Monday, 28 March 2016

So back in the summer of '81

Doesn't quite have the same ring as the Bryan Adams hit but it will do.

The previous school year, I had a Language Arts teacher who took a different approach to the subject. She read us J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit", complete with nuances, inflections, tones. She gave every character a slightly different voice, to the point with your eyes closed you could tell which character was speaking. Part of chapter or a full chapter two or three times a week. We also got to watch the 1978 animated version of "The Lord of the Rings".

The class also put on a version of "Robin Hood" as a school play. I was excited to be one of the Sheriff of Nottingham's guards. I can't act - I know it now, and I knew it then, but I was hooked on the fantasy genre and Tolkien in particular.

Unfortunately, I can't remember her name.

Fast forward to the summer break, and one of my friends mentioned something called "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons". He said it was like playing "The Hobbit" or "The Lord of the Rings". I hadn't even played at that point and I was hooked.

I got invited to play a session. His brother was the DM, and several years older than us. A couple of his brother's friends were there too. My first character was a human ranger (of course) whom I called Malorg. Second room of the dungeon Malorg goes to investigate a sarcophagus and gets surprised. A skeleton rose up and swung a hit, and my poor ranger was done for. Literally fifteen minutes after I made him.

I wasn't even upset about it...I was absolutely hooked. I rolled up a new character, Malorg II this time a wizard. He retired at around level 15 or 16 in the summer of '84 as we all started moving away (the whole group was army brats).

I had badgered my parents enough that my Christmas/birthday present in 1981 I got the AD&D Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual. I haven't looked back since.

Since then, I have played a whole lot of different systems and had a whole of fun along the way.