I think I’ve always identified as a gamer. When I was six, Super Mario Brothers for the NES and the Legend of Zelda for the GameBoy taught me about adventuring. Chess and Halo taught me about competition. Magic: the Gathering taught me about optimization. But Dungeons & Dragons? D&D taught me to make friends, write stories, and explore worlds.
I think we were seven when my cousin suddenly declared, “I’m bored of playing Power Rangers. Let’s play D&D.”
“What’s D&D?” I replied.
“It’s like Power Rangers but you have swords and magic instead of robots.”
“Magic? Like Merlin?”
“Yeah. Just like Merlin.”
It wasn’t until years later that I finally discovered what D&D stood for. I had met a boy at an after school program and he introduced me to what he called a roleplaying game, complete with multicolored funny shaped dice. It turns out he’d found an old Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook and was looking for a few people to start a game. We took turns reading that book cover to cover, making characters, memorizing tables, and internalizing the words of David “Zeb” Cook. My childhood is full of fond memories of our adventures. Our party, an Elven Fighter/Mage, plucky human bard, and terse dwarven cleric saved a villages from goblins, signed treaties with dragons, tricked genies, and tamed the Tarrasque.
I eventually got all of the 2nd Edition D&D Core Rulebooks along with a scattering of any and all D&D related material I could get my hands on and assumed the DM’s mantle. I recruited some of my younger cousins and ran them through things like the Classic D&D Game Box Set, the Diablo II Box Set, and one particularly ill-fated session using Council of Wyrms. But my true passion, where I felt the most enjoyment, was writing my own adventures. I knew in my heart that I would never get to run everything that I wrote. But something about coming up with plots to unravel and villains to thwart was innately gratifying to my pre-teen self.
Through my mid to late teens, my interest in roleplaying waned as my relationships with my cousins lapsed. High school with its new and bizarre challenges left little time for gaming. Well, except for MTG. That was a job. My friends at the time had plunged into the world of amateur competitive Magic: the Gathering and had dragged me in with them. But after years of drafts, net decking, and one abysmally bad Pro Tour Qualifier I realized that not only had I spent a small fortune on pretty cardboard cards but I wasn’t actually having fun playing these games.
College came and went with my time divided between girlfriends, drugs (Pharmaceutics - my field of study), and X-Box Live. I look back on this as probably the most miserable time of my life. I had friends but I couldn’t relate to them. I had a job but it wasn’t fulfilling. By any measure that I could think of I was successful. But I didn’t feel like it. I felt alone and creatively stymied.
Enter Jeremy and Ricky, the co-authors of this blog. They were friends in college and recently had moved to Boston for one reason or another. I serendipitously met these two through a network of connections that are frankly beyond the scope of this blog. They each have their own long and torrid love affair with roleplaying games as I’m sure they’ll relate in their own time. In any case I was invited into their gaming group and haven’t looked back.