Friday, April 13, 2012

Remembering a Shady Hero

Today is the birthday of a friend who is gone but never forgotten. The following tribute is reprinted from my Greyhawk Comic from a few years ago:

In Memoriam
Brian J. Kuebrich's

Drake 'Al Drak' Adair

"I do not rigidly control alignments, except in the case of priests. All the characters are decidedly shady but not evil. As long as the PCs can at least trust one another, then it doesn't matter what their alignments are. The lawful evil fighter in my group has shown many instances of paladinlike behavior toward the common man and even his foes. You don't wear alignments like a badge; your actions define your character.
In fantasy literature, the greatest heroes are what I term "shady". Elric, Conan, Fafhrd, and the Grey Mouser are all shady characters. Alignments never stopped any of them from doing the right thing in the end. The only recent characters from literature I can imagine fitting this description are Raistlin or Driz'zt. Why are the shady ones the favorites? They have more fun."


-My letter to the Forum pages, printed in Dragon Magazine #273


While Brian started out in our gaming group playing my old AD&D wizard Mortellan in 2nd edition, he is best known for his romantic fighter-rogue Drake Adair. Brian had a knack for roleplaying charismatic characters but he also wanted to play the 'Big Fighter' for once after so many years of being the spellcaster. Drake was not only the Big Fighter he eventually became the new benchmark for characters in my Greyhawk campaign as it entered 3rd edition and beyond to Epic level. Even after Brian died several years ago, his character Drake still held a certain gravitas even to other players who only heard of his exploits second hand.
                                                                       
Drake was just another adventurer until he rose to fame in the distant land of Ull, fighting in the pits under the nickname "Al Drak". After securing his freedom, Al Drak traveled with his shady fellowship (Hussan, Boz Shulun, etc.) questing for and against powerful entites such as Abi Dalzim, Tiamat, the Earth Dragon and the Elders of the Lost City. Returning to the Flanaess, Drake Adair changed his name to Vogan Esche to avoid his shady reputation. He eventually settled down in Radigast City to win the heart of Countess Belissica.

This easy royal life was not to last though as the higher powers called him to the outer planes for new quests and elevated him to Hero-God of Dragonslayers and Freedom. Drake's legacy lives on in the Flanaess through his growing religion and there is no dragon on Oerth who hasn't heard of Al Drak.


1 comment:

Mystic Scholar said...

Very nice, Mort. Thanks for sharing that with us.