Monday, April 27, 2009

Information for Players

Only a short time after I started playing D&D, new books started appearing on the shelves. The Players Handbook, The Dungeon Masters Guide and The Monster Manual, all under the title "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons".

Advanced! Damn, I had to have that! I bought The Players Handbook, and poured through its pages. Now you weren't just a class, but you had a race and a class. There were new races... the half-elf and the half-orc and the gnome. They added classes like Druid, Paladin, Ranger, Illusionist, Assassin and Monk. New weapons, new armor, new equipment. All the spellcasting classes had tons more spells to choose from... Magic Users got to pick more than one spell at 1st level, and clerics actually got spells at 1st level now! It was a golden age!

What's more, there were cool drawings inside, like this one:

Now, you probably can't read it, but down near the bottom right corner of that picture is the artist's signature... it says SUTHERLAND. That's MY last name. "Man," I thought at the time. "I was DESTINED to play this game!"

I also discovered several other people at school that played the game. There were the Mattius brothers, Joe, Frank and George. There was Quentin, who I was best friends with, and Danny, who was a nice guy, but my mother's nightmare. He smoked and was into the drugs, but although he offered once, never pressed the issue with me. He just wanted to play D&D. Still, my mother must have been freaking out that I was smoking and doing drugs, along with the Satan worshiping.

I don't have a lot of memories of the actual adventures we played then. I think it was just a lot of random dungeons at first. Break out the graph paper, draw a map, and put random cool monsters into it for the characters to fight and awesome treasures to find. No rhyme or reason to it. I remember playing on the picnic table out the back of the Mattius' house, using a tomato box as the DM screen, and the guys looking through the hole in the bottom of the box to see the map (they were just screwing around, not really trying to cheat. heh).

I actually don't remember any of the characters I used to play at this time. Between the silly, random dungeons with the Mattius', and all the characters lost in Steve's killer dungeons (yup, he was a Killer-DM)... oh, well, this was where Alron began.

Alron was my first Ranger character. I asked Danny what a good name would be for a ranger character, and he suggested it. I'm sure it's a direct take-off of Elrond, but hey, it worked. Alron is special, not only because he was the most powerful character I played in Danny's overwrought campaign that combined Tolkien magical items with technological scifi stuff, and his own stuff, like "Diamond-Alloy" armor and weapons (if Steve was our Killer-DM, Danny was our Monty-Haul DM)... but Alron was name I re-used for a Ranger character I started playing in Highschool, that became my favorite character of all time. So, this was, technically, his start.

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