Look, A Dungeons & Dragons Ride

It was just a regular Saturday afternoon in the very early 1990 and I was collecting some cash. That’s not very evocative is it? Here, let me paint you a more detailed picture. On the way down the main street between my neighbourhood and town is a little side street with a few shops. One of those shops is a hobby shop. In fact the shop doesn’t have a name as the sign just says “Hobby Shop” in blue printing on a once-white background. When you enter the shop you’re confronted with walls filled with adventure gamebooks – Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf, Choose Your Own Adventure, and many more. Downstairs in the basement are shelves of wargames and a table set up so the owner can play with his friends. Upstairs are shelves full of pen and paper RPGs and boxes of multi-faceted dice. At thirteen years of age this is my heaven and it has been since I was eight, although this is the tenth location the shop has had since then. For the past two years it’s also been a way I can make some pocket money for myself. The owner comes up the stairs, congratulates me on a good week and hands over £35. It has been a good week. I usually only get £10-£20. Still, money is money and I dutifully pour some back into the store by getting a couple of new books then head down town to meet my girlfriend for an afternoon at the local swimming baths.

Now, I know I have quite a few American readers so let me clarify something. All those things you’ve heard about teenagers playing around with devil worship and black magic thanks to Dungeons & Dragons is a load of bull. I hope most of you already realise that but, at that time, America was full of groups like M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Dungeons & Dragons) or B.A.D.D. (Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons, a group started by Pat Pulling after her son shot himself with her handgun. She has done her best to blame Dungeons & Dragons for his death, and has succeeded in demonising the entire hobby, all the while keeping it low-key that her son had obvious mental health problems and idolized Hitler.) who spent more time thinking up acronyms for protest groups than they did parenting their own children. So when those children inevitably had problems and committed crimes or suicide they had to find something other than themselves to blame. Dungeons & Dragons, with it’s books full of demons and spells was the easy target for those with no common sense, like heavy metal before it and video games after it. Luckily there was no such movement in the UK when I was playing and it was an acceptable hobby to have, if not widely understood.

We met when I was much younger and some friends got involved in role-playing. Like so many others kids of that time we started out with Dungeons & Dragons. We used to meet once a week and take our characters off on adventures. As we were kids when we first got together all we could afford was the original Dungeons & Dragons rules with none of the source material so we had to come up with our own worlds to adventure in as well as rules for advancing beyond level 5. As a cheap way to come up with ideas our world was mostly based on the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon (I recently bought this on DVD for the bargain price of £8 for the complete collection and was pleasantly surprised at how well it holds up today. It really was a great cartoon for it’s time.) that initially sparked our interest in role-playing. In our campaign the heroes of the cartoon had found their way home after a battle that destroyed Venger and Dungeon Master. The aftermath had left magical spots and items all around the world that formed the basis of most adventures. It was simple but fun. Eventually we’d be able to buy new systems but at that time we built our own rules when we grew tired of the standard D&D rules or found something that didn’t work well within them. By the time we were ten years old we were only using our own set of rules written down in a school exercise book. I wish I still had my copy these days just to look back at how complex those rules were. Eventually we rewrote our system from the ground up and concentrated on a story-telling system that would work for most genres and not just our own main fantasy campaign. Each of us came up with our vision for it and it was mine that was chosen by the group as the one to use.

If you think back to the start of this post you’ll remember that I was picking up some cash at the local hobby shop and I’m sure you can guess why now. After a lot of success running campaigns off my rules system I decided to publish it. Of course, as I was still basically a child, publishing meant printing it on a single A4 sheet of paper and selling them for £1 each through the local hobby shop. As a simple system on one sheet of paper it sold well to broke kids like me. I included everything need to run a fantasy game in the rules. A little later I got a preferred rate at the printers which let me get double sided laminated copies done up for the same price I’d been paying for single photocopies. I used this to put optional rules for different genres on the back like horror and sci-fi. The final system was called Storm Warning and I look back fondly on those days as the first indication that I’d end up writing for a living (or so I thought). I’ve been seeing a lot of role-playing systems around the web recently and it’s convinced me to put Storm Warning together again and release it for general use on the net. It may take a while to write the rules up again (I wont change any of them as they still feel quite fresh today), and I want to present it nicely as well so that may take even longer, but at some point I’ll be uploading the finished system and submitting it to the Free RPG databases online. It’ll be interesting to see how a system I wrote over twenty years ago holds up today.


42 thoughts on “Look, A Dungeons & Dragons Ride

  1. Ah, D&D 😀 Never did me any harm, although I was more into the wargames *rolls 6 and makes his saving throw*

  2. I`ve only heard about D&D. Didn`t know it was THAT signifficant among kids. But my childhood ended much before D&D appeared 😆

  3. *rolls 3d4 against Mart's armour class and watches him scream in agony as he steps on them*Fixed it a while before anyone commented Kiran. It just takes time for the cache to catch changes sometimes. You should see my themes while I'm waiting to see the effect of changes.Your circles didn't have wolf-riding barbarians, Clint? :awww: Lemme give ya a demonstration.*starts singing Ghost Riders In The Sky as he rides the wolf around the room*Kitty, did he roll the dice to see if he'd pleasured you enough? :left: Or was his Charisma not high enough?Really Darko? It was released in the 70s, old man. :p

  4. He was more interested in playing D&D with his friends than actually spend time with me. That made him history. 😉

  5. Maybe his character was already dating a humanoid cat so it wasn't exotic for him anymore?Poor Darko. Never rolled a double 6 for damage with one hit point left. :awww:

  6. Sounds rubbish to me. Of course, when I was a child, it was erector sets and hula hoops. I got very good at erections, in my teen years. 😆

  7. I saw the art in the first pic and I instantly thought 'Bill Sienkewicz' … which (according to the signature I then saw) turned out to be a good observation. :doh:PS – It bespeaks quite a high character that you could be selling such a thing, but are looking to upload it to free RPG sites.

  8. The market isn't there anymore, with CCGs overtaking it. A lot of the old systems are either out of print or available for free now. A few keep in print via online distribution, but even they are all but losing money. The free databases allow people to try out new and old systems, and are always looking for more.

  9. Damn! :awww:. I didn't make the savings throw and my phone reset while I was still reading the comments! :cry:.Part of the reason why the wolfy wasn't exposed to D&D is because it never made it to school level out here. And only a few rich white kids got to go to Varsity around here in the seventies. :awww:.I only had a brief encounter during high school myself. Couldn't find anyone to play with :irked:.Of course, with the 'en gee' tannies getting the logs ready to burn all us satanic gamers at the stake, well! :insane:.

  10. Did I tell you about our almost satanic bonfire with me as guest of honour? Jeez.. Glad I didn't know D&D then as even listening to a little Manson or anything remotely related back then could've gotten you burned.Literally..

  11. Mid 90s as well..Being 'different' was wrong because I was listening to the 'white man's' music. 😆 I can still remember that. Oh the memories..

  12. That must have sucked big time. :left:.Elvis Presley and Eminem were both "white" men who got rich singing "black" men's music. :rolleyes:.As long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

  13. Boet, for the sake of conversation you really tie things very loosely together eh :p.:sst: eminem was white? I thought he still is. 😆 .That actually hurt me Mik.. :awww: if any opinion isn't like mine then it hurts me. :left: so nobody is entitled to their opinion but mine :happy:

  14. Mart's gonna die a horrible death by the hand of a nigerian princess who'll feed him viagra as he broke the chain.. :insane:

  15. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the perfect example of why you should read all the comments before commenting yourself. 😉 As funny as that story is, adding viagra to the context really warps it into the wrong kind of fantasy game. 😆

  16. Well… you "collect" a lot of such famous last words in 15 years of playing Pen&Paper RPGs. Such as "May I join your group?", "Haha, I stole his axe!" or "You're surrounded.", but I'm already wandering from the subject again. 🙄

  17. "An Orc appears … ""Korpor farts!""Korpor receives 50 damage"."Korpor farts because of the damage"."Korpor is picked up by the Orc and flung countless leagues away … ""Korpor farts as he flies through the air, the sound and the stench getting fainter and fainter … "Korpor loses another 50 points just on general principle … ""A miasma appears in the distance … "

  18. As I recall, the handful of times I played D&D I was 'Korpor the Farting Cleric'. Many of my actions revolved around farting, for which I was penalized. Generally speaking, it was a very fartist atmosphere. :whistle:

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