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A character sheet for Ren Treesinger from the early 90s. Homegrown D&D.


I kept a lot of D&D material from my Sydney, Nova Scotia sessions in the early 1990s. When I moved out to Saskatchewan in 1998 that material did not come with me, but my mom never threw the stuff out either. In time, all those notes, maps, artwork, and campaign fiction came to Regina, including the character sheet for Ren Treesinger, a portion of which is pictured here.

Ren Treesinger was one of several characters played by Jason R. Ren was not one of the original D&D characters created by Jason when we began D&D. He was a “found” character– an NPC that became a player character. You can tell this is old school because everything is handcrafted. I, as the DM, not only kept the character sheets at home, but also copied them from time-to-time, usually between campaigns. This was done mostly because the pages would wear thin in places from all the erasing, but I did it too because I would add to the character’s bio located on the back of the page.

Ren Treesinger was an “Elven Fighter”. You can see his attributes listed, his experience, his level (8th level) and even some of his weapons and equipment. I am so pleased to see my tidy printing. I remember taking my time with every character sheet, so that the information would be readable by the player. I also remember including Magic Resistance, Body Encumberance, and Encumberance but rarely ever using these in our games.

What you should take notice of here is that Ren’s final HP is listed at -79, which is WAY below 0. Yes, Ren Treesinger died in the midst of a campaign. He was, in fact, killed quite suddenly when a Shrike fell on him. A Shrike was a monster I created based on the Shrike from Dan Simmons’ Hyperion novel– a spike-covered being. I often took elements from movies and books I enjoyed and incorporated them into my D&D campaigns. Anyway, I recall the Assembly of the Dragon encountering the Shrike outside of a cabin in the woods. The Shrike was a tough opponent, but was eventually slain. When it died, it fell from the top of the cabin stairs and landed on Ren, who was standing at the bottom of the stairs and failed to move out of the way. I distinctly remember being shocked that Ren failed to move– that is to say that Jason failed to roll a success. It wasn’t supposed to be a difficult roll! The damage was calculated for each spike that pierced Ren. I don’t recall what his HP was at the time, but you can tell from the final -79 that the damage was ridiculously high. I believe I declared and instant death– no chance of a save from the magic-users in the party.

Ren wasn’t the only player character to ever die in a campaign, but his death is the most inglorious. It happened mid-campaign against an enemy that was formidable but, I think, not central to the plot. I remember feeling bad that it happened– being a little angry that Jason failed the roll– but when the dice roll the dice have to stand. I could not back down from this turn of events.

Adding a little insult to injury, the scribbles on the page seem to suggest Ren was used as scrap paper at some point after his death. Beneath the scribbles are rows of “A” and “K” and some numbers. I have no idea what that means.

For posterity, here is Ren’s biography as taken directly from the back of his 20+ year-old handwritten character sheet:

155 years old; 6ft1; 170lbs; born in the spring
Born and raised a Wing Rider. Intrigued by stories of the Dragonslayers, he left his mountain home in Balta to search them out. His career with the Dragonslayers was short because fifteen [years] after joining the land no longer had a use for their services. He then traveled the land, taking time to notice the wonders he had been too busy to appreciate. It was during this time he met Gavalin, a Valley Person. They traveled together for many years before they decided to take time out to visit home. It was at this time they met the Assembly [of the Dragon]. During the last leg of their journey home Gavalin was killed. Ren returned to the mountains, but the adventurer in him would not let him stay. He joined the Assembly in their adventures. During the seventh adventure, he, Sherrind, Roger and Cyric were captured. Ren was subjected to unspeakable tortures which left permanent scars on his back. He was weakened by this ordeal, both mentally and physically, and continues to heal.
He possesses a lot of knowledge, but feels he lacks leadership abilities. His body is slender but muscled. He has fair skin and long sandy blonde hair.

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