A Tribute to D & D: We Were Heroes


by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)

Back before it was cool to be a nerd, before the days of the geek, we lived in secret, gathering weekly to enact ancient rituals. In the days when it seemed the world could end at any moment in a fiery, nuclear conflagration, even in the days of grunge and self-pity and indulgence, we carried on the traditions of our forebears. We gathered, we sat, looked one another in the eyes,and told stories. Oh, the stories we told! Stories of fell dragons, hideous demons, of insurmountable evils, all of which came flowing from our minds to be mingled and formed into new legends. Yes, we told stories. More importantly, and significantly, for a world that gave no thought to us, we told the One Story.

There among us was the Paladin, the party leader, and righter of wrongs, wielding the polyhedrons like a +5 Holy Avenger, and guiding us into shadowy dungeons, secure in his divine fervor that we would make it out alive again. But even if we didn’t, dying for a just cause would secure a divine reward and a bardic  commemoration.

Next came the Cleric, the source of succor and healing, the spiritual center of the party. He kept us alive, and through his example of caring for the poor and insignificant souls we encountered within the story, we learned to fight for something bigger than ourselves. We came to know that there were people of all races: humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, and so on, who needed defending. But when his ire was raised, the Cleric was not hesitant to enter the fray to crack heads, destroy the demonic, and turn the undead to ash by brandishing his holy symbol.

In the next seat around the table of stories came the warrior. As she was the mightiest among us (having the most hit points), she was the one who fearlessly waded into battle ahead of everyone else, heedless of the danger. Even faced with certain death, she did not fear. She was not one for schoolin’ or spellcraft, eschewing everything that would distract her from her focus on her sword.

But even the warrior, with her myopic focus on her weapon, could not deal as much damage as the wizard. The wizard was built to stand behind the Warrior, the Cleric, and the Paladin because of his weak constitution. But even though he had the fewest hit points (a d4 does not yield very many hit points), he always kept a stack of d6’s at the ready for the spectacular display that is Fireball. Fires, bangs, and smells are child’s play, however, next to the ability to Power Word Kill–assuming he lived long enough to cast it.

Rounding out the troupe, is the lovable trickster known as the Thief (now more commonly referred to as Rogue). Sometimes, sometimes–especially when the Paladin was otherwise distracted with helping the downtrodden or praying–the Thief would be called upon to employ her particular skill set to pickpocket, pick locks, wriggle out of manacles, or chains, or sneak around to spy. And lest we forget her martial prowess, the Thief could quickly remind us how dangerous she really is with the all too sneaky Back Stab.

Gathered together with a well-rounded party, each member contributing something to the whole, we created stories. More than mere stories, we created myths, we became those myths, and to this day we recall the exploits of those characters whose physical makeup consists of nothing more than paper and scrawls in pencil. Nevertheless, they are part of who we have become, and we are better for it.

When many of our contemporaries were involved in the vain pursuits of popularity or sexual conquest, and all of the social pressures that follow these exploits, we were saving the world. We were heroes. We are the Knights of the d20.

You’re welcome.

-Drayson the Quick, Elven Thief Rogue Hero

Photo Credit Marc Garrido


  1. MikeSatumbagaJuly 30th, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Love it!!!! What I’ll say to this is I didn’t think I had it in me to be a DM. Now, I love it. DM’ing is probably just as, if not more fun than being a PC. Also I love that to this day my old group and I still talk about the encounters and all the memorable moments hanging out slaying Jelly Cubes…haha (Scary stuff actually).

  2. Kevin RigdonJuly 31st, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Thanks for the feedback!

    DM’ing is definitely fun. I never thought I could do it, but back in the day I really wanted to play Vampire: the Masquerade, and my group decided that if we were going to play I had to run it. Turned out to be one of the funnest experiences I’ve ever had gaming. I’d rather play D&D, and now Pathfinder, but as far as running a game, I love White Wolf’s old World of Darkness stuff.


  3. MikeSatumbagaJuly 31st, 2012 at 9:10 am

    No problem. Solid work! Entertaining read and hope to see more on here!

  4. Rich SmithJuly 31st, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Nostalgic article, thanks for the read. I did not get much involved in RPGs until AD&D 2nd edition so single class characters were not my thing. I preferred the Elven Fighter Mage (Arcane Archer style) or even Mage/Rogue. D&D definitely holds a place in my heart as my “Gateway Drug.” All time favorite RPG was Shadowrun though. D&D with tech and guns 🙂

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