Like most kids in Hawaii during the ‘80s, I enjoyed an abundance of free time and sunshine. My younger brother and I grew up in an enclosed neighborhood of tall rock walls and bougainvillea and hibiscus bushes.

Even though I had a collection of Barbie dolls and her accessories, I ran with the boys. We climbed trees, played war against those other kids, caught lizards (but released them unharmed), and rode our bicycles helter-skelter, Evel Knievel. I loved Legos, Atari and arcade video games, G.I. Joe, He-Man, and Star Wars action figures.

It was only a matter of time before Dungeons & Dragons entered our lives.

Thomas was a few years older and introduced the game to us. Naturally, we had heard the news, if you played D&D then you were engaging in the seductive arts of Satan and his many followers. We played anyway, but strangely enough did not turn towards the dark side.

D&D fascinated me with its character types, creation, and development, its big book of monsters, and spells! I was enamored with the vocabulary like constitution, dexterity, and experience points, and the adorable abbreviation of it xp. Each mysterious step in an unknown dungeon held my attention as we worked as a team to find the treasures, unlock puzzles, and find our way out – alive.

I tried all the character types: wizards, elves, fighters before deciding clerics were the best. The polyhedral dice were not only pleasing to my eyes, but to handle as well. Rolling them NEVER stopped being fun. It was a game of chance that made you hold your breath as you watched the dice spin until it stopped.

But I was devastated when my most powerful player, Alexandra died. Prior to her, character deaths were always an opportunity to start again. This time though, I got angry because Alexandra and I had been together for the longest time.

Don’t ask me to remember the moment. I was crushed. I went home, sat in my upstairs bedroom, and probably relived her death a thousand times.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed my dead character sheet and stomped over to Thomas’s house at the top of the hill.

I knocked on the door. He answered.

You killed her! You killed her on purpose because she was getting too strong and powerful. You were jealous. I can’t believe you would do this to me. To her. There’s no way I could have lived through all that. And you knew it. Well, guess what? I don’t want to play with you anymore!”

He stood there in shock, but he looked halfway amused too.

That added fuel to my fury, so, I – dramatically – held out my character, and ripped it half, then in quarters, and then whatever is after that.

I could tell he was trying not to laugh which only pissed me off further. As I spun around to leave, I saw him kneeling, and picking up the pieces of my character.

I went home and cried.

Later that day, Thomas came by my house and offered my character back. He had taped it together, it looked sad, my character, and yeah, he did, too.

You’re right. I did throw Alexandra into the deep end. It was unfair of me. Please say you’ll still play. I enjoy having you around. At least think about it.”

I thanked him, but I didn’t take my character back. I thought about it. I thought about how I loved the game as much as he did. I thought about becoming a DM (dungeon master) myself (which I ended up doing, but played with only my brother). But it didn’t seem right, so I didn’t resurrect my character. I created a new one and moved on.

While I still loved and played D&D, I started exploring other RPGs like Battletech, Star Frontiers, and Vampire the Masquerade up into high school. Afterward, the adult world forced me to learn a different role playing game.

Nevertheless, I look back at a childhood brewed in creativity, imagination, and play. It’s funny to look back and think about a group of children imagining their versions of the game play as our DM described the treasures and encounters. It’s strange to reflect that my obsession with reading and writing (and perhaps even storytelling) took hold during these formative years from participating with a circle of friends out looking for an adventure.

14 replies on “Discover Prompts, Day 27 + 28: Team & Focus

  1. I looove this! My knowledge of DnD is limited to what was shown on Stranger Things but you’ve made me nostalgic for summer days in childhood running around with the gang.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. D&D was a lot of fun and ever since I moved abroad I’ve been trying to find a group to play with again, but its not easy!

      Yes, those carefree childhood days…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much 🙂

      I do wonder how children are getting along during this time, so many are probably missing school, daily routines/structure, and their friends.

      How much longer will your boys be at home? My sister-in-law told me in TN, the kids won’t go back until Aug!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My guys are twins who actually get along really well most of the time. They wouldn’t admit it, but they’re best friends–so I think they’ve had it easier than most kids during this time. Plus, they can chat with their friends through their games, so they don’t feel totally disconnected from them. They are looking forward to getting back to school–a new school next year. But, while this year’s school said maybe May 15, I’d bet they won’t go back at all–until the next grade, in late August. I’m really hoping their summer camp is still on. They will love a week away from me!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, I’m sure they’d miss you. But summer camp, you bring up an interesting challenge for summer camps (I used to work at one).

        Yeah, I’m hoping for schools to open up mid-May, but I’m worried too.

        Twins, how fun 😀

        Like

  2. I so relate to this! The characters we create–even in games–become real somehow. As a kid, I spent many weekend afternoons with friends writing stories around people we created who surprise surprise, were superhero versions of us lol. Recently found some of those old notebooks while tidying and they brought back a lot of memories. Even then, we were storytelling! Thanks for sharing this experience, Lani!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s very true. I wish I had said that. Folks become rather attached to video game characters and the like.

      Those weekend afternoons sounds great! Superhero versions of us – awesome. And even better that you found some of them!

      Thanks, Daisy!

      Like

  3. When I was a teenager all my male friends were into this type of games. Interestingly, none of the girls ever played! No idea why. I think I would have liked it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who knows? I would be curious to know the male vs female ratio, didn’t think about it until you brought it up, but I’m sure many more men play it than women!

      Like

  4. What a cool story! Makes me think of many of the adolescent movies that have come out over the years. I didn’t play any games like that but funny enough, now that I have children and think back to all the other things I wish I had spent time doing when I was younger, this is often one that I think about. Playing more games! We do with our kids and I hope they too will have groups of friends they bond with in this way. Fun memories!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never too old to play games! But I know what you mean though, there are times I look back and wonder if I appreciated games (or childhood) enough. Probably not – do now though!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lani, this was a lovely glimpse into your childhood. Totally felt your pain when your much loved D&D character died. But it was kinda sweet too. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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