King of RPGs is an OEL Manga written by Jason Thompson (author of Manga: The Complete Guide), and illustrated by Victor Hao. It focuses on the lives of a group of friends, most of whom attend the University of California, Escondido, and all of them have some connection to the world of RPGs. In (roughly) order of appearance, the main characters are:
Shesh Maccabee: A 17-year-old Jewish American college student. Before attending university, there was an incident involving a MMORPG that hospitalized many and forced him to attend months of therapy. After being introduced to the Tabletop Game "Mages & Monsters", he has an argument with the GM, and the reason for the MMORPG incident is explained: Shesh has a personality disorder that, when activated, makes him
The dark and superpowered reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh believe that he is the character he's roleplaying as. And considering that he always plays characters such as rogues, car thieves, and alien invaders, this doesn't end well for his opponents.
Mike: Shesh's best friend, who is an Eastern RPG Otaku. While he certainly acts more 'normal' than Shesh, he's considered cosplaying as his female cleric OC, and there's at least one embarassing (but safe for all ages) photo of him hanging out with the Furry Fandom.
Jen Pedwar: One of the first people Shesh and Mike make friends with after arriving at the college. She's a Bifauxnen who aspires to become a famous writer. She attends rennasaince fairs for inspiration.
Callie: Originally just a good-looking female that Theodore hires to attract people to his Mages & Monster game, she's later revealed to be a member of the local vampire LARP group. Mike has a rather evident crush on her, but it's unrequited.
Theodore Duvek: The head of the university's two-person Mages & Monsters club. After using Callie to convince Shesh, Mike, and Jen to play with him, his hardcore style of RPing invokes Shesh's sinister alter ego. Theodore becomes instantly fascinated by it, and decides to tag alongside Shesh in order to help him win games and control his 'gift'. Theodore's goal is to create a RPG so wonderful, the world will want to choose it over reality, which will certainly impress the person who taught him about RPGs.
Rona Orzack: Has a grudge against people whom dedicate their entire lives to any form of RPG, be it live-action or card-based. This causes her to take drastic actions at times, such as throwing a boy's card collection into a furnace, and attempting to shoot at Callie's friends when they creep her out.
Gavin Slane: Once a poor boy living out in the street, his ability to comprehend the rules of any RPG in an instant allowed him to become a big name in California's gaming scene. He's a major Con Artist, who uses illegal methods in order to obtain and sell rare collectable cards, and who uses absurd loopholes in games in order to achieve victory. Has a grudge against Shesh for the time he slipped into his split personality, hijacked his car, and drove it (and all of his merchandise) into a river. It should also be noted that he coats rare cards in materials such as radioactive thallium in case they're ever stolen.
Tropes used in this series:
- Axe-Crazy: Shesh's evil side
- Berserk Button: Shesh's evil side has a trigger phrase that brings him out, if you pay close attention. "My character," even if blended into another word such as, for example, "characteristics."
- Bifauxnen: Jen, who is annoyed at how frequently she mistaken for a boy
- Bland-Name Product: It starts with Mages And Monsters and World Of Warlords, but goes as far as The Dead Sea Scrolls IV: Oblivion (now available on the PSZ!), which for obvious reasons never goes by its installment name.
- Deep-Immersion Gaming: Used to hilarious effect, such as when one of the real-world props used as a monster isn't up to the job.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Gavin, who appears in the second chapter, can be clearly identified in the picture that accompanies the first chapter's title.
- Fanservice: Cassie, literally; she was hired to attract people to Theodore's M&M group.
- Nice Hat: Shesh's jester hat, which certainly hides the fact that he has a sinister side.
- Shout-Out: In addition to the thinly veilled jabs at popular RPGs of all types, there are some that are more cleverly executed. For example, Theodore is all three of California's greatest Game Masters.
- The "Cosmic Genocide" card game is based on an old but still rather obscure board game called Cosmic Encounter.
- Also, the way that Shesh wins the "Cosmic Encounter" game by tearing to pieces a card that destroys any card it falls on top of, then throwing the pieces at all of Gavin's cards is possibly based on an urban legend from the early days of Magic: The Gathering about a player who did esentially the same thing
- Spell My Name with an "S": According to the first chapter, Shesh's name is misspelled as 'Seth' by someone every day
- Superpowered Evil Side: Shesh has one, which his grandfather once dubbed "Choshek Shesh".