Scrapbook page 137


Manuscript for “The Beholder Contracts”, a D&D scenario that was published in Fantasy Chronicles magazine (issue 3), 1986. Typed on a manual typewriter, with dip-and-scratch Indian ink illustrations.

This is the origin of my pen-name “Beholder” — it’s a story I wrote about a wizard who collects (in a neatly labelled library of jars) the eyes (and, consequently, the visions) of people who have seen interesting or beautiful things. The wizard tricks his victims into signing contracts that compel them to unwittingly witness places or events, and subsequently bring him their eyes.

The figure drawn sitting at the table here is not the wizard, but one of his henchman, who spends his time writing the contracts with various magical inks.

Incidentally — for hardcore D&D people — despite the D&D connection in its origin, the name “beholder” here describes the people who have seen sights that the wizard seeks to acquire, and is nothing to do with the monster of the same name.

If you are one of those hardcore D&D/RPG people, and you actually want to read (or, better still, run) the adventure, you now can — thanks to the efforts of Keith Hann, who in 2018 brought it into a more readable and playable format than the original published version. The Beholder Contracts is now available as a free download under the Open Game License at DriveThruRPG.