Tuesday, June 22

Closet Dungeoneer

Dungeons and Dragons, the original tabletop RPG, turns 30 this year. Wow. I have to say that it brings back memories and feelings in me that I thought I had long lost to anime, manga and videogames.

Yes, it's true. I admit it. I was a Dungeons and Dragons fan.

I was always fascinated by the idea of roleplaying games, back since when I was a little kid. I read about tabletop gaming in my older brother's gaming mags, watched that tragic, tragic Tom Hanks film Mazes and Monsters, and begged my relatives overseas to send me the books so I could play.

I remember being sent the green set- the Dungeons and Dragons Companion Set Rules first. Which was unfortunate since the set was for advanced, expert players. I remember reading through it and loving all the illustrations and definitions of spells... but failing to make heads or tails of ANYTHING. I remember my sister coming in and asking me to try out the game with her- Which I DID, despite not at all having ANY idea of how to play, nor did I have ANY of the required dice (the Companion Set didn't come with any). I remember that was probably my first and only attempt at 'winging' D&D- I made up everything, from rules to monsters to combat results, arbritrarily using a bunch of six-sided die (the only dice I could find) and feeling like a quack doctor selling fake cures the whole time. I think my sister knew it as well, but for her credit she played quite seriously for that one and only session.

It was some time later when I finally got the Red Box of Basic Rules, and I marvelled at the included dice. I loved the little in-box solo adventure, mourned the death of Aleena the Cleric at the hands of the evil magician Bargle, and had shivers at the thought of gibbering, flesh-hungry ghouls.
I loved reading the literature, writing down stats, thinking up adventures and even doing a little mini-comic based on D&D. In fact, into my high school years I'd work on a D&D-based comic known as Swords of Valour; I never finished it, and it vanished into the mists of antiquity soon after I graduated, but it was fun while it lasted.
But it's actually funny for me to realize that I never really played D&D as much as I would have wanted. For a few months in high school I was able to actually run with a bunch of guys who loved RPGs, but we could never pin down our Dungeonmaster for any good length of time- he was a fickle upper year guy who was hard to get along with, but to his credit he could spin a good story and acted out the parts with gusto. After we lost touch with him, the role of referee hopped from one guy to another, but we never really played seriously after.

Since then, I dabbled into other games of the TSR lineup- Star Frontiers, Gamma World, Gangbusters and Top Secret and Marvel Super Heroes, but I never really liked them as much as I did the good ol' D&D games. Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms... these were the places I really enjoyed.

Into college, I forgot about RPGs save for the occasional fantasy novel or gamebook. It's too bad I really never got into serious RPG playing- perhaps that would have changed my life, I think. Maybe today I'd be an RPG fanatic instead of an Anime/Manga Otaku. Maybe I'd be both. Who knows? I wonder how it would have been if I had been friends with my present barkada- many of whom are RPG veterans. Oh well.

All I know now is that I still love the ol' D&D games. If I had spare cash on me, I'd zip down right now to Nova Fontana in Greenhills and pick up what TSR relics they still have over there, just for kicks. I'd probably take a look at the upcoming re-released D&D Basic Set coming later this year. Probably not because I want to play, but just because I want to read and visit these fantasy worlds once again. Who knows... Maybe it just might be enough to get me to dust off the dusty black cloak and robes, polish the ironwood staff, take up my spellbook and sally forth once more.

Maybe. If the magic is still there.

No comments: