Friday, October 21, 2011

A Paladin in Hell

I was inspired by the last few days of discussion and decided to do a little homage to one of my favorite pieces of D&D art, not just in the PH but in the whole history of the game. Of course, you might notice that my version of the paladin is not wearing full plate, but is rather modeled after the Varangian Guard — an elite unit primarily made up of Norseman who served as the personal guard of the Roman Emperor in Constantinople from approximately the 10th-14th century (and who had a chapel in the City dedicated to St. Olaf). This, in part, explains the axe (along with the fact that I just dig fighters who use non-sword weapons).

In addition, according to the cosmology of 1e AD&D, this battle-to-be should be taking place in the Abyss, not in Hell (given that Demogorgon is a demon, not a devil); however, from a Christian perspective, there isn't any distinction between the two. If it matters to you, I suppose you can call this one A Varangian in the Abyss...


  1. Great piece, but where does it come from. I don't recall it.

    And, yeah, non-sword weapons are all-too rare treats.

  2. That's lovely, but then I have a strange interest in the Varangian Guard.

  3. Why is it everyone in the OSR a better artist than me....

  4. From the Wikipedia entry on the Varangian Guard:

    "There are countless stories of the Varangian guard either drinking in excess or being drunk. ... It is not surprising, therefore, to find a 12th century description of them as "the Emperor's wine-bags.""

    Perhaps an alternate understanding of Hell in this drawing might be "splitting headache".

    Not to cast them in a negative light. It would be an amazing thing to have a first hand account of the life of one of those men.

  5. @mike@Anthony@James

    Thanks for the kind words.

    I have a strange interest in the Varangian Guard.

    You and me both.


    I know humility is a virtue, but I have seen your stuff. Lying is not becoming....;)


    To be fair, soldiers of all stripes have historically been known for their love of drink (check out any film about WWI pilots, for example). But I agree, the Varangians are fascinating.

  6. Exceptional work. Thank you for sharing it. Very evocative!

  7. "A Varangian in the Abyss." I love it! Nice bit of work.