As you recall from my last account, Ludophilis, I was exposed by a magical encounter with my first Friendly Local Game Store, The Legionnaire. The owner, Paul Capadona, was indeed into all sorts of games, both Wargames and RolePlaying games. It was 1975 and all there was the the latter category was Dungeons and Dragons. My interest lay fallow for a year or so.
Then I heard about some friends of mine playing some kind of game with a guy named Richard. I never caught Richard’s last name, but he was about 3 or four years younger than me, and we went to the same school. Two of my friends, Joe and Sean, were very imaginative and interesting people (and still are). So when they described the game, they were enthusiastic. And the light went on when they said it was “Dungeons and Dragons.”
I asked if they thought Richard would let me play. They said I could ask him.
So I went over to Sean’s house on evening when they were playing. Unfortunately, they were finished but I was able to hear them discussing what treasures they had obtained and what leveled they had gained.
Richard did not know when he would be running another game, and I volunteered to run a game if nobody else was willing. I had no idea just how much I would have to learn, nor how difficult that would be, but I meant it.
I finally had a chance to examine the core books in the white box. Ohmigawd! They were not going to make it easy on a beginner, were they? I remember getting a flood of creative ideas while at the same time not really knowing how to play the game. Which leads me to my basic summary of the Little Brown Books (LBBs).
Someone, I forget who, said of the Velvet Underground “They didn’t sell many albums, but everyone who bought one started a band.” The LBBs were like that: they triggered idea after idea and were really exciting. They were also quite useful when you were playing. But how does one actually start playing? I tried to hack it out with a few friends, but It was rather difficult. The links to the Chainmail miniature war-game rules were also confusing. But bit by bit I was figuring it out and fudging what I could not understand.
I let it be known that D&D stuff would be welcome gifts at Christmas, and sure enough! My Grandma gave the Basic Set Box (the Blue Book) as a gift—to my younger brother! She had a tendency to do that. My brother usually got pretty cool gifts and I got nice clothes and athletic stuff.(1) Nevertheless my brother let me use the blue book, and that made it a bit more clear.
About that time the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons books came out. I duly purchased them and started to put together my first adventure. And sure enough< I was ready to go. The scenario started when some adventurers heading toward the big city ran into an old couple who had lost their cow. Lizardlike tracks were found near the cowshed. Boy did they need help…
And it was very interesting whom I starting playing with. And what happened then.
To Be Continued…
(1) I liked the basketball I got when I was nine. Gram taught me to shoot baskets. She was pretty good too! It turns out she was on her college team. The rest of the gifts made me wonder if she did not think I was too scrawny and not well-dressed enough. I still have and treasure a hardback Silmarillion she gave me, though.