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SnarfQuest, drawn and written by Larry Elmore, is a black-and-white fantasy comic strip with sci-fi and modern elements. Its epic fantasy-adventure context, along with its black-and-white art style, quirky humor, twinge of satire, and anachronistic elements, have earned it comparisons to Jeff Smith's acclaimed Bone series. It is the only comic series by Elmore, who is more widely known for his fantasy art paintings. The strip was originally serialized in the role-playing magazine Dragon, and, due to its popularity, subsequently spawned several collected volumes and tabletop games.
SnarfQuest originally ran in Dragon Magazine from 1983-1989, in issues #75 to #142. The first story arc, detailing Snarf's quest to become king, was collected into a single 144-page book, entitled SnarfQuest: The Book, published by TSR in 1987; this edition also featured several never-before-published pages in full color including a story set five years after the previous story arc ends, in which Snarf and his friends confront a werewolf.
Due to popular demand, Elmore created a special one-shot episode, in color, which appeared in Dragon #200 (December 1993). In it, Snarf and Telerie help remove the curse a wizard has placed on a forest.
A 224-page collection, SnarfQuest: The Graphic Novel, was released in 2000, published by Dynasty Presentations; it reprinted the material from the 1987 edition as well as the rest of the Dragon Magazine Snarf stories. The material which was full-color in the 1987 version is greyscale in this newer compilation. A second edition was released 2002, this one by Larry Elmore Productions. The cover was changed, but this is the only difference between the two versions.
The SnarfQuest RPG Worldbook appeared in 2003. It featured stats, episode guides, character backgrounds and histories, and suggestions and mechanics for role-playing in the world of SnarfQuest. The book also included comments and analysis by Elmore as well as generalizable advice for adding humor to role-playing games.
SnarfQuest currently appears in all-new full color stories as a bimonthly feature in the magazine Games Unplugged.
The SnarfQuest Card Game, published in the late 90's and rereleased in 2001, is a boardless card game based on the comic which featured an unpainted Snarf miniature and a 100-card deck. Also available were four expansion packs (featuring Suthaze, Telerie, Aveeare, and Raffendorf miniatures and storylines respectively), five additional Snarf miniatures in different poses, and a bonus pack that included all nine additional miniatures and ten bonus cards.
Cast of characters
Snarf - The eponymous Snarf is a male zeetvah -- a humanoid being with long, batwing-like ears, and a dragonlike snout. Like all zeetvahs, Snarf comes from the village of Zeetville, located in the Vallys [sic] of Exotic Beings. More clever and opportunistic than brave or heroic, Snarf displays a certain "courage under pressure" and is usually able to talk or bluff his way through danger. His basic goals are to become rich and famous; however, he would rather steal treasure than directly fight for it. His full name -- known only to family and close friends -- is Snarfenja de Gottago.
Aveeare - Aveeare is a robot -- definitely from space, possibly from the future. Aveeare's ship crashed while surveying Snarf's homeworld. Snarf managed to convince the gullible Aveeare that he (Snarf) was a being of great importance: while Snarf was rummaging through a magical bag of holding, looking for a six-shot revolver, Aveeare was astonished at Snarf's apparent ability to change the natural laws of physics. Aveeare has been Snarf's faithful sidekick ever since. The name "Aveeare" is a shortened version of his identity code: he is a VR-X9-4-M2 Galactic Probe, Government Issue Robot. Snarf thinks Aveeare is actually an armored wizard.
Telerie Windyarm - Telerie is a beautiful human woman and dedicated warrior. She is Snarf's faithful companion and romantic interest. Telerie is far more courageous (in some respects) than Snarf; she also lacks a certain sense of modesty, which tends to embarrass Snarf. Her surname is derived from her magical sword that can "split the wind." It can also deflect spells, such as lightning bolts.
Prince Raffendorf - Snarf's first traveling companion, Prince Raffendorf is human. However, some years ago he was turned into humanoid rat by the evil wizard Suthaze. Raffendorf wears an eye patch over his right eye, and is missing his tail -- apparently by injury. He is more polite and has better manners than Snarf. The curse on Prince Raffendorf can only be reversed by Suthaze -- not likely to occur, since Raffendorf helped Snarf destroy Suthaze's tower.
Suthaze - Suthaze is a bald, bearded, evil wizard. He used to have a "magic time jumping glass" - an hourglass that could transport the user into the future for 72 hours - with which he would plunder the future for fantastical treasures. According to his apprentice Geezel, Suthaze was able to transport into the years 1967, 1978, and 1983, which apparently coincide with the "real world". On his visit to 1983, Suthaze acquired a motorcycle, a six-shot revolver, and stereotypical biker attire. Suthaze was a clever and powerful wizard; his tower was guarded by a variety of evil humanoids and the dragon Willie (see below). His tower was ultimately destroyed (by accident) by Snarf and Prince Raffendorf.
Geezel - Geezel is almeer, a humanoid being with a lizard-like face and over-sized ears. Although he was an apprentice for Suthaze, he is not evil: he merely wants to become a powerful wizard, and is willing to make any sacrifice to do so. He can cast spells, but is not currently a very powerful wizard. For his role in recovering her stolen wand, he was granted a wish by Etheah of the Woodland (see below); he wished that she would fall in love with him and teach him magic, which she did.
Willie / Kizarvexius - Kizarvexius is an evil, adult male dragon; he has a split personality named "Willie" who believes that he is a duck. According to Geezel, the dragon was struck in the head by lightning during a powerful storm, and forgot who or what he was. Suthaze cursed the dragon into believing that he was a duck. Thus, Suthaze gained a powerful servant that could be easily controlled. In his "Willie" personality, the dragon spoke with a pronounced lisp, was afraid of snakes, played in an oversize water bowl, was quite gullible, and was friendly -- even good-natured. He quickly became friends with the charming Snarf, and allowed Snarf to loot Suthaze's treasure room. Unfortunately, the word "Dragon" broke the spell that Suthaze had placed on him; upon hearing it, he would revert back to his true personality as Kizarvexius, an evil, fire-breathing dragon.
Etheah of the Woodland - Etheah is a good sorceress who lives in her own forested domain. Her wand of wishes was stolen from her by Suthaze, and she was not powerful enough to fight him in his own lair to win it back. She hired Snarf and Prince Raffendorf to rescue it, in return for one wish each on delivery of the wand. Because of the wish that Geezel made, Etheah is in love with Geezel and is teaching him magic.
Leech - The leech is a small, octopus-like creature with a single clawed arm. Originally called a "Gaggaleech", it came into Snarf's possession when he bought a Gagglezoomer -- a large, unintelligent lizard that would run at high speed whenever anything touched its back. (Hitched to a cart or wagon, Gagglezoomers could be used as fast, if unpredictable, beasts of burden.) It was later revealed that the "Gaggaleech" was, in fact, a darkshade death leech -- an extremely venomous type of bloodsucking creature. Because of its heroic service in one instance, the leech was grudgingly given a diamond ring which turned out to grant its wearer a wish. The leech wished for the ability to communicate with every living thing, giving it a kind of telepathic ability. While trying unsuccessfully to communicate with Aveeare, it accidentally slipped one of its tentacles into one of Aveeare's dataports; the leech absorbed some or perhaps all of Aveeare's extensive knowledge of science and technology.
- Hogan, Daniel. http://www.magicofeyri.com/author.html. Retrieved on 2008-3-1.
- McElhatton, Greg. "SnarfQuest Review" http://icomics.com/rev_111500_snarfquest.shtml. Retrieved on 2008-3-1.
- Elmore, Larry. SnarfQuest: The Book Feb. 1987.
- Elmore, Larry. "SnarfQuest" Dragon Magazine Dec. 1993: 155-159.
- http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/sample.html?id=1696. Retrieved 2008-3-1.
- Preusser, Bill. "SnarfQuest RPG Worldbook" 15 Apr. 2003. http://www.gamingreport.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=564 Retrieved on 2008-3-1.
- Chin, Cedric. "SnarfQuest Card Game Capsule Review" http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_8065.html. Retrieved on 2008-3-1.
- http://www.agentsofgaming.com/osq.htm. Retrieved on 2008-3-1.