This Sunday was the 40th birthday of Dungeons and Dragons.
I have to celebrate it.
Its the LONGEST relationship I've ever had. Its the Doctor Who to my Amy Pond.
I was around 10 or 13 or something super young when I stumbled upon the RED BOX. It was my Dad's and in storage but quickly became mine. I read everything. I tried to understand the character sheets and what the graph paper meant. It was so alluring to me. In my mind I KNEW it was the game for me, although it wasn't until I was 15 that I started playing with friends before Drama Club class. 1995. Feels like a million years ago. For those of you who know what I went through around that time, its pretty obvious that I'd pick up and fall in love with a game like this. My Best friends at the time: Dustin and Jesse... we were inseparable. Dustin was the Dungeon Master, a small boy for his age but had the intelligence and cleverness to make up for it. He would take Jesse and I on the best adventures and I felt satisfied and incredibly happy. I remember the happy. Our little escape. I don't remember us playing one long campaign, in fact I remember making a dozen characters... all the same character: "Vlahnya" Elf Thief/mage multi class. I had a dozen different ways to spell that name and I used them all.
We played a couple times after I left to go to college in '98. San Francisco. And then I played with a group of people that went to my college. But I got mixed up with a sexy strippery group of people who thought it was more fun to do Cocaine than play childish games so I got swept up in that until one day I realized that I was wasting my life. Took 3 years to realize this... but I snapped out of it and Eventually found my way back to DnD in Australia. I think it was starting to push 3.5 at the time. My ex boyfriend and I didn't have any friends so we went to meetup.com and found a group of "ADULTS" who wanted to play and BAM i was hooked again. Upon returning to LA I convinced my best friends Zak Smith and Mandy Morbid that they needed to play and WOOSH.. they took to it and ran with it and my friends, being the amazing wonderful people they are (and wanting to get their other girlfriends to play), Created "I Hit it With My Axe". A webseries where Porn Stars and Strippers play Dungeons and Dragons. The BEST BEST BEST part about this is that we would have played without a camera, but since we're exhibitionists it just feels better to have a camera on while playing. It's just in our nature. Can't help it. It was a great campaign you can check out online. Mirror is now one of my new favorite characters who i've recently made into a Warlock on World of Warcraft.
The thing is, we KNOW we don't fit the stereotype and we get a WHOLE BUNCH of flack for it. People think we're faking it. LOL. Who on earth would fake something as personal and nerdy as Dungeons and Dragons. Even Video Gamers look at D&D like we're all basement dwellers. But, as I later found out at Meltdown... there is no longer a stereotype. Its 2014: get with it Trolls!
After we stopped filming "I Hit it With My Axe" I just couldn't stop. I started a gaming group in Hollywood at Meltdown Comics where we play every Sunday. Through creating this community I've had to learn how to Dungeon Master (studying my favorite DMs: Zak Smith and Keith Baker: Creator of Eberron ) ... And Keith.. oh man, the fun we have!! I love Charity and Volunteering so we put together "Celebrity Charity DnD" at Meltdown and raise funds for "Reach Out and READ" where they supply books to pediatricians to teach parents how to get their kids to read at ages as young as 6 months. Incredible. Future Gamers of America! we had so many new players i created a new way for people to play where they could combine their powers in a Voltron way (the more people you voltron with and make it make sense you can +1/attack/personadded). Makes for faster battle play. Even more people wanted to play so I created a Battle arena where two teams of 6 play against eachother to attain an item. It was great to get them to fight eachother and i'd really just have to pay attention to magic & trap triggers and who goes when. Another person would take charge of the monsters and another Assistant DM would be my other eye and help me keep tabs on everything. DnDMelt became Epic.
I love the Community. I love the Game. Madly, deeply in love with it. I've tried to play other games but its just not for me. Even Pathfinder... Its nice.. but its not "Dungeons and Dragons", the name that fills my heart with warmth just like when I was a kid. But i'm not the only one! Many people started emailing us asking for beginning classes or lessons saying that they have always wanted to play but their big brother/ex boyfriend/cousin wouldn't let them... or that they did but killed them instantly. I had no idea how many women wanted to play too. Our group soon became the most diverse group of D&D Gamers i'd ever seen. It was beautiful. I was their BroodMomma and I made them Pancakes.
And especially as an artist, its helped keep my creativity flowing, excesersizing my brain. All the puzzles, figuring ways to attain the goal, team building. My gaming buddies are going to be friends for life. I know it.
Dungeons and Dragons: Its a beautiful thing.
And in honor of this 40th Birthday... in honor of my 20 year anniversary of falling in love with D&D... I offer these images. I truly love you DnD. I can't wait to see what's next! <3
Satine Phoenix (aka: BurningQuill)
The following images are the brainchild of Greg De Stefano who was awesome enough to ask me to model with these dice, inspired by the American Beauty photo. And thanks Kyle Vogt for the hookup to get these dice. What a great group of creative people! All for the love of D&D.
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