First published: May, 1989. First posted online: June 30, 2005.

After playing “Ten Little Indians” with our crew, we thought we should save something particularly nasty for our lead.

Now, being preachy about evil wasn’t particularly nasty. Neither was fourth wall breaking, even then.

But having your hand bit off… that was still pretty edgy stuff in ’89. At least in Dragon. The rough below is how we originally proposed this ep to end.

Most RPGs don’t really deal with loss of limb, instead relegating physical damage to some amorphous realm of “points”. Real blood and shock is not action-movie enough, or at least not action-heroic enough. Seriously, the only time anyone much loses a hand in-game is when they find that spare bit o’ Vecna in a box somewhere. And they do it to themselves, as an old KODT once amply illustrated. (In the related realm of decapitation, see also this classic installment of Nodwick from 2001.)

So this was something we really wanted to explore. I mean, a one-handed thief? Ouch! We had plans for “Yamara the Hook” and all kinds of business, but this rough was squelched before we could pursue or write down any of that.

We had a feeling it would happen. The next installment deftly hides Yamara’s right hand behind speech balloons. Just in case.

It was the case. We argued to our fallback position of having her dangle, but the impact was softened below the humor line.

It had been 11 or 12 years since Lucas had to put the severed arm in Star Wars to earn a PG rating, but even this clean-cut little of idea of ours simply went too far. The minds of youngsters bent on the imagined genocide of entire sentient fantasy species could not be allowed to see this horror.

But, y’know, the demon? He’s cool. We could keep him.