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In case you missed our recent podcast, R&D's Steve Winter regaled our crew with tales of 2nd Edition—AD&D's development what mandates they were working under, why certain classes were dropped, and the crafting of the various campaign settings (especially Al-Qadim).
The 2nd Edition reprints are about to release as well, and so what better time to look back through the books? In this D&D Alumni article, we do just thatbut instead of taking the broader view of the entire forest (already provided by Mr. Winter), we'll consider two of its trees in particular (or treants, I suppose—a more suitable analogy for the game).
First up, the following illustration appears in the Dungeon Master's Guide (page 95 of the reprint) under the combat section regarding undead.
Ah, the old skeleton in a flooding chamber trick. If that looks familiar, that's because it is. The illustration references a similar illustration from the 1st Edition DMG (also in the combat section, under pursuit and evasion of pursuit).
That original piece is marked DSL, for David S. LaForce (later Diesel). It's one of the more iconic images from the DMG, with a great sense of desperate action to it. It has also appeared more times since (or at least been referenced). In the 3.5 Edition of the game, a similar image appears in Stormwrack.
And finally, we have the following two images from 4th Edition. These two don't recreate the same image, but they reference it in aesthetic spirit. The first was featured in Into the Unknown: Dungeon Survival Handbook. This illustration does not depict an adventurer trapped in a flooded chamber, but instead (as referenced from its internal art order) it shows a raft going down a violent underground river. That's Ella holding on to the raft for dear life with one hand, while using her other arm to grip a treasure chest.
The second adds skeletons back in to the watery danger. Originally meant for Heroes of Shadow, the illustration displays how Akta (a female tiefling warpriest of the Raven Queen) is caught in the midst of crossing a wide stream in a dark, haunted forest.
There are several more callbacks to the 2nd Edition rulebooks. There's death atop a seaside cliff, watching an incoming ship.... The paladin in hell. Even the famed DMG idol (returning in the latest Penny Arcade Live Game) having its great, jeweled eye removed (for cleaning). We'll compare those pieces another time; for this article, we instead close with a look at another of the more iconic art pieces: Emirikol the Chaotic.
Emirikol was originally relegated to the back appendices of the 1st Edition DMG, where he was shuffled among the random monster encounters. Little was known about this rampaging spellcasteruntil the 2nd Edition adventure, A Paladin in Hell (based on the PHB illustration, mentioned before). Emirikol, it turned out, was quite the dangerous wild mage. He even appeared in our 2010 Creature Competition, which we designed to help choose a villain for the 3rd D&D Encounters season; the Raven Queen won out over Tiamat, while Emirikol—shockingly—never made it out of the first round.
His statistics follow below, but first, let's take a look at his illustrations. These pieces come from the 1st Edition DMG and the 2nd Edition Premium Player's Handbook:
Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Emirikol the Chaotic, hm (W) 24: AC "“2 (robes, earring, Dexterity bonus); MV 12; hp 52; THAC0 13; #AT 2; Dmg. 1d4 (thrown daggers hidden in clothing); SA Casts 1 fly (as potion) at will; MR 5%; SZ M (6' tall); ML Fanatic (17); AL CN; XP 22,000.
S 12 D 16 C 15 I 19 W 14 Ch 17
Special Equipment: Amulet of the planes, ring of joining (allows wearer to sense all that the wearer of the other ring of joining sensesthe other is worn by Tiae, currently in the Temple of Neheod), earring of protection +5, ring of wizardry (doubles 4th- and 5th-level spells), robe of chaos (as a robe of scintillating colors and a robe of the archmagi, functions only for wild mages), prismatic wand (casts prismatic spray for 1 charge, prismatic wall for 2 charges, or prismatic sphere for 3 charges (cannot be recharged—has 18 charges), rod of beguiling, wand of wonder (has 50% chance to control effect34 charges).
1st (x6)—change self, detect magic, magic missile, Nahal's reckless dweomer, phantasmal force, unseen servant.
2nd (x6)—blur, chaos shield, detect invisibility, ESP, fog cloud, web.
3rd (x6)—fireball, fireflow, lightning bolt, protection from normal missiles, tongues, wraithform.
4th (x12)—charm monster, confusion, detect scrying, emotion, extension I, fire shield, improved invisibility, Otiluke's resilient sphere, shadow monsters, stoneskin, there/not there, unluck.
5th (x12)—Bigby's interposing hand, chaos, cloudkill, cone of cold, dismissal, domination, feeblemind, hold monster, sending, vortex, wall of force, waveform.
6th (x6)—antimagic shell, chain lightning, eyebite, project image, true seeing, wildstrike.
7th (x6)—Bigby's grasping hand, finger of death, limited wish, spell shape, spell turning, teleport without error.
8th (x5)—demand, Hornung's random dispatcher, maze, Otto's irresistible dance, polymorph any object.
9th (x3)—meteor swarm, timestop, wildfire.
And that's all without considering Emirikol's five—count 'em, five—iron golem bodyguards, his Throne of Power (which provided an antimagic shell around him, which did not affect his own spells firing out), the permanent fly potion he drank, or the contingency spell that went off when he was physically attacked and which caused the attacker to deal with a disintegrate spell.
And still he lost in the first round—to Manshoon!