but they are pleasant and easily accepted - not a single Muppet poser in play. Facial expressions display emotion and personality with ease even when accompanied by scars and other obstructions. Clothing has been styled with a variety of textures and matched nicely to each character.

The website has displayed an under construction banner for some time now, but it's still mostly functional. (Only the Languages and Creators links seem dead.) While there is a FAQ section I still feel the site could use some kind of about page as I couldn't readily find mention of an update schedule. There are a number of backgrounds available for fans, and a couple of items available for sale as well as links and additional artwork. An extra feature, Tempts Fate, is probably the most ingenious donation drive I've ever seen. Goblin adventurer Tempts Fate is faced with a new series of challenges each month. Written in D&D crawl style, each obstacle is linked to a donation amount - if the amount is reached, Tempts Fate clears the obstacle and comes closer to the dungeon reward. Should the donation goal fail to be met, Tempts Fate will die. A tribute to both creator and gimmick - he's still alive and going strong.

Though D&Ders may have a larger spot in their hearts for the comic, the overall plot isn't dependant on specific RPG knowledge and I highly recommend the read. Head on over and cheer for the underdog.