Speaking of this Image...

I used this beautiful image by Bill Willingham from the 1981 Moldvay Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set for a previous post (regarding a B/X campaign that, unfortunately, never made it off the launch pad). Looking at it got me to thinking of a few things I've often thought while looking at this image:

  • I love the party composition - for some reason, this always seemed to me like the stereotypical PC party. (No one ever liked playing clerics back in the day - the most you might get beyond this representation is a thief. Halflings? Perish the thought...)

  • A dragon? Not really representative of what a party of adventurers would realistically face at the levels this book covers. (Although, let's face it: we DMs still threw dragons in there - some nerfed hit points, a few out-of-scale magic items, the party had a fighting chance, second-level or not. And if not? Well, it's a big world out there, and not everything is at your level. TPK? You attacked a dragon. I'm not sure what other outcome you were expecting...)

  • What's up with the dwarf? Did he:

    • Not see the dragon there? Or maybe think it wasn't real?

    • Rush in and attack in a bout of dwarven rage, only to suddenly realize (after failing to beat its AC): "Oh, crap - it's a red dragon - we're all going to die!"

    • Get suckered into parlaying with dragon, not realizing he was the decoy so the rest of the party could get a surprise round on it?

  • Love the fighter's stance - and no going for center mass here. That badass is aiming for the eye.

  • That's a wicked cool elf. Don't know why I like her, but I do.

  • Speaking of cool, if that's magic missile the magic-user's casting, that dude is doing it right!

  • That party may be on a short trip to a TPK, but they sure as Hell look awesome doing it. Well, maybe not so much the dwarf*...

My favorite piece of art from the Moldvay Basic Rules book

*But, come on, we all know that player. You know, the guy/girl who's always getting into trouble, making less than optimal tactical choices, and/or generally getting screwed by The Fates (usually through their dice rolls) and ending up at the short end of the proverbial stick... Oh, crap... I am that player!


  1. The dwarf is on the dragon's side, that's why he's facing that way. Just look at him, he's wearing armor made of his big buddy's cast off scales. The two of them have been working together for years, with the Dwarf suckering adventurers into going with him to raid a (fake) dragon hoard while the owner is "away hunting", and the dragon getting some easy additions to its real hoard (which is safely hidden away elsewhere) while thinning the ranks of potential future dragon hunters. Most adventurers are smart enough to avoid dragons until they're high enough level to be potential threats, but the partnership lets this relatively youthful red dragon (just look at the size of that thing, it's still a teenager in draconic terms) get at them early.

    Poncy elf's going to get a hammer right in the face if they live through the roasting.

  2. It is a really awesome image. I have always loved it as well.


Post a Comment