A Portrait of Young Geeks Playing D&D (1978)

D&D 1978-2

D&D 1978

The earliest portraits I’ve found so far, taken at a camp in Asilomar Beach, California, are courtesy of Pip R. Lagenta. I believe the guys are using the 1975 printing of the original D&D set. You can see the bottom of the white box on the left of the first photo, and I think two of the three booklets on the right. The book on the bottom looks too big to be part of the set. The white box is in the second shot as well.

Oh, and the Tab can.

Pip names the players in the group here and here. UPDATE: Pip says in the comments section below:

I took those Asilomar photos of the D&D games in 1978 with my cheap Kodak Instamatic X-15 camera. Donald Chapel, the guy with the bright colored camera strap, had a much more expensive camera, but I don’t know that he ever took photos of the D&D games. David Woolsey, the DM, put a lot of work into creating artwork for his adventures, drawing his own versions of treasure, tools, maps and monsters on cards, in addition to painting figurines. As a side note, Paul Marsters, the guy with his back to the camera in one photo, is the younger brother of James Marsters, the actor who played the character `Spike’ on the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer

* * *

Tomorrow I’ll be reviewing an incredible book full of homemade D&D modules from the early ’80s. The project behind the book is as incredible as the book. Please tell your friends about both!

New posts will resume on Monday.

7 Responses to “A Portrait of Young Geeks Playing D&D (1978)”


  1. 1 Ed March 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Is that rainbow strap on that one dude attached to a camera? Man you got to remember to bring a camera to a Dungeons and Dragons get together, you never know what will happen!

    All joking aside, it’s nice that somebody captured this on film as this it a honest look back on how things were.

  2. 3 contradextraavenue March 13, 2014 at 4:33 am

    Hey, thanks for the shout out on FB! I actually have my own homemade D&D module packed away in my hoard, but I have next to no chance of finding it in time for your posts. I must have written it around 1982; it was meant as a follow-on to Keep on the Borderlands. I completed the map, numbered encounter descriptions, and even crappy cover artwork (all in pencil on loose-leaf, of course). The innovation I was so proud of was a new weapon – sort of a mace with a bullwhip coming out of the top. Seemed legit to my 11-year-old mind.

  3. 6 Pip R. Lagenta March 15, 2014 at 6:40 am

    I took those Asilomar photos of the D&D games in 1978 with my cheap Kodak Instamatic X-15 camera. Donald Chapel, the guy with the bright colored camera strap, had a much more expensive camera, but I don’t know that he ever took photos of the D&D games. David Woolsey, the DM, put a lot of work into creating artwork for his adventures, drawing his own versions of treasure, tools, maps and monsters on cards, in addition to painting figurines. As a side note, Paul Marsters, the guy with his back to the camera in one photo, is the younger brother of James Marsters, the actor who played the character “Spike” on the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. If you have more questions, you can’t get me on my regular email just now… It has been dead for three weeks while I have been occupied with other issues. You can get me via Facebook or GooglePlus. I am the only “Pip R. Lagenta” around.

    • 7 2W2N March 15, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Pip: thanks so much for the comment. I messaged you on Google+ (I’m Chase Neptune). As a side note, in about 2000 I worked for a Hollywood publicist, one of whose clients was James Marsters!


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