|Current status / schedule||Indefinite Hiatus (No ending)|
|Launch date||August 27, 2000 |
|End date||August 16, 2005|
RPG World was a webcomic by Ian Jones-Quartey (a.k.a. Ian J.) that took place in the environment of a role-playing video game. While much of the humor and story-telling focused on parody of role-playing video game clichés and tropes (mostly from the Final Fantasy series, and particularly VII) the story was also meant to stand on its own. The comic was drawn in an idiosyncratic manga-influenced style.
The author declared the comic on indefinite hiatus on August 16, 2005; though he briefly updated the site with previously published material in 2007, he has since abandoned it with an official announcement on September 15, 2008 and moved on to commercial animation projects.
Nature of the strip
Most of the story, characters and jokes were based on clichés in the console RPG and genre. For example, the main character, simply named "Hero", has large, blonde, spiky hair and amnesia, and wields an oversized sword — traits that are shared with the main protagonist of Final Fantasy VII, Cloud Strife. The other characters fit into similar molds. The villains, too, fit a number of archetypes, such as the huge and faceless corporation, the insane and effeminate individual, and the enigmatic man. Other clichés include the tendency of every major character (and often minor ones as well) to have some sort of buried history with one another.
RPG World chapters are called disks, as if it were a multiple-disk game. After every disk is over, Jones-Quartey takes a break by making Jim. The Guy Who Plays RPG World comics set in the real world and created using a combination of photoshop and simple photography. They poke fun at the stereotypes about gamers, i.e. Jim is a slob with a bias for Sony products, who has only one friend, who makes fun of him.
While much of the plot revolves around the group wandering around completing various side-quests, slaying all sorts of monsters, and just generally doing what rag-tag groups of adventurers with unclear goals and good hearts do, there does seem to be some sort of main story behind it all. From what we know at this point, it appears every 1000 years three souls rise that have the power to change the balance between the races: humans, monsters and elves. Last time this happened, the humans won, and so for the last 1000 years humans have had the most influence in the world, while elves and monsters have been in the minority. However, the 1000 years of the reign of the humans are about to end at the Dark Moon, and so once again all sides are striving for domination. Victory in this struggle seems to depend on who possesses the most of 4 mystical keys, and on the three aforementioned souls, which, this time around, happen to be Hero (Human, the main part of the trio), Cherry (Elf), and Diane (Monster), who together form the "Mark of Destiny". Of the 4 keys, the only 2 that are known at this point are the Phoenix Book, which is in the possession of Galgarion, and the Tiger Book, which is currently in the possession of Jeff. The Tiger Book seems to be mostly about military tactics, evil and other plain things of that sort, while the Phoenix Book is more about how to take over the world. It was this book that was apparently the cause for Galgarion's desertion of SEVIL's Special Unit. Both Hero and Galgarion were originally part of this army, both had all their memories wiped clean so that they could destroy their enemies "with extreme prejudice", and both left after the mission in which they were sent to retrieve the Phoenix Book. The book was successfully retrieved, but Galgarion became fascinated by its contents and fled with it, and Hero soon left SEVIL as well. Based on knowledge he found in the Phoenix Book, Galgarion built the Anima Del Breaker, a machine he apparently hopes to use to steal the souls of the three members of the Mark of Destiny. Supposedly, not only can the balance between the races be shifted by such means, but so can the balance between light and darkness. SouthCorp and Galgarion have been working together to use this in order to turn the world into a hellish place, though Galgarion plans to ultimately betray SouthCorp and keep all the power to himself. In the meanwhile, the unlikely heroes are making their way to Galgarion, hoping to avenge their fallen friends and thwart the bad guys' plans.
The strip has no ending, the author having abandoned it and moved on to other personal and commercial projects.
||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (October 2009)|
- The spiky-haired party leader. His weapons include various types of swords. An "unlikely hero out for adventure", the naive and innocent Hero has no memory of his past other than a brief service in the SEVIL army. He has no idea what his real name is, so he simply gives his name as "Hero". While an expert at combat and solving side quests, Hero has a hard time understanding more abstract concepts like love, much to the chagrin of his companions Cherry and Diane. Hero is able to tap into a mysterious power due to "modifications" that were done to him while he was a member of SEVIL. Later it is revealed that the power he uses is linked to the Tastachore (alternate spelling: Tastachore), the life energy of the world, which, in his case, allows him to draw power from the bonds with his friends. Hero is alluded to being an important factor in the upcoming war between the races, along with Cherry and Diane.
- Cherry Blossomfeather
- The sarcastic thief/summoner/archer. She is later revealed to be an elf, and even later revealed to have been born as the newest "Sacras One", an elf with precognitive abilities, as signified by a mark on her lower back. The constant, unwanted attention that was granted to her because of her position as the Sacras One caused her to run away from her village. Cherry was the first party member to meet Hero, when he interrupted her attempt to rob an innocent traveler. Though she initially agreed to accompany Hero on his quest for the money, Cherry quickly found herself falling for Hero, in part to his free and innocent nature. Because Diane also has feelings for Hero, Cherry considers her a rival of sorts. Her powers as the Sacras One often lead her to point out the confusing nature of RPG structured gaming (she understands that the RPG reality defies common sense and physics), though the other characters usually ignore her tendency to do so. Cherry is set to lead elves in the battle between the races.
- Born to a human father and monster mother, but during the pregnancy, was made to take on a more human appearance by way of magic potion. Diane's mother, Taesa died after giving birth to her brother, Reginold (Rabble-Rouser). Diane's father re-married years later and set up an arranged marriage (it is hinted heavily that she was supposed to be married to Hero), but Diane didn't want to go along with it and ran away to "Town #1". She was adopted by a prostitute named Misty, and was about to follow in her adopted mother's footsteps when she stumbled upon the Hero. Diane was recruited by Hero during her first day on the job, mistaking him for a "customer" and has since become an important party member. Unlike Cherry, Diane has no qualms about acting on her romantic feelings for Hero, leading to friction between the two. Later, she and Eikre develop a love-hate relationship. Diane will represent monsters in the war between races.
- A penchant for horrible puns and ‘the ladies’ are Eikre’s trademarks. Originally, Eikre was interested in Cherry, but later, Diane became his main love interest. Though initially it seemed that he was the evil Galgarion in disguise, it turned out that he was just a man and all of the evidence to the contrary was just a number of unbelievable coincidences. Eikre hails from the town of Ubelton, where the economy is based on performing evil deeds and the training to perform evil deeds (Übel is a German word meaning "evil"). Eikre would have been content to be evil had his former friend Jeff not learned the power of true evil from the "Tiger book" and went on a killing spree, murdering several innocent townspeople, including Eikre's mother. Since then, he has vowed to rid the world of evil.
- A young, dragonlike creature that hatched from an egg that the party found after beating the "Stupid looking dragon". Dragobo writes on signs to communicate. According to Wilfrod the Dragobo Farmer, he is a rare "Fighting Dragobo"; however, other than Eikre, the rest of the party has shown little interest in developing his natural abilities.
- A wrench-wielding, science-advocating pirate who builds powerful robots, including cynical PDRHED-01 (Podder-head) and Hyperactive Piddo. Highly intelligent and sporting a British accent, Reka is the captain of a pirate ship crewed by intelligent robots. Jones-Quartey has stated that Reka's design and character was indeed based on the character Lucca from the SNES game Chrono Trigger. Reka joined the party because Galgarion had supposedly killed her father when she was younger. Reka was murdered by Galgarion in comic #400. Her last words were "You...murderer." Podder-head, Piddo, and Ronald have been attempting to use Ronald's time machine to save her.
- Howard Wigglebottom
- Howard is a "Mubble" (a parody of Square's moogle), a race of fuzzy creatures that live in forests. Howard first encountered the party when he robbed them of three-thousand Gold and their Dragobo in order to help liberate his people, who had been taken captive by the nefarious Detestai, after saving his friends, Howard and Dragobo parted ways. Later, Howard was pushed out of an airship by elf Plum and Evil Soldier #347 and ended up back with Dragobo and joined the party. Underneath his innocent exterior, lies a rough, chain-smoking jerk.
- Rabble-Rouser (Reginold)
- Rabble-Rouser, a mischievous monster pickpocket and breakdancer, lives in South city. Rabble-Rouser claims to be the hippest of the denizens of South City. Rabble-Rouser was forced to join Hero's party when his shirt got caught on the tooth of a dragon the party was riding and were attacked by Galgarion's minions. He found out that he was the brother of Diane, another party member and they were reunited.
- The main antagonist and villain in RPG World. Although he comically bumbles often, he has proven to be far more evil and destructive than his facade lets on. Galgarion is a former member of the SEVIL army from the same unit as the Hero and went AWOL after stealing the spoils from a mission, the "Phoenix Book". After reading from the Phoenix book, Galgarion went to South city, the city of monsters and returned wearing a mask that seemed to make him much more evil. Galgarion has killed Evil Soldier #347's family, allegedly killed main party member Reka's father and Reka herself.
- Jeff is the secondary villain. Once a friend and classmate of Rogue party member Eikre at the school of evil in Ubelton, Jeff lost himself in the ways of evil after reading the mystical Tiger Book. Jeff later went on a murderous rampage, killing several of the citizens of Ubelton, including Eikre's mother. He later joined up with the shady South city corporation, Southcorp. and was positioned with the comic's main antagonist, Galgarion, to be apprenticed under.
- Detestai, Earl and Larry
- Detestai is Galgarion's ex-girlfriend who has the ability to become an anthropomorphic cat creature and Earl and Larry are her lackeys, who are also "morphing cat creatures". Detestai has a split personality that changes in correlation to her glasses (a gift from Galgarion). When she has her glasses on she is bitter and mean, but when she takes them off, she becomes sweet and bubbly (akin to Gundam Wing's Lady Une's split personality). As they are cat creatures, Earl and Larry have nine lives and Jones-Quartey uses this for comedic effect, so they are killed fairly often. As of the last comic, Earl and Larry have two lives remaining.
- Plum Windrock
- Plum is an elf from Langoria, the town of elves and also where female protagonist Cherry is from. Plum's intention was originally to find Cherry and bring her back to Langoria, under orders of the king. Plum teamed up with Evil Soldier #347 and they set out to find the main party. After failing to return Cherry to Langoria and being demoted to prison guard, Plum continued wandering the world with Soldier #347, looking for a way to defeat Galgarion and regain the respect of her people.
- Evil Soldier #347
- Evil Soldier #347 used to work for villain Galgarion, until he was fired. Galgarion then destroyed Soldier #347's hometown, took the souls of his children and killed his wife, Calla. He now wanders the land with Plum the elf, in search of a way to defeat his former boss. #347 is also cursed with terrible eyesight and often mistakes a tall potted plant for Plum.
- Times are Tough Guy
- Notable for repeatedly and only saying "*sigh* Times are Tough.". He lampoons the stereotype of a typical RPG townsperson who will repeat the same line of dialogue no matter how often he or she is spoken to. The guy is often shown during the comic when several panels depict the different situations of the multiple parties.
- "The guy who plays RPG World". He is depicted after the end of every disk through a series of live action still photographs. He has only one friend (named, "Jim's friend".) and lives in his mother's basement.
- Web Cartoonists' Choice Award for Best Site Design (2001, 2002)
- Web Cartoonists' Choice Award for Best Gaming Comic (2001)
The Bagofchips Group
Jones-Quartey was also a founding member of the now defunct "bagofchips" group, a collective of web cartoonists set up in opposition to sites like Keenspot and Blank Label Comics, and RPG World was a key feature in this network. Other members included Aaron Farber, Meredith Gran, Josh Mirman, and David McGuire, all of whom soon abandoned their own related projects.
- Jones-Quartey, Ian. (2004) RPG World — The Comic That's in a Video Game, Volume 1: Unlikely Hero Out for Adventure. Publisher: Keenspot Entertainment. ISBN 0-9722350-4-3
In other media
- Hero appears in the Steven Universe episodes "Steven the Sword Fighter" and "Future Vision" as one of Steven's toys.
- "RPG World Blog". Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "The 2001 Cartoonists' Choice Awards". Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
- "The 2002 Cartoonists' Choice Awards". Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards. Retrieved 2008-05-29.