Knights Of The Dinner Table

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Knights of the Dinner Table is one of the earliest "tabletop gamer culture" oriented comedy comics, having starred for many years in several magazines not least Dragon. It was created by Jolly Blackburn in 1990 for Alderac Entertainment Group's SHADIS; in 1994 it got its own magazine. Blackburn did the art himself, despite being bad at it and not wanting to do it, but - as fans will - the readers got attached to this style and forbade him from hiring anyone else. Think: Dilbert for gamers.

The focus of the comedy is the antics of a city's gamer sub-culture, specifically one of the more dysfunctional gaming groups, and the hilarity that results from their efforts at actually playing through various games. Later on, it transitioned to more of a gaming magazine with comic sections that supports small or local interest companies and services related to gaming. It included reviews of new products and still does, although in a lesser capacity as time goes on.

The titular Knights are the prime focus of the comic, obviously, and mostly involve themselves with an old-school D&D 1e/2e pastiche called "Hackmaster" (more on that, anon). They consist of the following:

  • Boris Alphonzo Felton: Long-suffering GM to the Knights, who frequently watches as his intricately planned games are brought down in flames by the malignant cunning, violent sociopathy or sheer stupidity of his players. A would-be game designer who failed.
  • Robert Samuel Herzog: A short-tempered, paranoid, impulsive adherent to the "old school" (ie: kill stuff and loot their shit) approach to RPing. One of the primary wreckers of B.A's games due to his first reaction to just about anything being to try and kill it.
  • David Harcord Bozwell: Youngest member of the Knights and Herzog's partner in crime, being of a similar "I'm here to kill shit, not talk things over" mindset that means he gets bored whenever the game isn't in combat.
  • Brian Montgomery VanHoose: A burnt out GM turned Rules Lawyer and Powergamer, Brian is the smartest player (alongside Sara), but just as willing to screw B.A over for the sake of "winning" the game.
  • Sara Felton: B.A's cousin, the only female member of the Knights, the only Real Roleplayer in the group, and the long-suffering, vainly attempting voice of reason. She started in KotD issue #2.

To put their usual bungling into perspective, one of their comics from their days in Dragon involves Sara's attempt to GM the group through a module that won Top Honors at the Hackmaster Camp. The group never even makes it to the starring dungeon, an in-game half-hour's hike from town, because they spend an in-game month chasing after small animals, chopping down a tollbooth for asking for 5 copper pieces to pass, and beating up random level-0 NPCs. They then get affronted when she calls them out as idiots, claiming that the module itself "obviously" stinks.

There are also other gaming groups, most notably two that usually play wargames like historicals and not-Warhammer.

A running theme in the series is... running themes. Bozwell's character stole a cow early on thinking she was magic; now, she's a mainstay of the group.

And then, issue #8 introduced the henchman-sergeant Barringer. The party stuffed this long-suffering soul into their Bag of Hefty Capacity at some point. Unfortunately (for them) Felton their DM had (apparently) read X12: Skarda's Mirror and realised that the Bag held all the Knights' shit. Now in order to retrieve, well, any of their useful items they must go through Barringer, first. Many comics ensued with the Knights either having to bargain with their ex-henchman or else to find some way to subdue him. Truly an excellent model of DM dickery.

Several memes have spawned from this comic. You've probably heard Bob's "I WASTE HIM WITH MY CROSSBOW" and Brian's "fireballs coming online". It has not been above borrowing from other memes, like the Head of "Vectra" and the Dread Gazebo.

Their Hackmaster setting is "Garweeze World". As in, "Gary's": because Gary Jackson designed it. In the comic.

Aside from being based on /tg/ culture, it's also relevant to this wiki because - remember "Hackmaster"? Yeah, by popular demand, that was made into an actual game - famed for its encouragement of old-D&D design (especially bad design), and for its bearded female Dwarf miniatures (which few other systems dare do). Over time their other copyright-safe games also became available; we're still waiting on Scream of Kachooloo, though.

Kingdoms of Kalamar is connected to the Knights in some way, and may be the base-setting for the real Hackmaster. The team have also been seen playing other Kenzerco games, such as as Fairy Meat.

KOTDT Live Action

A Kickstarter campaign was launched to produce a live action version of the strips, which can be found here. Unfortunately, it was never finished. For an explanation on the debacle, watch this.

See Also