Before you can have an adventure, you have to create your character. Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Supers Named For D&D Races!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and that sadistic little cartoon weirdo Dungeon Master, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN SUPERS NAMED FOR D&D RACES!
Part of a multimedia album/comic/maybe movie created by Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour, ‘The House of Gold & Bones’ begins with The Human awakening in a strange alien world. Haunted by the ghost of something that may be his evil twin, he searches for meaning in lyrical, but not entirely coherent fashion, ending with his death, perhaps. It’s a fitting way to go, given the tendency of humans in Dungeons and Dragons to serve as a sort of baseline, not the strongest or the smartest or the fastest, but pretty good across the board.
Most of the players are human in real life, after all…
The graceful, otherworldly elf is a staple of nearly every edition of D&D, using their connections with nature and extended lifespans to blah blah blah everybody loves Legolas. Able to live hundreds of years, eschewing the silly mortal concept of sleep and generally getting a bonus to intelligence, they also give their name to a young mutant member of the Xavier Institute. Little is known about Natalie Wood (yes, that’s apparently her real name), including what mutant powers Elf had, if any, as this panel seems to be her entire publication history.
She is confirmed to have been depowered on M-Day by The Scarlet Witch’s tampering with reality.
Traditional dwarves in D&D are also long-lived, but hardier than their elven counterparts. They’re known for their stonework, as well as their courage and toughness. The Dwarf, by contrast, is all about the brains, using his genius intellect to commit nigh-impossible crimes for personal profit. His hideout was disguised as a mundane apartment building, but all the tenants were in fact robots under his command.
I’ll be honest, his whole schtick and look says more elf than dwarf to me.
Tiny and enthusiastic, the traditional D&D gnome seems to owe a lot to Tolkien’s description of hobbits. Another long-lived race, they are usually less than four feet tall and gain a boost to their intelligence as compared to a baseline human. Oddly enough, Grant Arden is both the tallest and the most laid-back of The Elementals, a group of humans who were possessed by mystical creatures. Now imbued with the power of the earth itself, Gnome and his teammates aided the Super Friends in a couple of adventures circa 1978.
Of course, it’s the halflings that REALLY feel like hobbits in the traditional sense, generally drawn to tranquility and peaceful settlements. They’re also small creatures, and tend to be practical (again, depending on the edition), using their heightened dexterity to go unnoticed among larger creatures. The size-shifting hero called Halfling is a member of The Bastions, a team seemingly as focused on marketing as on heroics, at the cost of their souls.
Literally… it gets pretty dark.
One of the playable D&D races in Fourth Edition, at least, the pixie is a tiny winged creature of the Feywild. Being of fey origin, they can apparently communicate with animals and have the ability to shrink as an encounter power. Their namesake superhero was a member of The Front Line during the nebulous 60s/70s/80s time frame outlined in ‘Marvel: The Lost Generation’, and is in fact one of the secret race known as The Eternals. As such, she has their usual flight, strength and psionic powers, but also possesses “pixie dust” which can temporarily turn creatures to stone.
Though usually seen as a monster, goblins are viable player races in some versions of D&D, with enhanced constitution and dexterity, though again at the cost of being less than four feet tall. As a consolation prize, though, they can see in near darkness, albeit in shades of gray. Also appearing in shades of gray is The Goblin, the superhero form of Cleon Jones, a young man from Harlem. After encountering a lost mystical tome, Cleon is able to transform into a blue-skinned super-strong human, focused on protecting his particular inner city neighborhood from threats both mundane and freaky-deaky.
Another D&D race usually encountered as a monster, orcs are strong, tough and not the brightest bulbs, in most cases. Their enhanced physicality leads to a shorter lifespan than your average human type, but I’ll tell you from experience they are a lot of fun to play. As for the heroic version, Orc is actually named for the Orcinus orca or killer whale, and serves with the Ocean Force under the command of Captain Nauticus. He, too, is big, strong and a little bit dim, but underwater!
Speaking of underwater, the triton race in Dungeons & Dragons is a sort of underwater elf, known for their haughty ways and lack of patience with the surface-dwellers. Imagine if Namor The Sub-Mariner was an entire society, and you’ve basically got the gist, I believe. Triton of the Inhumans is part of the Royal Family and brother to Karnak, who is neither scaly nor green. Triton’s unique physiology and abilities came after exposure to Terrigen Mist as a child, as with most Inhumans. Sadly, Triton was killed by the voice of Black Bolt, keeping us from knowing for sure if his true name was Tripagar Tonagon.
Humanoid creatures with quasi-lycanthropic powers, shifters are sometimes known as weretouched. They aren’t full-on shapeshifters, in most case, but can take on a totemic animal force that gives them enhanced abilities like claws, teeth, thick skins or cat-like traits. In some versions, they have no central culture, instead, making their home among humanoid settlements. As for the heroic Shifter, he is Nick Stevens, a friend of Christopher King who successfully borrowed his H-Dial to become a hero of his own. In fact, thanks to Shifter’s ability to become OTHER heroes, Nick became FOUR superhumans, including Napalm, Freeze Demon and Purple Haze.
This week’s Ten Things topic, Ten Super Named for D&D Races is all me, but feel free to follow along and suggest your own @MightyKingCobra on Twitter. You can also check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, if only because I intend to create a superhero called Warforged tomorrow. Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!