Monday, September 06, 2010

Nostalgia Trip(s) Part III - The Hobbit

US Army, 82 ABN, Fort Bragg, NC.

So here I am in the Army and for the first time actually had some spending money! Something about living in the barracks with a bunch of 20-somethings that you'll never experience again, nor do you appreciate it at the time. Basically everyone has nothing but time on their hands once they get off work. This pretty much comes down to gaming... LOTS of gaming.
Nowadays it is hard as hell finding a group of people to game with. Back then we had way too many. The groups were large, but after a while you kind of settle into your own little group of regulars. In my case I was truly blessed to DM for the group we had. They role-played to the max.

Gotta give a shout out here to Jeff Woods, Charles Bickley, Donald Graves, Lonnie McDonald, Jeff Yerrick, and Z! I still remember staying up all night playing and having to stop because we had to run out for formation. Insane...

There was a lot of transformations going on during this time. It started as just running people through various modules and ended up with a full blown never ending campaign. I guess you could call it the normal evolution or maybe maturing and taking things to a higher level.

The title of this is "The Hobbit" so if anyone is wondering where that comes into play, The Hobbit is a hobby store in Fayetteville. I was so hooked on AD&D that I think practically every paycheck went to that store. I was obsessed with buying anything for AD&D that I didn't have. Eventually I managed to obtain EVERYTHING put out for 1st edition AD&D except for a very few Judges Guild modules. If TSR or Role-Aids made it, I owned it. In case you are wondering, that comes out to over 1,000 adventures to take people through.

The Hobbit was the greatest hobby store ever. Al, Feliet (Spelling?) and Tia were always helping me find obscure items from their distributors and getting them in my hands. They used to say I paid their electric bill every month!

Every time I got paid, I was walking the 5 miles to the Hobbit and nearly filling a grocery bag with stuff and walking back with it. Ahhhh, the memories of not having any bills!

They were also friends with Roger Moore (not James Bond, but the editor of Dragon magazine) as he used to be stationed at Ft. Bragg and used to shop there as well. Every now and then I'd get a few tidbits of information on what was coming down the pipe from TSR so I could be ready for it.

So many games played and endless hours spent exploring fantasy worlds and settings. Drama, intrigue, politics, and lots of excitement. Little did I realize at the time, but the seeds were planted that would also eventually ruin the game for me, but I'll cover that in my next blog.

In case anyone is wondering, yes, I still have everything I collected. I was very meticulous about it all and bought plastic sleeves for everything and kept them protected practically from day one. The item I am most proud of is my single hardcover edition of Dragonlance that contains all three volumes in one book. When I bought that I immediately wrapped it in a plastic sleeve and stuck it away. I told myself that I was going to make it my quest to get the authors to sign it. It took nearly 15 years, but I finally achieved that goal at Origins and Gencon. Needless to say, the authors were impressed at I had such a rare item in such great condition. :)

NEXT UP: Nostalgia Trip(s) Part IV - 2nd Edition, Goblin's Reach and WTF?!?