Biblyon Broadsides

Gods & Monsters news and old-school gaming notes.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

Gary Gygax’s game

Jerry Stratton, March 4, 2008

Original D&D cover

I don’t know what to say about this, I’m just going to post links. Table-top role-playing games were the innovation of our lifetime; so much of our entertainment would have been completely different if it hadn’t been for D&D or something like it. For my part, it provided a creative game to play with my friends in high school and college, a very different experience from the poker games of my parents and the Risk games of previous college generations.

For better or for worse, my life would be completely different without D&D. It chose my friends, it focussed my attention to writing far earlier than would have happened otherwise. I wouldn’t live where I do or work where I do, if my brother’s friend hadn’t introduced us to Dungeons & Dragons.

Edit: I spent yesterday and today at the Emerging Technologies conference and updated this page between sessions. The very fact that I’m here is because of Dungeons & Dragons. When I went to college and was unpacking my books (advice to college freshmen: leave your door open while unpacking), a sophomore came by, saw my AD&D books, and asked if I wanted to get in a game. I still game regularly with one of the people I met during that first night of college gaming.

The guy who happened to see my gaming books is the same guy who later convinced me to take a programming job in San Diego. I’d never planned on programming as a career; I had a psychology degree and had just spent a year studying music in Los Angeles. That programming job led to a job at the university where I now work, back in the early nineties.

It put me in a position to capitalize on the web when the web began, a very short window of opportunity where a self-trained programmer with a degree in psychology could end up managing the server and code of an entire university web site.

Literally, without D&D I would not be doing any of this. Would I be working on Django in my spare time? Writing custom web logs? Writing book-length fiction? My first successful attempt at a novel came from my bicycle ride between the San Diego beaches to work.

What Dungeons & Dragons taught me is that there are things worth doing that the mainstream will not understand.

  1. <- Die Roller
  2. Rulebooks on Hiatus ->