Monday, April 5, 2010

TSR Worlds Annual 1 (Chapter 1 & 2)

Regular readers are aware that I have been recapping the Forgotten Realms comic book put out by DC and TSR in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  The last issue I recapped was Forgotten Realms Issue 14, which ended with Jasmine being captured by a lich version of Bluebeard.

The story is continued in the truly atrocious TSR Annual 1.  The annual was an attempt to cross-pollinate readers of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Dragonlance, and Forgotten Realms comics, as well as launch the Spelljammer comic book.  At the time, all it did was convince me that the other books were not worth reading.

Technobabble!  Or is that Spellobabble? The comic begins on Unipaxala, the peace asteroid (no, seriously).  Several of the Unipaxalain priests are attempting to negotiate with Meredith, the captain of a spelljamming vessel, to rescue a priest named Pax Ahlmuhn from the neogi.  She is reluctant until they throw in a Crown of Stars spacefaring helm.  They also convince her to take Pax Ahlmuhn’s nephew Tember with her so that Pax will know they sent her.

If you understood any of the above paragraph, you obviously played Spelljammer in the 80’s. 

Meredith, Tember, and her disposable crew take off in one of those neat dragonfly ships and mount a rescue attempt.  Much like Han Solo in the Empire Strikes Back, Meredith avoids their “sensors” by floating in a debris field until they are close, then following one of the larger neogi spider ships into the base.

Where is Boba Fett? Once there, Meredith sends her commando crew to find the priest while Tember and her guard the ship.  Things seem to be going well until Tember basically waves at some umber hulks, which causes them to destroy the ship.  The two rendezvous with her crew and Pax Ahlmuhn.  With their own transport destroyed, they set out looking for a new one.

Luckily for them, they stumble upon the legendary Spelljammer almost immediately.  More accurately, they stumble upon a mini-me version of the Spelljammer.  They make their way towards it when the neogi and their umber hulk slaves arrive and try to stop their departure.  The three characters who have been given names make it aboard the ship while the rest of the crew dies “heroically”.

That's what she said

Realizing they can’t outrun the neogi spider ships pursuing them, Meredith uses a phase door spell to duck into the nearest crystal sphere.  At this point the neogi conveniently disappear, never to be seen in the story again. 

Still, they need supplies so they land mini-me Spelljammer on nearby Krynn.  Meredith claims to be familiar with Krynn, so she inexplicably decides to stay behind and send young Tember out with a pocket full of jewels to buy provisions from town. 

While walking in a random direction through the jungle, Tember sees a bunch of goblins who have apparently run down a gazelle and killed it with their axes.  Seeing as he is supposed to buy provisions, Tember decides to hail the goblins. 

No, seriously. 

Tember is an idiot 

This goes about as well as you would expect, especially when he trips over his own feet and spills jewels everywhere.  Luckily for him, a bunch of elves with a furry fetish ambush the goblins.  Unfortunately, these elves don’t seem too keen on humans either, until an underdressed elf sorceress named Sulia shows up to stay the hand of the furries.

I didn't see that one coming

Apparently Sulia’s blind brother received a vision from the great pumpkin tiger spirit that they would find a stranger in the belly of “a great winged beast”.  Tember realizes they are talking about the mini-me Spelljammer and immediately agrees to take the heavily armed savages back to the ship.

Tember is obviously an idiot.

Along the way, the furry elves ambush a trio of goblins on a cart.  Luckily, the cart contains exactly the type of supplies Tember is looking for, so he exchanges the jewels for the contents.  Honestly, I wish that the furry elves had simply traded Tember some “magic beans” for the jewels, as that would make more sense and be in keeping with the characterizations so far.

Be werry quiet. We are hunting rabbits.

On the trip to the ship, Sulia reveals the reason she wants to see the ship is to prove that her brother’s visions are true prophesy.  Once this is proven, her brother Maraghiz will be able to take over as the shaman of the clan.  Well, at least according to her.  The furry elves seem to support the incumbent shaman.

Arriving at the ship, the natives are suitably impressed.  Even the furry elves have to admit that Maraghiz is the real deal.  Unfortunately, the furry elves decide they have to kill Sulia and Maraghiz in order to keep the incumbent shaman in office.

Never trust a furry elf

Ah, just like Chicago politics.

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright Before the battle can get interesting, Meredith surrounds the furry warriors with a wall of flame.  They then disappear from the story, never to be seen again.  Meredith does take some time to talk with Sulia and Maraghiz though.  Although Sulia and Maraghiz realize they can never return home, Maraghiz conveniently states he has had other visions of people who can help him.  The brother and sister team then wander into the woods, practically begging the reader to follow their further adventures in the Dragonlance comic book.

The group then decides to go to leave Krynn and travel to the Forgotten Realms.  If you want to know why, you will have to return for Chapter 3.

Thoughts

  • Reading this makes me appreciate Jeff Grubb and Rags Morales’ work on Forgotten Realms even more.
  • This pacifist light religion is boring in the way only a made up religion can be.
  • Tember is really, really annoying.  With apologies to Will Wheaton, Tember combines all the worst attributes of Wesley Crusher with the added bonus of being an idiot.  At least Wesley was smart enough to save the Enterprise when he needed to.
  • Is there some crossover between furries and Dungeons & Dragons fans that TSR felt was being underserved in the 80’s?  Because that is the only excuse for this story I can think of.

4 comments:

Scafloc said...

Don't forget Tember's mullet!

Honestly, about the only disagreement I have is that the Taladis "furries" were pretty well described in text long before the comic came out.

A Hero said...

@Scafloc - I can't believe I forgot to mention his mullet. My only excuse is that I was somewhat tired when I was finishing this post.

As for the Taladis "furries", you are right that it is probably unfair for me to blame the writer or the artist for their appearance. Regardless, I am obviously not a fan of the tiger headpieces.

Tim said...

what? but how can you not like Sulia's ability to put her ass out in any shot you see her in? that's a potent power she's got there! [/sarcasm] ^_~

honestly tho, there are always bad writers & artists in the world.. for every Frank Miller & John Romita Jr, there's a couple hundred chuckleheads that think they've got the chops to make it.

A Hero said...

@Tim - Sulia's ability to show off her assets pales in comparison to Kyriani.

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