D&D 30 Day Challenge — Day 8

Favorite Character You Have Played

Morgan, AD&D fighter, who wasn’t the first character I ever played but was the first character who stuck around long enough to become important to me. This was 1982, and he was modeled after the character Travis Morgan from Mike Grell’s The Warlord. Not specifically for the look (and my version always favored chain mail; the spandex-and-loincloth wardrobe range that the comic version sported never did much for me), but for the ethos of the character.

The Warlord was Grell's take on the classic modern-warrior-in-a-barbaric-world trope that went back to Edgar Rice Burroughs. However, in place of the detached-hero-of-destiny archetype in the John Carter of Mars vein, Grell made Travis Morgan a resolutely human warrior, carving him out of equal parts violence and morality. Morgan could hack his way through a cadre of enemy lizardfolk with Conan-like ease, but when he was done, he would talk about how his purpose as a warrior was more than just the base pursuit of blood and gold. In an oft-heard refrain, Morgan spoke of a world in which the credo of the strong wasn’t “Might make right,” but “Might for right,” and that changed my view of the world.

(It’s a simplistic philosophy, to be sure, but I was in high school; cut me some slack.)

For me, translating Morgan from the comic to the world of D&D as I did, that credo and the ethos it was built on perfectly exemplified the core tenets of neutral good, which has always been my favorite and default alignment. Ultimately, Morgan as I played him had only a few things in common with the comic character. But that sense of characters fighting not just for gain and glory, not for crown or country, but for a better world and a greater personal purpose became a key component in the way I like to play D&D, and in a lot of the professional fantasy world-building that’s followed it.