Although my long, rambling notes hardly make this clear, my labor of love is formed of a great many things. First and foremost is an improvement of the hobby that started when, rummaging through the boxes in the basement of my parents' house when I was but a wee lad, was this:
And so it was born.
I looked at it. I'd never seen anything like it. My dad was a straight-and-narrow Navy man. Although he had a sense of humor, a broad imagination, and a talent for drawing, I'd never seen anything like it at the time. Looking back I realize that the same selection of books I've since purloined for my own enjoyment are exactly the same as they'd always been, but I hadn't been allowed to rifle through his books (yet.) And my dear mother? She was always the house-cleaning, dinner-cooking, rules-making, but delightful and beautiful and wonderful mother she'd always been. To say that this piqued my interest would have been an understatement.
And so I opened it, and looked at the beautiful pictures. I pawed at it, read it, and understood some of it. The dice tables make almost immediate sense, and so did the classes and monsters and concept of a DM. I didn't have the full thing, only the one book, but it had more than enough information for me to attempt to play the same, as it was.
Naturally, to a child no more than seven years old, the game was played by the seat of the pants, with liberal regard taken to the rules. I didn't even have a set of dice yet! But nonetheless, I was entranced. The fact that books had been written, full of illustrations of fighting men and powerful wizards, with monsters and adventures to be had was incredible.
The book, these days, is dog-eared and wrinkled, and the poor staples are sadly ineffective at holding the binding together. The cover is already a separate piece, although there aren't any stains or colorations like some peoples' books. (blasphemy!) This book has been my style bible over all these years, and with the ever-changing nature of the business, has been my ideal for over a decade.
To put it bluntly, this has been the subject of my fascination for as long as I can remember.