Archive for the 'D&D Portraits' Category



A Portrait of Young Geeks Playing D&D (1980)

December, 1980. (Walter McCardell/Baltimore Sun)

DM attacks girl who shushed him with +1 dagger for 5 damage. Girl dies (she was a level one magic user). Game continues.

Wish I knew what was going on here, but no caption came with the photo.

(Photo via Tribune Photo Archives)

A Portrait of Young Geeks Playing Dungeons & Dragons, 1981

d&d portrait 1981

Via Joey Hack/Flickr. Location not given. I spy with my little eye not one but two briefcases (one of them doubling as a DM screen), a Champion vest jacket, a reel-to-reel tape machine, a turntable, a black cowboy hat (DM’s prerogative), carpet wall art, and I do believe that’s an open carton of cigarettes on the ashtray on top of the TV. Kid in blue is holding Milton Bradley’s MicroVision, the first handheld video game console.

A Portrait of Young Geeks Playing D&D

Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1985, via bander.bramblegrub.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m collecting these shots. Even if you’re not into D&D, I think they say something about the time, about who we were and are.

A Portrait of Young Geeks Playing D&D

Rights reserved by ladlerz

Circa 1984, care of Lars Adlerz. Ah, yes. The “sadistic” Dungeonmaster plots behind his impenetrable, makeshift fortress. What’s he doing back there? Why does he keep rolling those damn dice? Oh my God he’s going to kill us all!

Portrait of a Young Geek Playing D&D

Expert Set

That’s the D&D Expert Set, you’ll notice. In ’83 TSR released the revised Basic Set (red cover) and Expert Set (blue cover), followed in ’84 by the new Master Set (black cover) and in ’85 by the Immortals Set (gold cover). Each consecutive set was geared for higher level characters, but it was super confusing because Advanced Dungeons and Dragons was going on at the same time and had different rules, so if one of us brought the Expert Set to the party, and someone else brought the AD&D Player’s Handbook, the shit really hit the fan.

Not that it mattered in the end. Sometimes we’d get a game off, but mostly we’d just roll characters for a couple of hours, draw some viciously perilous dungeons that not even a Conan-Christ multiclass would survive, chase Ding Dongs and Twinkies with several tall glasses of ice cold Pepsi, and pop Alien (or something more lascivious) into the VCR after the parental units went to bed.

(Image via Big Lee’s Miniature Adventures)

A Portrait of Young Geeks Playing D&D

I found this great shot at a Muscatine High School Class of ’88 reunion site. That’s a Dragonlance module on the right. We played one of those at camp in junior high. My mother dragged me to see Cats a year or two later, and I remember bringing Dragons of Spring Dawning with me. I was much distressed when the lights in the auditorium went down and I was no longer able to read my book. My distress sharpened when people dressed up like cats danced onto the stage and started to sing.


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