Life (March, 1982)

OK, up next is…Elizabeth Taylor? No, keep flipping through those photos. We’re here for one Gary Huckabay, a teenage master of wizardry and enchantment. This is March of 1982, three years after D&D was erroneously tied to the disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III and two years after his tragic suicide, but three months before the suicide of Irving Pulling, which would eventually inspire his mother, Patricia, to found Bothered About Dungons & Dragons and make enough of noise about the game’s harmful influences to appear on the infamous 60 Minutes special in 1985. The Huckabay profile is one of the earliest attempts by the mainstream press to attempt to understand Dungeons & Dragons uncolored by scandal. It fails miserably.

Huckabay is portrayed as a nerdy wunderkind, released from his shyness by a game that taps all his mental abilities, turning him into a kind of cult of personality at his California high school. For Life, D&D is an inscrutable game for misfit geniuses, and Huckabay is their king, a legendary dungeon master nursing a borderline unhealthy obsession (though I am sure you never heard of him and he was probably hamming it up for the reporter).

Some choice quotes from Gary:

“It’s fun to put half-orc babies in a catapult and fire them at a wall. They splat very nicely.”

“When I compare my real life and the life I lead as Dungeon Master, there is no doubt in my mind which is richer.”  

“If I don’t like a law, I break it. If I don’t like a player, I kill him. Evil characters have so much more freedom, don’t you think?”

A real poster boy for the hobby, that Gary Huckabay. It had to be a hatchet job, right? I wonder what the real story was. I wonder what happened to him.

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