"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Art of the Dungeons and Dragons Fantasy Game, What's Important


The Art of the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Game is another one of the art compilations  that were published by TSR in the 80's. All of them are good and I am not sure that  any one of them is better than the other. This one has a cover I like better than some  of the others but I am an Elmore fan and this is one that is not cheesecake....don't  get me wrong I like cheesecake....but heroes fighting dragons are nice every now and  then.

One of the problems with art books is that unless you are critiquing the art there is  not much to say about the book. In this one the B7W or line art is almost as big a  pleasure to look ta as the full color pieces. In total there is art from fifteen  artist included. Also included are quotes that surround many of the illustrations.  Some of these are quite good and make me want to go back and read the original sources  again. The index includes a list of the sources so this is something that would be  easy enough to accomplish.

I wanted to provide something on this book and rather than go through and try and  write something witty or insightful I though why not plagiarize the original DM  himself. Below is the preface from the book. I am not sure if I cite them if this is a  copyright issue or not. I hope it isn't because though not at his best this is still  some fair Gygaxian prose. In the end I have to say that if you are fan of art from the  heyday of the game this is a book you should own.

Published: 1985
Pages: 128


The Preface:

Fantasy takes many forms.

The epics of Homer were handed down by word of mouth long before they were  recorded.The fanciful carvings of mythical creatures in Egypt and the Middle East are  but early records of man's love for things of the imagination. The Brothers Grimm  entertain us with their prose, while the painter Goya fascinates with his depictions  of fantasy in flight.

Today, especially, there is an explosion of imaginative art - films, books, games, -  all employing  fantasy to relieve the tension and tedium of the mundane world. It is  with considerable pride that I recognize that the Dungeons & Dragons product line has  stimulated much of the this rekindling of our most ancient loves. Fantasy indeed!

Dungeons & Dragons gaming involves the creation of whole worlds in the mind and  imagination of the player. This is a shared fantasy in all respects, for the game  master and all who assume the personae of the heroic characters who will adventure in  these mythical realms of the imagination are linked through the medium of the play,  the excitement, and sheer wonder of magic and swords, dragons and strange creatures,  lost cities and vaults of treasure hidden far beneath the ground we walk upon.

It is axiomatic: One picture is worth a thousand words. If fantasy gaming is  adventuring in the mind, then how can it possibly exist without pictures? Words there  are aplenty, but never enough of the fantastic illustrations to help us "see" and  "explain" the beauty, horror and mystery of the realms where magic and monsters are  everywhere! Not before this work, that is. Here, at last, is the beginning of vision.

What visions you are about to experience! Masters of the Arts Arcane in full panolpy.  Heroes in battle array, and the Fair Damsels for which derring-do is done are here.  So, too, are the evil adversaries who must be overcome to win through to the mystical  grail at quest's end.

How do such creatures appear? In as many variations and forms as you can imagine! We  are dealing with fantasy, after all, and there are as many ways of imagining a monster  or a mage as there are different perceptions among us. You are given the enviable  status of Judge. You will select which of the works of art are true to the subject -  as you see it!

Just as I have long admired fantastic illustration, so too has TSR, Inc., done its  utmost to convey in pictures the wonders of fantasy. I am reminded of the beloved  picture books of my childhood as I contemplate the paintings offered herein. Children  will, in fact, marvel over them and dream. Aficionados of Dungeons & Dragons gaming  will certainly see these works as tools and adjuncts to their pursuit. Others, too,  will find excellence in the beauty and brawn, beasts and bravo so colorfully depicted  on the pages of this book. The wondrous world of neverwas, with all the scary stuff  and not a bit of the danger.....of course! Such visions are revealed for joy and  daydreams nothing more....nothing less either!

From its early inception more than ten years ago, the art of the game has improved -  just as the game has improved. We grow and mature, ideas take form, flower, and are  caught in that instant for all to share. In culmination of the process, TSR Inc.,  presents this work. You will find it suitable for any collection of art books. Each  illustration was done with the care and love that go into superior works of art. Leave  the book of your coffee table for friends to marvel over. Keep it beside the tomes in  your library, or have it as an adjunct to your fantasy game playing - nomatter. Have  it!

Prefaces are, after all, merely a few words to tell you what you are about to acquire,  or to bring you into a state of mind which attunes you to the work. Saying thus, I  hope that my few words have excited you sufficiently to make you desire to posses  this book or - owning it already - better understand just what the brilliant  depictions of mythical places and persons, creatures and things, are all about.

Enjoy now, the worlds of imagination and wonder. Don't let me keep you from them  another moment!

Gary Gygax - Preface (1985)




Spell:

What's Important


Level: Seventh
Range: None
Duration: Instantaneous
Area of Effect: 3" Radius
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: 2 Segments
Saving Throw: Special

With the casting of this spell the magic user will cause all in the area effect of the spell to evaluate  what, in the way of material possessions, are important to them. This will include the caster so this spell  is not one that will be used lightly.

When the spell is cast all in the area of effect will be asked to select four items. Each victim is allowed  to select one piece of armor, one weapon, one piece of jewelery and one miscellaneous magical item  (spell books fall into this category). These items are excluded from the effect of the spell. All other  magical items will be required to make a saving throw or be destroyed.

The order that the items are required to make the save in are determined by the owner of the items. The  first has no adjustment and then each following item has a progressive -1 applied to it up to a total of -4.  A player may exclude items if they desire and the DM will need to make note of the total items excluded as  the victim will take 1d6 of damage with no save for each item saved in this manner.

The destruction of the items will not be all bad though. For each item destroyed the victim of the spell  will receive an adjust to their hit points equal to one point for every thousand points of experience the  item is worth (rounded down). Items such as artifacts and relics are immune to this spell and if any are in  the possession of a victim then the caster of the spell will need to make a saving throw versus magic or  lose an experience level for each such item.

The material component of this spell will be a focus that the caster has had made specifically for the casting  of this spell. The cost of the focus will be  equal to the caster's level time 100 in gold piece value. The  item will need to have a command word inscribed on it and this is spoken with the casting of the spell. The  focus will be destroyed with the casting of the spell. A magic user may have no more than one focus at any  given time.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or  conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and  depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication  of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try  not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance  and all I ask is proper credit.

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