And through this wood we all must go.
Let winter freeze, and summer burn!
What men must know, a boy must learn.
Eyrewood Adventures is a High Fantasy setting created by Mike Krahaulik and Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade. Starting out as a potential webcomic spinoff, the setting was later developed as a Tabletop Game by Lone Shark Games. The first game, Thornwatch, was launched on July 31, 2018.
The forest of Eyrewood is a realm of great wonders, but also many dangers. There are three major groups devoted to protecting their charges:
- The Lookouts, the concept of being a fantasy version of the Boy Scouts. In order to protect their villages, young boys must train in the ways of the forest - but that training is sometimes lethal in itself.
- The Daughters of Eyrewood, who came about as a girls' counterpart group to the Lookouts. Young girls are called by the forest itself to be its mystical guardians.
- The Thornwatch, originating as Mike's game concept which he decided to tie into the Eyrewood setting. The Thornwatch is a loose collection of the spirits of outcasts, rebels, and oathbreakers that can be summoned in dire need with Blood Magic. Villagers are warned to never associate with them, but if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can summon... the Thornwatch.
A general description of the factions that has received Approval of God is that the Lookouts protect the villages from the forest, the Daughters protect the forest from everything (including the villages if need be), and the Thornwatch protect the vulnerable from any other threat, including the villages and the forest.
Comics set in the Eyrewood include:
- The Lookouts, aka May We Die in the Forest: the original strip, done as part of a series of new comic pitches.
- Guest Lookouts: A continuation of the original strip written by Oliver Grigsby and painted by Becky Dreistadt.
- A Boy Must Learn
- Thornwatch, introducing the titular group to the setting.
- A six-issue Lookouts comic series by Cryptozoic.
- The Tithe: The first story featuring the Daughters as a girl named Hanna is called by the forest.
- The Judging Wood
- The Thornwatch Kickstarter also gives bits of the setting's lore.
Besides the above links to the regular Penny Arcade archives, all Eyrewood comics (except for the Cryptozoic series) can be found on the Penny Arcade Side Stories page.
The Eyrewood setting features the following tropes:
- Adults Are Useless: In The Tithe, the Thornwatch are of no help to Hanna. One tells her they can't take her home because she's in the forest and therefore, as a Daughter, already there; another gives her flowery but empty words of comfort; and the third bluntly advises her on how to commit suicide.
- Badass Creed: The Lookouts' creed at the top of the page.
- Blood Magic: Summoning the Thornwatch involves tying knots in thorn vines, and getting cut up by the thorns is a requirement for the magic to work.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: By Word of God, if a girl won't leave to join the forest as a Daughter, the forest will come to claim her in some form. And those forms may not be nice.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Done in-universe: the rhyme warning people to never call Thornwatch also gives exact instructions on how to do so.
- Fantasy Character Classes: The Thornwatch has five: the Blade, the Greenheart (healer), the Guard (defensive), the Sage (spellcaster), and the Warden.
- Go, Ye Heroes, Go and Die: The Lookouts have the slogan "May we die in the forest."
- Godzilla Threshold: The Thornwatch is treated as one.
- Merit Badges for Everything: Common with the Lookouts. For instance, the original strips end with the troop earning Basilisk Hunting badges.
- Missing Child: The Tithe shows just how a girl becomes a Daughter - once called, she basically leaves home and never goes back. Hanna is terrified once she realizes what's happening to her, and to make things worse she calls the Thornwatch but they can't help her.
- Plant Person: The Daughters have flowers and vines growing out of their head. Played for Body Horror in The Tithe.
- Scout-Out: The Lookouts are fantasy Boy Scouts.