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|Setting||World of Greyhawk|
In the World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game, Melf, also known as Prince Brightflame, is a grey elven archmage, and was originally a player character of Lucion Paul Gygax in Gary Gygax's home campaign. Melf is a native of the elven kingdom of Celene, and is recognized by many as the leader of the Knights of Luna.
In Gary Gygax's 1986 novel Artifact of Evil, Melf is also known as Melf of the Arrow. He seems to acknowledge that Melf is not his real name, but says "it is a simple name, as good as any."
Gary Gygax later recalled an incident during those early days of role-playing:
- "In punishment for crimes against nature, Melf was commanded to rise before dawn each morning for a year, [and] frolic merrily at dawn singing:
- When the sun in the morning peeps over the hill
- and caresses the rosebuds on my windowsill,
- my heart fills with gladness when I hear the trill
- of the birds in the treetops around any old hill.
- Tra-la-la, fiddle-dee-dee-dee,
- it gives me a pain to dance and sing this, must I do it again?
- Tra-la-la, fiddle-dee-dee-dee, there’s penance to do,
- how happy I'll be when it’s finally through!"
Melf is 5'8", 147 lbs, and about 200 years old (appearing in his late 20s in human terms). He changes his appearance from time to time, though he always appears as an elf. 1983's The Shady Dragon Inn describes his counterpart Peralay as "left-handed, blond, hazel-eyed, and large for an elf (5'8", 148 lbs.)." It says furthermore that Peralay's shield is decorated with "the hunting hawk symbol of his clan" and that his sword, Gnoll-Cleaver, was forged long ago by dwarves.
Prince Brightflame is a strong believer in mediation, diplomacy and open communication, and thus some believe him to be naive. Charming and urbane, Melf enjoys good food, culture, and agreeable persons of the opposite gender.
An ally of Mordenkainen and a former member of the Citadel of Eight, in Artifact of Evil Melf is said to have sworn fealty to Mordenkainen, and he carries the holy symbol of Fharlanghn. Melf is also a cousin of Queen Yolande of Celene. He has also been depicted as fighting side-by-side with Prince Olinstaad Corond of Ulek, presumably during a 586 counteroffensive to regain Principality lands lost to the Empire of the Pomarj during the Greyhawk Wars.
Although secretive and protective, Melf is on good terms with luminaries such as Kieran Jalucian, King Belvor IV of Furyondy, and the rulers of Dyvers, Highfolk, and the City of Greyhawk. He and Mordenkainen have much respect for each other, but the two do not cooperate, at least not anymore. The mayor of Highfolk town, Tavin Ersteader, is a former apprentice of Melf.
A Prince Archosian Brightflame of Celene is mentioned in Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. This other Prince Brightflame is more than 150 years older than Melf and currently a heroic general battling demons in the Abyss.
There is some apocryphal evidence that Melf and Warduke may know each other. In 1983's The Shady Dragon Inn (a Mystara-based supplement for Basic D&D), Warduke is mentioned as being a member of the same adventuring party as an elf named "Peralay," both of whom had action figures for TSR's 1983 toy line. The fact that the Peralay figure was originally released under the name "Melf" and Warduke's resurgence in Greyhawk continuity provide a topic of apocryphal interest.
Melf is responsible for developing such spells as Melf's Acid Arrow, Melf's Unicorn Arrow, and Melf's Minute Meteors.
Melf is known to have authored or co-authored the following works:
- Treatise of Universal Astronomy
- Weapons of the Ether (with Mordenkainen)
In 1983, a Melf action figure was released as part of LJN's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons toy line. However, the figure was eventually renamed as "Peralay."
- Stormberg, Paul J. (July 2002). "Thus Spake Gary Gygax: Ye Secrets of Oerth Revealed". The Oerth Journal (12): 8.
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (November 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Brown, Anne. Player's Guide (TSR, 1998).
- Gray, Michael L. Quest for the Heartstone. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1984.
- Gygax, Gary. Artifact of Evil (TSR, 1986).
- Heard, Bruce. "Spells Between the Covers." (Dragon #82 (TSR, 1984).
- Holian, Gary, Erik Mona, Sean K Reynolds, and Frederick Weining. Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (Wizards of the Coast, 2000).
- Mobley, Blake, and Timothy B Brown. Greyhawk Ruins. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1990.
- Mona, Erik, and Gary Holian. "Wheels within Wheels: Greyhawk's Circle of Eight." Living Greyhawk Journal #0 (Paizo Publishing, 2000). Available online: 
- Sargent, Carl. From the Ashes (TSR, 1993).
- Smith, Carl. The Shady Dragon Inn. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1983.
- Stark, Ed, James Jacobs, and Erik Mona. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2006. Page 149.