Saturday, May 22, 2010

Where it All Began Pt. 3

The next contact I had with roleplaying was through a book called What is Dungeons and Dragons?* by John Butterfield and David Honigmann. I think my Great Aunt bought the book because it was the right size and had a dragon on the front with dice coming out of its eyes. The book was just a somewhat dubious attempt to corral some of the cash being made by legitimate publications, however, it did serve a very important purpose later on.

Shortly afterwards a different friend got the newly released red box set of Basic Dungeons and Dragons and while I had photocopies of what you might charitably refer to as "excepts" from the book I didn't have any of the polyhedral dice required to play, and coming from a small town, no way to get them.

Some time later my mother, for reasons I can't recall, took a plane trip to our closest big city and so, obviously, I gave her the task of getting a set of dice for me. Today doing such a thing would be easy, in 1984, however, it was quite a different proposition.

The first obstacle was that there was no such thing as the internet to track down a gaming store. This meant she had go place to place asking where one was and then, sniffing a potential sale, fielding questions about what she was looking for. Have you ever tried to describe a polyhedral dice to someone? The concept is simple enough but even today, these different shaped dice with their weird sides still fascinate people. The saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" definitely applies to them, fortunately I had that picture!

So, armed withWhat is Dungeons and Dragons my mother went off to get my dice, and whatever else she had planned to do. She didn't fail me. A few days later I had my first, what she called "dungeons dice". 25 years later I still have four of them, a love of roleplaying, and my Mother to thank for both.

* As I trawled the internet recently trying to find a better picture than the tiny thumbnail I had of the cover of What is Dungeons and Dragons I discovered a site called with a recent review of this book. Thanks to them I have that larger image as well as a copy of The Shrine of Kolchap I've been trying to replace for years.