I was a sophomore in high school when I met Pat. He was new in our school and we were in the same Spanish class. I don’t remember how we started talking or how it came up (perhaps because I was big into Tolkien at the time) but he told me about this strange new game called Dungeons & Dragons (he had the recently published “Advanced” rules).
It was a roleplaying game, whatever that was. There was no board or pieces (although we would eventually start using miniatures). Instead, the action went on in your imagination. What was cool was that in this imaginary world you could become a great hero like Aragorn or a wizened wizard like Gandalf! I was enthralled and eagerly accepted his invitation to play. He formed a group that met at his place and we delved into dangerous, and profitable, dungeons. My first character, Kevron, died as a result of internecine party strife but my next character, Kearnon, would rise in level until I “retired” him when I went to college. (Kearnon died once during his adventuring days but was reincarnated as a sentient golem). I met some D&Ders in college and continued to play. A lack of fellow players and dissatisfaction with D&D’s 2nd edition resulted in an end to my formal RPG days.
Although I haven’t been part of a regular RPG group in nearly 30 years, D&D had an enormous influence on me. It introduced me to the genre of role-playing games, of which I still take an interest and still play in some form (such as my solo Tales of the Templars campaign and even video games). Furthermore, D&D kept me active in gaming throughout my high school and college days. I found fellow players outside my family who shared my interests. Without them, my participation in the hobby may have dwindled to nothing (in which case this blog may never have existed).