May 31, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 96: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #2, January 1989

The epic quest trucks right along, new plot threads are introduced. There's definitely a campaign quality to this series, in that each issue is a minor adventure that contributes to the larger story being told. The characters are not fleshed out quite as much as one might hope. We get a bit more of Vajra Valmeyjar's (the Fighter) back story, and Agrivar's character is fleshed out somewhat. Eyesbright continues to be interesting and a study in contradictions, being a vicious fighter and very soft-hearted adventurer. This leaves Onyx, the dwarf, and Cybriana, the elven mage, as very one-dimensional characters thus far. I know, in the hazy mists of my memory, that Onyx receives a bit more development in the next story arc, but I can't put a finger on Cybriana's character yet. I don't know, nor can I remember, what her arc is like.

One of the things I really appreciated about these comics at the time was that the back matter of each consisted of stats for characters, monsters, and magic items one could use in the game. This one, for example, has Vajra's stats (7th level Fighter), the stats for the Greater Basilisk, one of the beasts the heroes face in the issue, and stats for The Lockstone, a magic item that is also encountered in the issue. While this certainly demonstrates an acknowledgment of the most likely audience for the series, one wonders what people who read this comic and were completely unfamiliar with the game might have thought about the arcane formulas and statistics in the back pages. This, of course, assumes that anyone reading this comic was not a gamer. Unlikely, I think.

Moving on with our quest tomorrow, more adventures from the Forgotten Realms. There's a lovely nostalgic quality to these comics for me. I hold that time of intense gaming very close to my heart, and am still best friends with all of the members of our gaming group. It gave us a chance to be heroes, something we were categorically told we could not be in the beastial pit of high school.

See you tomorrow.

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