Friday, March 29, 2013

Flashback Friday: Elfquest

Elfquest is something of an odd-duck for me.

What makes it so is there are a lot of mature topics and situations in Elfquest that utterly went over my head at the time. I didn't actually realize they were there until I went back and looked over some Elfquest stuff a few years ago after hearing about the possibility of a movie. To be fair, there were a lot of books and whatnot with mature themes I glossed over at that age. I had exhausted the children's section in the library by the time I was 10 and moved on to the science fiction in the adult section. I skipped over large parts in many books that were boring because I didn't quite understand or I was kind of weirded out.

I first read the Elfquest graphic novel at a Waldenbooks, probably in the 7th or 8th grade. A couple of years later I noticed the Elfquest boxed set at the local hobby shop and bought it. It was not my first encounter with Chaosium's Basic Role-playing system - the library had a smattering of roleplaying books and one of those was Runequest 1st edition, which I had checked out several times. That same Waldenbooks also had the boxed set for Runequest 2nd edition at some point, but I never bought it for some reason.

Anyway, Elfquest was pretty much standard BRP as far as resolution mechanics, stats, skills etc. The rules, examples and setting material were supported by generous use of panels from the Elfquest comics. The magic was customized for the setting, drawing from abilities seen in the Elfquest world - I don't remember all of them, but I do remember the Sending ability. On top of that, there were a lot of sample characters, including write-ups for almost every one of the original Elfquest characters. There were also descriptions of various other elf tribes (some of which didn't exist in the comics, and may never have existed), write-ups for various creatures, and some example scenarios. There was even a companion book with expanded rules and scenarios, and a sourcebook for Sea Elves. From what I understand, some of the material in the RPG was contradicted by later developments in the Elfquest comics, but I had long stopped following the series by that point.

My players hated this guy
The game was a radical departure from conventional D&D-style fantasy for me, and we played it for quite a while before moving on to other games. I staked out an area on the map of the World of Two Moons, created my version of The Holt and had the players roll up Wolfriders. Not having the standard fare of cities, towns, taverns, dungeons, etc. was challenging, but I remember we did all right. Most of the players had a good time with just roleplaying interactions between the characters, hunting for food, tricking humans and running from trolls. Having access to the Runequest hardback at the library I copied a lot of things out of it (usually by hand), and I want to say that the Broo made in an appearance in the game at some point. I have fond memories of tracing over and filling in the character outlines that came on the various character sheets. It was a good time, and while I'm sure the mechanics are probably a bit dated I'm sure for an Elfquest fan it would be a fantastic game.