Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Life and Times of Corvus Andromeda

Art by Rick Magyar; Corvus Andromeda (L), Bruce Lee (R)

Once again, we at Thoul's Paradise celebrate the birthday of Tom Moldvay (not to be confused with Robert Moldvay, the man responsible for the 1977 Canadian 'Red Box').  In this installment, we see hints of a common Moldvay universe that permeates different games from different publishers.

With the release of Moldvay's Revolt on Antares by TSR in 1981, we are introduced to 'Galactic Hero' Corvus Andromeda.  Essentially, the ten 'Galactic Heroes' are mercenaries in the game and we learn that Corvus is an “Intergalactic assassin.”  When game personalities engage in individual combat, all – except Corvus – are considered equal to one another.  Corvus' sole special ability is that he has an edge in such combat.

Corvus by Jeff Dee
Careful study of the Corvus Andromeda counter art leads us to believe it is Corvus that Jeff Dee depicts on the Revolt on Antares cover.

Four years later, Moldvay's The Future King is published by Spellbinders.  The Future King is an odd product; it is an adventure module with its own game system.  It deserves an in depth analysis at another time.  For purposes of the current post, all we need to know is that players in The Future King control specific historical persons such as Cyrano de Bergerac and Bruce Lee.  This publication provides the picture at the top of the post.  Corvus Andromeda serves as a random encounter in The Future King.  Actually he is the suggested encounter if a random encounter occurs at a specific part of the adventure.  At no other point in the adventure is there an opportunity to encounter Corvus.

Page 5 of The Future King affords us the following description:
Corvus Andromeda is a futuristic hero.  He was once a captain in the Terran Starguards but he had to leave the service after killing a superior officer in a duel.  Since then he has been a soldier of fortune, a smuggler, and even an assassin.  Still, he has never lost his sense of honor.  Corvus always dresses in silver and black, the colors of the Terran Starguard.
We also learn that his standard equipment includes a force field, a vibrodagger, and a blaster.

To gain a better understanding of the Terran Starguards, we must look to Moldvay's Lords of Creation, published by Avalon Hill in 1983.  Whereas Lords of Creation provides no details about Corvus specifically, we do gain insight about the environment that shaped him.  The Starguards are part of the 'Imperial Terra' space opera setting.  Page 33 of the Book of Foes states:
A Starguard is one of the elite guards for Imperial Terra in the future.  Starguards have Laser – 3, Photon Sword – 3, and the power of Mind Block.
Corvus' 'Future King' incarnation has no ability resembling Lords of Creation Mind Block, so maybe that power is conferred by equipment to which Corvus no longer has access.


  1. This is cool! I knew of Corvus from Revolt, but had no idea of the other two references (although the second is oblique). Nice job, perdustin!

    And happy birthday, Tom! I hope they have cheesecake in Valhalla!


  2. I suppose Moldavy chose the name from the two constellations, but it would translate as "Crow/Raven ruler of men"

    1. So, if I needed a name for a character in a space opera setting, I could just choose two constellations at random...

  3. That first pic is a direct swipe from a 1970's panel from a Paul Gulacy-drawn issue of Master of Kung Fu... the character next to Shang Chi is Clive Reston (who is inferred to be the grandson of Sherlock Holmes and the son of James Bond).

  4. Don't wait to long to give us your indepth analysis of The Future King as I am intrigued by this Moldvay gem!