It is my opinion, having played D&D since 1981 (sort-of), that the early 80’s issues of Dragon Magazine are the best… but that is because that is from when the most nostalgia is for me. I acquired all of my few Dragon Magazines at the bright age of 12 from the B. Dalton Bookseller at Fashion Island in Newport Beach… from time to time, on days we chose to walk home from Lincoln Junior High School rather than ride the school bus, my first pen & paper D&D friend and I would walk in, school books in hand, and would tuck a Piers Anthony book, or a few AD&D adventure modules and/or Dragon mags in there behind them… and simply walk out!
Accomplished young thieves we prided ourselves on being… just like in D&D! The more I stole… the more I fantasized what level of thief I was in real life… according to Thieves Table 1 in the AD&D Players Handbook… of course.
I grew out of being a thief after a brief stint of homelessness in my early 20’s, when all I stole was food and only from rich people who left their garages open and had a second refrigerator in there… but then there was the night I was hungry as a silent coyote and I snuck into the Newport Beach Tennis Club (a regular hang-out of mine) through the small service window next to the swimming pool. I thought maybe it will be unlocked, just maybe. And it was, mistakenly or otherwise, left unlocked by the employees who had all left for the night. What luck! I slid it quietly open, lifted myself deftly up and during an exhale I easily squeezed through. I went to the kitchen and found a whole cooked roast, a half gallon of milk, and a gallon jug of red wine… all of which I wrapped up in a table cloth and out the little window I went… my haul and me barely fit… and down to the Back Bay… my beloved territory… to overlook the water from the cliff where I sat and relished in my drunken full-moon lit after-midnight feast, with coyotes at the base of the cliff looking up jealously at me, this feast was mine. Haha!
Interestingly enough.. I awoke the next morning from where I lay down after my feast that glorious night in the coastal sage scrub atop the cliff… to the feeling of little things crawling on my face, neck, and arms… ants! And why were there ants? Because I was sleeping just inches away from a coyote’s desiccated body… there were only bones and some bits of remnant fur… but still… some would be repulsed. I imagined it was my dessert following last night’s drunken feast, and well deserved… but then again, I probably lost quite a lot of xp for enticing the coyote into my belly by way of the deception of sharing the roast… no… I’d never! Multiclassing sucks… lol!
Those days of living AD&D style in and around the Back Bay are long gone for me, but from growing up in that fantasy land… a deep nostalgia remains.
But I digress. Here are the Dragon Magazine covers… ALL of them… even the WotC ones!
Where were your youthful stomping… or sneaking… grounds “playing D&D in real life”?