|The re-created character of Tryon the Elf|
Tryon the elf was my very first Dungeons & Dragons character. I rolled him up at a friend's birthday sleepover in 1982 - the night I first learned to play D&D. The entire concept of a roleplaying game was entirely new to me then so I'm sure I had no idea what I was doing. Most of the other boys did know however, and guided me through the process. Today, I have no way of knowing exactly what that character sheet really looked like. Unfortunately, the original met its demise around 1987 or '88 when I decided that I was much too cool to play D&D anymore. Tryon's stats, weapons, and armor on that magical first night are lost to memory and time. All I truly remember about that first character was the class (elf) and the name.
After finishing the character's stats and buying equipment, I was prompted to choose a name but I was at a complete loss. As a boy I had always been interested in anything related to medieval times or outer space so I certainly had the imagination to pick a good one. But for some reason I remember drawing a complete blank. How could I come up with a name (which was obviously an important life decision at the time) on the spur of the moment? When the others grew frustrated at my indecision, I was forced to make a final decision. I blurted out the first thing that came to me: Tryon.
|NC Governor William Tryon - an early elven ancestor?|
To this day I have no idea where the name came from. At the time, the name meant absolutely nothing to me. Perhaps it was a subconscious decision forced on me by the others urging me to "try" to come up with something. Or maybe I had heard the word at some point in my life and it came bubbling to the surface unbidden and unlooked for. The second possibility may be the most plausible. I found out a few years later when taking North Carolina state history in school that there was both a governor (William Tryon 1765) and a town (located in Polk County) with the name. Most likely it was pure coincidence though. I was only 11 at the time so hearing of the historical governor or knowing of the town (which was clear on the other side of the state from where I grew up) was highly unlikely. Whatever the origin of the name, Tryon was my first character and he lived to go on many adventures and luckily survived each and every one.
|The picturesque town of Tryon, NC. Perhaps the Caves of Chaos lie in the mountains behind?|
I can't even begin to pretend to remember much about that first character. As mentioned above, the name and class where the only clues I had to go on. So instead of blindly trying to re-create Tryon, I simply rerolled the character using the Moldvay basic rules that would have governed his creation thirty-two years ago. In doing so, I went by the book except for two deviations. I vaguely remembered our old house rule for rolling stats and used that method rather than rolling 3d6 in proper order. Tryon's abilities were generated by rolling 3d6 seven times and discarding the worst result. The scores were then assigned to the abilities in any order desired. I don't know how good Tryon's stats would have been way back then but I was very pleased with the results this time around. A 15 was the highest roll but I was fortunate enough to roll it three different times. My lowest roll (not counting the 7, which was discarded) was an 11. It seems that the new Tryon is a very well-rounded elf.
The second deviation was dealing with hit points. Even after being away from the game all these years I remember how deadly the combat was. So instead of relying on fate to give me a good score, I once again enacted an old house rule and maxed the character's hit points which resulted in a score of 7 (+1 for the constitution modifier).
The rest of the character was created by choosing equipment and spells as an 11 year old boy might have done. I may not have chosen wisely (which was the point), but the character still looks pretty good to me. I'm completely guessing here, but I think that this version of Tryon would look remarkably similar to the Tryon that first entered the Caves of Chaos thirty-two years ago.
|Rolling lucky tonight.|
Name: Tryon Class: Elf
Level: 1 XP: 0
Armor Class: 4 HP: 7
Str: 15 Armor: Chainmail, Shield
Int: 15 Weapons: Longsword, Longbow
Dex: 15 Spells: Magic Missle
The process of re-creating Tryon was quite fun. To relive the full experience, I only used items that would have been available to me on that night so long ago (minus the tent and flashlight of course). I haven't written in pencil in ages. I had a hell of a time simply finding one in the house to use. Wide ruled filler paper was even more difficult to find. I had to drive to the local office supply store to find something that wasn't college ruled. They had only one pack left. The only easy part were the dice. Yes, those are the original dice. Nasty looking, are they not? They survived the great RPG purge of '88. Maybe they have disintegrated to the point that they roll unfairly thus giving me a distinct advantage with my ability scores. In that case I am glad I kept them. I think I will clean them up a bit and find a white crayon to fill in the numbers again.
Now that Tryon the elf is alive and well it is time to take him on an adventure. I think I will try a solo adventure first to test drive the rules and refamiliarize myself with an old friend. Then it's off to the Keep on the Borderlands to resupply and maybe hire a few henchmen before venturing into the Caves of Chaos.
Posted: Adventuring Companions Needed. Contact Tryon the Elf for Details.
I'll leave you with a few questions to ponder:
* Do you remember the name of your first character?
* If so, how was it chosen? Is there any meaning behind the name?
* Do you still have your first character sheet?
* Do you think my method of rolling ability scores is unfair?
* Hit points...max them out or let fate decide?
Remember that comments and participation are always welcome on this blog. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for reading!