Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser!
John Carter, Warlord of Mars!
Welcome to our continued exploration of The Dragon magazine series, Giants in the Earth. The second installment in this series was presented in The Dragon Issue 27 published in July of 1979. The artist for the delightful cover was Thomas Canty who went on to do the covers for a few more dragon magazines and many, many fantasy novels.
This article had three entries that will be familiar to almost anyone with even a passing interest in Swords and Sorcery fiction and a fourth that I myself had never heard of.
Part 1 of the Giant in the Earth series is located here.
The first entry is for two rogues that will be forever linked together. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser were created by Fritz Leiber and first appeared in print in 1939 in the story "Two Sought Adventure". They would appear in many more stories for the pulp magazine before they were collected into novels in the 1960s. These two characters epitomize early Dungeons and Dragons for me. They explored the fascinating world of Newhon, using their wits and sharp blades to stay a step ahead of gruesome death, often at the urgings of their sorcerous patrons, Ningauble of the Seven Eyes and Sheelba of the Eyeless Face.
I've also included their stats from a great Advanced Dungeons and Dragons accessory, "Lankhmar: City of Adventure" released by TSR. This accessory details the two rogues "stomping grounds". It's also a great setting and city. I actually use it for my Greyhawk City in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting. In my opinion it captures the pulp feel of the city better than the official TSR boxed set. Of course, I did cram much of the boxed set into Lankhmar as well. Can never have enough stuff in a city the size of Greyhawk.
The next entry is John Carter, Warlord of Mars. John Carter was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs way back in 1911. "A Princess of Mars", the first tale of Barsoom (Fantasy Mars) was published in 1912. The series eventually consisted of 11 entries. Shortly after the end of the Civil War, John Carter is transported from Earth to Barsoom (Fantasy Mars) and has many fantastic adventures.
I love the whole genre of characters falling asleep and being transported to another world. John Carter is one of the earliest versions of this in Western literature.
The last Giant in issue 27 is Durathror, a hero I am not familiar with. Authored by Alan Garner, the first book of Durathror's trilogy was published in 1960. The sequel, "The Moon of Gomrath" was published in 1963 and the final part was published in 2012! Wow. Is that a record for longest time in between novels in a series? I understand Mr. Garner was inspired by the folklore of his native county of Cheshire in North West England. I will have to check out these works one of these days.
In keeping with the tradition of Giants in the Earth, the authors broke many of the AD&D core rules. All the characters are multiclassed (despite most being being human) and Durathror is a Dwarven Paladin.
Here are the statistics for Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser from the accessory "Lankhmar: City of Adventure" by TSR. Illustrations by the amazing Jeff Easley.