In my last post, I started talking about this blog post by Arcane Springboard at This is My Game. My initial thoughts and memories about the Red Box and my first experiences with D&D spiraled on for several pages, and I never got past the 6th grade. I thought I’d go ahead and finish out my thoughts on D&D and how it impacted my friendships.
My longest lasting friendship was not forged over D&D, but it has been strengthened. Royce Roemisch has been my best friend since 7th grade. I clearly remember forging that friendship talking about King’s Quest II, as we walked back from a local class field trip.
That common interest of computer games sparked a lifelong friendship. We quickly delved into Computer RPGs such as Ultima and Bard’s Tale. I’m not sure why we never tried D&D in Jr. High or High School. It was probably because we didn’t know anyone else who played. I really wish we had.
Fast forward to college (Louisiana Tech) and first close friendship (and first real roommate, Patrick Jacobs) was forged over arcade games and PC games. In our sophomore year, we started going to the Wesley Foundation and met Jeff Bolger. He was an avid AD&D player and was currently DM’ing a game. We joined and were hooked. Jeff introduced us to Richard Markley, and we played in his games for years after that.
Richard’s games spawned more close friends (and future roommates such as Shawn Smith and Tres Warren). For years we played AD&D at least twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday, 6p – 12m), with more on weekends and holidays. Though I haven’t been able to play since we left college, that original campaign has still continued a couple of times a year for almost 15 more years. In fact, we’re all getting together again in February to finish out my character’s story line, wind it all down and start a new campaign. I haven’t seen some of these guys in over a decade, but I know it will be like a day hasn’t passed. And, even though Royce only met those guys a few times when he came to visit, he has been asked to come join in as well.
I played in a different weekly/bi-weekly 3e game for about three years (the Alden Minor campaign that originally spawned this site). I met the DM (Dave “Invy” Cline) when I did a 3e demo at a local comic/game shop (I had been a 3e playtester). He invited two of his high school friends (Steve and Brian), and I invited another of my old Scouting friends (Dave Bang, whom I had watched play Traveler and Twilight with Monty Janak). The two Dave’s became best of friends, and Cline ended up being Best Man in Bang’s wedding.
Circle back 20 years since my high school days, and 15 years since college, and I’m back playing D&D again with some of those friends. Royce, Jeff and I (along with another friend from church) all live near each other. We kicked off a 4e campaign, and it ran in fits and starts for a year or so. We’ve since rebooted it as what Richard calls 1.75e, and we’re playing about once every other weekend. We’re now starting with T1-4, The Temple of Elemental Evil, and are planning to run through the classic linked mega-modules T1-4, A1-4 and GDQ1-7.
Looking back at the last 25 years, D&D has been instrumental in building dozens of friendships. It produced four roommates for me (Patrick, Tres, Shawn and Royce), and I was Best Man in three weddings (Patrick Shawn and Royce). In fact, most of the groomsmen in all weddings from the D&D group, came from the D&D group.
I know a lot of people today who played sports in High School or College, but I don’t know any of them who still have the number strong bonds that our gaming group still does. Maybe it has to do with the cooperative and communal nature of RPGs. I realize this was all a lot of rambling that won’t matter much to many people, but I do hope you found it enjoyable.
I’m amazed at how my D&D experiences have impacted my life, and I hope you’ve had similar experiences. Writing all this down makes me look forward to creating these experiences and bonds with my kids, and helping them find friends like mine.