Wednesday, April 7, 2021


When I was 10 or 12, Dungeons and Dragons was a big thing but the content was fairly limited. Not just the sheer number of modules, but the tone and such were limited by the player's personal preferences. Out of dozens choices only a handful leave an impression. Face it, it's really a chocolate, vanilla or strawberry choice. We like what we like for no other reason. 

This creates a cycle were the player was introduced to the module, then they presented the module as a DM to replay. The story gains additional replayability through this introducing it to others. I can repeat by placing a twist on the source material so that it is disguised. By the time you have your own kids, you see the cycle start again. It is very much like some beloved concept such as drawing, woodworking, camping, Disney, etc. to be passed down.  

The activity is the same, but different depending on where you are in the cycle. This naturally leads to the idea of maps, guides, handbooks, t-shirts. I find it amusing that there could or would be some sort of insignia, brochure or mission patch for an old module because the are simply loved and repeated. 

That is the source of inspiration for these images and my love of the OSR. 

The difference between 6 and 10 is not very great in terms of time, so I recall my bedroom decorated with classic Disney posters, 60's and 70's baseball pennants and other object de art which were done in these odd colors and styles. It's no wonder that I have associate these images with those conjured by D&D. 

1 comment:

  1. In the summer of 2000 I was working for Dow Jones and slowly destroying my marriage. Curiously at that time we compiled a sizable compendium of "Where were you in 1984?" interviews among colleagues and different people you would meet oft-circle, say on vacation or a cruise ship: people that came from varied corners of the globe. The 1984 thing was sort of a follow on the Millennium 2k fears, the age of the Internet, huge college debt with hazy merit, and of course L. Ron and what we (at the time) was the dawn of widespread cable television and MTV, and (business focus!) the true dawn of credit before cash.

    The year 1984 encapsulated the end or the beginning, depending on how we viewed it, and we thought there was value in capturing that space, from music to culture to sexual-practice and worldview, etc.

    This all seems like rambling, because it is. BUT! Part of our survey was about bedrooms: what was on your bedroom walls, what posters? What books did you have? Were you a Mallrat or WoodsDweller? Did you ride a BMX bike or a 10-speed? Where did your family vacation? Did you love where you lived, or did you bide your time, itching to get out of that place?

    I am going to skip-over the parts about whether you used condoms or sandwich bags. And every group of boys always knew the one mom in the neighborhood who never wore a bra. There is always a kid who carries a stick. Always a kid who carries a lighter. The kid with the big mouth and the small fist.

    And then there was D&D. I submit that an entire book could be compiled based on the initial recollections of anyone who got into the game. Where. How. Why? And when (why again) did they drift away.

    Which brings us all back to the bedrooms, the lairs. My parents actually took pictures of mine, and my sister's, but there is no way to add a photo here.

    My room, circaish 1984: KISS Army poster, Dio The Last in Line poster, a solo-shot of Gene Simmons in his God of Thunder regalia, and Heather . . . Thomas? The actress from oh man, it eludes me now, maybe The Fall Guy or TJ Hooker? Blonde, well-made but not cartoonish, and not Locklear. The other one.

    I had a D&D shelf. Most of my gear was DM-side as I ran the games. We didn't have many Ral Partha minis because we played in the woods and they were lost easily there (maps scrawled on plywood with lump charcoal) and to this day my DMG has a weird stain on the front where Vickers threw an ice cream cone at Gilmer over a bad party decision that fairly bled the characters. Awesome times of imagination and functional creativity.

    As parents now, we easily take pictures of the rooms that make up the youth of our children, but it was not so common back then. So it's cool to talk about it.

    D&D has outlasted shopping malls, movie theaters and MTV. An incredible legacy.