Murlynd

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Murlynd
Game background
Title(s) The White Paladin
Home plane Special, see below
Power level Hero-deity
Alignment Lawful Good
Portfolio Magical technology
Domains Good, Knowledge, Law
Superior Heironeous
Design details

In the fictional World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game, Murlynd is a minor deity. He began as a player character created by Gary Gygax's closest friend Don Kaye in 1972 for the second-ever session of the game that would become D&D. Kaye continued to play Murlynd in Gygax's nascent Greyhawk campaign, developing him as a crossover between swords & sorcery D&D and the Wild West. After Kaye's unexpected death in 1975, Gygax subsequently created a tribute to his friend by highlighting Murlynd as one of the unique characters of the world of Greyhawk. In later editions of D&D, Murlynd was elevated to deityhood, becoming the Oeridian god of Magical Technology.

Creative origins[edit]

Gary Gygax's childhood friend Don Kaye created Murlynd for the second-ever session of Gygax's Greyhawk campaign in 1972, rolled up on Gygax's kitchen table at the same time as Rob Kuntz's Robilar and Terry Kuntz's Terik.[1] Gygax later recalled that "Murlynd" was the first attempt by a player to make a creative name for a character; in the early days, most players—including Gygax himself—simply used their own name as a basis for their character's name. (Tenser = Ernest, Yrag = Gary, etc.)[2] Don Kaye was a fan of the Western genre,[3] and at one point during the early days of the Greyhawk campaign, Gygax had Murlynd transported to an alternate universe set in the Wild West. When Murlynd was eventually transported back the Greyhawk setting, he sported the Stetson, cowboy boots, Colt revolvers and stereotypical outfit of a cowboy. Although Gygax did not allow the use of gunpowder in his Greyhawk setting, he made a loophole for Kaye by ruling that Murlynd actually carried two "magical wands" that made loud noises and delivered small but deadly missiles.[4] (Many years later, Gygax created a similar item called "Kaydon's Thunderous Bolters" for the Lejendary Adventures role-playing system. Gygax made it clear that these items fired their six charges using magic, not gunpowder.)[5]

The game Kaye and Gygax were playing would become D&D, and Kaye would go on to help Gygax start up TSR. In late 1974, Kaye also helped develop the rules for a Western-genre game called Boot Hill. However, Kaye died unexpectedly in 1975. As a tribute to his friend, Gygax published Boot Hill in 1975 in memory of Kaye. In 1983, Gygax would pay additional tribute to Kaye's memory by referencing Murlynd in the published version of EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror, which also included the spells Murlynd's ogre and Murlynd's void,[6] and further highlighted Murlynd in the March 1983 issue of Dragon magazine.[7] The following year, Gygax paid further tribute to Kaye when he borrowed Murlynd's name for Murlynd's spoon, a magical spoon described in Unearthed Arcana that created a bad-tasting but nutritious gruel when placed in an empty bowl.[8]

When Gygax was forced out of TSR in 1985, he lost control of most characters he had used in TSR material, including Murlynd. One brief references to him was made in the 1993 sourcebook Iuz the Evil.[9] (He was mentioned in passing in Carl Sargent's sourcebook Ivid the Undying, but TSR cancelled that project just before publication, later releasing it as a computer file.[10]) Murlynd was not mentioned again in official material until Wizards of the Coast bought TSR and wrote a new storyline for Greyhawk. In Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins (1998), Murlynd was recast as the Oeridian god of Magical Technology,[11] and was also mentioned in the sourcebook Slavers (2000).[12]

Original Description in first edition D&D[edit]

In Gygax's Dragon article, Murlynd was described as a handsome Oeridian male with weathered features, clothed in worn leather and wearing a light-colored hat of a type unfamiliar to the Flanaess. A pencil illustration shows a stereotypical cowboy of the Wild West genre, wearing a Stetson and chaps, and holding two Colt .45 revolvers. His personality is described as aloof and taciturn, though he is quite personable among his allies. Murlynd is described as being dangerous only when provoked by evil beings. In addition to his pistols, which are simply described as a pair of wands in the shape of six shooters that shoot projectiles, Gygax notes that he is also proficient with longsword, battle axe, and crossbow.[7] However, Gygax describes Murlynd's origins as unknown.

Deityhood in second edition D&D[edit]

After an absence from all TSR material after Gygax's ouster from the company, the character was re-created as the deity of Magical Technology in WotC's new development of the Greyhawk campaign setting, Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins. His new deityhood is described in detail:

He was sponsored to godhood by Heironeous, and is described as being an ally of Celestian, Phaulkon, Zagyg, Keoghtom, Mordenkainen, and Heward, while Iuz is one of his fiercest enemies. (This is due to the fact that he aided Zagyg in imprisoning Iuz beneath Castle Greyhawk.) Murlynd dwells in a variety of unusual planes and demiplanes, moving between his various abodes as suits his mood.
Murlynd's priests, who are identified by his holy symbol, a silver-plated six-pointed star with rounded points, strive to uphold the virtues of law and good, and often work with the clergy of Heironeous toward this end. They use their knowledge of technology to aid the common man, and are encouraged to invent new devices and improve upon old ones. They work to destroy extremely dangerous magical or technological devices, and often find themselves working toward this end with followers of Phaulkon. They consider the book titled Murlynd's Early Adventures & Subsequent Ventures to be their holy book.[11]

Murlynd in third edition Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

Although Murlynd did not appear in any D&D material published by Wizards of the Coast for the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons, he was listed as a deity in RPGA's massively shared Living Greyhawk campaign that ran from 2000–2008.[13]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Gygax: The next day they played, and with their PCs were two new ones, that of Rob Kuntz and Don Kaye's Murlynd." "Gary Gygax: Q & A (Part VI, Page 9)". EN World. 2004-03-26. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  2. ^ Gygax: "In general most of the players, myself included when initially adventuring and not DMing, thought little of the PC's name, but more about what thrilling things would transpire. Thus my first character was named Yrag, and some of the younger fellows in the group didn't even name their PC. Don Kaye was a semi-exception with Murlynd. As I became a bit more engaged in the broader possibility spectrum of the game I did a more seriously considered PC [Mordenkainen]... That became common with most of the veterans in our group around that time.""Gary Gygax: Q & A (Part X, Page 14)". EN World. 2006-06-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  3. ^ Kuntz: "Don was a great fan of the Western and an avid supporter of the Boot Hill rules." "Robilar Remembers: Murlynd". Pied Piper Publishing. 2004-10-18. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  4. ^ Gygax: "The strange wands that Murlynd used made a loud noise and delivered a damaging missile, but neither effect was due to gunpowder. These were very rare magic items devised by Murlynd's arcane understanding of technology and how to make it function magically." "Gary Gygax: Q & A (Part IV, Page 13)". EN World. 2003-11-25. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  5. ^ Gygax: "The [Lejendary Adventures] game has an Extraordinary Item known as Kaydon's Thunderous Bolters, each weapon having six charges that renew after a relatively long period of time. They are not gunpowder weapons..." "Gary Gygax: Q & A (Part IV, Page 13)". EN World. 2003-11-25. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  6. ^ Gygax, Gary. EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror (TSR, 1983)
  7. ^ a b Gygax, Gary (March 1983). "Greyhawk's World: Four Uncharacteristic Characters". Dragon (Lake Geneva WI: TSR). VII, No. 9 (71): 19–22. 
  8. ^ Gygax, Gary. Unearthed Arcana (TSR, 1985)
  9. ^ Sargent, Carl (1993). Iuz the Evil. Lake Geneva WI: TSR, Inc. ISBN 978-1560765844. 
  10. ^ "Ivid the Undying". The Acaeum: Dungeons & Dragons Knowledge Compendium. Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  11. ^ a b Moore, Roger E. Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins (TSR, 1998)
  12. ^ Reynolds, Sean K., and Chris Pramas. Slavers (TSR, 2000)
  13. ^ Conforti, Steve (2005). Living Greyhawk Official Listing of Deities for Use in the Campaign, version 2.0. Wizards of the Coast. 

Additional reading[edit]