Archive for the 'D&D Portraits' Category

A Portrait of Young Geeks Playing Dungeons & Dragons, 1984

D&D 1984

Shaving kit bags were often used as dice/accessory bags. A brilliant solution, really. I also “borrowed” a few faux leather coin purses from my mom: no latch, you just squeezed the sides of the thing and it popped open.

One of the guys has a Trapper Keeper, and there’s another one on the shelf. Wish I could see what those books were.

(Photo via schmooksdad)

A Portrait of Young Geeks Playing Dungeons & Dragons, 1987

Dragonlance 1987

Dragonlance campaign, 1987, via Dean Stevens. Fishing poles, cat portraits, wide cans, prescription medication at the ready, a pool table light, and a shirt louder than the wall unit air conditioner. Sounds like the ’80s to me.

UPDATE: Actually, as we’ve been discussing on Facebook, they are likely playing on a covered pool table. There are pool cues on the right wall.

Portrait of a Young Geek Playing Dungeons & Dragons, 1982

Mike Hughes The Arrow 1982

The geek and “Dragon Master” is Michael Hughes, a writer, teacher, performer, and occultist. Hughes founded the D&D Club at Andover High in 1981-1982, and, as luck (or fate) would have it, one of his homemade adventure modules appears in a compendium I wrote about a couple of years ago, The Habitation of the Stone Giant Lord and Other Adventures from Our Shared Youth. Mike talks a bit about D&D and The Habitation of the Stone Giant Lord here.

At the link you’ll also see an old school character sheet for “Grey Wanderer,” a half-elf ranger/cleric who possesses suspiciously high ability scores—though not so much in the way of looks, poor fellow. You’ll notice “Chaotic Good” listed under languages. That’s not a mistake. “Alignment languages” were a thing in the early versions of D&D and AD&D.

If you’re into Lovecraftian horror, do check out Mike’s novels Blackwater Lights and Witch Lights, published by Random House.

Mike Hughes CS

A Portrait of Young Geeks Playing D&D, Circa 1983



The Hesperia Junior High D&D Club is playing The Keep on the Borderlands in the school library. Love that camo boonie hat. The photos are from the Hesperia Junior High Yearbook from 1982-1983 via Keith Sloane, who posted them in the comments at Joseph Bloch’s Greyhawk Grognard. I posted Bloch’s D&D Club photo here.


The Order of Excalibur Club, 1980

Order 1980

The Star Trek Club and the Middle Earth Club of Mira Loma High School merged in 1979 to form the Science Fiction Club, and the Order of Excalibur Club was added in 1980 “to congress around Dungeon and Dragons and other board games revolving around wizards and magic.”

The graphic on the D&D shirt appears to be the same one the kid in this D&D Club is wearing. The letters are iron-on affairs, so my guess is there was a generic dragon shirt on the market at the time, and the kids had mom press on the letters. Another homegrown D&D shirt here. Lots more D&D Clubs here.

(Image and background via Mira Loma Alumni and Friends)

Portrait of a Young Geek Holding the Players Handbook and Wearing a Moose Hat (1981)

Nerd 1981

Also, is that a band shirt? I can’t believe grandma let him in her house.

Wade Rockett, you are tied with Patrick Rothfuss for Nerd Master of the Universe.

A Portrait of Young Geeks Reading Deities & Demigods (Circa 1985)


The photo is from Rich Howard, who is one of the geeks. You can read about his introduction to D&D here.

Paging the ugly couch museum: we have another specimen for your collection. (I would pay to gain entrance to such a museum, by the way.)

A Portrait of Young Geeks About to Play D&D (1983)

Gee, I wonder who stunk up the game room.

(Photo via elston/Flickr)

Gamemasters Club, 1982/1983

Gamemasters Club 1982-1983

From the ’82-’83 Quartz Hill High School yearbook. Quartz Hill is in California’s Antelope Valley, northeast of Los Angeles.

I do believe the gent in the middle is wearing a head armor piece and holding a wooden weapon of some kind. The gent to his left is holding the original AD&D Players Handbook. Is that a gorilla on his ringer tee?

The girl-guy ratio is damn near 50-50!

(Photo via QHHS Alumni)

Portrait of a Young Geek Holding the D&D Companion Set and a Bullwhip, Circa 1984

Rothfuss 1984

The geek is Patrick Rothfuss, who discovered D&D in the early ’80s, became a writer of fantasy novels, and recently found himself listed in Appendix E of the new Dungeon Master’s Guide. Read the hilarious and heartfelt story—he takes the sleeveless t-shirt head on, don’t worry—at his website.

I bet you’d forgotten about the Aerobie, the “flying ring” first sold in 1984. Because so many of us demanded a more aerodynamic flying disc, preferably one designed by an engineer.




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