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Title: Dungeons And Dragons In Real Life

Source: Chicago Tribune, February 14th, 1985

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Dungeons And Dragons In Real Life
February 14, 1985
By Linda M. Weiss.

It all started innocently enough. There was a course my 10-year-old son was interested in taking at summer school called "Dungeons and Dragons."

He really wanted to take it and I saw no harm in it. In fact, I saw several positive aspects. Stretching the imagination through a complex fantasy game seemed like great fun. It also seemed as if all the brighter kids were the ones really interested in it.

I also had a selfish reason for letting him take it. I had bought a Dungeons and Dragons set as a gift for my husband, and the two of us couldn't make head or tails of the directions. Here was a game with nothing but an instruction manual and several different kinds of dice, no board or playing pieces or anything.

I figured if he could learn it, he could teach us. Little did I know that unless we could devote the next six months of our lives to nothing but Dungeons and Dragons, we could never learn it.

One game lasted the entire four weeks of summer school. They spent almost one week developing their characters; no choosing a dog or shoe piece as in Monopoly. Each character had certain strengths and could go after various kinds of treasure. I did find out that the object of the game was to get the most treasure without getting killed.

Our after-school conversations started getting strange. I would ask, "How was school?" and he would say "Fine, except Mark got killed today." After planning an appropriate sympathy call on the bereaved parents I learn Mark was killed by "Cyclopskin." I learned not to react too quickly to news of death and dismemberment.

By fall and into winter I was getting more concerned about the hours and hours spent on this fantasy game. Four or more boys could get lost in a room for an afternoon with various manuals and modules imagining all sorts of adventures. A large portion of my son's Christmas list was composed of Dungeons and Dragons things.

Then, over the course of holiday shopping, while facing a surly sales clerk, I thought how nice it would be to conjure up a "Dracolisk" to turn her into jello. Pretty soon I was going to the Monster Manual myself to find an appropriate end to every phone solicitor from a Commodity House who called during dinner and every person who opened the car door into me.

Maybe there is something to this D & D stuff.
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