My older brother, who introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons, hasn’t played since he was in middle school. My other friends who started playing with me, who I’m still in contact with today, don’t play anymore either. In fact, when I first started getting back into playing D&D after college I got this rather unique response. I believe it was a mixture of incredulity mixed with longing.
It was if they couldn’t believe that I was playing a game that we played when we were children, yet longed for the experience. I’m not sure if their longing was caused by nostalgia or their searching for a creative outlet. All of them still love the fantasy/horror/sci-fi genre. I’ve gone with them to see the Lord of the Rings movies, discussed Game of Thrones, and my brother and I share a love for Stephen King – especially the Dark tower series (Thankee-sai.)
That same brother was curious about my gaming. He was living out-of-town, married, going to graduate school, and raising kids, when I told him that not only was I gaming, I was trying to get published in Dungeon magazine. I had sent them a few adventures, and one of them got green-lighted for publication. When I told him the news he was almost as excited as I was. I sent him a draft to take a look at and he was very impressed with what I had put together. I did my first round of edits, got feedback from Paizo, and made my second round of edits. Then I got an e-mail that WOTC was going to take back the publishing rights to Dragon and Dungeon magazine. I got a letter that said that WOTC now owned the rights to my adventure and when I inquired if it was legal for me to withdraw my and submit it to another company for publication I got a response that confused me enough to think it wasn’t worth any possible hassle. While I was pretty peeved by the whole situation, my older brother also was upset and disappointed.
My only saving grace that I consider confirmation that it was a good adventure and that it WAS going to be published (if Paizo could have) was this: I found little bits and pieces of my submissions in Paizo Pathfinder adventures. I’ve got no proof or official confirmation, but I’m going with it. I was not upset, I would never even consider it stealing. I was happy that my stuff inspired some of my favorite authors and designers. I didn’t tell my brother that my stuff inspired someone else at the publisher to tweak it and wrote new adventures, he might not have been as understanding as I was.
But I’m glad knowing that the guy who introduced me to the game and inspired me to get into this hobby was still interested and even had some emotional involvement in my almost brush with gaming-fame.
[NB: I’ve also done stand-up and improve comedy and something similar happened to me in that business. Years ago, when they brought Star Search back on television I saw a contestant use one of my bits. Word for word. I looked into it, not only was he from the same city I was when I performed that bit, he was at the same university where I performed that bit. It was too much coincidence for me. I was a little shocked at first, but this guy took what I wrote and added to it. He took my bit (I’m sure) and made it better. He friggin’ NAILED it! I called his father, who also worked at the university, and told him I saw his son perform and that I wanted to wish him luck. It took a while for this comic to respond to my e-mail – he probably thought that I was going to get all bent out of shape or threaten a suit or something But when he finally did get back to me I told him that I liked hearing my bit on national television and that I liked how he had made it better. I was genuinely happy for the guy.]