Morgan Ironwolf is a legendary human adventurer.
Appearance and personality
Morgan Ironwolf is a heavily armed and equipped human adventurer.
At the beginning of her career, Morgan was depicted as a fair-haired woman wearing chain mail armor. However, later depictions appear to show Morgan as male, with dark hair and his left eye glowing green as if replaced with the Eye of Vecna.
This disparity has never been explained. As a cleric of a god of trickery, Morgan is able to the disguise self spell, and may disguise her appearance. Another possibility is that she wore a cursed girdle of masculinity/femininity, an item more commonly encountered by adventurers in the past.
Another theory holds that there are two legendary adventurers, both coincidentally named Morgan Ironwolf, and that they are often mistaken for one another.
Morgan's alignment has shifted several times. She began Lawful, before quickly shifting to Neutral during a dispute over the treatment of captives. In her later career she trained as a monk, which required her to be Lawful, and a paladin, in an era where that word referred only to those who were Lawful Good; yet she has also been a barbarian, whose methods are incompatible with a Lawful outlook, and even an assassin, which requires evil.
Her alignment is now Neutral, as befits a balanced character. She seems to care primarily about self-empowerment, rather than pursuing any particular philosophy of non-interference or balance.
Morgan is a cleric of an unknown neutral deity of Trickery and Travel. Known deities of compatible alignment whose portfolio includes both of these aspects include the Norse god Odin and the Faerûnian deities Akadi and Oghma.
Abilities and traits
At the beginning of her career, Morgan had very high Strength, and high Dexterity and Constitution, but poor Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. At her height, Morgan's physical and mental abilities reached the human maximum, presumably through dedication to personal improvement and copious use of magic.
Morgan's adventuring skills are broad, and she possesses deep knowledge on a wide variety of topics.
Morgan is both a sorceror and an acolyte-level cleric. Her spells are heavily geared toward her profession of adventuring.
Morgan speaks Common as well as Abyssal, Draconic, Infernal and Undercommon.
As a career adventurer, Morgan may travel a great deal and have no permanent home. Her original homeland is in the Known World of Mystara.
Morgan Ironwolf's collection of magic items is epic, and much of it is carried on her person for safe keeping. She routinely carries multiple bags of holding, and her prodigous strength allows her to carry significant amounts with relative ease.
Morgan acquired both the Hand and Eye of Vecna. However, there a lack of evidence to suggest that she has manifested any of the powers traditionally attributed to either of those artifacts, suggesting that she may have chosen not to use them just yet.
She also possesses the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords.
In addition to the aforementioned Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, Morgan carries a selection of longswords, most of exceptional magical enchantment and far beyond the ability of most living archmages to create.
Her primary weapon is a dancing keen speed vorpal wounding longsword, an exceptional weapon of magical sharpness which can fight on its own and decapitate opponents. To fight extraplanar creatures she carries a second longsword forged of adamantine, cold iron and silver which has been enhanced to be exceptionally lethal to creatures of Lawful, Chaotic, Evil or Good alignment.
For good measure, she also carries a holy avenger, 50 greater slaying arrows which can instantly kill any opponent, and two daggers.
Morgan wears a suit of mithral breastplate, lighter and stronger than the chain mail with which she began her career. It is magically enhanced to an epic extent, granting resistance to all forms of energy, immunity to critical hits, and spell resistance. She can move as easily in this as if she wore no armor at all.
Morgan is also protected by a lion shield, amulet of natural armor, a cloak of resistance, a ring of spell turning, a mantle of faith, and a helm of brilliance disguised as a pot.
Morgan's incredible collection of magic items includes some of the rarest and most valuable in the known multiverse. Among these are Daern's instant fortress, a cubic gate, three ioun stones, and a ring of seven wishes. Morgan also carries a prodigious collection of mundane adventuring equipment.
Early adventuring career
Morgan Ironwolf began her adventuring career with the elf Silverleaf, the dwarf Fredrik, the human thief Black Dougal, and the human cleric Sister Rebecca. While initially declaring her philosophical outlook to be of Lawful alignment, Morgan quickly revealed herself to be Neutral.
In one of her first adventures, Morgan and her companions fought a band of hobgoblins, killing several before the remaining three surrendered. Morgan recommended slaughtering the prisoners, and only conceded when Sister Rebecca refused to heal a serious arrow wound Morgan sustained in the fight.
Morgan quickly distinguished herself, and took a leadership role in a subsequent adventure to the second level of the Haunted Keep. She eagerly pressed the attack against a group of goblins and acquired a pair of stealthy elven boots.
Rise to legendary status
Morgan Ironwolf's adventuring career spanned over 25 years. During this time she learned an uncommon breadth of abilities, though mastering none: the stealth of the rogue, the two-handed combat technique of the ranger, and the rage of the wild barbarian, to list a few. At one point she developed the innate talent for sorcery.
Her philosophical outfit shifted several times during her adventuring career, as it had done at the outset, and Morgan is one of a rare few to have been both a righteous paladin and an evil assassin. She futher studied the disciplined techniques of the monk and became a shadowdancer.
Morgan acquired a staggering amount of treasure and magic items throughout her career, including several legendary artifacts. She is one of only a handful of people who have possessed both the Hand and Eye of Vecna simultaneously.
Morgan Ironwolf originally appeared as an example fighter character in the Basic Set (Moldvay) (1981). The character was referenced as an example character in Polyhedron #10 (1983), referring to encumbrance rules.
D&D 3rd edition
Morgan is named for Morgan le Fay, enchantress of the Arthurian legends.
According to the Dungeon Masters Adventure Log (1980), Morgan was played by author Tom Moldvay. It gives statistics for Morgan as an 8th level fighter, now changed to chaotic good in alignment, and possessing a ring of warmth and magical weapons and armor. However, this contradicts the text of the Basic Set, which says that she was created by a female player.
The depiction of Morgan as a high-level adventurer was invented as a parody of min-maxed D&D third edition player characters.
Reception and influence
In 2007, Jeff Rients considered Morgan Ironwolf "one of the coolest PC monikers in the history of the hobby." He speculates that the name Ironwolf may have been inspired by comic book hero Ironwolf, who first appeared in Weird Worlds Vol.1 #8, December 1973.
In a popularity contest on the Dragonsfoot forums in 2007, Morgan lost by a single vote to Aleena, a female character from Mentzer's Basic D&D (BECMI). Former Dragon Magazine editor Tim Kask voted for Aleena.
Art of Morgan Ironwolf from Ecology of the Adventurer appeared in Rules Compendium (3e) (2007), p.85, where it illustrated the rules on activating magic items.
The Dungeons & Dragons community is divided over whether Morgan Ironwolf from the 1981 Moldvay Basic set is the same character as Morgan Ironwolf from Ecology of the Adventurer, Dragon #342.
Both characters are canonically human adventurers, but there are striking and unexplained differences. Most notably, "Basic Set" Morgan is described as female, while "Dragon" Morgan appears to be male. The characters are also of different hair color and alignments.
However, Morgan changes her alignment between Lawful and Neutral in the Basic Set. Also, while the artwork on the same page as her description is usually assumed to be of Morgan herself, this is never directly stated.
Conversely, while the artwork in Dragon #342 clearly matches the accompanying statblock based on the unique combination of rare artifacts, Morgan is never actually stated to be male. The character does appear masculine in this artwork, but their figure is obscured by an enormous amount of equipment including a hood. The character here also wears chainmail, as Morgan canonically does in Basic.
Several canonical effects in Dungeons & Dragons could also have changed Morgan's appearance or physical sex during her career. These include the spell disguise self (which Morgan can cast), a girdle of masculinity/femininity, the gender-changing doorway in the legendary Tomb of Horrors, and numerous other spells and effects.
Influence from the Hand of Vecna may even have begun to convince Morgan that she is Vecna, as it did Mace of Tyrus, causing her to use magic to change her appearance to resemble him. Vecna, originally of pure Flan descent prior to the Suloise migrations, would almost certainly have had dark hair.
The author of Ecology of the Adventurer admitted that he did not choose the name for the character, which was picked by an unknown member of Paizo staff, plausibly in homage to the original iconic adventurer of Moldvay Basic. This may have happened independently to the art direction, or artist Peter Bergting may have assigned the incorrect gender based on an assumption that Morgan, a gender-neutral name, referred to a male character.
Since this depiction of a high-level Morgan Ironwolf appeared as a parody article, and the print edition of Dragon magazine caused publication in 2007, it is unlikely that this will be canonically resolved.
- A cleric's alignment must be within one step of their deity's on either axis, and cannot be Neutral unless the deity is Neutral (D&D 3.5 PHB p.31). Since Morgan is Neutral, her deity must be neutral. Additionally, since Morgan rebukes undead while being of neutral alignment (D&D 3.5 PHB p.33), her deity must be neutral or evil.
- Basic Set (Moldvay) (1981), p.28.
- Ecology of the Adventurer, Dragon #342 (Apr 2006), p.60-65.
- Basic Set (Moldvay) (1981), p.13.
- Morgan Ironwolf: Old School Iconic (2007).