Discussion in 'RPG Discussion' started by rossik, Apr 5, 2009.
Wonder if Luke could share with us some Melf stories, or any character he feels like too
Well, Melf had a very ignoble beginning in all actuality. I was running a solo adventure with my Dad at home- probably 1980. I din't know it at the time, but it was Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. I generated a 10th level Magic User for the adventure and had a flunky which I gave a silly name to because he was an NPC- Melf. Un fortunately my character was nabbed by security robots as I recall and stuck in a cell. That was the end of his career, but Melf managed to escape. That experience soured my desire to adventure in the Barrier Peaks, so I decided to play Melf and go explore the mysterious castle near the City of Greyhawk. I had months of fun exploring the first few levels of Greyhawk. I was stuck paying the toll all the time to the Elves, Dwarves or Ogre that controlled the known stairs down from the first level to the depths below. The dwarves took a portion of your gems or gold, the elves wanted a magic item and I believe the Ogre would negotiate for either one.
On one occaision I was down of the third level as I recall and I encountered a room with several wights. Of course, my Dad didn't tell me they were wights at first, they looked like zombies to me- which was not a big threat to an elf. Unfortunately I got hit and I believe I got drained a level- which I am sure meant 1 level from each class because Dad was a tough and stingy DM. I was alone and had depleted some of my spells, so I beat a hasty retreat. As I ran away along the corridor which shared a wall with the wight room, a door popped open and I had to dodge a hit from a wight.
Being a youngster and believing wights were not smart enough to operate a secret door, I assumed that I had hit a pressure plate or something that activated the door- a kind of trap for anyone fleeing the wights. Castle Greyhawk is full of tricks and traps. There are sloping passages, teleporters, slides, circular rooms that turn and cut off your way back, pits and dead-ends. I was pissed that these filthy wights had drained a level, so I devised a plan to kill them.
I went to Greyhawk and hired four men-at-arms and equipped them with large buckets of oil and torches. The plan was to hit both doors and drench the room in oil and burn them up. I got the crew in place and counted to three kicked open the rgular door and told the henchmen to step where I assumed a pressure plate located to open the secret door. Of course there was no plate- it was a regular secret door that the wights opened. I made a nice wall of fire in the main door and burned up a wight or two. The remaining couple wights jumped out of the secret door and attacked the men-at arms. I managed to kill the remaining wights and only one of the men-at-arms died. I believe I poured holy water on his wounds immediately to stop the transition to undead.
Of course most of the treasure was destroyed in the fire and the gold was melted in slags with the silver and copper. So it was worth much less, the potion bottles burst and any scrolls, valuable tapestries etc were destroyed. But I did find a +2 magic sword! That was a major find for a mid-level character in Greyhawk.
I took the corpse of the man-at-arms to a cleric and paid big bucks to have a resurrection done. I felt bad because I messed up the plan and got this 0 level guy killed. I happen to have some of the worst luck rolling dice and it struck in this instance. I rolled a 90 something and the poor guy failed his system shock and was irrevocably dead! My Dad laid it on thick, a crying wife and kids etc. So Melf was not deterred by this yurn of events. I sought out a Druid and sacraficed additional treasure to have the man-at-arms reincarnated. This time my dice did not do to badly. He was reincarnated as a halfling. And we used the lengthy NPC personality charts to develop him. I decided to name him Biff- since he was a halfling sidekick. He was Melf's companion from that point forward (Fighter/Thief that eventually made 5/9). He was fanatically loyal due to the efforts I made to bring him back to life and the fact that I always split him in for full shares of treasure. Of course my Dad only gave hin 1/2 experience earned because he was an NPC flunky- so effectively 1/4 exp in each class. Very slow progression. Biff was also a morose personality and pessimistic. So it gave my Dad great joy to grumble and complain through Biff during our future gaming sessions.
So there you have the origins of Melf. Next time I will talk about the Village of Hommlet and how Melf became Melf of the Green Arrow.
Great story on the origin of Biff.
I've compiled a few Melf bits on my boards. If you get a minutem give them a read and let me know if anything is incorrect. There some other Greyhawk info there too.
http://doomsdaygames.proboards.com/inde ... thread=172
A touching story, Luke: how old were you when you were trying to bring this zero-level guy back to life? Many an older player would have simply shrugged and left him dead, but you created a notable NPC through Melf's charity
You should send that story in to Knights Of The Dinner Table--it would be perfect for their Tales From The Table page.
Where's that story of Melf of the Green Arrow, Amigo?? Greg Timm
What he said! Some of us junkys need a fix...
I didn't mean to keep you waiting this long. I promise that I will post up the story soon. I am working on planning gary Con II right now. And I need to get the pre-reg up soon!
Luke, did Melf ever build a stronghold and put together an army?
No. As I mentioned before, my Dad was a scrooge when it came to rewarding players with treasure and when I did get some gold and gems stashed, I had to pay for training in order to level. I had a design laid out for a triangular castle and tall wizardly tower in the center, but I did not build it while actively playing Melf in my Dad's Greyhawk campaign. It would have taken a couple years of game time to complete and required a bit of playing time to find the proper spot, claim the land by clearing it of any powerful creatures, hiring the various craftsman and laborers to do the work etc.- have you ever read any of my Dad's campaign resource books? There were whole game sessions consumed by shopping for supplies when he was working on that sort of thing! Also, Dad stopped playing D&D very much after 1986 or so. I played an early version of Dangerous Journey after that time and them LA later on.
I did use Melf as an NPC in my own campaign and of course he had built the keep.
He must have gotten stingier than the days when Tenser and Robilar were building their strongholds. And Mordenkainen’s Obsidian Citadel was like a town.
Or maybe being neutral just paid a lot better than being good.
Out of curiosity, was the creation of Melf's Acid Arrow spell tied into Melf's Green Arrow title?
Inquiring minds want to know!
Not so much. The acid arrow concept came about after Melf got hit with some acid and took continuing damage that interrupted spell casting. I thought that was pretty cool and so I wanted a means to reach out and cause foes the same problems :evil:
Melf got a +4 magic arrow while adventuring in the Village of Hommlet and I thought that was pretty cool- I was maybe 10 or 11 at the time. So I adopted the moniker Melf of the Green Arrow. I made a green arrow my symbol- on my shield and signet ring etc. I even used the green arrow symbol in the first level of the Greyhawk dungeon when I set up a competing business to the Elves, Dwarves and Ogre that controlled the known stairs down to the deeper levels. I even tried to convert the Ogre to good- he was of a nuetral alignment which is why I did not attempt to slay him outright.
the funny thing is I only attemted to use the arrow once- against Lareth as I recall. I had him beaten and he was fleeing for his life. I was out of spells and so I figured one good arrow will bring him down- yes, victory is mine. But fortune being as it is (especially for my die rolling), I shook the 20 sider and let it rip- only to roll a 1. That's right a 1. Automatic miss! The only good part is that the arrow made its save vs crushing blow and I was able to retrieve it. My bad die rolling is legendary. My LA character, Strix Tanager, could only miss on a 96-100 when equipped with his magic sword. I think I rolled that atleast twice per game session!
And...what about the famed Melf, himself? For those of us that might take From the Ashes with a pinch of dust of disappearance...
...what of his actual stats? Say, to begin with, and later on? He appears to be NG, but...HP? Magic items (both to hand nad items once owned but 'stolen' by that nasty DM you had)? Just curious to know the stats behind the pointy ears.
Indeed, I too, wish to know the stats behind Melf. Do you still have a character sheet? If so, would you be willing to scan it and put it up for us to see?
I think I have a couple old Melf character sheets that I could scan- although I am a bit hesitant to reveal my stats. It will be harder for me to tell tall tales later
Melf was a NG Elf (Gray) Fighter/M-U. Original stats were (from memory)
I will post up a "character sheet" (lined paper is what I generaly used) if I remember and time permits.
Very cool. I look forward to seeing the character sheet. Although, had I PC of such notoriety in the gaming world, I might save him for some masterpiece adventure as an NPC... But, please, by all means, post him here and now!
Hey Luke, I was wondering if you could clear up some confusion on how Melf gained Zagyg's Spear. I had always been under the impression that he found it in the Greyhawk Dungeons, in a haystack while it was needle size, but you've made several posts that suggest you gained it during the Tsojcanth adventure. Where was the spear found?
That is a long story but the short answer is I contacted Zagyg at the end of the Tsojcanth module under - ummm- unusual circumstances. He transported me to another plane where there was a haystack (regenerating- if divided it grew to 2 equal size stacks!) and told me to find the needle hidden therein. I was in a loincloth and had no tools. The area was surrounded by a high wall with no means of egress and i had no spells or spellbooks available. I found the needle eventually. And that needle was the Spear in one of its many sizes...
Out of curiosity, not just for Melf but for all your characters (such as Stryx in LA/LE).
How many spells/castings/magic items did you actually create yourself and how many were created by your dad "as inspired" by you. I ask because in "Leomund"'s case, some of those were developed by LL and others were developed by Gary, as LL admitted a while back.
Separate names with a comma.