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Dungeons and Dragons, My Beginnings

Updated: May 26, 2020

Yes. I am one of those guys. I grew up in the 70′ s and discovered Dungeons and Dragons, which I played heavily thru the eighties and lost track of it in the nineties.  My first glimpse of it was a blue paper bound and stapled rule book from TSR games  my brother left on his desk. I read it and wondered “what sorcery is this?  It was followed quickly by his copy of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Player’s handbook. A singular work with incredible art work and a cover that still fuels my imagination today. For me, other role playing games followed , such as TSR’s Boot Hill, Gamma World and Top Secret, but D&D was always king of them all.


You have heard all this before. No one else played the game. In a world where my nerdiness was not cool, or even tolerated it was difficult to find other players.  I created epic adventures that never were played by others. Occasionally I was able to join a game in the city or cobble together  some friends to play for a day here and there. Those were incredible days, planning the adventures for weeks ahead, anticipating game day like a holiday. The game gave my imagination room to roam. The game set in motion so much of my direction as an adult that I never realized until looking back at it now. When I played role playing games I could be in control of a creative world and learned how to work with others, troubleshoot and problem solve in the most creative of ways.

After commanding and shaping so much of my life as a teen, my artistic focus, my travels and love of history, D&D slowly faded away and I lost track of my vast collection of notes, artwork, books and modules. Lost to time.


Until one day. One day a few years back, right as the D&D 5th edition was getting rolled out. That day my son and I were in our local comic shop and he said the magic words”  dad, I really want to learn to play D&D”……..WHAT!! My brain screamed. What did he just say? We had watched a few d&d podcasts over the years , mostly marveling at the costumes and  listening to the jokes they told while playing,  inwardly I would marvel at the fact the game had survived. I had never really reflected or talked to my son about how important the role playing game had been to me.

Cut to that day in the store –  ever so coolly I replied to him, ” yeah, D&D…that’s still a thing?” “Yeah,” he said, ,” I’ve watched a ton of podcasts of  game play on line.” Ahhh….the internet. They had a four sided kiosk in the store with a ton of D&D and Pathfinder game stuff on it.

We walked out of the store that day with the 5e players handbook and dungeon masters guide and a bunch of dice. Always dice.

The rest as they say, is history. It turns out, nerdiness is quite cool these days.

D&D it turns out is an even bigger imagination builder, community making adventure building powerhouse than ever before.

Shortly thereafter my son dreamed up a company and online community called NerdzGarage. Among other things they have been playing D&D at NerdzGarage for 18 months nearly every Sunday, now live streaming to YouTube and Twitch. There is also a lot of tabletop game play, anime, cosplay, conventions  and video gaming.

I occasionally play, I am constantly painting new mini figs and building terrain and ships and castles. I am along for the ride as NerdzGarage grows, writing about D&D,  collecting and writing about comics and playing tabletop games.

Earlier this month I was in Augusta, GA on business and got the call,  ” we need a storm giant figure for Sunday”

Me: Hey SIRI,  find a comic and games shop near me….

Come on along and  join us.


@nerdzgarage on the twitter, instagram and facebook

— This recollection by Nerdz Garage Head of Acquisitions  and Master Builder,  Derek “Jimmy” Smith

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