Step back through the history of Dungeons and Dragons, and come see the legacy of the eponymous Melf, from the player who created him, Luke Gygax.
Odds are good if you’ve played Dungeons and Dragons, you’ve come across Melf in some form another–whether using an Acid Arrow or Minute Meteors or perhaps in the various and sundry lore of the Greyhawk setting or any of Mordenkainen’s writings. Or perhaps his action figure…
But here’s a look behind this legendary figure, straight from the horse’s mouth as it were. Here’s the story of Melf from the player who created him, Luke Gygax.
Melf is an interesting figure in D&D lore. Also known as Prince Brightflame, Melf became one of the great archmages in the World of Greyhawk. Melf is a native of the elven kingdom of Celene, and is recognized by many as the leader of the Knights of Luna. All that to say, he’s an important figure in D&D but perhaps most important for his contributions to the spellbook of many a Wizard.
After all, as we mentioned the two spells that are his claim to fame are handy in any mage’s arsenal. And both of them come about because of the needs of D&D at the time. The Acid Arrow did continuous damage to creatures to help disrupt casting or continue to affect creatures even if they fled behind cover. Whereas Minute Meteors were there to avoid the massive area of effect that Fireball could sweep creatures up in–their place in 5th Edition addresses some of the needs of the current edition. Acid Arrow still deals continuous damage (which can be a great way to disrupt enemy concentration) while Minute Meteors allows you to take nonspell bonus actions to still deal damage while freeing up your regular action to cast spells.
And it’s this kind of ingenuity that drives the game. As Luke Gygax points out, you can always think of a spell–or what you want to try and have a spell do, talk to your DM, spend some gold, and see if you can research it. That’s the adventurous spirit that will win you glory. Or get you crushed in a tomb somewhere. Either way, it’s an interesting story to tell.