Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois.  This week, Thorne lauds Knights of the Dinner Table, the monthly comic for game fans.

The comic book Knights of the Dinner Table, published by Kenzer & Company, is an often overlooked gem of a product, easily lost amidst large releases from Wizards of the Coast, Pazio Publishing, Fantasy Flight Games and Days of Wonder, to name a few.  Yet for over fifteen years, Kenzer & Co. has succeeded in making sure another issue of the book hits the shelves every month regularly as clockwork, with issue #171 hitting the shelves only last week.  Only Games Workshop, with White Dwarf, has managed a similar track record in our industry, and Knights of the Dinner Table, though mainly focused on Hackmaster, is still much less of a house organ than White Dwarf, while managing to come up with 80-pages of comics, gaming material and columns.

If you are not familiar with KoDT (as fans refer to it), the strip focuses on the interactions of a group of players of the Hackmaster RPG (developed after repeated references in the comic created a demand for it among readers) with each other and the other RPG players of greater Muncie.  I can only wish for a devotion to games among my customers comparable to that shown by the characters in KoDT.  Alas, my dream of a twenty-four hour game store shall likely go forever unrealized.

Though the main reason for reading KoDT is the comics, other material in each issue is certainly worth reading, such as “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” Lost Game Safari, and Gamemasters Workshop (as well as some that could just be ignored, such as “Fuzzy Knights”), making KoDT the only print RPG magazine to get wide distribution.  Yes, there are others out there, such as Level Up, Kobold Quarterly and The Crusader but they do not have the same penetration in game shops as KoDT does.  The books does not appear to get much in the way of paid advertising, which is unfortunate since it is the only print RPG magazine to have both name recognition and comparatively wide distribution.

We do not sell nearly as many copies of the current run of KoDT as we did several years ago (a dozen copies of each issue then, six per issue now), but a couple of customers have it on their pull lists and we sell the rest off the rack.  There are web based gaming comics that come out weekly or even almost daily (I’m looking at Dork Tower and Order of the Stick).  However a web based comic, even one that gets collected on an annual basis (such as Order of the Stick or Girl Genius) does not require nearly the organizational ability needed to put out a print copy of KoDT on a monthly basis, nor do annual collections of strips generate nearly as much money for stores as does a monthly book that comes out regularly with a trade paperback of the strips every six months or so.  So thank you, Knights of the Dinner Table, for making me, and the other game stores that stock you, money for the past fifteen years.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely  those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of