Department

Legends - The First Five Years Part 1
"How it All Began"

by Marcus Pan

I can remember it vividly. Black night sky with glittering stars filtered through the limbs and boughs of great trees. Campfires illuminating separate campsites down the hill like a dozen small towns. A bed of dry leaves and pine needles upon the soft clay of the earth. And the odorous smell from the scented candles as they burned in their buckets. There was a half dozen of us crowded around this one fire, huddled in the blackness before a rag-tag collection of tents and tarps. Squirrels chattered away in the darkness only yards from our campsite. I poked listlessly with a long stick at the flames, as fascinated by the bright fire as I was in childhood. Cans of Coors flashed in the light, one in each hand of the clustered campers, and a lone bottle of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum still circled from hand to hand. I still wore my black jeans and boots as well as the white renaissance shirt Rob had lent me, loose and ill fitting and tied with ropes. I had just put my shortsword away in the tent. Today was one of the few days I had not found a decent enough excuse to unsheathe the weapon. Dirk had just come out of the tent moments ago in a t-shirt, his tunic folded neatly in his corner of the tent. Rob, whom I affectionately called Ren-Man with his red, bushy beard, still wore his tam. There were three more of us Luanne and two others, a man and woman, whos names I can't remember. I enjoyed the smells of the forest pines, fire and candles mixed together a strong but not bad odor. One to be remembered. It was a Saturday night in Sterling Forest of New York where the Thirteenth New York Renaissance Festival was in full gear. I helped run a shop selling blown glass and crystal figurines. The hanging crystal shards caught the light and threw an exotic rainbow display throughout the shop, moving slowly with the sun, which attracted much attention from the tourists visiting the fair. The night was warm and dry, one of the best I remember.

"Want to hear something funny?" asked Rob, breaking the silence and pulling a roll of paper from his vest. The guitar of the folk singer further down the hill floated up to us as we agreed and resounded nearly perfectly with Rob's voice as he began. The papers he held were written by a radical Christian group calling themselves the Christian Life Ministries. It explained in detail how role playing games, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons in particular, were basically evil. AD&D is my game. I've played it since high school and still do. I write my own modules and have mapped millions of square miles out of my very imagination. TSR once recognized and registered me as an official Dungeon Master of their game at a Gencon Convention not long after this very night.

The paper by the Christian Life Ministries was rather humorous, indeed, but was nonetheless offensive. All who sat around that campfire that night were players of AD&D and found it as humorous and offensive as I did. But it just faded away as a laugh in the night and a memory to recall for everyone. Everyone that is, except for me.

You see, I've had it with this type of media. Geraldo Rivera did it, Maury Povich did it, my school shrink did it, many of my friends did it and my parents did it. Nearly all those I met, excepting other players, trashed the game. I still don't understand how something can be commented and torn apart without at least being tried. The basic question of 'How do you know?' echoes in my mind at these times. I decided I would do something about it and it was Christian Life Ministries unfortunate place to receive the brunt of the retaliation being the straw that broke my back.

With that end Legends Magazine was born. I wrote a retaliatory strike against the CLM shortly after that night. Their piece, entitled D&D: Only a Game? was soon followed by mine which I dubbed D&D: Only a Game? Answer: Yes. But I needed a way to make it noticeable. Something to package it in to be sure that people would be sure to notice and therefore read it. A high school friend who calls himself Ace agreed to help me in this project. With his artistic talent and my writing skills we decided to create Legends Magazine. It was to be three issues long, each holding a part of my three part series. Ace unfortunately ended up not helping much and all of the work ended up in my hands, but I managed. And when that third issue of Legends Magazine came out, it turned out to be only the beginning.