The Order of the Stick #-1: Start of Darkness

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From the depths of time comes a story of wicked villains, terrible secrets, and monumental screw-ups! The Order of the Stick: Start of Darkness reveals for the first time the secret origins of Xykon, Redcloak, the Monster in the Darkness, heck, even the demon cockroaches. Containing 112 pages of all-new never-published-online comics in dramatic black-and-white, Start of Darkness is full of villainy goodness for any fan of the OOTS.

    Learn such secrets as:
  • How did Xykon and Redcloak meet?
  • How did Xykon became a lich?
  • Why did Eugene Greenhilt swear revenge on Xykon?
  • Whatever happened to Lirian's Gate, anyway?
  • How did Redcloak discover the Monster in the Darkness?
  • Why on earth does Redcloak put up with Xykon's crap???

The Order of the Stick: Start of Darkness is presented primarily in black-and-white, similar to our bestselling On the Origin of PCs, but features a special full-color insert detailing the Secret Lore of the Crimson Mantle, in the popular crayon format first seen in No Cure for the Paladin Blues. Featuring introductions by the author and Miko Miyazaki, paladin of the Sapphire Guard, this book is a flat-out must-have for fans of the OOTS plotline, as it fills in missing details in the story of who these evildoers are and why they do evil. Wallowing in unrepentant villainy has never been this much fun (legally)!

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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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Has a more specific release date been selected for this book yet?

- Chris Shadowens

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

We're hearing it will probably arrive at the end of May.


So, end of May this week? Or end of May the 31st?

Already missed the birthday it was intended for, but still would like to give them some idea of when to expect it.

Thanks.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

SCOTT COVER wrote:
So, end of May this week? Or end of May the 31st?

The best word we have is still just the "end of May."


The latest word is that it's expected June 13th. Apparently there was some kind of SNAFU at the printer.


So, now that June 13th has passed, is there any new-new word on the expected release date?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

SCOTT COVER wrote:
So, now that June 13th has passed, is there any new-new word on the expected release date?

Giant in the Playground hasn't mentioned a new date as far as we can tell, but our distributor didn't include them on their list of new products shipping this week. We'll see what we can dig up....

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

We just talked to Giant in the Playground's sales agent, and they have no further information yet.


Hello,

i've just saw in the giant's site that the book is finally out.

when are you going to ship it?

thanks,

Luz

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

OrenLuz wrote:

Hello,

i've just saw in the giant's site that the book is finally out.

when are you going to ship it?

thanks,

Luz

"Out" isn't really accurate, as neither distributors, retailers, nor customers have received copies yet. But it is apparently on the way at last. Rest assured, as soon as we get shipped our copies, we'll turn them around as quickly as possible.


Any further word on this book? Rich's site indicates that it's back from the printer and ready to go. A timeline would be nice, if we could get it.

Thanks
p.s. Sorry, I didn't see the post above from Sunday (didn't show till after I posted). Disregard the multiple spams -- you'll tell us when you tell us.

J


evilash wrote:
The latest word is that it's expected June 13th. Apparently there was some kind of SNAFU at the printer.

And now it's June 26th.. Still no ETA?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Overelemental wrote:
And now it's June 26th.. Still no ETA?

Not that we've been told. We'll poke GiantITPs sales partner daily until we have an answer.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Overelemental wrote:
And now it's June 26th.. Still no ETA?
Not that we've been told. We'll poke GiantITPs sales partner daily until we have an answer.

For what it's worth, APE games has started shipping preorders to it's customers. As of today, at least a few people have received their book. Hopefully Pazio's shipment of books is en route.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

GiantITPs distribution partner (not Ape Games, but the company that sells it to hobby distributors) had apparently never actually been told that the book had left the printer yet. They're looking into it.


Vic Wertz wrote:
We're hearing it will probably arrive at the end of May.

Well it's July 1st and still no sign of the "Start of Darkness". Any word on a definite publish or shipment date?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

GiantITPs distribution partner is hoping to get them this week, but they didn't yet have a tracking number as of Friday.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Is this the same distributer who does Fanpro's products? They appear to keep the same schedule.


I don't want to be an alarmist, but this sounds an awfull lot like the first book released. And when it finally arrived, it was about 11 months late.

Contributor

No, what happened is that the book is back, but Ape Games got it first, before it even went to the fulfillment house that sends the books out to the rest of the hobby/game trade. That's just rude, and the fulfillment house is none too pleased that they're getting bombarded with calls daily about why some end-users have gotten theirs already when distributors or stores(like paizo.com) haven't even been told they're shipping from the printer yet.

What's worse is, this is a holiday week in the U.S., so shipping will be disrupted this week, if it even arrives at the fulfillment house. So expect to wait another week or two before I even see them in our warehouse.

Hang in there folks, they will eventually arrive, I swear to you they will :)


I see it's still on pre-order...is that right? How am I supposed to find out the origin of Xykon?!, how he came to have Red Cloak as a henchman??!!, and what's up with the Monster in the Darkness????!!!

Oh right, there's the web comic...still, I mean, it's just so much nicer to read an actual book...right?

- Chris Shadowens


I understand that there were problems with printing, but this is rather ridiculous. Especially considering that all APE orders were fulfilled before anyone else. I specifically ordered from Paizo because I thought that meant I'd get the book as it was published?

I realize it isn't all your fault.

It is just rather disappointing that I ordered this quite a while ago and still haven't seen it.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Zarbi2k wrote:

I understand that there were problems with printing, but this is rather ridiculous. Especially considering that all APE orders were fulfilled before anyone else. I specifically ordered from Paizo because I thought that meant I'd get the book as it was published?

I realize it isn't all your fault.

It is just rather disappointing that I ordered this quite a while ago and still haven't seen it.

It's disappointing to us, too. That said, there are still at least three reasons why ordering from Paizo was a good choice. One is that our price is a 10% discount from list price (and our shipping prices are lower than most other places, especially internationally). Two is that Ape Games apparently charged people's credit cards upon ordering (so they'd have been sitting on your money all this time), while we don't charge your card until your order ships. Third, we still expect to get you the book about the same time that it appears in stores, or even slightly before. We wish it would have been about the same time that Ape Games got their books out, but that didn't happen this time.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

4) I've never heard of the APE games people, but I know I like the Paizo people.


I must admit I am disgusted. I live on the East coast, and because of APE Games, I am going to get this product possibly weeks after people in the Eastern Bloc! I mean, on the OOTS message boards, people as far away as Poland have reported receiving their copies. I mean, what the dilly-o! Lord in heaven, it wouldn't be so bad if the product had been delayed, but for it to come to some people who preordered weeks before others who also preordered it is absolutley frustrating. Paizo, you have always been good to me. Thank you for taking the time to actually explain what the hell has been going on. Hopefully, the book will ship to you soon, and sooon after to me. I would have choicer, ruder comments to make about this whole affair, but my civilty won out this time. Have a good night.

Liberty's Edge

Who the heck are APE Games and why are they messing with my boys down at Paizo?

Eh, I know you guys are doing everything you can do, it's not your fault, and I know I'll get it when I get it, so no worries here. Now, can we talk about a Mt. Zogon collection?!?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Randal Yard wrote:
Who the heck are APE Games and why are they messing with my boys down at Paizo?

Basically, when GiantITP publishes a book these days, they sell it directly to two companies: Ape Games, who are GiantITP's online sales partner; and Impressions Marketing, who are responsible for selling it to all other distributors and retailers, including Paizo.

Impressions Marketing expected to get their copies at the same time as Ape Games, but somehow Ape Games got theirs first. In fact, Ape Games got them so early that they actually started sending out their copies a day or two before Impressions Marketing even found out that the book had finished at the printer. Last I've heard, Impressions Marketing still hasn't got their copies, and nobody I know has been able to explain why. While I don't have numbers (and likely never will), I'm confident that Impressions Marketing's portion of the print run is far larger than Ape Games' share, so whatever happened, it has upset a lot more people than it has made happy.

Now, before you go blaming Ape Games, I don't know whether this happened because GiantITP wanted it to, or Ape Games wanted it to, or because of a problem with the shipper or at the printer. But most assuredly, it isn't an action taken by anyone against Paizo—it affects far, far more people than that. We're in the same boat with every other retailer—none of us are able to service our customers as promptly as we expected.

The Exchange

I'm sure we'll have it soon, and Paizo is the place to be. ;-)


Hi Vic, thanks for responding.

Have no fear, I will continue to order items through Paizo. And very likely that includes OOTS items. I'm just not terribly happy how this has gone down.

I do not hold Paizo personally responsible. I'd have retracted my order if I had.

Just disappointed since I pre-ordered this about two months ago.

Things happen.

I have been quite happy with my green "My Little Cthulhu" toy tho. :-)

Maybe I should send it to visit Rich Burlew. ;-)

P.S. Will there be a collection of the OOTS strips that appeared in Dragon magazine?


Vic Wertz wrote:
Now, before you go blaming Ape Games, I don't know whether this happened because GiantITP wanted it to, or Ape Games wanted it to, or because of a problem with the shipper or at the printer. But most assuredly, it isn't an action taken by anyone against Paizo—it affects far, far more people than that.

So...I should call off that drive-by egging of APE Games' office? ;)

- Chris Shadowens


I preordered this book from Paizo quite some time ago.

I'm upset that I haven't gotten it yet. The problem is, I don't know at whom to be upset.


TinSoldier wrote:

I'm upset that I haven't gotten it yet. The problem is, I don't know at whom to be upset.

I think the best people to be upset at is

1) Rich Burlew, for the way this was initially distributed. He claims it will arrive faster through Ape Games because there are less delays in the process, which is true, but when he manage to give them the book a long time before his distribution partner even heard it was ready, that only serves to further increase the delay, that makes me annoyed.

2) The printer, which did mess up and cause an initial delay of over 30 days.

One thing is for sure, I'm never going to purchase anything from APE games ever. It seems obvious that their relationship with Rich is a bit to close for my preferences. I prefer doing things the proper way, and in my opinion, letting APE games get the books weeks before his distribution partner, is not acceptable. I expected it would take a bit longer through Paizo when I ordered, given there is at least one or two extra steps in the distribution chain, but I think this behaviour is unexcusable. Considering the fact that his distribution partner hadn't even been told the book was ready, when APE games had already begun to distribute it, certainly smells like deliberate sabotage or favourism.


So do we, in fact, have a clue when the bloody thing will arrive? I'd really like the darned dice cup and dice I ordered at the same time, even if I never get the never to be sufficiently cursed book...

Paizo Employee CEO

Zarbi2k wrote:
P.S. Will there be a collection of the OOTS strips that appeared in Dragon magazine?

That's up to Rich. The cartoons, along with the occasional non-D&D fiction piece, are the only things in Dragon not owned by Wizards of the Coast—the creators retain those rights. However, the rights do include a period of exclusivity for Dragon, the length of which I don't happen to recall off the top of my head. But once that expires, Rich can do whatever he wants with those strips.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:


That's up to Rich. The cartoons, along with the occasional non-D&D fiction piece, are the only things in Dragon not owned by Wizards of the Coast—the creators retain those rights. However, the rights do include a period of exclusivity for Dragon, the length of which I don't happen to recall off the top of my head. But once that expires, Rich can do whatever he wants with those strips.

From what Rich said on his website, he intends to compile the strips in some format in the future. Exactly what format is anyone's guess, but I imagine it will be either a traditional paper comic (which, with the cost of printing being what it is, I don't think is too likely) or a bonus feature in one of the future compilations.

And thanks Paizo for keeping us in the loop on this situation. It sucks that everything worked out the way it did, but that's life. Who knows, maybe APE Games subsidized the cost of publishing on this book or something?


Hi,

I just thought I should share my experience with APE Games. My experience with them might be the worst customer service I have ever experienced. I am a Jonny come lately to the fantastic comic that is OOTS. The second week of March, I ordered all of the books and pre-ordered Start of Darkness. I was told everything was in stock (minus SOD). At the time, I was not aware that all items ordered with the pre-order would not ship until Start of Darkness shipped. After a week of not hearing from them, I contacted them and we exchanged e-mails discussing how I missed the delay in shipping notice due to the pre-order. I eventually had to cancel my order, get a refund, and then place an order for everything but the pre-order. I was told that it would ship out the next day by the sales guy. Fast forward a week... Still no word... I contact them again about my purchase. This time, after an e-mail chain, I find out my order had been sitting on someone’s desk in shipping, waiting to be processed. Again, I was told it would ship out the next day. Well, four days later... I was about to contact them again as I had not gotten a shipping conformation e-mail, but the package arrived that day.

I am glad I did not wait for the pre-order, as I would still be waiting for shipment of something I ordered, and was charged for, over two months ago. The funny thing is, I just got my shipping conformation e-mail for that purchase a couple of days ago...

I will never do business with them again. I will wait until Paizo gets Start of Darkness in, and then buy from them.

(Sorry about the rant, but I felt the need to commiserate with fellow customers)


has it been shipped out yet?!


so what is going on with the shipment of this book?

Contributor

NEWS! WE HAVE NEWS!!!

Okay kids, here's the deal: the book has arrived at the fulfillment house. This morning I placed an order for one metric buttload of the little buggers, and I was assured they would leave their warehouse today. This means that - gods willing and the river don't rise - we'll have YOUR COPIES in OUR WAREHOUSE by the end of this week, or Monday at the latest. As soon as they arrive, you bet your bippy we'll be frantically packing and shipping them out at all possible speed for prompt delivery to your grabby mitts.

My fellow Paizonians, our long national nightmare...is over.

Let us pray.


And there was much rejoicing...


Thankyou Phil,
At least i know its coming now, even if it takes another 2 weeks i am at least in the loop on what is going on now.

Phil Lacefield Jr. wrote:

NEWS! WE HAVE NEWS!!!

Okay kids, here's the deal: the book has arrived at the fulfillment house. This morning I placed an order for one metric buttload of the little buggers, and I was assured they would leave their warehouse today. This means that - gods willing and the river don't rise - we'll have YOUR COPIES in OUR WAREHOUSE by the end of this week, or Monday at the latest. As soon as they arrive, you bet your bippy we'll be frantically packing and shipping them out at all possible speed for prompt delivery to your grabby mitts.

My fellow Paizonians, our long national nightmare...is over.

Let us pray.

Contributor

Got a call from the shipper this afternoon, they will try their darndest to get them here by Monday 5PM, but most likely it'll be Tuesday. SO with any luck, we'll start shipping them out on Wednesday.

...almost there....stay on target...


Phil Lacefield Jr. wrote:

Got a call from the shipper this afternoon, they will try their darndest to get them here by Monday 5PM, but most likely it'll be Tuesday. SO with any luck, we'll start shipping them out on Wednesday.

...almost there....stay on target...

Thank you for the update. I know it has been just as frustrating for you guys as it has been for us, but you guys have been very candid. That's why I like dealing with Paizo, and will continue to do so for a while. And with the demise of Dungeon and Dragon, I'll need to spend my money on other items... :)


Dear expectant customers,

The new book is here. Mr. Strand (The Warehouse guy) has unloaded and checked them into inventory. I (The New Warehouse guy) have been processing your orders. Mr. Strand and I will be get them shipped out rapidly. Thanks for your patience.


Thank you Warehouse Monkey!


Chris Sanders wrote:

Dear expectant customers,

The new book is here. Mr. Strand (The Warehouse guy) has unloaded and checked them into inventory. I (The New Warehouse guy) have been processing your orders. Mr. Strand and I will be get them shipped out rapidly. Thanks for your patience.

Many Banana's for the warehouse monkey!


Yay! I got my shipping message in email today!

I want to continue ordering from Paizo -- my ire is still reserved for GitP games for not being clear on the exclusivity of the title and that people who didn't order directly from APE would have to wait an extra three fricken' weeks for their book.

Thank you, Paizo. I've never been disappointed in your service.


Yay Too... I got a blessed Email that says it's on it's way
!!!!

hip hip horay :-)


Okay, I received my book today. It was worth the wait.

I still wish that I could have gotten it before people started buying it from their FLGS, but... what can you do.

I don't buy much, but I will continue to buy from Paizo as the mood strikes me. I certainly don't blame Paizo for the delay in receiving my book.

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