Take a short pause in your day to reflect on your D&D legacy, the RPG games that you used to play with friends when there were no limits on time and anything was possible. Take a moment and share those memories with us today in the comments section below, and if you have the time read this article where I lament over the death of my youth and subsequent loss of free time.
When I was a teenager in school, without a job, and spending summers with my friends we used to game like there was no tomorrow. Our game of choice was AD&D 2nd edition and we played in all the campaign settings. Our favorites were Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, and Dragonlance but we loved it all. We had sessions that sometimes lasted from when we awoke on a Saturday morning late into that night and then continued the following day until the weekend was gone. Those sessions are the stuff of legends, I remember them so fondly and recall how we used to game without a care in the world. No appointments, jobs, husbands or wives, or children- just good old Dungeons and Dragons!
In the good old days we didn’t dig through the Players Handbook looking for rules violations or making sure we knew exactly how this or that spell worked. We just enjoyed the fantasy and let it flow naturally, most of the time I didn’t write any adventure aside form some notes scrawled on a sheet of notebook paper behind the DM screen. We would take time out to draw maps, talk about NPCs and the future of the characters involved. Speaking of involved, my god- everyone was SO involved in each game. It wasn’t just a game, it was our world! The tales we told and the incredible journeys the Players made will be remembered forever. Once I put it this way to my best friend- “The characters and ideas we have crafted take physical manifestation in the form of cells in our mind so in a way- they are real.” Somewhere Taku Okamiya really exists, as does Derris Strongsword, Darsell Rathar, Iendelle Greenbottle, Laura Drandella, Gin, Phidel Cruze, and Alin Durqua.
The tales we spun were our own and we tended to stay away from the pre-made modules as they just felt forced. We preferred to keep it real and enjoy our own game and use the rules and campaign settings as a guide to help us along when we had need of their services.
I miss those days and now that I am older we only get together with our gaming group about once per month and 12 games a year just doesn’t feel right. Although there’s no way I can squeeze in one more thing due to my 5 jobs and playing in a band I sorely miss those days and hope they will come again soon. Perhaps you will support me so fully with NERD TREK that you and I will have a chance to game sometime for days at a time!
I would like to share some of the most memorable characters and a very brief description of each. I was always the DM yet even I enjoyed all of these unique and memorable characters.
Taku Okamiya (1998-2006) – Forgotten Realms – Hailing from the far east in Kara-Tur, Taku Okamiya ended his career with the following title: Lord Taku Okamiya, Ruler of Nesme, Guardian of the Confederation of Luruar, High Priest of Helm.
Derris Strongsword (mid-90’s) – Forgotten Realms & Planescape – Derris Strongsword was a gruff warrior who although distrusted magic eventually came to embrace it and carried all manner of magical devices which eventually led him into the planes and great quests through lava lakes and demon hordes.
Darsell Rathar (mid 90’s) – Dark Sun – Darsell Rathar was a brutal Mul (Human/Dwarf) with bulging muscles and a hot temper. Wielding two impalers and with a taste for exotic mind altering herbs found in the High Forest, Darsell slayed more NPCs and enemies than every character combined in any campaign DMed to date. He did whatever he wanted and killed whoever he wanted and his skills at wilderness survival and evading pursuing enemies and then killing them were the only reason he lived for so long.
Iendelle Greenbottle (2009-current) – Forgoten Realms – A carefree halfling rogue from Luiren, Iendelle recently discovered that she is actually a Doppleganger. When she was a child she so wished to exit the forest and join the carefree halfling she saw daily picking flowers and dancing in the fields. One day despite her mother’s pleas she spoke to the girl who was at first afraid. Over many years the two girls became friends and always met in the field near the forest. One day while walking the breathtaking cliffs near Beluir, Iendelle the halfling slipped and fell- the Doppleganger in her natural form caught her but could not hold on. She slipped from her grasp and plummeted to the rock below, but not before the Doppleganger absorbed all of her thoughts. Iendelle (who now believed she was one and the same) returned to her halfling home and unknowingly lived out the rest of her childhood there. It wasn’t until recently that the halfling found out her true past while on a mission to save the realms from Vaprak the Destroyer.
Laura Drandella (early 90’s) – Forgotten Realms – A sexy female half-elf bard who was one of the first players to discover and explore Myth-Drannor- and live to tell about it! She was a fiery broad and although many men were turned on by her, many more lost their coin purse and woke up without even a loin cloth to their name.
Gin (2008-2009) – Forgotten Realms – An elf raised by a human dictator and trained as a thief and assassin. When the truth emerged that the dictator was in league with demons and the murderer of Gin’s parents, Gin’s life was turned upside down. Now Gin lives with a life long enemy and many dangerous adversaries that pursue him to the edges of the world.
Phidel Cruze – (late 80’s/early 90’s) – Goldenhorn (custom world) – A dragon rider who was the only PC ever to own a ring of wishing, this game was wildly unbalanced, full of powerful magical items, and fun as hell!
Alin Durqua – (late 80’s/early 90’s) – Forgotten Realms – Alin Durqua discovered a magical stone in an ancient cave which was later revealed to have belonged to a now dead god. This stone offered great power with a price. You were able to open portals anywhere in the realms but one must drain the life from a soul in order to use this power. Over the course of Alin Durqua’s life he saw much of the realms, soul trapped many poor souls, changed history and thus the future of the realms, was decapitated by an overzealous necklace of strangulation, and finally resurrected as a beastman who went insane and formed a cult worshiping the new evil god Cyric at which point the player turned over his character sheet to the DM (me). He was one of the most unique characters and when originally rolled up I watched the player roll his stats STRAIGHT DOWN the line: 18, 18, 18, 17, 17, 17 and this was with regular dice- I checked them after he rolled. Insane.
There you have it, I have shared some of our favorite characters and stories. Although I gave you the incredibly brief version, I would like to hear yours now! Please share your RPG stories below, whether you are a player or DM let us enjoy our memories of the “good old days” together!
10 thoughts on “D&D the Good Old Days: Share your Stories”
I am so dying to run my Elven Mage Rhythienna through the Tomb of Horrors in a 2nd Ed setting. I kicked butt in the dice rolls with her on down the line. The DM made me swap around my Wis and Cha stats because I rolled back to back box cars on Int and Wis, making Mage the logical class. In his setting, Elves have unlimitted advancement in Mage instead of Rogue.
Lasamor was a half-elf theif I use. He is a version 3.5 Charictar though he is aswome. I personally think that is the best version
With all due humility, my two favorite characters would have to be Vittorio Pantangele and “The Fat Man,” two gangsters played by myself and my roommate, respectively, in a rather deadly Call of Cthulhu campaign that lasted over a year and a half. We both figured out pretty quickly that reading things was bad, scouting things out was better left to the other players in the group, and that the first thing to do in any new town was to *always* shoot the shifty-eyed foreigner, with “foreigner” being defined as any non-American/British person.
Over the course of the 18 months or so, we probably went through something like a dozen players, as people got tired of dying all the time (everyone else liked to play the thinker types), but we found not having a clue what was going on beyond what the other players told us was remarkably healthy.
Yeah, we didn’t save people very often and accidentally released Azathoth in the midst of a small Bulgarian village (and the keeper refused to buy our argument that, as mafia hitmen, we wouldn’t really care about the random deaths since we weren’t there to witness it, and we still lost the sanity), but we did manage to survive the entire length of the game in semi-blissful (or at least not completely insane) ignorance while stopping the big bad.
My fondest memories aren’t so much the characters I played, but actual game sessions. Especially the long nights of playing Spelljammer at 2:00am and everyone getting into an argument and throwing their dice across the room and throwing the DMs game screen across the table. Then we’d all go home mad as hell and start all over the next day like nothing happened only to do it again. This was pretty much a reoccuring incident with our group. It’s funny to think about now.
(Wherein our intrepid adventurer reminc… remins… ren… uh… remembers things).
On a cold November evening in 1976, in the basement of the downtown library, I met my watery end. My flagship was spotted, attacked and sunk carrying all hands down to their doom. Sighing, I rose from the carpeted floor and congratulated my opponent, handing back to him the tape measure and the little ship figures. I was out of the battle, and now adrift within the meeting of my high school’s War-game Club. So what to do now? It was only 7 pm and my Mom would not be coming to pick me up for another hour, at least. All the other club members were happily engaged in their respective Avalon Hill pursuits leaving me odd man out.
Walking around the tables I noticed that there was a small group of club members off in the corner. They must have been getting ready to play something, since they were all talking, yet I saw no maps or counters or morale tables strewn about on the tabletop. Since they weren’t yet arguing, it was obvious that the game had not yet started. Maybe I could jump in, even if I had to play the British?
Walking up and taking a second look, It became obvious that they already were playing something. A few of them had pencils and 3×5 cards in front of them, and the guy at the end of the table (probably the referee) had a small selection of pamphlet-sized books which he consulted once in a while. One of the fellows noticed me as I stood there and asked the referee if there was room for one more player. The referee nodded and the fellow told me to sit down. He placed a pencil, a 3×5 card upon which he scratched some words, some dice and some marbles in front of me. He told me to roll the dice.
They were all dice, but dice like I had never seen. As the game went on around us, he explained that these round objects were “twenty-sided” dice. I must have looked blankly at him, because he laughed and told me to roll the three regular six sided dice and that we’d worry about the rest of them later. He showed me on the 3×5 card where to put each of the totals of the dice I rolled.
I rolled the dice and mumbled the total to myself, jotting the number down next to the STR notation.
The table suddenly went silent. I looked up, wondering what faux pas I had committed? All eyes went to the fellow at the head of the table as he asked: “He rolled a 16?”
Suddenly I was everyone’s friend. Then slowly, I got the story. It seems that in the weeks that they had been playing the game, no one had rolled such a high total. That score, that sixteen, entitled me to have “bonuses” to my “character”. It also entitled me to stand in front of the rest of the players for the rest of the game.
Eventually, I learned what this game was all about. It was intriguing. It took place all in your head. And it did, at least for me. I could close my eyes and almost reach out and touch the big Jello-like thing that the “dungeonmaster” told us was sliding down the corridor towards us. Turns out, touching it was not a good idea, and my “character” that everyone had so coveted, was no more. I again was eliminated from the game.
You see a pattern here?
But this game was different. I could simply jump back into the game by “rolling” a new “character”, which I promptly did. He promptly died as well. Seems I needed to learn a little more about this “Dungeons and Dragons” thing.
And I did.
And still today, in a frame on my wall, is a yellowed and wrinkled 3×5 card with a name and some numbers scratched on it. Every once in a while I look at that card and think about how my life branched off in a different direction that cold November night. I am pleased that it did.
(The preceding is dedicated in loving memory of the fighter “Caspart ’76”, the best sixteen I’ve ever rolled)
That was a great story. Better than my memories of D&D. My group liked to argue over every little detail. It became tiresome. Now I am 40 and trying to relearn rpgs by delving into Pathfinder RPG with my 15 year old son. It’s been a long time since my days of playing, but I look forward to playing once again.
I love this story! Please share more in the future!
Do you frequent NERD TREK often or is this your first visit?
I’ve just found this site and I’ve lost a good amount of time reading back through a lot of the articles. I haven’t played in a long time, but I’m hoping to get back into it. I have two favorite memories of my time with AD&D.
First was the first time I had ever truly played with a group. I owned a few books and tried it out in high school, but it wasn’t until college where I got to join in with a group that really knew how it all worked. The group needed a wizard and I gladly accepted. After several months our journey ended and each character got a wish as a reward (and no, we couldn’t wish for more wishes). All the players asked for things (items, keeps, etc) that were appropriate for their character. I was the last person to go so I had plenty of time to think about what I wanted. I was a huge fan of Dragonlance and Raistlin was my favorite character so you might guess where this was headed. Still being the newest person to RPG’s I sheepishly wished for the Bloodstone Pendant of Fistandantilus. No one had heard of the item, and after describing my understanding of what it did the DM laughed and simply said, “Um, no. Try that wish again”.
My second favorite memory is of my halfling thief who thought he was a paladin. He had high DEX and CHA and tried to sweet talk everyone into thinking he was a paladin. It worked most of the time because he thought he WAS a paladin. He wore a small suit of armor and had a specially made halberd that fit his height. Of course he could never remember which god he was a champion of he said that as long as he was on the side of right then anyone of them would be pleased to have him as their champion.
That’s great! The Bloodstone of Fistandantilus! He should have let you have it. It would have made the game very interesting. 😛