With my BX box sets
burned taken away, my friends and I continued our “unholy addiction” by turning to other role-playing games. Robotech was one of them (who puts an ellipsis on the freaking cover?).
Robotech lead to other avenues of interest, such as anime. Before anime was easily available in the states, you had to put in a little effort to get copies of OVAs or perhaps an exchange student shared them with you.
The San Diego Comic Gallery was our local game shop growing up. I was able to count on this place for everything. Al-Qadim box sets, Heroquest, Advanced Heroquest, Terror in the Dark, Spawn comics and a tremendous amount of other crap I still manage to have in my possession.
I even still have my Silent Möbius collection that I purchased there, which I based a homebrew campaign on (think Bladerunner universe meets Lovecraftian horrors). I got to meet Kia Asamiya one year at the San Diego Comic Con, which I thought was pretty cool.
Suffice it to say, a lot of the role-playing games we played focused on science-fiction.
Rifts inspired me to mix elements of fantasy, but it was not the Lucifer Hawk that was trying to escape. Reading Robert E. Howard and playing GURPS Conan was a step in the right direction, but what really crystallized moving back to fantasy was seeing Record of Lodoss War for the first time on video tape.
I had seen some Lodoss War pencil character concepts in a Newtype magazine, but I had no idea what it was about. The Newtype the Comic Gallery carried were in Japanese and Newtype USA didn’t exist.
Be Kind Rewind
Looking through the fanzine Protoculture Addicts at the Comic Gallery, there was a classified section (or maybe it was a letters from readers section).
Some guy in Canada listed all the OVAs he could offer. He wasn’t selling anime. He made copies of OVAs at no charge; you just had to supply the blank tape.
I sent off my VHS tape with a SESA; my request was for Record of Lodoss War.
The tape arrived with only the first episode recorded, but that was the only episode available. Later that summer the second episode came out in Japan. Lodoss War wouldn’t be available in the states for few more years.
The Canadian subtitled the tape himself and may have been creative with the translations. Whether Central Park Media later took out Ghim saying “shit” all the time or the Canadian added it, I have no idea.
Eventually I caught a screening of the second episode at the Comic Con. It was in Japanese. Thanks to a synopsis in Protoculture Addicts, I was able to follow along.
As a kid, watching Prologue to the Legend gave me that same feeling Erol Otus’ art had on my brain when I had my BX box sets: I want to play D&D. I want to play D&D now.
I don’t like “save the world” or “epic in scope” when it comes to gaming at the table, but they are fun to read and watch. I’ve long since burned out on Record of Lodoss War, but when Kay pops in Rune Soldier I end up watching along with her (it’s hilarious!).
While overprotective adults surrounded me I was pushed to explore other geek interests I would have otherwise missed. Paradoxically, these other geek interests, later in life, brought me right back to D&D. Perhaps D&D is the November 12th, 1955 of the geek universe.
On the other hand, it could just be an amazing coincidence. – Doc