Thursday, March 25, 2010

William (the) Flayer

In my search for appropriate miniatures for my Dwimmermount campaign, I came across the following image on the Reaper Miniatures forum:

It's an old Grenadier gnome illusionist from a set called "Specialists." I remember it well because it was used by a player back in my old campaign for his gnome illusionist with the seemingly ridiculous name of Illusium.

Well, truth be told, Illusium is a ridiculous name, but there's a story behind it. You see, my friend, who also played Morgan Just, would often tire of his current character and create new ones. He'd grab some dice, roll them, and see what he got. In this case, he rolled up a character with high Strength, Intelligence, and Dexterity, but low Wisdom and Charisma. So my friend decided that he'd create a burly, cruel human illusionist whom he named William (the) Flayer. He called him this because William, you see, liked to keep trophies of his defeated opponents, chiefly scalps, which he then used to terrify and intimidate NPCs who got uppity.

Scalping wasn't William's only peculiar personality trait. He also had a pathological -- and inexplicable -- hatred of gnomes. I suspect my friend added this trait as a way to emphasize that he was unlike his other characters, some of whom were gnomes. Anyway, Fate did not smile upon William, who was slain during an adventure. The party lacked a cleric but had a druid with them (formerly a magic-user who'd foolishly used a wish to "gain the ability to cast druid spells" -- naturally, I turned him into a druid of equivalent XP). Said druid cast reincarnate on William, bringing him back as, you guessed it, a gnome.

William was so distraught over this abominable turn of events that he immediately tried to kill the druid. He failed, thanks to the other characters' stopping him, and fled into the woods. When he returned, he used the pseudonym Illusium to hide his true identity and mask his shame at becoming a hated gnome. After that, my memory is fuzzy as to what happened to Illusium, but I suspect, like many sociopathic characters, he eventually became evil and a villain in the campaign. Regardless, it's funny how seeing that picture brought back all these memories.


  1. I have a theory that one of the reasons rpgs are popular is because of their capacity to generate narratives of potent mythic resonance seemingly randomly. William's tale is a beautiful example of this.

  2. Yeah, doesn't take much to bring back the memories of wild turn-of-events from past games.

  3. Awesome story.

    I've thought that spells like Resurrection and Reincarnate should be banned from the game, but now I see that they do have some great entertainment value.

  4. Great story, and a great figure.

  5. Wow, I just bought that figure off of eBay within the last week or so and was gonna write him up. See, there's a Grenadier that's just like him, but billed as a Gnome with flail (there's a dangly bit on the end of the staff in the other miniature). I've always thought the marketing of the two a bit of a novelty.

  6. ok, here's the other one:

  7. This is story. Bloody, solid meat of story, drama and adventure.

    Great stuff.

  8. Chello!


    It's like the gazebo story...every group has one. In our old group in the late 80s/early 90s, we had a charcter who hated dwarves and was reincarnated as a dwarf. He slit his wrists screaming the whole time, "I don't wanna to be a dwarf! I don't wanna be a dwarf!"

  9. That's funny! I'm the person that painted that miniature! Glad I got to take somebody down memory lane!

    Mark aka Moonglum aka antautunut