Thirty years of D&D

This may come as an absolute lack of shock to most of you, but growing up, I was not very cool.

As proof, allow me to present exhibit A.


That’s me on my birthday. And if the Aerobie, sunglasses, and sleeveless shirt weren’t enough of a clue for you, I’ll just mention that this was somewhere in the early 80’s.

So. Me: Not particularly cool. Really rather impressively not cool.

Now don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t miserable. I wasn’t one of the popular kids, but then again most people aren’t. I didn’t have a lot of friends, but I had a few. Besides, I lived out in the country, so it wasn’t like the neighborhood kids pelted me with stones or anything. There were no neighborhood kids for the most part. No neighbors. Just me and lots of books.

What’s more, I had the best pair of parents imaginable. Parents who, when I asked for a bullwhip for my birthday, actually bought me one.

And, as you can see if you embiggen the above picture, they also bought me a copy of the green D&D box set.

*     *     *

I first found out about D&D in the fifth grade. I saw some kids playing at school one day when it was crappy out and we were having recess inside.

I’d never heard of it before. It looked like a lot of fun. I asked the kids if I could play with them.

“No,” they said.

It wasn’t a hesitant no, either. It was a genuine, “No, we are certain we do not want you to play with us.” Whether or not they intended to, I was left with the distinct impression that I wasn’t cool enough to play D&D with.

Keep in mind that this was in the early 1980’s. Geek wasn’t chic back then. There was no internet. There weren’t huge comic conventions. There was no PAX.

These days everyone plays WOW and reads Harry Potter and Watches X-Men movies. Geek is mainstream now.

Back then? Not so much. Back then, you were picked on for reading fantasy novels. Or reading comics. Or rolling dice and pretending to be a wizard. Geeks were really far down the social pecking order.

Those people, those geeks, were the folks that didn’t particularly want to hang out with me.

So I arranged to get the D&D red box. And I read it all. And I made a character. And I played D&D with myself.

(It occurs to me just now that this might have been one of the first steps toward being a writer. Being an author is kinda like playing D&D with yourself.)

Later I got the other boxes. Usually as Christmas presents….


(I never knew about the Immortal Rules until just now….)

My parents didn’t really know what it was all about. Despite that, they were understanding. My mom was a hippie, so when I asked her to make me a cloak, she didn’t think much of it. She’d made cloaks for people before. The main difference was that the people she made cloaks for back in the 60’s had at least a distant possibility of having sex.

Then I found this at the Madison public library.


It wasn’t this actual book. It didn’t have this cover, either. Because of damage, or perhaps as a nod to Christian sensibilities, the library had re-covered the book.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. This book was different. It was weighty. It was serious. It was full of  charts and tables. Let’s say you were adventuring in a swamp. And you wanted to know how likely you were to catch a disease. Well, there were rules for that.

I am all-the-way serious:


There’s something to be learned from this table. Honestly, part of the reason I live in Wisconsin is because of the -1% modifier for cool weather.

Toward at the end of one of the books was Appendix N – Inspirational and Educational Reading. That was where Gygax listed books that had shaped his views on fantasy. Books he thought other people would benefit from reading.

I found a nice scan of it online:


(Click to embiggen, if you’re curious.)

You’ve got some great names on there. Tolkien. Zelazny. Saberhagen. Norton. Looking it over now, I realize I still haven’t read half of these, and I feel like I should.

Back then, it was really interesting to see this list of books. But I was just a kid. I didn’t seek out books so much as I just devoured anything that was available at the library or the Waldenbooks at the mall.

Eventually I found some people to play D&D with. I played it all through high-school with several different people, most consistently with my two best friends, Steve and Ryan.

When I graduated from high-school, rather than have a graduation party, I asked my parents if I could go up to our cabin in the north woods with Steve and Ryan. They agreed, and for a week, we did very little but play D&D.

By that time, 2nd edition was out. That’s the edition I played the most of. The one I know inside and out.

I played in college too. That’s how I made my first friends here in Stevens Point. Most notably Endo, who introduced me to other friends. That was how I met my first girlfriend and other people I still know and love to this day. Though I don’t get to see them nearly as much as I’d like.

This year, as some of you might know, 5th edition came out.


I got to know this edition pretty well because I had to make a new version of Viari that I could play with Acquisitions Incorporated.

The book is beautiful. The new system is flexible but easy to use. Elegant and smooth in a way I couldn’t have appreciated ten years ago. Using it, I was able to make a thief that could hold his own in combat and survive jumping off an airship onto a dragon.

But I’m not here to sing the praises of 5th edition. I’m here because of what shows up in the back of this 5th edition player’s handbook.

Appendix E: Inspirational Reading….


There’s more books than before, you’ll notice. That’s only appropriate. The genre’s grown a lot since Gygax wrote his list back in 1979.

There’s still some of the familiar names on here, as there should be. Zelazny is still brilliant. So is Tolkien. And what’s that? Oh my stars and garters, there’s more than one woman on the list! Which is good, because these days a list that misses LeGuin and McKillip isn’t worth shit in my opinion.

We’ve got some new folks on there too. My friends and colleagues. Jemisin and Sanderson. Lynch, and Bear and Saladin.

And this.

PHReadingPage 2

I’m there. I’m in the book. In a small way, I’m *part* of D&D.

It’s hard to get my head around that fact. Words fail me, and I honestly don’t know what to say. Except that it’s wonderful, and flattering and so, so strange. My life has become so strange these last few years.

I think this must be what it feels like to be cool.

DnD_recommended2Be good to each other everyone,


This entry was posted in Achievement Unlocked!, gaming, musings, My checkered past. By Pat86 Responses


  1. RickT
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 4:08 AM | Permalink

    So cool!

    • RickT
      Posted September 18, 2014 at 4:11 AM | Permalink

      I mean really that is so badass!

  2. Adam S
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 4:14 AM | Permalink

    It’s a super neat feeling, actually being IN a book that isn’t of your own making. Despite being a best seller and having your name plastered around every corner of the internet, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were as giddy as I was when Sanderson put me into the WoT. And when my group meets for the first time this year, I’ll be sure to point out your name in the back.

  3. Posted September 18, 2014 at 4:44 AM | Permalink

    That’s a pretty damn awesome achievement – I thought this was going to be a nostalgic “I’ve played D&D back in the days” post (I also had the boxes, but never really got into AD&D, as we moved on to other systems / settings like Earthdawn), so the ending came as a surprise :)

  4. pikeamus
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 4:53 AM | Permalink

    This is an awesome post that’s got me feeling all nostalgic. Funnily enough, in another tab I have recently opened a forum on 5e because I was curious what was up. I haven’t played D&D in a few years, but this version sounds pretty fun – I kinda wish it would be easier for me to give it a try.

    • Blarghedy
      Posted September 18, 2014 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

      Surprisingly, it is easier for you to give it a try! Hooray and stuff.

      The D&D 5 subreddit is full of information, including a bunch about how to find games, but I’ll rehash a bit here…

      The straight up easiest way to find a game is pretty straightforward, but not particularly practical: Know a DM who already has a group and is looking for one last player. Volunteer to be that player. Unfortunately that isn’t all that likely to happen, so the next easiest way is go to a local gaming or comic books shop and ask them if they have any groups looking for a player. Looking to DM? Mention that and they’ll love you. If they don’t, go to another one. If you have no local comic book or gaming shop, there are a few different online places to look and play. The LFG subreddit is specifically for looking for gaming groups with various requirements. I haven’t spent much time there but it seems pretty solid.

      Last, there are what are known as ‘virtual tabletops’ online. There are a few of these that are pretty well made, but the one I’ll mention is Roll20, a site on which I have spent probably 30 hours combined playing and DMing and many more fiddling and configuring.

  5. Darkstand
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

    I was immensely pleased when I saw your name in the book, so I can only imagine how YOU felt. Its your name after all.

  6. audreynstuff
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

    I just want you to know that the reason I finally got up the nerve to go looking online for people in my city (Vienna, Austria) who would be willing to teach me how to play DnD is because of watching you play epic DnD on Youtube.
    When I was in High School I also approached a group of guys that I was acquainted with who were playing DnD. I too thought it looked interesting and fun. I don’t know if it was because I was a girl, or if it was because I was a noob, or both, but they too gave me a NO.
    So I never got to play.
    Fast forward 15 years or so, and I love your writing, and am watching interviews you have given on Youtube. I find your epic DnD video, and am delighted! At this time of my life I had no friends to call my own, besides my husband, and was very lonely. It had been that way for years already, and I was experiencing frequent bouts of depression because of the isolation I felt.
    Inspired by your video, I went looking, and did indeed find a forum of like minded people who play DnD and other RPG games in english. Somebody on the forum said they would be willing to help me create a character, and invited me to join their group.
    That was about 2 years ago now, I think. I have a circle of friends now, and am meeting more all the time through them! I am a 7th level Arcane Sorceress named Circe, with an owl for my familiar named Willow. We played Pathfinder, but are on the brink of changing our characters over to 5th edition DnD because my DM likes the system.
    Thank You Pat. Thank you so much. Thank you for your wonderful books, and thank you for giving me the inspiration to finally get out there and meet some people! I am forever grateful.

    • Posted September 20, 2014 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

      That’s my warm fuzzy for the day. I’m glad you’re enjoying the game and you’ve got a crew to play with…

      • audreynstuff
        Posted September 22, 2014 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

        Glad I could make you smile! I love the game, and am enjoying learning other RPGs as well now. We’re playing Call of Cthulu this weekend!

      • audreynstuff
        Posted September 22, 2014 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

        By the way, I CHEERED at Viari’s return at this year’s PAX. I applauded my laptop.

  7. Posted September 18, 2014 at 5:14 AM | Permalink

    Can’t believe I’m seeing this post today. Tonight I’m playing D+D for the first time in over 20 years, mostly inspired by great reviews for 5th edition. I love your post it is a great time to be a geek. I’m DMing tonight and the campaign is based in the world of my fantasy novels. All the players have read them, which will make tonight even more special. Thanks for the post. Really brought out some great memories.

  8. Strumzilla
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 5:41 AM | Permalink

    I remember that reading list so well. I had a similar experience to Pat in the early days. I remember discovering Moorcock, Zelazny, Lieber, et al from this very list. I loved the version of Deities & Demigods that had the Melnibonean mythos in it (which I think was later removed due to copyright). I think my head would explode if I was name checked in something like this from my youth. Congratulations Pat and it’s well deserved. Kingkiller is my favorite new fantasy series since ASOIAF, and ASOIAF was the first series I named as my “new” favorite since LOTR, so Pat’s in heady company.

  9. Holmelund
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 5:54 AM | Permalink

    You deserve to be there!
    I constantly tell people that your books is the best Fantasy I have read in the last 30 years, then I usually change the sentence to the best books I have read in the last 30 years.
    Just yesterday I mentioned it to 2 different people who was browsing the english Fantasy section in my local bookstore. I smiled with glee when both of them followed up on it and bought the book.

    Thanks for writing books that can make me, laugh, cry, smile, cry again and provoke me to think.

    You are a fantastic writer and person and I am proud to call myself a fan of you and your work (fictional as well as charitable)

  10. griffmaestro
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:03 AM | Permalink

    Congrats, Pat. You deserve it. It will be interesting to see how much of “the rest of the Kingkiller series” is available when the 6th edition comes out. ;-)

  11. Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:05 AM | Permalink

    Congrats to you; that’s both huge and very well deserved! And I totally agree, wonderful that the field has so expanded and that the list now includes women.

  12. caveolina
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:10 AM | Permalink

    Sometimes, just like now, it occur’s to me that I Love your Blog more than your Books. Something that I never thought to be possible

  13. barbaraSpain
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    this is awesome Pat congratulations. I am a player of D&D and i know what a honout it means!!!

  14. TheLoveHouse
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    I really want to see a photo of Pat wearing the cloak his mother made.

  15. chaelek
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:31 AM | Permalink

    What ho!

  16. MommaAng
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

    Is it weird that I cried a little at the end?? I’m so happy for you Pat and trust me you are very cool. No, you are what the cool kids wish they could be. Thank you for being you and sharing your work, your life experience and kindness with all of us other geeks.

  17. cantrell11
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

    That was a very touching story. Thanks for sharing Pat. I really miss D&D, I should try and find a way to make time to play it again.

  18. aldel
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

    There was more than one woman on the original list.

  19. theonlykaren
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    That is absolutely the most awesome thing I can think of. You, sir, rock.

  20. Kthaeh
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    That’s so cool, Pat. Congratulations.

    I’ve had a question about geekdom rolling around my head for a while now, and I figured this post presents a decent opportunity to put it to you, Pat. It has to do with ostracism and how that shaped an earlier generation of geeks. I’m going to have to generalize a bit, but I recognize that conditions vary enormously.

    As you mentioned, geek is now mainstream. When you were a kid, it wasn’t, and being a geek could result in a lot of ostracism. When you were a kid, bullying also wasn’t something that parents or educators were much concerned with either, as compared with today. So being a geek in those days carried some serious social risks. And for those geeky adolescents who got treated to the average to worst social repercussions of being a geek, that must have shaped their development as human beings. Sometimes those effects must have been profound and perhaps played out over decades.

    I’m not a kid these days, so I can’t say whether geekdom is now a proudly worn badge in some places. I don’t know if it truly makes anyone one of the cool kids in middle school or high school. But as you say, geek is now mainstream, so I can only imagine that it’s at least not as painfully lonely and weird to be a geek these days. Nor is bullying tolerated to the degree it used to be.

    So I guess my question is – Is the experience of bullying/ostracism/loneliness an intrinsic part of geekdom? At least for an older generation? I mean, there are all the varied interests and activities that geeks pursue. And then there’s the social price that some people pay or paid – or not – for those interests. I’m not implying that more modern geekery is cheap or fake or lesser in any way. But I do wonder if the more recent model of geekdom lacks a social and developmental experience that characterizes older geeks in a certain way. If it does I’m not sure if that matters or not. What do you think?

    • Posted September 20, 2014 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

      A lot of people feel that way. That if you didn’t pay your dues by being ostracized then you’re not *really* a geek.

      I don’t think that though. It’s not an exclusive club that you need to pay some social price to get in. Being a geek is about loving something passionately beyond all reason or sense. And it need not necessarily be related to science fiction, fantas, superheroes, etcetera. You can be a gardening geek, a model train geek, stamp collecting geek, a baby geek…

      It’s about enthusiasm, in my opinion.

      • theotherjason
        Posted October 2, 2014 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

        That. That and biting the heads off chickens.

  21. rmcphail
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 7:57 AM | Permalink
  22. justajenjen
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    That pic of you as a kid is adorable. I’m pretty sure I have a similar one, but the girl version (meaning bad perm) of me around the same time.

    And congrats on your epic achivement. That is really awesome!

  23. lenamoster
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    So I just got a little emotional on your behalf. Is that weird? I can just so easily imagine what it would mean to be namechecked in the inspirational reading section after D&D having been such a big part of your life. (3rd edition playing in high school brought me and my husband together!)

    Also, this list would have been lacking without your name included on it, let’s be honest here!

  24. SporkTastic
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    That is so frickin’ cool! I’m glad to hear that the new edition is a good one (I have it, but haven’t played yet); I saw that they had updated the list of inspired reading, but kind of sort of only skimmed said list…I have a few books on my “to read” pile, so…

    BUT WOW! You went from not being cool enough for D&D to being IN D&D! That is pretty amazing.

  25. Jormungandr
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    That’s awesome! I remember using that original list from the AD&D DMG to look for authors. I wasn’t allowed to bring my DMG with me to the public library, but I remember writing down each author’s name on a scrap of paper and digging through the card catalog there trying to find anything that matched.

    My public library at the time didn’t have much in the way of fantasy/SF books, but I found a few of the authors, and they were definitely worth reading. I can imagine D&D-playing kids doing a similar thing these days, but probably with more google and wikipedia involved. :)

    Which is all a long-winded way of saying congratulations! Well-deserved; I would have been thrilled to have picked up a copy of your books during one of those trips to the library.

  26. MattBaillie
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 9:31 AM | Permalink

    Congratulations Pat, well deserved.

  27. Posted September 18, 2014 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    My cousins were geeks before the word was invented and I used to play with them, my grandmother (who owned a bookstore during the depression) listening with her eyes closed, imagining the characters as we interacted. I was into the Society for Creative Anachronism during the 80’s (Talon Ap Rhys, an Irish/Welsh mercenary) and one of the best non-SCA events I ever attended was a live action dungeon crawl, where the hosts wore cheesy monster attire in addition to armor. In those days I fought with two other left-handed fighters, the ‘sinister-squad’ (our motto was: ‘Better dead than dexter’)

    Patrick, thank you for bringing back olde memories, and whatever is going on in your life I’m sending you all the good mojo I can

  28. PateAndPortal
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    I’m surprised that George MacDonald is on neither of those lists considering how much he influenced other writers on it.

  29. Steve MC
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    As someone who went to high school and college in the ’80s, and who lived in the woods with his Star Wars figures, and who had a super-flimsy nylon whip that looked more like a hairy wand, this has damn near got me weepy.

    • mgshredder
      Posted September 18, 2014 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

      I didn’t have my Star Wars action figures in the woods… but when I was about 11 or so I was reading Lord of the Rings and I found a staff out there. It was fall branch that was straight at a string, stood about 6ft tall, and near the top the branch thickened into a knob where it once attached to a tree. That stick became my wizard staff, my b0-stick, quarterstaff, and occasionally a pole-vault I used to get over the stream that ran through the woods behind my house.

      • pikeamus
        Posted September 19, 2014 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

        Heh, I had a ‘staff’ as well, though I was mostly too nervous to take it out and about with me as I’d bump into dog walkers often where I lived. :) I also found mine around the time I was reading Lord of the Rings for the first time, age 11 or 12.

      • Steve MC
        Posted September 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

        Your pole-vaulting staff/bo was much better than mine, ’cause yours seems like it was a gift from the forest while mine was an old broom handle. But it did have a nail stuck in the bottom, for traction on frozen ponds. Ah, youth…

  30. Corinne
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    *sniffle* That’s awesome. Congrats.

  31. steven_ford
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    I need some sort of achievement badge for name checked in a blog post… Though I guess it’s happened a couple of times before. This is a pretty cool thing. Been thinking about similar things lately for different reasons. Sawyer has been reading my old D&D Endless Adventures books (also known as choose your own adventure books) and I’ve been thinking about playing some D&D with him. I still have all my 2nd Edition stuff and have considered picking up 5th.

    Our D&D is probably my favorite times with the game. Rotating DM-ship so we all could play. (You were generally the best at it, no surprise) the occasional veering into “can we kill the whole party” one ups-manship… Messing with Nick and the other sometime member of the group who’s name escapes me when it wasn’t just the three of us…

    Good times.

  32. Posted September 18, 2014 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations. I’d probably never stop staring at the page in disbelief if I was ever on that list. And showing it to everyone I knew.

  33. Posted September 18, 2014 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

    What’s more awe-inspiring than being in the Who’s Who? Being listed as an inspiration and influence in a multi-generational adventure machine. Bravo. You’ve certainly worked hard and long to earn it.

  34. oldriku
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations Pat, you deserve it. I bet it must be very heartwarming to see your name on a role playing game you loved as a child.

  35. cynrtst
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    Well deserved inclusion.

  36. KiriBerkvam
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    I’d like to second Endo being awesome. He has been a good friend when I needed one very very badly. Thanks for pointing him out and mentioning him by name, Pat.

  37. Andrew
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    Pat, Pat, Pat…I would have welcomed your younger country bumpkin self into my guild and together we would have been the greatest of friends, drank many a horn of mead (honeyed milk), slayed many dragons (and maidens, within the game, of course, as this was a far-fetched possibility for boys like us in the real world). Then again, I was just barely conceived when you were going through said sub-human phase. I couldn’t truly understand what it was like to grow up in a world where geekdom was aggressively ostracized.

    I am not surprised to find your name on Gygax’s list. Your work has already made a sizable crater in the world of modern fantasy. Thanks for that. I can only hope that one day my fantasy series will be honored in a similar fashion.

    Have a wonderful day, sir. May your beard remain lustrous and virile.

  38. Upgrayedd
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 4:56 PM | Permalink
  39. Lisa Laree
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    Can I just say…hope those guys who wouldn’t let you play get a chance to see that list…

    • Mika Tolos
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

      ooooh boy id pay to see their faces :P had a similar experience with WH40K and it only made me more determined to find out about it

    • Posted September 20, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

      Nah, there’s no hard feelings there. I got to know most of them later on in school and they were all nice guys. They just didn’t know me then. Not many folks would want to play with complete stranger in an established game.

  40. Jsherry
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Awesome post. I have nothing left from my D&D days but a copy of Deities & Demigods (although I may have a few Star Frontiers rulebooks around, too). What I really wish I still had, though, was the rejection form letter my neighbor and I received when we submitted a monster of our own creation to TSR – if I recall, it said they wouldn’t even read submissions for legal reasons, but also that their monsters were generally based on myths and legends. We were just so psyched to have gotten an official response from TSR.

    • Jsherry
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

      Also, I could not have gone to the Madison Public Library as a child without thinking of Music Man every time. Different state, I know, but even so.

  41. mgshredder
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    I got the red box, myself. I miss D&D. Haven’t played in years. But my kid got a D&D box for his birthday a couple of days ago and we’re going to play it with him soon, and I can’t wait. We were about 15 seconds into explaining the rules to him when he loudly announced he wanted to be a wizard.

    Also, that achievement unlocked drawing is fantastic. I’d put that sucker on my wall if I were you.

  42. HilaryJean
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

    Mr. Rothfuss,

    I have a proposition for you. My fiancé and I started dating largely due to the fact we had both finished reading your book. We consider Kingkiller “our” book (no offense). We have been half-joking for a long time that, if we got married, we should invite you because we live in Wisconsin too. Well, we are getting married in May. I was planning on actually sending a formal invite, but this blog give me the leverage I need to convince you!

    If you come to our wedding, you get to hang out with the Gygax family. My fiancé is Gary’s grandson and we’ve agreed to shamelessly use this connection to try to get you to come party with us. What do you think? I can’t promise D&D at the reception (don’t have enough time!), but there will be board games and beer. What more can you ask for?

    (And no worries, we’re still big fans and a polite “No, you wackos” won’t hurt our feelings. Plus, you could always show up to GaryCon instead!) ;)

    • Posted September 20, 2014 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

      I’m flattered at the invitation. And I appreciate it, but I’ve been doing far too much traveling lately. For this next year I’m really going to be trying to cut back and spend more time with my own family. I got two little boys and I don’t see them nearly as much as I would like to.

      • HilaryJean
        Posted September 20, 2014 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

        Alright, I suppose I can’t argue with that logic, except to say that kids are welcome and my 5- and 3-year-old nephews would love the company! :D

        Kidding, thanks for the RSVP.

  43. innerforcemusic
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    How unbelievably awesome! I had (and somewhere still have I think) the first edition and as a kid in the 80’s too I tried to play it but was the ‘cast out’ especially being from a small town.

    Now with this 5th edition I just may buy it again and now that, as you state, geek is mainstream I could finally find some folks to play!

  44. Argent
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

    This is probably one of the strongest achievements a geek can earn. Big kudos. Mad props. Etc.

  45. Mika Tolos
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    staggeringly cool! I’ve dreamed of being a published writer and am in love with D&D ^^

    congrats dude, this is an achievement certainly

  46. jasondubya
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    Really cool, Congratulations! This is probably one of the few times I’ve felt proud of another human being that isn’t actually someone I know and a part of my (waking) life. Well, now that I made that good and god damn creepy. Growing up in the country I got called a bookfag more than a few times, WITH MY FANCY HOITY TOITY READINS. So I enjoyed your story about growing up in the country, it was something I could relate with and.. to be fair… I’m jealous of the bullwhip.


  47. sayonion
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    Woooooow! Congratulations!!! That’s just awesome! That achievement badge is hilarious, too. :D

  48. Gigi.Aka.Janeen
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    So friggin exciting!!
    How do we send you art? Or is that not allowed?

    • Posted September 20, 2014 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

      you can always post up a link here if you’d like to.

  49. Jonathan Pinches
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    Cool is being a good father and creating beautiful words others. Organizing charities, encouraging kindness. You’ve been cool. Now it’s just official. Officialer.

    Just got my “Chocolate Malts for Everyone” sticker. It is now on my laptop.

    Have a nice day everyone.

  50. Posted September 20, 2014 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    I’m so impressed you played it by yourself to start out with! My uncles played but they wouldn’t let me play with them. Except live action. I picked up the red one at a garage sale. I was so ecstatic to play. I read the guide inside right away. Then it dawned on me that I couldn’t play by myself. I asked my best friend, Joe, to play but he wouldn’t. And I didn’t dare ask anybody else. So yeah I confess Pat, I have never played D & other then live action D&D. Or as kids call it these days. Larping.

  51. Posted September 20, 2014 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    Sounds like you and I had very similar childhoods. I grew up in the woods of Northern Michigan and lived 17 miles from the nearest town. I remember being a big comicbook fan as a kid and one summer at my cousins house near Flint, MI his friend Kyle brought over a copy of Heroes Unlimited, the Palladium Games superhero rpg. I was flabbergasted with the idea of bringing the comicbook stories I loved to “life”. I came home and furiously checked everywhere for a copy of Heroes Unlimited, but it had apparently not made it that far north yet. What I did find though was Dungeons & Dragons on the shelves of WaldenBooks in the nearby “metropolis” of Traverse City. I had already read and loved the Lord of the Rings and the Sword of Shannara, so it was a no brainer to pick up the Players Handbook and take it home. Soon, after mowing several lawns and painting an ungodly amount of sheds, I had raised enough money to buy the Monster Manual, Dungeon Masters Guide and a set of dice as well. But alas, as you had said, there was no one I could find to play with. There were a few kids who claimed to play, but I never saw them doing it, and so I began to play by myself. I read those books cover to cover and in fact I still have my original PHB, though rather worn and overly loved.
    To this day, over all other role playing games, D&D is my favorite and the system I always gravitate back to. In fact D&D, played during college with my dear friend Wes, has had such an impact on my life that in honor of his memory I created Gaming For A Cure, a non-profit gaming convention held in Traverse City, MI. In addition to that and my regular gaming group, I try to teach as many kids the wonders and joys of the game at the same time introducing their parents to the unique benefits one gains from playing such games.
    D&D will always be a major contributor to the man I am today and hopeful to generations to come down the road.

  52. Killerhipo
    Posted September 20, 2014 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

    Just today I found that table in the back of our books, and then I look online to see you making a post about it, sometimes coincidences see too crazy to be true. If ever you are in Montreal I would be honored to have you join our weekly DnD game, be warned though be play 3.75 (Pathfinder).

    DnD is awsome! Although geek may now be chic, DnD is still too far for even the most devoted pseudo-geeks to venture. I can’t tell you haw many good times I’ve had playing DnD, how many new friends I’ve made and how many new things I’ve learned about myself. Just today I’ve GMed for the first time, something that I never would have thought I could do.

    Thanks for showing that all this knowledge can be put to use for things like writing kick ass books,


  53. michael.h.tritter
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

    Is there any greater compliment or achievement? I’d be hard-pressed to think of one. I too started with the boxed set (can’t remember if mine was blue or red though), played by myself when others weren’t available, and was amazed and thrilled when AD&D hit the market. I remember religiously *not* reading the Dungeon Master’s Guide for almost a whole year, so reverent and profound was my love of the game and my desire not cheat or taint my experience as a player. From middle school through college, D&D was likely the most important “hobby” of my life. I remember the list of recommended readings too, and thinking the Grey Mouser series sounded interesting and wanting to find and read it (which reminds me, still want to get to that).

    Congratulations, Pat. Huge, amazing, congratulations.

  54. pickleziad
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    So exciting! I’ve read 80% of the authors featured there, and I have to say you are definitely one of my favorites.

  55. guessingo
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    its weird seeing you skinny. this is before the ‘writer 25 pounds’ all writers seem to add from sitting at a desk all day.

  56. Posted September 24, 2014 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    This actually made me cry! How beautiful isn’t the fact that you have completed the D&D circle!? From fan to inspiration!

    Haha, I just love you Pat!

  57. TheRegent
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    I remember that page very well, from my own depths of the 80’s. I played D&D throughout school and it definitely shaped my current career (Film/TV). I found my way back to Pathfinder via my kids and was tickled to see in the books ‘Game Mastering is a lot like writing a book or directing a tv show or a movie!’. Yup, exactly.

    Here’s to imagination and stories. Congratulations on being a part of the inspiration for the next generation, you’ve earned it.

    Now, I think I’ll put some Kyuss on and get back to work. ;)

  58. SpiralSpider
    Posted September 25, 2014 at 7:33 AM | Permalink

    Your story is pretty similar to my husband’s. He was kept from joining the local gaming group as well, though his family wasn’t quite as supportive as yours was. His first roleplay was inspired by the “Choose your own Adventure” type books and, yup, he did RP by himself long before he found a compatible group.

    As for me – my Dad was one of the original gamers – a computer geek who attended the closest thing to conventions in the 70’s and was a desk jockey in the Army. I started playing D&D when I was about seven years old, in the park behind our housing in the fort at Worms, Germany. ^.^

  59. RH
    Posted September 25, 2014 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    I was saddened not to see Alan Garner listed. I read The Weirdstone of Brisingamen in eight grade (1967), before I had even discovered Tolkien. Great stuff, and a good re-read even today! I didn’t find its companion, The Moon of Gomrath, until I was deep in my fantasy-fanatic period during the era of the Ballentine Books paperback series. I never quite compiled a complete set of that series, but I came close. Oh the joy of reading that first Deryni book after finding it in a tiny non-chain paperback-only bookstore in a mall – try finding anyplace like that today. And starting it in the car in the mall parking lot before even heading home.

  60. ZillaGod
    Posted September 27, 2014 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Wow! What an amazing achievement and well deserved accolade. I couldn’t agree more that your name belongs on that list with those other authors. I am a voracious reader and have read fantasy fiction almost exclusively since the mid 70’s and its been years since I’ve been as excited as I am anticipating the release of day 3 of the chronicles. I absolutely love your work!

  61. fersaca2
    Posted October 2, 2014 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    A friend just started a kickstarter that may interest D&D fans.

  62. gothpunkr
    Posted October 6, 2014 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    Wow know those books well. In fact I bought my first one in tenth grade back in 1980 so thats 34 years ago. My father-in-law’s best friend used to commute in the 70s from Lake Geneva Wisconsin to Chicago to work and they always sat next to a young man whom they were acquainted with but considered quite “out there” and was always working on some project. One day the young man asked the group of commuter friends if they wanted to invest $500 in his project which was a game of sorts. They declined and years later were obviously sorry they didn’t respond positively to Gary Gygax.

  63. lozlo
    Posted October 7, 2014 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    That’s pretty cool. I’m not surprised at all that the some of the people in D&D found inspiration in your books.
    I’ve hardly played the pen and paper version of D&D, mostly because of the people I first played with. But I really liked the base concept so I’ve actually been playing the online game DDO off and on for a few years now. I would have to agree that being a game master for pnp is a good start for writing. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the same thing in the end. Reminds me a bit of some books I read as a kid where you read a page and then picked a choice at the bottom and went to the page for the answer you had chosen. There usually several different endings from good to bad and a few things between.

  64. DikteChan
    Posted October 12, 2014 at 5:48 AM | Permalink

    Thats a relife!!I am playing with myself a lot ( tho my bro introduced me to it, he never wants to play with me( which is quite understandeable since i am 7 years younger than him ZD)) Anyway i made a party who exist of a Rouge, half elf, a sorcer, elf, a death master gnome, and a cleric dwarf^-^ And i am doing all stugff of crazy things. One time i even put my characters in Tarban and i got them to meet Skarpi and stuff like that! It was super fun and i am glad there are others who have ålayed with themselves ^////^ I felt kinda wierd since none my age is playing around my area :’D Anyway love your blog!! And please forgive my English^///^Norwegian and English dont have much in common!:)

  65. DikteChan
    Posted October 12, 2014 at 5:50 AM | Permalink


  66. Ankando
    Posted January 26, 2016 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations on being in the Inspiration Reading Appendix of D&D’s 5th edition! It is fun to think of where some of us would be without this game within our life. Friends, characters, and even world wouldn’t exist. Not to mention some great book series. Wonder what else these games have impacted since their first publication.

  67. Vincent Chouinard
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    That moved me.

    I find it so interesting that you brought the subject of your achievement by sharing your origins in the fantasy genre and your self-DMing experience.

    It already is a big thing to write novels that inspire people, but to be a tool of inspiration for people who write is on another level.

    I, as a DM, used your first two books of the trilogy as an inspiration tool. I use what you created to create better content for my D&D colleagues. Your books are now more than just stories, they are examples of greatness for the fantasy genre and people from all around the world aspire to your greatness.

    Thanks Mr. Ruthfuss.
    Vincent, a French Canadian.

  68. Posted March 15, 2020 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    Wizards Looking at this table, we find that most players choose a realistic character, or are inspired by the great classics of fantastic literature such as Tolkien’s work. By far, the most popular race is by far that of humans. These statistics seem to reflect a lack of imagination on the part of a majority of players, but this choice is also explained by the mechanics of the game. Indeed, each race benefits from a racial bonus. However, humans receive an additional point in each characteristic, which makes it the most balanced race, regardless of the class chosen

  69. Posted March 27, 2020 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    With havin so much written content do you ever run into
    any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My site
    has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced
    but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do
    you know any methods to help stop content from being stolen? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  70. Mathias
    Posted December 5, 2020 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

    Was artificing inspired from the artificer in d&d?

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