A webcomic set in the world of a console RPG, created by Mark Shallow. Though the Adventurers! 'game' itself seems to take place roughly around the Final Fantasy VI-Chrono Trigger era in terms of gameplay and plot structure, the strip references modern RPG's as well.
Originally, the comic was purely episodic in nature, full of one-shot joke strips. Since then, it's also gradually introduced short strings of continuous plot that are growing increasingly complex. (Especially right now, where there's more focus on the villains. The villains are always cooler than the heroes!)
- Regularity. The comic started sometime in 2000 and though I didn't keep up with it in the earlier days, for as long as I can remember, he's been keeping it steadily updated every single weekday. This is good for gamers who need something to read in between updates of RPG World or 8-Bit Theater.
- Esoteric Humor. Among console fans, a good rule of thumb is: the more obscure the references, the better. Adventurers! has a broad range from general RPG commentary to very specific references. It also goes beyond simple reminiscing to poke fun at the logic that would have to exist in the hero's head if RPG's were real life...
- Extra Material. For instance: a forum with a roleplaying group, and a large omake section that includes authentic 16-bit sprites and arcade music for the characters.
- Strong Writing. A cast of characters and growing plotline that really feel like they could exist in an RPG for the good ol' SNES.
- Low art quality. The beginning strips are pretty rough, and not in an endearing nostalgic kind of way, just a poorly drawn kind of way. Thankfully, as in most comics, the art has progressed over time, and Mark's drawings can be appreciated for their own style. Still, every now and then some odd facial expression or pose will get a bit distracting.
- Weak Writing. ..What's that? I just said "Strong Writing"?! Well, yes, but one price of having an update every single weekday is sometimes a one-shot joke gets in that just isn't up to the same standards. These lapses, however small, must be noted just for the sake of objectivity. This was more of a problem during the early days, however.
The Main Cast:
- Karn, the fighter: The spiky-haired hero of the story. He seems very similar to RPG World's unnamed hero in that beneath his dumb exterior lies an innate intuition for the mysterious and silly rules of the gaming world.
- Ardam, the mage: The hero's sidekick who's been with the party since the beginning. Unfortunately for him, he has the greatest capacity for thinking beyond Nintendo logic.
- Khrima, the villain:: A graduate of Evil University (major in General Villainy, minor in Evil Magic) plotting to take over the world. He can even sprout fluffy white angel wings, a prerequisite for modern Squaresoft villains!
- Drecker, the thief: Joined the party by making up a cool backstory. But he never gets to pick any locks...
- Gildward, the (world's strongest) bard: That title doesn't help him much.
- Karashi, the ninja: Beautiful, skilled, deadly, and even makes her own shurikens. (she's half-dwarf!) The turn-based battle system is very hard on her.
- Chookie, the useless cute thing: He only gets screen time when the party is forced to split up.
- Killer Evil Death Spybot 5000: Either him or Ardam is leaking secrets to Khrima, hmm....
- Eternion, the infinite: Inter-dimensional being of incredible power who came to challenge the heroes. Could he be making a play at the leading villain role, or is he merely an optional boss?
- Tesla, the gunslinger: Barged into the party for the free weapons and the cute mage.
Mark Shallow has often collaborated with Ian of RPG World and the two have started a new webcomic together, StarSomething, located at http://starsomething.keenspace.com/
Adventurers! has many quirks and inside jokes that are entirely its own, but one that deserves special notice is its use of the word 'spoon' as an expletive. (Variants: "spoony", "spooned", and "utensil".)