Monday, September 3, 2012

Snarfquest: The Book

Amongst the fairly odd stuff I have in my gaming collection is this book:

Snarfquest: The Book by Larry Elmore
Price: $9.95 back in the day (1987)

Snarfquest is a comic strip drawn by Larry Elmore.

I always liked the Snarf comic strip in Dragon, especially the first arc - collected here. It starts with the elder of a village of zeetvah (a snouted, bat-wing-eared humanoid race) pronouncing that their leader is dead, and whichever warrior of the village does the most heroic deeds in the next year will be proclaimed king. So Snarf heads out from his village to seek his fortune. It ends a 100+ pages later with his return after that year.

Not to spoil it (much), he encounters everything from Hot Warrior Women to evil wizards to dragons to a robot during his trip. The world is pretty recognizably D&Dish, although you don't get a lot of the "standard" races or monsters. Snarf isn't particularly murderous and likes to get where he can by wits more than brawn or skill. That helps keep the story moving along well without turning into a series of comic book brawls.

Larry Elmore gets a lot of crap for "static" or "posed" looking pictures. That may be true for his heroic landscape type art, but it's not true for his comic strip style Snarf art. The art is detailed (it's Elmore!) but dynamic and fun. It just goes to show his posed stuff is on purpose, not the only way the man can illustrate.

The book also has stats for the important characters in AD&D and BX D&D. The stats are complete, although sometimes they're odd - results from the comics wouldn't happen in game using the stats for stuff like the "magic wand" that Snarf has.

Is it worth getting? Probably not. You can read the classic Dragon magazine Snarfquest strips starting right here. The extra strip is interesting, but it might be around somewhere (I haven't found it, but I haven't dug all the way through Larry Elmore's site either). It's not likely you'll really need to known Snarf's Con or Suthaz's level, either, so the stats are just interesting rather than useful. Still, it's pretty fun, so if you love Elmore or love the Snarf strips, it might be worth looking into.

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