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Giants in the Earth Part Two

 

Cover of The Dragon Magazine Issue Number 27 featuring a mounted armored knight by artist  Thomas Canty

By Kevin Curtin

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser!

John Carter, Warlord of Mars!

Durathror!

Welcome to our continued exploration of The Dragon magazine series, Giants in the Earth. The second installment in this series was presented in The Dragon Issue 27 published in July of 1979. The artist for the delightful cover was Thomas Canty who went on to do the covers for a few more dragon magazines and many, many fantasy novels.

This article had three entries that will be familiar to almost anyone with even a passing interest in Swords and Sorcery fiction and a fourth that I myself had never heard of.

Part 1 of the Giant in the Earth series is located here.

The first entry is for two rogues that will be forever linked together. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser were created by Fritz Leiber and first appeared in print in 1939 in the story "Two Sought Adventure". They would appear in many more stories for the pulp magazine before they were collected into novels in the 1960s. These two characters epitomize early Dungeons and Dragons for me. They explored the fascinating world of Newhon, using their wits and sharp blades to stay a step ahead of gruesome death, often at the urgings of their sorcerous patrons, Ningauble of the Seven Eyes and Sheelba of the Eyeless Face. 

I've also included their stats from a great Advanced Dungeons and Dragons accessory, "Lankhmar: City of Adventure" released by TSR. This accessory details the two rogues "stomping grounds". It's also a great setting and city. I actually use it for my Greyhawk City in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting. In my opinion it captures the pulp feel of the city better than the official TSR boxed set. Of course, I did cram much of the boxed set into Lankhmar as well. Can never have enough stuff in a city the size of Greyhawk. 

The next entry is John Carter, Warlord of Mars. John Carter was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs way back in 1911. "A Princess of Mars", the first tale of Barsoom (Fantasy Mars) was published in 1912. The series eventually consisted of 11 entries. Shortly after the end of the Civil War, John Carter is transported from Earth to Barsoom (Fantasy Mars) and has many fantastic adventures.  

I love the whole genre of characters falling asleep and being transported to another world. John Carter is one of the earliest versions of this in Western literature. 

The last Giant in issue 27 is Durathror, a hero I am not familiar with. Authored by Alan Garner, the first book of Durathror's trilogy was published in 1960. The sequel, "The Moon of Gomrath" was published in 1963 and the final part was published in 2012! Wow. Is that a record for longest time in between novels in a series? I understand Mr. Garner was inspired by the folklore of his native county of Cheshire in North West England. I will have to check out these works one of these days. 

In keeping with the tradition of Giants in the Earth, the authors broke many of the AD&D core rules. All the characters are multiclassed (despite most being being human) and Durathror is a Dwarven Paladin. 

The purpose of this article is to add an element of novelty and unknown danger to the DM’s high-level encounter table, and to give players a chance to actually meet up with heroes from their favorite fantasy books. The referee is advised to use these characters with discretion. They are a lot of fun to run, and the players should have an interesting time dealing with them. These heroes are all in some fashion exceptional, and thus they deviate a bit in their qualities and capabilities from standard D & D. Also, most originated in other universes or worlds, and so were not bound by the same set of restrictions that apply to the average D & D character. Some are multi-classed, for example. This system has been used to describe the skills and abilities of the characters as they appear in the literature, even though some of these combinations and conditions are not normally possible. In addition, some minor changes have been made in order to bring them in line with the game and to enhance playability. Note: For the game purposes of these heroes: Dexterity 18 (00) gives +4 on Reaction/Attacking, –5 Defensive adjustment and three attacks per round for high level fighters. Constitution 18 (00) gives fighters +4.5 per hit die bonus. Alan Garner’s DURATHROR 13th level fighter/Dwarvish paladin ARMOR CLASS: 0 MOVE: 6” HIT POINTS: 112 NO. OF ATTACKS: 2 DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-10 (+4) SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below MAGIC RESISTANCE: See below ALIGNMENT: Lawful-good STRENGTH: 18 (86%) INTELLIGENCE: 9 WISDOM: 13 DEXTERITY: 15 CONSTITUTION: 18 (49%) CHARISMA: 17 HIT BONUS: +4 PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil Durathror, son of Gondemar, is a prince of the huldrafolk (mountain dwarves). He looks like a viking in miniature with flowing yellow hair and a forked beard hanging to his waist. He wears a winged helmet, a shirt of +2 plated mail (treat as banded mail), and a cloak of white eagle feathers. Durathror is a close friend to the Lios-alfar (lawful-good elves). When the elf-king Atlendor took his people to the high hills to avoid death from the spreading pollution of the industrial revolution, Durathror exchanged gifts with Atlendor as a token of friendship. He traded Tarnhelm, a cloak of invisibility, for Valham, a cloak of flying. Gondemar was appalled that his son would trade away the greatest treasure of the clan and he expelled Durathror from his people. Durathror sought to go with the fair elves but Atlendor 28 foresaw the future and told Durathror that he would be needed in the lowlands to discharges a duty of great weight. Durathror chose the path of duty and was thus exiled from both dwarves and elves. Durathror spent much of his exile in Fundindelve, a magical cavern where 140 knights dressed in silver armor lay in enchanted sleep with a milk-white steed sleeping at each one’s side. The knights await the day when they must wake and ride forth to battle Nastrond, the Great Spirit of Darkness. They are watched over by Durathror’s friend, the wizard Cadellin Silverbrow. The heart of the enchantment was sealed with Firefrost, the weirdstone of Brisingamen. If the weirdstone were destroyed, the knights would wake before their time and would be long dead when Nastrond chose to attack. Darkness would rule the world. Durathror’s duty came when the weirdstone was stolen. He helped recover it. The party returning the weirdstone to Fundindelve was attacked by the armies of the morthbrood, a league of evil wizards. In a great battle at Clulow Cross, Durathror fought alone and died. His sacrifice gave Cadellin the time he needed and the weirdstone was saved. As a reward for his valor and his patience throughout the long years of exile, Durathror was resurrected by the forces of Lawful-good. He was awarded the honor of becoming one of the few paladins who are dwarves. Durathror now fights the forces of chaos and evil wherever they may be found. If encountered he is probably (80%) on a mission for the gods. He is not adverse to delaying the mission to wipe out local chaotic or evil forces if it will not take too long. Such forces may, of course, be party members. If he is not on a mission, Durathror may decide to fight the party, join it for the remainder of the adventure, or simply ignore it depending on his reaction. Roll two 6-sided dice and make the proper adjustments. Durathror will join the party on an 11 or 12, fight the party on a 2 or 3, and ignore the party on all other rolls. Adjustments are as follows: +1 if the party contains a lawfulgood dwarf, +2 if the party contains a lawful-good elf, +1 if the party is more than 50% lawful or good, +2 if the party is entirely lawful-good, –1 if the party contains no lawful-good dwarves or elves, –1 if the party is less than 50% lawful or good, –2 if no one in the party is lawful-good. Pluses and minuses are cumulative. Durathror will attack svart-alfar (drows), goblins, hobgoblins, or orcs on sight. His magical sword, Dyrnwyn (a twohanded sword), is +2 to hit and has the power to disintegrate drows, goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs on any roll of 15 or above. Durathror is +2 on all saves except poison and spells against which he is +7. He has all the normal paladin’s powers, including the following spells: bless, command, remove fear, detect charm, speak with animals, spiritual hammer, and remove curse.

 Durathror enjoys fighting. A kind of controlled berserker ecstasy comes over him in battle. He shouts his battle cry “Gondemar” and wades in. Durathror will not retreat, even against impossible odds, unless he can be convinced retreat is necessary to save someone else’s life. REFERENCE: The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (paperback, published by Ace Books) by Alan Garner. Fritz Leiber’s FAFHRD and THE GRAY MOUSER FAFHRD 20th level fighter/8th level thief ARMOR CLASS: 0 MOVE: 12” HIT POINTS: 119 NO. OF ATTACKS: 2 DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-8 (+5) SPECIAL ATTACKS: +2 sword SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard ALIGNMENT: Neutral-good STRENGTH: 18 (94%) INTELLIGENCE: 17 WISDOM: 15 DEXTERITY: 18 (27%) CONSTITUTION: 18 (54%) CHARISMA: 17 HIT BONUS: +4 PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil THE GRAY MOUSER 18th level fighter-thief ARMOR CLASS: 0 MOVE: 12” HIT POINTS: 80 NO. OF ATTACKS: 4 DAMAGE/ATTACK: Weapon (+) SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below SPECIAL DEFENSES: +cloak MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard ALIGNMENT: Chaotic-neutral STRENGTH: 14 INTELLIGENCE: 18 (63%) WISDOM: 15 DEXTERITY: 18 (00%) CONSTITUTION: 16 CHARISMA: 16 HIT BONUS: +3 PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil rounded by red-gold hair, and generally wears armor of leather and steel about equivalent to chain mail. He often fights with Graywand (+2) in his right hand and an axe in his left, using both for alternate guarding and attacking. He enjoys a good fight, especially with the Mouser at his side, and his speed and dexterity is astounding for a man of his size. He is sometimes moody, changing from a bluff, hearty good cheer to a bleak, fey and fatalistic melancholy. Fafhrd retains some of his training as a skald, and in this respect he can be treated as a second level bard (without the druidic spells). Fafhrd can drink most men under the table, and is usually man. Somewhere along the way, Fafhrd and the Mouser came to the attention of two of the most powerful wizards on Nehwon. Fafhrd came under the sometimes sponsorship and aegis of Ningauble of the Seven Eyes, acting somewhat as an agent, errand-boy, or magical chess-piece. Fafhrd’s payment for these services often merely consists of cryptic advice. The Gray Mouser was a child of the slums of the southern cities of Nehwon, and grew in the cracks and crannies of Lankhmar like a weed. As protege to that evil city’s Prince of Pimps, he learned thieving and weapon-play early, and to be sly, cunning, and quick-witted (see “The Childhood and Youth of the Gray Mouser”, by Harry Otto Fischer, The Dragon +18). Around the age of ten the Mouser became interested in magic, and apprenticed himself to Glavas Rho, a kindly old white magician with more knowledge and love than actual power. They left Lankhmar for a forest-cottage some distance away, and there, for several years, Glavas Rho schooled the Mouser (now re-named Mouse) in his simple spells and nature-lore, even persuading the boy to give up his weapons. Ivrian, the daughter of the cruel Duke Janarrl, began visiting the cottage secretly, and became friends with Mouse. Eventually, the Duke raided the cottage, burning it and Glavas Rho. The Mouser took back up the ways of evil and death for revenge. He killed the Duke through black magic and fled with lvrian to Lankhmar, where he resumed his career as free-lance thief extraordinaire. Eventually he met Fafhrd, and after the deaths of lvrian and Vlana and the heroes’ subsequent vengeance on the Thieves’ Guild, they stayed together, each sensing that somehow they complemented each other perfectly. Their mutual regard grew and solidified as they adventured together across the world of Nehwon. willing to try. Even drunk, he is an extremely dangerous The Mouser is often petty, perverse, and rather vindictive, Fafhrd’s youth was spent as an apprentice skald in a sub- especially concerning blows to his ego. His wit is as keen as his arctic barbarian tribe on the world of Nehwon. At eighteen, sword, and though he has forgotten most of the magical lore of Fafhrd’s curiosity about civilization and love for a southern his youth, he is wily and wary concerning sorcery. He is physidancing- girl/thief, forced him to flee from the tyranny of his cally very small, but lithe and supple as a cat. He wears a gray tribe’s magic-wielding matriarchy, the Snow Women. He took leather tunic, breeches, and boots, and a gray cloak of mousewith him his rebellious father’s sword, Graywand. skin that acts as a +3 cloak of protection. His weapons are his long, slim sword, Scalpel (1-6 damage +1), and his dagger, Cat’s In the city of Lankhmar, Fafhrd learned the art of thieving from his love, Vlana, and took up her vendetta against the powerful Thieves’ Guild. Fafhrd met the Gray Mouser during their simultaneous ambush of two members of the Guild, and they instantly knew each other for soul-mates. That same night the Thieves’ Guild murdered their beloveds, Vlana and Ivrian, through sorcery and Fafhrd and the Mouser, through their mutual revenge and grief, formed a bond that would last them through the greatest adventures ever known to the world of Nehwon. Fafhrd is nearly seven feet tall, broad-shouldered, and powerfully muscled. He has green eyes, a handsome face sur- 29 Claw (1-4 damage +1). Both weapons are +3 to hit. The Mouser uses both when fighting, and can throw Cat’s Claw with great accuracy (+3 to hit) at short range. He is also very adept with the sling, which he can fire very quickly and accurately (+3 to hit, 3 times per melee round). The Gray Mouser’s sometime tutor and sponsor is Sheelba of the Eyeless Face. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are sometimes sent to other worlds for the mysterious purposes of Ningauble and Sheelba. They are not adverse to a bit of adventuring on the side. Sheelba and Ningauble sometimes compete, putting the Mouser and Fafhrd on opposite sides, but the two heroes will never willingly harm each other. They may not always act in

 

concert, but they will never openly act at cross purposes on any serious matter. Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser will appear together 80% of the time. If only one appears, the other is not far behind and will show up in 1-10 turns. REFERENCE: Swords and Deviltry, Swords Against Death, Swords in the Mist, Swords Against Wizardry, The Swords of Lankhmar, Swords and Ice Magic (paperbacks, published by Ace Books). “Sea Magic” in The Dragon +11. All by Fritz Leiber. Edgar Rice Burrough’s JOHN CARTER OF MARS 30th level fighter ARMOR CLASS: 5 MOVE: 12”/36” (jumping) HIT POINTS: 158 NO. OF ATTACKS: 2 DAMAGE/ATTACK: Weapon (+10) SPECIAL ATTACKS: Radium pistol SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard ALIGNMENT: Lawful-good STRENGTH: 20 INTELLIGENCE: 14 WISDOM: 11 DEXTERITY: 18 (00%) CONSTITUTION: 19 CHARISMA: 18 (33%) HIT BONUS: +6 PSIONIC ABILITY: See below John Carter was originally an average earthman, but has become a sort of immortal, archetypal warrior; he can recall no childhood, just an endless series of wars and martial endeavors. He always seems to be physically about the age of 30. After serving on the Confederate side of the American Civil War, he went west as a prospector. Trapped in a cave by Indians and mortally wounded, Carter, on the verge of death, somehow psychically transported himself to Mars (or Barsoom, as it is known to its inhabitants). Mars’ gravity is only one-fourth that of Earth, so Carter instantly became the strongest humanoid on Barsoom, with a relative D&D strength of 20 (for game purposes, always treat John Carter as if he were on Barsoom, as this is his heroic environment in the novels). Carter freed Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, from the Green Men of Barsoom, eventually married her and became Warlord of Helium (and a good deal of the rest of the planet). Carter’s Mars is a world of paradoxes. Barsoom is a dry, dying planet, studded with abandoned cities and ancient races, falling gradually into barbarism. There is a universal code of honor for hand-to-hand fighting, which states that if one man draws a certain weapon for a duel, his opponent will counter with the same or a lesser weapon. Barsoomian fighters (including John Carter) are usually armed with a dagger (1-4 damage +10), short sword (1-6 damage +10), and long sword (1-8 damage +10). In addition, they carry a pistol, but this is rarely used save by cowards or in wars. Carter abides by the code of honor, and will respond with the same type of weapon he is attacked with (regardless of the number of opponents), unless he is attacked magically (which he may interpret as some sort of psychic attack). Then there is a 50% chance each attack that he will feel justified in using his pistol against the magic-user. This pistol contains five rounds, each doing 1-10 damage if they hit. All five rounds may be fired in one melee round. John Carter is about six feet tall with short black hair and gray eyes. Like all Barsoomians, he wears no armor; only a leather harness for carrying his weapons. His great strength enables him to move in giant leaps. He can jump up to 20 feet high, and leap right over the heads of his opponents. He will generally try to help anyone he thinks is in trouble, but if he is doublecrossed or finds out he has been deceived, he may go into a fighting rage, attacking everyone he can reach until all the miscreants have been punished. Honor in battle is exceedingly important to him. John Carter has long fought the Guild of Assassins on Barsoom, considering them honorless fighters. If he recognizes that a party member is an assassin, he will disarm him and force him to leave the party (for the party’s own good). He will give the assassin his own dagger so he has a fighting chance of reaching safety. Psionically, Carter has a permanent Tower of Iron Will; no one has ever broken it. Over the years he has honed his ability to teleport between worlds, and he is likely to show up anytime, looking for adventure. REFERENCE: A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, The Warlord of Mars, Thuvia, Maid of Mars, The Chessman of Mars, The Master Mind of Mars, A Fighting Man of Mars, Swords of Mars, Synthetic Men of Mars, Llana of Gathol, John Carter of Mars. (paperbacks, published by Ballantine Books) All by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Addenda: Kane’s hit points (from the previous issue of TD) should be 175, not 165. Also, note that exceptional percentages for 18s for other abilities than strength are given here for comparison purposes, and are not standard D&D or AD&D.

 https://deigames.com/collections/magazines

Covers of the Novels "Swords Against Wizardy" by Fritz Lieber, "Princess of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and "The Weirdstone of Brisingamen" by Alan Garner.

Here are the statistics for Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser from the accessory "Lankhmar: City of Adventure" by TSR. Illustrations by the amazing Jeff Easley.AD&D Stats for Fafhrd.

 

AD&D 2E statistics for the Gray Mouser.

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