Webcomic / RPG World


RPG World was an award-winning webcomic by Ian Jones-Quartey, part Affectionate Parody, part Homage and part original spin on the idea of a Final Fantasy style console RPG and the characters who dwell in them, as well as the Videogame Tropes and Anime Tropes encountered in such games. One of Keenspot's earlier comics during the rise of webcomics in the 2000's.

The story follows the exploits of a guy named...Hero and he sets out on a quest to save the world. Along the way he meets Cherry (a thief he meets as she's mugging a guy at knifepoint), Diane, (a harlot who he just randomly picks up while visiting a town), and Erike, (a self proclaimed ladies man) who join the adventures. Add in many a shenanigans with extra characters and tons of lampshade hanging on their rather oddball world.

Seems like a fun setup, and from 1999-2004, the comic held steady. Even having a crossover with Adventurers! (with the story titled "Eh It Had to Happen"). But during the series final years (2005-2007), its fandom had devolved into complaining fanboys who weren't satisfied with how the story was turning out. Which in turn contributed to Ian's Creator Breakdown (already manifesting with his studying animation and personal matters at the time in the midst of juggling the schedule for this comic). Ultimately all this came to a head when Ian couldn't keep up the updates and just flat-out abandoned the comic. To add insult to injury, he was working on the final story arc of the comic, right when the heroes are on the verge of facing the Big Bad, when he made the decision leaving the series on a cliffhanger that was never to be resolved. After lingering on the web with no updates since then end (Storywise at least - Ian posted a few sarcastic comics lampshading the lack of updates), in 2014 the site was completely white-washed, RPGW's domain name was put up for sale and a Japanese language site now resides there.

As for Ian, his animation career has flourished. Not shortly after leaving RPG World, he co-produced animated shorts called nockFORCE with Matt Wilson - they can be viewed on their Youtube channel here. Then later parlayed that to be a hired animator for such shows as The Venture Bros. and Adventure Time (even doing voicework i.e Bravest Warriors). Also, he is producing his own animated series, Lakewood Plaza Turbo, after a strong positive reaction to the pilot. Currently, Ian is the creative director of Steven Universe. Not to say that he hasn't completely forgotten his roots. In one episode ("Steven the Sword Fighter") one of Steven's toys looks remarkably like Hero...which is gruesomely impaled seconds after being introduced. A subtle indication of how Ian feels about his webcomic days, though he is appreciative of those who are familiar with him from the comic and even responded to a long time fan by doing a drawing of Hero and Cherry.

While the site is no longer around and the Wayback Machine will bring up the old site's designs but not the whole archive, afan managed save the entire archive and made it available to download here, here and here to ensure the comic's existence won't be forgotten. note .

On the 19th of June, 2016, a fan revival (called, funnily enough, "RPG World: Fan Revival") was started by two fans. It can be found here. Only time will tell how the fanbase reacts to RPGW: FR.

The cast included:

In the "real world":

In the game world:

  • Hero: The Lvl 50 Warrior; A human with Anime Hair, who named himself The Chosen One, and is rather competent a fighter if he's not in his Too Dumb to Live stage.
  • Cherry: The Lvl 50 Thief; an elven thief who can also summon, who is one part of the Triang Relations of the party.
  • Diane: The Lvl 49 Mage; The magic user and healer of the party.
  • Eikre: The Lvl 46 Outlaw; The enigmatic.
  • Reka: The Lvl 42 Science Pirate; The girl genius.
  • Dragobo: The Lvl 37 Cute Fuzzy Thing The Voiceless and Team Pet.
  • Howard: Another cute fuzzy thing and apparently the White Mage.
  • Rabble-Rouser: A dance battler. The strip ended very shortly after he joined the main party.
  • Galgarion - the Big Bad, who had his own Theme Tune and was romantically interested in Cherry.
  • ...and a Cast Herd of NPCs.

This webcomic displays examples of:
  • Abandoned Info Page
  • An Adventurer Is You: Hero and his party naturally.
  • Aerith and Bob: from Eikre and Galgarion to Diane and Jeff.
  • Affectionate Parody: Final Fantasy, and most long-plot console roleplaying games.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Mystical Keys, which are in the shape of four books. Two known books so far, the Phoenix Book and the Tiger Book, contain encyclopedic information on taking over the world and evil ethics/war tactics/strategy respectively.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Ian polled readers to find out which character in the comic would win a swimsuit competition. After the results were tallied, it was revealed that character with the second highest number of votes ("Red Haired NPC Girl") was really just Hero, the lead male character, dressed like a girl.
  • Author Appeal: Jones-Quartey was himself an avid console gamer, which is part of the reason he started the comic.
  • A Wizard Did It: That's the in-game explanation for cheat codes.
  • Backstory: Everybody has one, and they're all interconnected!
  • Berserk Button: As per usual for an Idiot Hero, it's a bad idea to hurt Hero's friends in front of him. A DOUBLE bad idea since as an ex-soldier of SEVIL, he was injected with a Super Serum that activates when he's angry.
  • Beta Baddie: Jeff.
  • Big Bad: Galgarion.
  • Bishōnen: Eikre and Jeff.
  • Brown Note: The Mystic Keys were quite possibly these. At least reading the Tiger Book made Jeff go crazy and turn evil.
  • Bungling Inventor: the NPC Machine Guy creates a time machine... when he tried to make a toaster.
  • Cameo: Khrima from Adventurers! appeared in the halls of Eikre's high school in Eviltown. Hero, Cherry and Galgarion made cameo appearance in Adventurers! as well. This is all in addition to the crossover. "Clint" from Stubble Comics also appeared as the summon "Angst-Filled Teen".
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Cherry has come close several times to telling Hero how she feels about him. But his stupidity makes her question this feeling as much as circumstances prevent her from saying it.
  • Captain Ersatz: The whole RPG World universe is Captain Ersatz of a Final Fantasy world, most closely resembling that of Final Fantasy VII.
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: Larry and Earl, they're down to 2.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: though arguably a subversion as the story went back to comedic after an extremely serious comic.
    • One strip hung a lampshade on some of the idiosyncrasies of video game plot pacing when the heroes were forced to do a lighthearted butterfly-catching minigame but were completely unable to enjoy it, because they were still broken up about a character who had just died.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Ian J. created banner ads for a game called Retro Mud where he put the RPG World characters in different outfits. Diane wore her mage outfit in these ads. Cherry was depicted as an archer, although her underboob-displaying outfit never made it in. Detestai was seen in a loose skimpy robe/drape thing that was later donned by Feijoa.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Early in the comic, Hero and Cherry encounter a viking named Olaf the Unspeakable, but flee. He later appears as part of a Dual Boss fight, and is much tougher.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Eikre's introduction led to a number of factors that made it look like he was obviously Galgarion in disguise such as him constantly hitting on Cherry, being overly suspicious and wearing a shirt that says EVIL on it. It turns out that he was just a pervert and EVIL is the name of his favorite band.
  • The Chosen One: Actually three of them. Hero, Cherry and Diane. Long story.
    • Parodied with Hero who, while he IS someone chosen, keeps calling himself the Chosen One in Langoria, where he isn't. The elves just give up trying to convince him otherwise.
  • Cliffhanger: The final battle with Galgarion which was on the verge of starting when the comic ended. And the sub-plot of Reka's robots making a time machine to supposedly save her from being killed.
  • Crossover: Did one with Adventurers!! Also did a Halloween crossover with Josh Mirman's Stubble Comics, named "Party Of Terror". Sadly a Missing Episode now that RPGW's and Stubble's archives are gone.
  • Cutscene: Usually placed at the end of a story chapter, paralleled to the end of a disc on the game. There was an Art Shift to not only color but a more detailed style to ape the fact that console games go from sprites to more elaborate animation for such scenes in games.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Subverted. Diane is revealed to be of the "monster" race but looks 100% human.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Eikre's Top Cut manages to OHKO a boss character the group was having trouble with as his introduction but he hasn't used the move since, and it's acknowledged.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Galgarion is a borderline example of this trope. He's not exactly a moron, but his tendency to be Affably Evil makes it easy to be surprised by things like when he raided the Mubble villiage and drained the souls out of most of them, including Howard's girlfriend.
  • Dance Battler: Rabble Rouser.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cherry, usually.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The inconsistency between colored and uncolored comics is explained as the television set the game is being played on constantly switches between monochrome and color.
  • Distracted by the Sexy
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The flower was Galarion!
  • Duel Boss: Jeff was looking to be one of these for Eikre when the comic went on permanent hiatus.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Parodied. Hero meets the thief Cherry in the middle of a robbery and beats up Cherry's helpless, cowering victim after mistaking him for the robber, apparently solely on the grounds that a pretty girl couldn't possibly be a bad guy. Even Cherry can't believe it.
  • Easy Amnesia: Hero had it, and there was very little that happened to help him resolve that.
  • Eat the Dog: one of the filler pages.
  • Exposed to the Elements: One of the Videogame Tropes parodied by this comic.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: Jeff had some metal manipulation magic powers. He only changed his dagger to an axe in the comic, but he also implied he was keeping most of his abilities secret.
  • Fanservice - Across the whole main party. Even lampshaded when Ian drew Cherry pin-up style and she complained that that was Diane's job.
  • Fantastic Racism: Humans v. Elves v. Monsters
  • Foreboding Architecture: Galgarion's tower.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Reka
  • Genius Ditz: Hero
  • Genre Savvy: Diane convinces Hero to escape the village when she tells him an "Old Man NPC" wearing a mysterious cloak told them to.
    Hero: An Old Man NPC?! They never say anything impure!
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: When Cherry was nearly killed by a monster and Diane had to use her Kiss ability to heal her, Eikre was delighted. Hero didn't understand the subtext and thought Eikre just wanted a kiss of his own.
  • Good Is Dumb: Hero
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Hero wears red heart boxers (as seen when he opens his inventory).
  • Halloween Cosplay: RPG World was one of the first strips to start doing this, many others credit Ian J. for the idea.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Hero does this to Diane on the rename screen, whose original name was Lienne.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Langoria.
  • High-Altitude Battle: In Cherry's homeland, an elven city in the trees.
  • Homage: Well, sort of.
  • Idiot Hero - More like overly naive, but still...
    • Pun unintentional. Ok, maybe a little...
  • I Love the Dead: Parodied in a filler strip in which Ian poked fun at shippers. The specific joke was about Cherry/Reka shippers. Cherry was not interested in a relationship with Reka's corpse
  • Knight of Cerebus: Jeff, although Galgarion had a few Dead Serious moments.
  • Lampshade Hanging: A lot considering the comic's a parody, but most of it is done by Cherry.
    • This is handwaved by saying that as a Chosen One, Cherry uses her connection to the Tatsachore to see past the bounds of their world, meaning that while Hero can power up his stats and Diane can use magic more effectively, she just gets to notice game mechanics.
  • Left Hanging: The fate of the comic after Ian put it on Indefinite Series Hiatus.
  • Magic Skirt: Though in Reka's case, it's Magic Saggy Pants; nothing is actually holding them up.
  • Mistaken for Afterlife: When Eikre is drowning, he thinks Reka is an angel coming to take him to his rest. He shortly realizes his mistake, but thinks it's just as good.
  • Mood Whiplash: Parodied. Just after Reka dies, the heroes have to play a minigame where they catch butterflies - but since they were extremely fond of Reka and she happened to be a party member at the time of her plot-relevant death, they're irritated, annoyed, sad, anything but enjoying themselves.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Evil Soldier #347, most badass Cannon Fodder guy to become a main character without as much as getting a name, ever.
  • Moral Myopia: Inverted.
  • No Ending: The characters reach the final boss, begin fighting the final boss and then... nothing. As it turns out, the creator just plain got tired of working on the comic and axed it. Considering that there was a just-introduced character, two missing MacGuffins, and a bunch of unresolved sideplots, the ending probably wasn't that imminent anyhow. Doesn't make it any less stinging however.
  • No Name Given: No one knows Hero's actual name, including Hero, so he just answers to the name Hero.
  • Never Say That Again: Jim's friend often does this to Jim, in the form of, "If you ever ______ again, I will kill you."
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Galgarion, as seen in this comic.
    • While discussing strategy with Galgarion, Jeff used metal magic to turn his dagger into an axe and back again. When Galgarion asked Jeff why he didn't do that during the fight he lost, Jeff countered that maybe Galgarion wasn't the only evil genius.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The elevator up to Galgarion's suite before the comic was abandoned.
  • Orphaned Series: One of the most frustrating examples.
  • Only in It for the Money: Cherry's initial motivation for joining the Hero.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Especially when most of them present are Amazons.
  • Panty Shot: Averted with Diana's Mage outfit, it's actually her leotard.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Cherry's dress in the Elf village arc, which impressed Hero... with the increased polygon count.
  • Pointy Ears: Elves of course have them works as a Chekhov's Gun to keen eyed readers in the first strip when Cherry was introduced to showcase she's not human. Though that also could've been a Throw It In by Ian as well.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Galgarion has a weapon that works like this: he uses it to suck the soul out of one person, then launches the souls as a beam of energy. It does 9999 damage, although it can also cause instant death, or unfortunately, slow and agonizing death. His use of this weapon, and later boasting about having used it on innocent people, including one underling's wife, are the first signs of Galgarion's true nature.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Reka's bots, and various one-shot characters, as well as the cast themselves on a rotating basis.
  • Psycho for Hire: Jeff.
  • Public Service Announcement: Marlboros (a parody of Final Fantasy's Malboros) are tentacle monsters who smoke cigarettes, wear cowboy hats, use their horrible smoker's breath to do damage and inflict status effects, and keel over dead of lung cancer in the middle of the fight. Eikre suspects that their inclusion in the game was a PSA.
  • Red Herring Mole: One of the most elaborate examples ever. The comic goes into so many ways Eikre could be Galgarion that it looks like it could be a parody of really, really obvious Moles, helped by the fact that Galgarion's real disguise is so incredibly subtle.
  • Running Gag: Hero's stupidity, Cherry questioning a lot of videogame tropes, Podder-head's bad luck and his complaining about not having his arm repaired when asked to attack.
  • Sexy Santa Dress: For the Christmas strips.
  • Shapeshifting: Detestai, Earl, and Larry can change into cat monsters as their primary power, but Detestai can only perform partial transformations as she never learned how to control herself while fully transformed. Earl and Larry even lampshade the fact that she'll have to fully transform eventually.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Cherry in the ballroom scene, although Hero was more impressed with the polygon count in the model for her for this particular cutscene than with her beauty.
  • Shipper on Deck: Reka for Hero/Cherry.
  • Shout-Out: The name of the "Big Panda" the group fought is a nod to Big Panda, the failed predecessor to Keenspot.
  • Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Howard.
  • Something Completely Different: In between "discs" of the game, there would be photocomics of the real-life "player" of the game musing on what he'd just played, switching the disc, or making run-of-the-mill "two gamers on a couch" jokes with his friend. These were less popular than the comic proper, and it's theorized that this was a contributing factor in Ian's Creator Breakdown.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Cherry is of course the only member of the party to wonder why the monsters are getting progressively stronger as the party travels. When she asks Hero what would have happened if they had taken a different path (i.e., gone Off the Rails), the concept breaks his brain.
  • Split Personality: Detestai, whose glasses seem to give her a more evil personality then when she has them off. When she has them on she's hell bent on revenge, when she has them off, she only wants cuddles.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Galgarion for Cherry. He turned himself into a rose so he could travel in her back pocket and spy on the party.
  • Stripperiffic: Diane, despite literally starting out as a harlot, isn't as stripperiffic as many fantasy genre females. Like, say, Feijoa. The elven warriors as a whole probably count too.
  • Summon Magic: Cherry.
  • Temporal Paradox: Averted with Donald's Time Machine, which does not trigger a paradox when messing with time, as it's explained in some irrationally conflicted explanation that makes no sense whatsoever. Podder-head is just amazed that he won't even question it.
  • Terrible Trio: Detestai, Larry, and Earl. There's also a group Expy of the actual Team Rocket in one arc.
  • Theme Naming: Most elves seem to be named after fruit. Bet you didn't know there was a kind of fruit called Cherimoya, did you? Or Feijoa?
  • The Power of Friendship: Although the mechanics were never fully explained, Hero gets his power from this.
  • Time Travel Escape: Built up to by Reka's robots and Donald to try and save Reka.
  • Trouser Space: The inventory is located in Hero's pants.
  • Un-Confession: Literally uses the Reset Button for this trope. Cherry admitted her feelings for the hero, and then an enemy attacked, Total Party Kill, Game Over. The player loaded the last save file, and all progress in their love life was lost.
  • Underground Monkey: The Trope Namer!
  • Unlucky Everydude: Evil Soldier #347. How unlucky? GALGARION MURDERED HIS WIFE. With a weapon that works by sucking the soul out of one person, and blasting it at another.
  • Unsound Effect: Convenient Scene Change!
  • Welcome to Corneria: The guy who appears in every bar they visit, and only ever says "*sigh* Times are tough."
    • Cherry found two others during the Dragobo race.
  • Wham Episode: Reka's death, proving that for all his goofiness and swooning over Cherry, Galgarion was really Evil.
  • Yuppie Couple: The "Times Are Tough" guy.
  • You Killed My Father: Reka claims that Galgarion killed her father, an accusation he denies. Whether or not he actually did is never confirmed.