Despite its reputation as something that its players take very seriously and often get obsessed with --- occasionally to the point of falling in with actual demons and casting a mind-bondage spell on your father to get the latest manuals --- Dungeons & Dragons tends to flourish when it embraces its silliness. I mean, even at its most dire, even when the fate of the multiverse is in the balance, it's still the same game that brought you that most fearsome product of magic gone mad, the Owlbear.
Unfortunately, the fiction that goes along with it doesn't always have the same kind of jokes that you get when you're rolling dice around the table. That's why I appreciated "Catspaw," a four-part story from 1989's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic, in which the cast of hearty adventurers falls all over themselves and screws up constantly as they try to recover a mystical artifact known as... The Moonpenguin.
I don't know about you, but when I play Dungeons & Dragons, I'm looking for a very specific kind of quest. Storytelling and character development are nice, but really, at the end of the day, I want an epic that's full of magic swords, dragons, and a threat so huge that it puts an entire kingdom --- maybe even an entire world --- in the kind of dire peril that can only be thwarted by stout-hearted heroes who aren't above lying about their dice rolls when they need to. In other words, I need something that's a little more intense than helping some dude recover from being cursed with tiny little baby hands.
But apparently, that is exactly what the gaming community wanted back in 1988, when Advanced Dungeons & Dragons devoted the entirety of its opening arc to one character's harrowing recovery from having his hands shrunk, a tragedy that drove him to drink, caused him to lose faith in his gods, and gave us lots of truly hilarious panels where he holds normal-sized objects that suddenly look huge.
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