Part Three: My visual journey through the looking glass of the Basic D&D Red Box

Easley Elmore Jeff Easley Larry Elmore Red Box TSR

You know what amazes me? That I can only be halfway through the Players Manual when I’m already on Part Three of the Red Box art series! Seriously, how many pieces of art are in this baby? No, I’m not going to count, but when all is said and done it is a boatload.

So, when we last left off, I was talking about characters, the first of which was the Cleric, and in this section the art details basically all of the Human class characters for Basic D&D.

I well remember enjoying these a great deal when I attempted to play the game the first time. Sure, it was an epic fail in terms of how the game was actually played, but nonetheless I loved every damn second of it.

Also, it must be noted that ‘the picture that started it all’ for me is included in this piece, that being the ‘Sir Fleetwood’ sample Fighter class character done by artist Jeff Easley. It is the most powerful grounding piece I can personally name in D&D because it started my journey and was the impetus for my very first character, which of course I named Sir Fleetwood! In fact, on the back of this very book, half written in pen, and half ancient pencil, you can still find my original version of Sir Fleetwood.

Name: Fleetwood, Alignment: Neutral, Class: Fighter, Level: 4, Armor Class: 5, Hit Points: 19, Strength: 16, Intelligence: 14, Wisdom 15, Dexterity 12, Constitution 16, Charisma 14. I carried with me Standard Rations, Backpack, Torches, Sack, Rope, Tinder Box, Waterskin, Battle Axe, Short Bow w/20 Arrows, Two-Handed Sword, Mace, Leather Armor, Shield, Normal Dagger, and a Pole. My wealth included 10 Platinum Pieces, 11, 511 Gold Pieces, 51 Electrum Pieces, 8 Silver Pieces, and 91 Copper Pieces.

So there you have it, how I translated Easley’s image into something unique to me.

From the Fighter we move on to the Magic-User, and if you think I was having a hard time with the mechanics involved in running a Fighter, then you KNOW I wanted no part of a Magic-User! Let my friend Jason White run the M-U, or once I met my old DM Mark Timm, he could run the M-U, but they were not for me until much later in my gaming career.

The same can also be said for the Thief, not because the mechanics involved in thieves’ abilities were overly complex, but because of Easley’s portrayal of the class as a furtive and rat-faced old dude left me cold to the thought of them. I really hated this image on a purely inspirational level, and still do to this day, which is unfortunate because as I grew into the game some of my all-time favorite characters have been thieves.

Anyway, these are our images for today, so I hope you enjoy them and that they again bring back some great old memories.


And, as a special note to Brian, I'm very sorry I didn't include the Cleric's image in Part Two! :)

Artistic Rating: 6 [out of 5]

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  • Scott on

    See, Billy Idol gets it! :)

  • Murph1908 on

    Ha. Even today, when we try out a new game, you and Mark assign me to dive into and learn the magic system.

    And even your favorite non-thieves are thieves at heart (cough Suzuki cough).

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