Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dungeons and Dragons Books

In 1982 I was given a stack of books by a family friend. What I soon discovered, was that I held something special. These were early Dungeons and Dragons books – the Monster Manual, the Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Fiend Folio. Holy Toledo!! This was heady stuff for an 11 year old. Especially in 1982. I had already discovered Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and had a mind populated by crazy ideas and improbable adventures, but these books absolutely sparked a wildfire in my mind.

I really didn’t play D&D per se, but my friends and I pored over these volumes by the hour. We made a few attempts to play, but the sessions soon devolved into colorful discussions and mock sword fights. But most importantly, the lists of weapons in the player handbook got me sketching like crazy. The best fun was to get some graph paper, and to try to fill the entire page with scribbled weapons. I usually imagined a quaint shop with a wall full of weapons for sale. Or, sometimes I imagined swag that would be found in a deep and musty dungeon. Ah, that was fun.

Getting these books was one of those special and formative moments in my life. Serendipity has steered me since to working on the Diablo franchise of computer games, to illustrating SWORDS, and now to working on my latest book (an unannounced secret!!!). The latest project really takes me back to those old memories, so there is a hint.

Funny enough, I just re-discovered these old volumes while rummaging around my studio. I had nearly forgotten that I still had them after 26 years. Now, where is my graph paper? :D

No comments: