Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is Warduke

My first exposure to Dungeons and Dragons was through the toy line from LJN in 1982.  The first two figures I got were Warduke, the Evil Fighter and Strongheart, the Good Paladin.  This toy line fired my imagination and made me want to play DnD.  The closest I got was absorbing the Monster Manual at a local B. Dalton's.

Soon after, the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon began airing on CBS saturday mornings.  DnD, Thundarr, and Herculoids are my "holy trinity" of cartoons.  While I won't say that DnD or Herculoids stand the test of time (but Thundarr sure does), they are ingrained in how I think of fantasy and the fantastic.  They form a foundation for what action and adventure mean to me.  These cartoons are the root of my love for Science-Fantasy. My adventures should entertain and if I'm having a good session, not only get your brain working, but maybe let it work like it did when you were a kid for a few minutes.
To this day, its very hard for me not to give a group of new PC's, some cool magic item, like in the cartoon.  And how can you look at Warduke and not be inspired to produce a great villain?  You look at Warduke and you know he's not your friend and he's going to (try to) kick your ass.  If your lucky enough to defeat him, his whole outfit screams that he has sweet, sweet magic items.  Who doesn't want to wear that helmet?  Its got to give a bonus of infinity + 1 on Intimidate checks!

The best part of all of this, is that I still have my Warduke figure.  He's like a sacred talisman, and holding him let's me connect with my childhood.  It helps me remember what DnD felt like before I played it and reminds me how it should assualt my player's senses.  They should be able to see, smell, hear, taste, and touch my adventures.  Warduke let's me remember how to make that happen.  If your one of my players, blame his helmet.

I didn't actually play DnD for almost 10 years after my Mom bought me Warduke, but the first character I made was a Fighter.  His name was Garamond and he never got that helmet.

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