Saturday, September 18, 2010

D&D for Me

Pretty much all of the pictures in the first edition players handbook are indelibly etched into my brain. I don't know how many characters I rolled up or how much time I spent reading that book, but it was enough to be formative for me, for who I am.  But to answer Maliszewski's question: If I'm limited to covers, then, yes, I'm with him and go with the PHB.  But, if I can go to interior art, then this pic is what sums up D&D for me:

This small reproduction doesn't do it justice, it's a full page illustration in the book.

Some things I like about it: these guys are not heroes, but they are serious, wary.  The magic mouth is talking and they're paying attention, but not in awe of it, and not frightened by it.  They've seen this kind of thing before.  They have a goal and won't be denied.

Two side notes.  All the years I've loved this pic, I never noticed the eyes in the darkness below, until today.  And in searching for a digital image of this picture I found a post by Raggi, in which it seems we are in complete agreement on this picture.


  1. Yes, that is a brilliant picture. It is a serious rival to "Emirikol the Chaotic" as my favourite Trampier picture of all time.

    As a young AD&D player (10-12 years old) this picture set my imagination on fire. I remember wondering about those glowing eyes in the darkness, as well as what the magic mouth was saying. And what group, I used to ponder, would have a party consisting of three dwarves and a halfling?

  2. I do this love one and it is also one of my favorites. And I have never noticed those eyes until just now!

  3. Yes, Akrasia! I should have mentioned that I was always wondering what the mouth was saying, too. Was it just a warning, was it a note from a Gandalf-like figure urging them on?

    Risus, I'm not alone :) And I think that they are all demi-humans, was also something I liked; no knights of the realm here.

  4. One thing I love about this pic is the idea of an all-Dwarf and Gnome adventuring party. So cool!

  5. I always thought it was 3 Dwarves & a Halfling.

  6. A favorite of mine too. Back in college I photocopied this illustration and added speech balloons to make flyers for the gaming club. Sarcastic, self-hating flyers, but very funny, I thought at the time...

    Also, notice that these demi-humans still need torches? Very old-school!

    Also, I heartily endorse dwarfs with swords rather than axes. I think a race of smiths would prefer swords, don't you?