So I have decided that it is time to start blogging a bit here on wizards.com, and that the first thing to do is to tell a little about myself.
First off, I go by ragnboneshopper because it refers to rag pickers and junk dealers whose specialty in life is finding value where there appears to be none -- in life's refuse and in castaway objects. I'm not a person who likes his own ideas dismissed or relegated to the trash heap, and I tend to stick up for people who come under fire for their ideas. I don't have to agree with someone in order to defend their right to their own ideas. I go through life intending to find value in everything and everyone, no matter how forgotten or ignored.
It was partly this search for value in what has been cast off that brought me back to D&D a bit more than a year ago as I began to think of running games for my kids (yes, I'm a DM dad). I've since found that this is not an uncommon circumstance.
This is important to me because I never had much of a gaming group growing up. My family/social situation was such that D&D and its like were considered evil or even demonic, and so I kept my D&D love to myself, hiding my books under my bed and staying up late nights to plan campaigns and create characters.
I didn't get to play much D&D back then, but when I did, it was something special. One friend in particular was responsible for introducing me to Basic D&D and then AD&D, and I was immediately (though quietly) hooked. After the first time I played at his house, I went home and tried to design my own game modeled after what I had experienced (using only d6's because, no surprise, I hadn't any other dice available to me).
My gaming back then was often an isolated and lonely thing. It fueled my imagination, but it did little to help me out of the social isolation built around me by my insular family. So it is that I came back to D&D with the intention of playing as much as possible and putting my longtime love of role playing into practice at the gaming table with other human beings.
It's a slow process -- pen & paper role playing is not always an immediate gratification hobby. It often takes work and dedication that other types of gaming do not. It sometimes provides a payoff that only comes after patience, deliberate planning, occasional dissapointment, openness to others' ideas, and flexibility in the moment have been demonstrated.
It is a social hobby, where relationships are as important, if not more important, as rules and game mechanics. No set of rules have ever been invented that can overcome a fundamental lack in relationship.