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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sidetracked!


I have spent the last couple of days contemplating ideas for D&D Tom Edition. I did some brainstorming, and realized that what I will probably end up with is basically 3.5E, with some modified rules from previous editions, and a few ideas of my own. In the end, it will probably be my own entry into the OSR craze that hit a few years back (Pathfinder, Castles & Crusades, etc.). So, yeah, I'm behind the curve. No worries, though. It's not like I am doing this on a publication schedule for a major company. I'm just one geek playing with his toys.

But, more on that in future posts.

Today, I am going to talk about someone who is near and dear to me. And in so doing, I am going to do that thing that all D&D nerds do, but that we all hate when others do it. I'm going to talk about my favorite character.  (If you're not interested, get out now.  I will completely understand.)

In the beginning...
Some time around 1985-86, my friend, his sister, and I decided to start a D&D campaign using the Expert Set. As I recall (it's been years since I had those books in my hands, so I could be misremembering), this set introduced the idea of Half-Elves in D&D. So, I made a half-elf fighter named Tomos.

Though visually Tomos was initially based on the Marvel Comics character Longshot, he was an idealized version of myself. His stats were phenomenal (and honestly rolled), and I have never truly matched him in that area since (though I occasionally come close). By the end of that short campaign, he was 5th level. I'm pretty sure we fudged the XP rules, but whatever. He was the highest-level character I had ever had at the time.

First Upgrade
Jump forward to my Senior year (1987-88). The old friend has graduated and his family has moved away.  That year I reconnected with some friends who I met in 8th grade, but who had left and come back three years later (it should probably be noted we were all Air Force brats living on Kadena AFB, Okinawa). They played AD&D, and had middle-level characters. We decided to start a campaign together, and they wanted to use those characters. So, I dusted Tomos off, since he was the only one even close to their level, converted him from OD&D to AD&D, and went gallivanting around Oerth with Panthrus, human ranger, and Styol Ganthral, elven fighter/magic-user.

The very first Conan
book I ever read.
About this time I was deep in the throes of my budding love of Conan and Robert E. Howard. So, when I converted Tomos to AD&D, and his 18 Strength became 18/90 (the strongest a half-elf could be in AD&D), I naturally started thinking of him as Conan with blond hair and pointed ears. But, he also had a 17 Charisma, and since we were using Unearthed Arcana, his Comeliness came out to be 19. So, he was a VERY attractive and pretty Conan. That's when his personality took off in my mind. He soon became an amalgam of Conan and D'Artagnon.

That campaign got him up to 9th level, and I had much fun with his Vorpal bastard sword (treasure from his very first campaign), with which he was Double Specialized (UA...you do the math). I had decided that Tomos had spent much of his amassed fortune on a ship, and was now a seasoned sailor and ship's captain. That worked well, since the adventure took place on an island, and it provided a neat way for the three characters to meet (they hired my ship).

Back from obscurity
I drew this in the early 90's.
Skip forward a few more years. I'm graduated and completely out of touch with all of my old friends from high school. But, I still have Tomos' character sheet. Somewhere around 1990-91, I'm in the Army at Ft. Bliss, TX, and I get the 2nd Edition books. Not having anyone to play with at the time, I proceeded to convert Tomos to 2E just for shits and giggles. Not much effort there, but I made some cool additions (remember fighter followers at 9th level?). I eventually found people to play with. But, sadly, I never played Tomos in that edition.

Cameo appearance
Jump forward again to the late 90's. I'm out of the Army, living in Salinas, CA. 3rd Edition comes out, and I jump in with both feet. Found a group through the FLGS, and started playing. After a while I get an idea. I convert Tomos to 3E, and run him in a short game that lasted all of one module. I'm not even sure he leveled beyond 9th. And it was the last time I ever saw him as a D&D character.

Fiction
Tomos has stayed with me through the years, usually as a character I planned to write fiction about (I wrote one complete story on my first PC, but lost it in the course of several moves). I would also imagine him meeting famous characters from Forgotten Realms, like Drizzt Do'Urden, where he had ported to for 3E. Of all of my characters over the years, Tomos Elvenblood (he picked up that none-too-imaginative surname somewhere around 2E) has always been very special to me.

The Future is Now
But something is missing.  I have yet to convert him to 4E. Why would I do this, when I have stated that I don't even like that game? Because I can. And because I'm a dorky completist. And because Tomos is my variation of Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion. There is a half-elf named Tomos in every fantasy world where half-elves exist, as far as I'm concerned.  I would even venture to say there is some Tomos in Hida Gotetsu, my long-running L5R character.

So, what is the point of all of this you may ask (assuming you stuck with me through this trip down memory lane)? Well, I have downloaded character sheets from every edition of D&D, and I have decided to re-create Tomos for each one. The old character sheets are long gone, but I have a 3E version as an Excel sheet, so I will use that as the basis. I think this will be a fun exercise. It will require me to go through my old books, and maybe even find a copy of the Basic and Expert Sets (if possible). I think I still have them somewhere, but I can't be certain.  He may not be exactly as he was in previous editions, but he should be pretty close.

Either way, it will be fun to sit down for a long visit with an old friend and comrade.

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