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Niles

Confessions of a 50 year old Dungeons and Dragons Player Part II

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"Like a bat out of hell, I'll be gone when the morning comes. When the night is over, like a bat out of hell, I'll be gone, gone, gone." Everyone's life has a soundtrack. This song was one of the songs on my soundtrack. I love Meat Loaf. Not the food, although meat loaf is pretty good. The singer. And not 2015 Meat Loaf. 1970's, big, sweaty, hair falling in his face, singing like his head is going to explode Meat Loaf. And those fantasy artwork album covers were fantastic. I know Meat Loaf doesn't have a lot to do with D&D. His music however, is just one more piece of the geek puzzle.

Years later, long after we had hung up our armour, my friend Randy moved from Montana to Los Angeles and from there to Seattle. He worked in the airline industry. I was still in Montana. On one of his trips home, he asked me if I'd like to move to Seattle and try to get a job in the airlines too. We could fly free wherever we wanted. I was just spinning my wheels in Montana. It sounded like the next big adventure for me. "I'm gonna hit the highway like a battering ram, on a silver-black phantom bike. When the metal is hot and the engine is hungry and we're all about to see the light." So like a bat out of hell, I left Missoula, Montana for Seattle, Washington.

It didn't take long for us to discuss playing D&D again. It was 1988 and we hadn't played in a long time. We didn't need a group, just me playing Shandorf, Randy playing Evro and whatever other NPC was needed. It was always that way. For awhile, we did have one of his cousins playing in our group back in Montana. He played an evil character, Gondor, a dwarven fighter. But he didn't last long and fell to the status of NPC. We went to the local gaming store and there were the books. Different artwork but the same format: Dungeon Master's Guide, Player's Handbook and Monster Manual. It was 2nd edition. We bought them up. But what campaign setting? The old modules were long out of print. And then I saw it..."When the day is done and the sun goes down and moonlight's shining through..." And when I think back on it, I think there really was a shaft of light shining down on the modules I saw in front of me, and probably an angelic choir singing somewhere off in the distance.

The artwork was fantastic. I've always been a sucker for great fantasy artwork. Like on album covers, comic books (big collector there, too), Lord of the Rings calendars done by various artists, the Hildebrandt Brothers were my favorite. They also did the original Star Wars movie poster. But I digress. Back to the light and the angelic choir. Even the name captured me...Dragonlance. Every module was there, DL1-16. But these were different than the modules we played before. I was used to one off adventures that had nothing to do with the next module we played. Here was an EPIC story. One where each module led in to the next, with an overarching storyline. I'd never seen anything like this before and it changed the way I would always think of D&D from that point forward.

So here we were, sucked back into the game that Gary Gygax had started back in the 70's. "And like a sinner before the gates of heaven, I'll come crawling on back to you..."

Continued in Part III

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Updated July 11th, 2015 at 12:45 by Niles

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