Friday, March 7, 2008


So Tuesday I read that Gary Gygax had died. Unless you happened to read about it you might not know he was one of the inventors of Dungeons and Dragons. D & D and its players have been the source of ridicule since almost when I started playing the game, I myself have teased participants in my old age even though I played the game when I was younger. But I was talking to some friends last night when I remembered the story of the first time I heard about the mysterious game known as D&D.

I was at summer camp, Camp Don Bosco outside of Carnation, Wa, and one of the camp counselors was filling out a piece of paper while rolling different dice, some very oddly shaped. I asked her what she was doing and she said playing a game. Now I must say when I was relaying this story last night I said its true I met a girl who played D&D in 1976, which would be tantamount to finding a Unicorn. I mean as I grew up and played the game, no girls ever became interested, actually I think they might have been turned off by it. But, while I watched her make a character, my mind wondered about this new and exciting game unlike any I had ever seen. A game where the only limitations were my imagination and the roll of the dice, I was hooked. Shew showed me and some of the other campers how to make a character and told us about the dungeons where we could look for treasure, while fighting off monsters. When I got home from camp I asked my parent to buy me the game. Christmas rolled around and it finally came.

"YOU ARE HOLDING A FANTASTIC WORLD OF SWORDS & SORCERY ADVENTURES IN YOUR HANDS! IN DUNGEONS & DRAGONS YOU BECOME A MIGHTY WIZARD, A FEARLESS HERO, A STOUT DWARF, A CLEVER HALFLING OR ANY ONE OF A DOZEN OTHER ADVENTURERS READY TO EXPLORE THE MAZES AND LABYRINTHS OF A VAST AND DEEP DUNGEON - OR PERHAPS TREK THROUGH UNCHARTED WILDERNESS - IN SEARCH OF THE FABULOUS TREASURES AND MAGIC WHICH ARE HIDDEN THERE. BUT THIS WEALTH IS NOT EASILY GAINED, FOR TERRIBLE GUARDIANS LURK NEARBY; AND SUCH MONSTERS AS ORCS, OGRES, TROLLS, GIANTS, DRAGONS, AND EVEN WORSE MUST BE DEFEATED IN ORDER TO GAIN THEIR HOARDED TREASURE." The basic set came with a book explaining the game and an introductory dungeon module. But this wasn't the end, I could buy more books like the Monster Manual, The Dungeon Masters Guide and the Players Handbook, these would help me to better understand the game. Soon I met others who played the game and we gathered on the weekend to stomp thru unknown lands fighting Orcs and goblins, looking for treasure, deciphering the roll of the dice.

As I grew older the game lost its appeal, I stopped playing and moved on to other games. It wasn't until last night that I remembered the girl that started it all. Today video games have taken the place of D&D and plenty of women play video games, but in 1976 a girl playing D&D was a rarity, one that introduced me to a fantastic world.

1 comment:

tp said...

I remember WANTING to play D&D--and I am a girl. But noone ever hand held me through and taught me. Someone tried to explain it to me once, but it didn't make sense...what were the rules, how do you win? I needed definitive guidelines and no one provided them. A few years later I determined that to be a girl and play D&D, you had to wear black clothing and read books and generally not like the sun.