When Fairy Tales Grow Up
The year 1976
The month May
Dungeons and Dragons was the new in thing among the nerdy, brainiac crowd at school. I fit right in, with my vivid imagination and reputation for being smarter than most of the student populations. On the honor roll every reporting period, I was a shoe in for university. At that time academic post secondary shcool required a minimum average of 80% in five of eight matriculation courses. In my case, chemistry, biology, math, English and French. We live in Canada, so French is our second language unless you live in Quebec where English is considered a legal necessity and barely acknowledged.
Our dungeon master was amazing, and I played a healer/mage. It was harmless fun. A way to indulge our thirst for adventure and interact with each other in a manner that didn't have real world consequences.
The churches in our city banded together to warn parents about satanic activity and uncontrolled indulgences of drugs and sex attached to D and D. We used to meet in a basement Sunday school room of a church, but were driven out and had to make excuses to meet. Some of us were grounded to prevent any contact with others from the group we had formed. For some reason the activity of stretching our imaginations and problem solving skills, was considered evil to the point of wrecking reputations.
Whispers of universities not accepting you as a student if they found out about D and D activites in your life, no job for you in the future, no one would marry you, you wouldn't be able to find a place to live when you moved out, and more piled up. At one point, Tolkien's LOTR series was removed from school bookshelves. For those of us who enjoyed the lively discussions and occassional scare of a great medieval fantasy adventure, the cloak and dagger sneaking around to meet became as much of a thrill as the game.
Once I graduated, which was June of 1976, I lost track of most of the kids I played the game with, and my life made a radical turn. I blocked out the worst of the insanity and forgot about D and D until recently, when Twitch TV D and D dungeon masters caught my attention and I considered getting involved with a game again. Fantasy worlds and universes have become mainstream since the success of Harry Potter.
My own fantasy series was born in the late eighties as the Satanic Panic finally died out. Prophecy's Promise, the first book, was written in late 1988 but never saw a greater audience until 2014 when I put it on Wattpad. It was born because of an off shoot of D and D on an internet bulletin board. Yes, the predecessor of discord servers existed way back in 1990. The ever popular tell a story one sentence at a time inspired me.
Until this prompt crossed my laptop screen, I'd forgotten about the insanity that accompanied the start of D and D. But as usual, things that are meant to be, persist and grow. Now thousands enjoy the process of banding together for an adventure in another world, where magic is common and dragons breathe fire. There are still grandmothers out there who are horrified, because if they don't understand, it must be bad.
I pity them.