Captions Hat

I've always found the cartoons in Dragon magazine depressingly unfunny (except Knights of the Dinner Table, which is great!). While stuck on a train once, I decided to pass the time by putting together some ideas for cartoons myself - undaunted by my complete inability to draw anything but 1930s faces. Here are the results: a nice spread of Dragon-compatible captions (I went for variety), but no actual pictures...

If there are any decent cartoonists out there who want to use any of these, feel free to do so but please credit me as author. I'd be interested to hear if any are ever published, as it wasn't too hard to come up with them (you can tell, right?). I've done versions of some of them for my own Knights of the Dinner Table page, by the way.

Picture: interior of a large cavern. Three adventurers are on the left, and an illusionist (standard robe and pointy hat) is on the right, casting a spell. The left-most adventurer is looking over his shoulder, waving cheerfully and confidently, while speaking. The other two adventurers are looking at each other with expressions that say "Groan...". There is clearly no-one behind the adventurers, and only the illusionist in front of them.

Caption: "Hey, guys, it's just an illusion! Disbelieve it, don't run away!"

Picture: a doughty woman in 1920's dress is averting her face in panic as a whole cloud of spit gushes from the face of a strait-jacketed man with whom she is in conversation.

Caption: Our intrepid investigator makes the mistake of asking a drooling idiot the name of the Cthulhu deity he worships.

Picture: a page boy with vampire fangs and undead eyes is advancing, arms-outstretched, towards the king. The king is shouting in panic at the bishop standing next to him, who is reading a holy book.

Caption: "Quick! Turn the page!"

Picture (colour): close-up of a woman's face. She is smiling cheerily to expose slight fangs. Her lipstick is horribly smudged, her eyeshadow all over the place, and her mascara has caught around her eyes. Her cheek rouge is patchy and asymmetric.

Caption: one of the first problems which new vampires have to overcome is that mirrors no longer work.

Picture: a soldier accompanied by a couple of bored men-at-arms is standing at the doorway of a cottage, talking to a man who looks exactly like the soldier. The soldier is speaking.

Caption: "Excuse me, but we're looking for a doppelganger who escaped from the castle dungeon in the small hours of this morning."

Picture: to the left, a cage full of frightened fairies; to the right, a pile of dead fairies; in between, a wizard throttling a fairy, a wicked grin coming over his face.

Caption: Scientifically, Mordon determines the exact point at which Lawful Neutral becomes Lawful Evil.

Picture: a puzzled genie wisping from a lamp, reading a notebook with "script" written on it. Beside him is a paladin, smiling smugly. The genie is speaking.

Caption: "Well gee, I guess so, but I still think it's a typo."

Picture (colour): a dwarf in a cavern running towards the rest of his party hidden behind a rock while being pursued by a huge, green dragon that his friends can't see. He's yelling (speech bubble) "Quick, get the potion of red dragon control!"

Caption: Natural selection claims another colour-blind dwarf.

Picture: Arthur, holding a snapped-off sword, the rest of it still stuck in the stone. Looking the other way behind him is Merlin. Arthur is speaking.

Caption: "So, Merlin, this magic you can do... Just how powerful is it, exactly?"

Picture (split in two):

Picture on left: a fighter, lying on a table, looking hurt in a bad way. A doctor is speaking, while a concerned adventurer listens.

Caption on left: "It's bad; we're going to have to use leaches."

Picture on right: a vampire, lying on a table, looking hurt in a bad way. A doctor with fangs is speaking, while a concerned vampire looks on. The scene is a mirror image of the one on the left.

Caption on right: "It's bad; we're going to have to use liches."

Picture: a guy reading a newspaper. A mage nearby is holding a rod of seven parts. Newspaper headline: "NEW ROD EXTENSIONS CREATED BY ARCH-MAGE".

Caption: "Happens every time. You collect a full set and then they bring out a kicker pack."

Picture: two dragons, lying on their bellies. In front of one of them is scorched ground, which continues for miles into the distance, with villages, forests and mountainsides missing huge chunks. The second dragon is speaking.

Caption: "We're going to have to do something about this hayfever of yours."

Copyright © Richard A. Bartle (
13th November 1999: captions.htm