Jan 302014

Ruminations on Dungeons and Dragons, brought on by the game’s 40th anniversary

Black Dwarf VillageAn underground village full of eeeevvvil Black Dwarves (before there were “Duergar”)

I was looking for something else recently when I came across a pile of my old adventures. Indoors, outdoors, campaigns and cults, all kinds of old hand-drafted material. Much of it cringe-worthy, but not all, and some of it seemed like a form of strange nerdy art.

Time has dulled the edges of my nerdish angst. Things that I would not have been willing to share outside my circle of similarly-inclined now seem like fair game. Among my friends, these would have embarrassed me by being amateurish. Among my non-friends, these would have embarrassed me by existing; proof that I was a heavy Dungeons & Dragons player.

They remain as amateurish as ever, I was as artistically challenged then as I am now, but they no longer emit that halo of nerd in the negative way that they did back when they were created. Being super-nerdy today is actually kind of cool. Imagine that. Today, if someone lies/exaggerates/obfuscates about Dungeons & Dragons, it will be that they claimed to play it when they did not; the exact opposite of life thirty years ago.

The meek truly have inherited the world.

Water Caverns of PendorThese natural water-formed caverns were surprisingly accessible from within a densely urban area

But I digress. This is not about how Nerd is the new Cool, but rather a chance to share some old adventure material from back in the day. Which I am.

The evolution of the medium interests me. From graph paper to hex paper (and color!) to dot-matrix printing, probably from my old Kaypro II. Don’t laugh, that was considered a portable computer, never mind that it weighed … I am not certain, but … 30 pounds? 50?

Each of those numbers and colors meant something, although I would have to do a lot of looking to find the material that describes what. If it still exists. An example is included in the dot-matrix version, which I’ll transcribe below.

Neanderthal cavesIn a later campaign, I used Neanderthals as a playable PC race

Their lair is a series of caves leading into the ground. The location is not overly defensible, and has usable cover on the approaches to all sides. Treasure consists mainly of food, as well as a couple throwing rocks and some very nice (from a neanderthal point of view) skins and skulls. Room 1 is a central area, containing random neanderthals and is the only room with an entrance to the outside. The chief lives in room 5, leaders live in room 2-4, room 6 is for women and children, room 7 is the trashpit for the group.

You can’t miss the Gary Gygax influence: “The location is not overly defensible” is so Gygaxian it might as well be DM voice-over from the Delera’s chain.

Huh. Maybe, just maybe this really is about how Nerd is the new Cool.
🙂 😀 🙂

  4 Responses to “Proudly Flying My D&D Nerd Flag”

Comments (4)
  1. I have several old adventures printed out on THERMAL PAPER from an Apple IIe. 🙂

  2. NERDS!!!!

  3. I’ve actually been putting several old dungeons on the rolld20 site for online use.

  4. You artistic skills are a smidgen better than my own. But, don’t expect me to post anything, the world isn’t ready for that.

What do you think?

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