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Portrait of the Artist as a Young Nerd 
17th-Sep-2011 05:48 pm
The great "Unpack all the boxes in the garage" project continues. After several weekends of unpacking stuff that mostly went straight to the trash, recycling, or "Donate to Goodwill" pile, I unearthed some real goodies today. I found a box that contained some carefully hoarded relics of my early geekery, going back to elementary school.

Exhibit one: Dungeons and Dragons Basic rulebooks:
Old Dungeons and Dragons Rulebooks

These originally came in a cardboard box with the same artwork on the front. Back in the day, the box would have contained a pad of graph paper, some carefully photocopied hexagonal grid sheets, a set of dice and some pencils. I spent countless hours designing dungeon scenarios, and a very countable number of hours GMing them for my occasionally bewildered friends. The box got battered and worn to the point where there was more masking tape than box holding it together, and eventually I tossed it.

Exhibit two: Steve Jackson's Sorcery!:

Anyone else remember these? They were a surprisingly successful attempt to meld a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style story with role-playing game mechanics, and had gorgeous black-and-white interior artwork to boot. You had a character with basic stats, and outcomes of some events would be decided by dice rolls. There was a also a supplementary spell book for magic-using types, which I presumably have kicking around somewhere. The pages of the books conveniently had dice printed across the bottom, which came in very handy when you were attempting to play discreetly under your desk during 5th grade Language Arts, which my classmate Dagon and I did obsessively. (I don't think our teacher was as oblivious to what we were doing as I thought at the time, but since we kept up with the lessons and didn't disturb anyone else, she just let us do our thing.) At the end of the year, Dagon moved to Queens and they never published any more books like these as far as I know. It would be decades before I had a pencil and paper role-playing experience as compelling.

Exhibit three: The Doctor Who Technical Manual:
The Doctor Who Technical Manual

Even setting aside the fact that it describes technology that is fictional, this is actually kind of disappointingly light on real technical detail, in that any TARDIS or Dalek-builder looking for clues here would probably find that it leaves out a lot of stuff. Still, essential reading for any 9-year-old who figures that the Doctor might turn up needing a little help with fixing K-9.
18th-Sep-2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
Utterly adorable. I think lobolance has some of the same things...
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