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Niles

Confessions of a 50 year old Dungeons and Dragons player

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"Boys, go down to the hobby store. I want you to pick up a new game called Dungeons and Dragons. We'll take it home and play it tonight," said my friend's mother, Joan Cox. Joan was a published author of two science fiction novels, Star Web and Mindsong. She handed us the money and away we went. There it was on the shelf. A blue box with red lettering that said Dungeons and Dragons and an intriguing picture on the front of a fighter and magic user about to face down a dragon. The year was 1977, the same year a movie came out that also set me on my path to geekdom, Star Wars.

As a 12 year old in 1977, my mind was ripe with imagination. D&D really hit home with me. I just read "The Hobbit" in an English class in school and just learned there were more books in the series called "The Lord of the Rings". Combined with the aforementioned Star Wars, my mind was always in the clouds dreaming of adventure. Lord of the Rings allowed me to read about adventure, Star Wars allowed me to watch adventure but D&D allowed me to live it.

So we played that game at my friend's house that night with my friend's mom and dad, and some friends of theirs. Looking about the table, I noted that my friend Jamie and myself were the only kids playing. There wasn't even dice back then. There were "chits" and they were perforated cardboard squares with numbers on them. You put them in a bag and drew a number. Joan was an excellent DM and took the game in extraordinarily detailed directions. She set up local and national governments within her world which all came in to play. It was mind boggling at times. As an experienced author, she just naturally thought that way. She had an idea to take our adventures in D&D and turn them in to a book as well. That never materialized, but I remember fondly those first D&D sessions. But of course, I had other friends that I simply had to share this game with. It wasn't long before every Saturday night was spent at my friend Randy's house playing into the wee hours of the morning. This campaign did not have the all the details of Joan's campaign, but it was a blast. Back then it was simply, go on quest, kill monsters, gain treasure, level up and repeat. And we loved it. We couldn't get enough of it. We stuck with the game for years. My character was Shandorf, dwarven rogue. My friend Randy's character was Evro elven fighter and Shandorf and Evro's friendship mirrored our own. Like Gimli and Legolas. Adventurers through thick and thin and all for the power and glory.

We played for years, devouring each and every module TSR came out with. But while dragons may live forever, not so little boys. We were growing up and more and more, our D&D sessions were further and further apart as we discovered other adolescent adventures, like cruising the drag and discovering girls. But still we played. Our final adventure was the Demonweb Pits, fighting the Drow goddess, Lolth. We defeated her but not before she flung us into another world within the Demonweb. But we stopped there. For awhile, our adventures were over, our swords and daggers hung above our mantles, our armor hung up in our closet and our adventuring boots retired. But where did Lolth fling us? We didn't find until years later and you will too in Part II.

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Comments

  1. kylania's Avatar
    What a great start! Looking forward to Part II.
  2. dulux-oz's Avatar
    Ah memories!

    And how many of these do the kids playing WoW have? Not many, I'd wager.

    Nice one, Niles.
  3. Kitsunuki's Avatar
    Very nice story. I look forward to the next part.
  4. Andrepartthree's Avatar
    Man you were lucky ! .. your first DM was a published writer? Dream come true ! ... back when I was that age we GM'ed for each other ... we did our best as teenage kids mind you but I'm sure an adult - let alone a published writer - would have run a campaign all our little selves would have been in awe of :P ..

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