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Thursday, 24 March 2016

Throwback Thursday: Early Adventures With Dungeons & Dragons...


When I was about 10 or 11, Steven Grover, the teenage son of one of my mum's best friends, introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons. Mum's friend was a headteacher and Steve was MENSA-smart and well-read.

He had previously introduced me to the works of Tolkien (namely, The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings) and from there it was an easy segue into Dungeons & Dragons.

Being the UK in the late '70s, it was the blue-covered Eric Holmes' edited edition of Dungeons & Dragons we played.

The first character I made at home was a fighter called Sinbad (he killed - some say 'murdered' - a couple of dwarves in a drunken tavern brawl, changed his name to Bassin and fled to sea), but the earliest I still have any record of is Gordok Mantor, the first character that I used for a game outside my own home (or Gublin's house), back in either late 1978 or early 1979.


Gordok was created for use at The Dark Tower - Tunbridge Wells' first (and only) dedicated role-playing game shop and club.

Although Steven had taught me the basics of Dungeons & Dragons before I ventured into The Dark Tower, that was the haven of geekiness that really fuelled my early love of this hobby.

Gordok failed to survive his first visit to The Dark Tower gaming club, as my first level, Lawful Good magic-user somehow managed to get involved in an expedition to Tegel Manor, the massive haunted house module put out by Judge's Guild in 1977.


There was none of this "balanced encounters" malarkey you get in newer editions of D&D, Gordok was there to make up the numbers and, maybe, make a name for himself.

He didn't. Instead he got zapped by a trap and  died by rapidly ageing 50 years.

All his worldly goods (well, 95% of them) went to his nephew Glop, son of Gordok's brother Sam.

This was during my early Tolkien phase and I was really enthralled by all the family trees in the back of The Return Of The King.

So, in these halcyon days of gaming geekery, pretty much all my characters had family trees and many of them were related.

Glop The Grand fared slightly better (despite his awful name), but I didn't keep a record of where he adventured. He was a neutral cleric with a "sword of dexterity".

Despite his 18 Dexterity (magically enhanced I suspect from my scribbles) and his plate mail armour, he was killed by an ogre - with no descendants to bequeath his treasures to.

Looking at Gordok and Glop's character sheets, this was certainly still the Eric Holmes edition of Dungeons & Dragons we were playing (although I suspect elements of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons were rapidly creeping in), although there are some unexplained oddities like Gordok appearing to have two spells at first level and Glop, a cleric, wielding a magic sword.

Of course, I was only 12 at the time.

2 comments:

  1. I love these sort of early tales of D&D adventure. They really take me back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I know it's generally considered bad form to harp on too much about 'characters' in public, but I do find it interesting when there's story (rather than just a wall of stats and powers), because, at its heart, that's why roleplaying is all about.

      Delete

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