Monday, August 25, 2008

The Real Ring of Gaxx?

My buddy Pat gave was clearing out his gaming mags and gave me, among other things, a copy of White Dwarf #69. For those of you who weren't around back in the day, White Dwarf wasn't always a Games Workshop house organ. It used to be a neat-o general purpose gaming magazine with lots of great articles for games like D&D, Traveller, and Call of Cthulhu. Issue #69 had a bit of a reputation due to its whips & chains cover:

Titillating!
But I actually want to talk about the inside front cover. Check out this ad:

There's a lot to take in here. A photo of Uncle Gary juxtaposed with an awesome Citadel-style illo kinda freaks me out, but in a good way. I don't think I've ever seen that before. And holy crap, who told Gygax to wear that sweater?

Dungeons get kinda damp, okay?  I don't want to catch foot rot because some pudding or ooze passed this way before me.
I love the pose on this Umber Hulk mini. I imagine him saying "Yo! Scrawny! Hit me with one more magic missile and I'm going to come over there and shove that wand where the sun don't shine!" And the tiny base for each foot makes it look like he's wearing flip-flops.

But now let's zoom in on Gary's right hand:


See the ring? To my eye that ring is displaying a coat of arms, specifically Argent, a Bar Azure, Three Lozenges Gules, a.k.a. three red diamonds on a white field with a blue horizontal stripe. How can I tell the color scheme from a black-and-white photo? How do I know those little dots are actually diamonds? Because I'm guessing we're looking at the same heraldry as seen here:


In the World of Greyhawk three red diamonds on a white field is the arms of the city of Fax, one of the minor city-states along the Wild Coast. Because of this, I always assumed as a kid that the fighter on the DMG cover was a lesser son of the House of Fax. I know the Fax arms because one of the books in the original World of Greyhawk boxed set had a bunch of coats of arms on the interior covers. I always thought that was a neat-o feature. Do any other settings (you know, besides Pendragon) go to the trouble to give you the arms of the various princes and potentates? I bet the heraldry for Encounter Critical knights would look like Chris Sims' family arms. (EC mailing list folk, get crackin'!)

Now keep in mind that I could be completely off base on my guess for that ring. All I'm really working with here is a gut reaction to a grainy photo and a lot of supposition. Does anybody recall seeing Gygax wearing a ring with a coat of arms on it?

Man, I'm tempted to do some googling to try and find someone online who sells rings with cute little heraldic shields on them.