Sunday, 13 May 2012

Roll Call!! (more nostalgia)

As I was flipping through my old basic D&D books I noticed some pencil lines around alot of characters in some of Larry Elmore's amazing illustrations (to this day, I still feel his ink & brush work from the basic books was his best). What were these pencil lines from? They are the same dimensions as the character illustration boxes from the basic character sheets. I would find the right crop, get my father to photocopy the page at work, and I would cut the image out, and tape it to my sheet. Instant Larry Elmore character art. I used alot of Elmore's work for my characters' inspiration.

So, without further delay, here's the roll call for my character's I grew up with, probably around age 8 to age 15. There were many more, of course, but these are some that I remember...

First up, we have the fighter... Horace. Yup, I named a character Horace, and I'm fairly certain I took the name from the Monster Squad. Which would date this character to 1987. I can't say I remember much about him, he was made at a time when I went through alot of characters.

Next we have Fleetwood the fighter. Oddly, the name wasn't derived from Fleetwood Mac, rather, it was a name I came up with myself and seem to remember thinking it was pretty awesome. He was a long running character for me, until he was heroically lost... literally. I lost his character sheet. Rest in peace, Fleetwood.

The only non-Elmore character to make it into the list (although to be fair, when she started out I think I used Aleena the Cleric's image from the basic books) is Flo Khan. Yup, I had a character named Flo. I didn't realize until I was older that Flo is generally short for Florence. In my defense, I stole the name. An older kid next door that played AD&D (that I idolized) had a female fighter named Flo, so that's her "origin story." She was my only character that I made from basic D&D that made it into my 2e days. She was a tough as nails barkeep by day, and no-nonsense, ass-kicking fighter by night, that eventually attained a sunblade. When she crossed over into 2e, before our house rule of rolling up charcaters with other players to witness, I rolled a 18/100 strength for her. Then thinking no one would believe me, I rerolled and she wound up with an 18/36.

My final entry for my basic days, and only non-fighter, the thief Greenan. Greenan was a lawful thief, but had no problem breaking and entering when he needed to. I seem to remember taking his name from the novelization of Willow, where Willow is casting a spell, one of the words he says is greenan. But, Greenan's story hasn't ended, he appeared again (after some 20+ years!) in a campaign of mine last year as an NPC that helped the PCs. It was great, because the whole time they didn't trust him, and he saved their asses when they needed it most. I sort of based him off the gyrocopter pilot in the Road Warrior, thought he'd be great as a thief. (Please note: this image was taken from one of my books, you can still see the faint rectangle around his head)

And finally, my favourite, and first character from 2e, Falen Harrwood, a half drow elf ranger. When I saw this image when I was in grade 7 I was just reading through my 2e books and thought this was the coolest looking D&D character ever. I had to make a ranger, and this had to be him. He was a very somber, reclusive character who stayed away from civilized areas, afraid that people would recognize his drow blood line. And no, he did not dual wield! He had a long sword and a shield, and eventually wore a cloak of displacement. For the campaign I'm currently working on, both Falen and Flo will make an appearance (as well as a few others), so as nerdy as it is, I am looking forward to see them in a game again. Falen and Flo were probably last active around 1994.

I may have to make a part 2 to this post, as I found another image of a character — Falen and Flo's child... (play dramatic soap opera music here).


  1. That is awesome. I only have two characters of mine that ever appear in my games, but that is probably a result of me usually being the GM and not a player. I might just have to do something similar to what you have here and recount their tales, great idea!

  2. Whadda mean RIP Fleetwood? He might be out there traveling from campaign to campaign fighting the good fight, the original FLAILSNAILer. You don't know!

    Was Falen half elf/half drow or half human/half drow? If the latter, then the child is a QuarterElf. I saw them in concert back in the late 70s.

    It's a good thing I don't have my old character sheets. I could never show them to anyone. Far too embarrassing a collection of hackneyed, cliches.

  3. Falen was half human half drow. One character I left out (due to embarrassment) was one of my favourites. Based off the Elmore painting (big surprise) of the big "dog-man" on the cover of the Forgotten Realms Cities of Mystery boxed set. We had a campaign where we could make two characters, and one could be something out of the MM. I made a flind ranger.

    Before I get to the name, let me say I was around 15, and had a renewed obsession with Star Wars. His name: Boah Fett. There, I said it.

    So, I took the first step, let's see some other brave souls come forward...