Dungeons and Dragons, My Beginnings


I am one of those guys.
I grew up in the 70′ s and discovered Dungeons and Dragons, which I played heavily thru the eighties and lost track of it in the nineties.  My first glimpse of it was a blue paper bound and stapled rule book from TSR games  my brother left on his desk. I read it and wondered “what sorcery is this?  It was followed quickly by his copy of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Player’s handbook. A singular work with incredible art work and a cover that still fuels my imagination today. For me, other role playing games followed , such as TSR’s Boot Hill, Gamma World and Top Secret, but D&D was always king of them all.B2571A08-7479-4348-BAF8-DDA2CA0B5BFB

You have heard all this before.
No one else played the game. In a world where my nerdiness was not cool, or even tolerated it was difficult to find other players.  I created epic adventures that never were played by others. Occasionally I was able to join a game in the city or cobble together  some friends to play for a day here and there. Those were incredible days, planning the adventures for weeks ahead, anticipating game day like a holiday. The game gave my imagination room to roam. The game set in motion so much of my direction as an adult that I never realized until looking back at it now. When I played role playing games I could be in control of a creative world and learned how to work with others, troubleshoot and problem solve in the most creative of ways.

After commanding and shaping so much of my life as a teen, my artistic focus, my travels and love of history, D&D slowly faded away and I lost track of my vast collection of notes, artwork, books and modules. Lost to time.


Until one day.
One day a few years back, right as the D&D 5th edition was getting rolled out. That day my son and I were in our local comic shop and he said the magic words”  dad, I really want to learn to play D&D”……..WHAT!! My brain screamed. What did he just say? We had watched a few d&d podcasts over the years , mostly marveling at the costumes and  listening to the jokes they told while playing,  inwardly I would marvel at the fact the game had survived. I had never really reflected or talked to my son about how important the role playing game had been to me.

Cut to that day in the store –  ever so coolly I replied to him, ” yeah, D&D…that’s still a thing?”
“Yeah,” he said, ,” I’ve watched a ton of podcasts of  game play on line.”
Ahhh….the internet.
They had a four sided kiosk in the store with a ton of D&D and Pathfinder game stuff on it.

We walked out of the store that day with the 5e players handbook and dungeon masters guide and a bunch of dice. Always dice.

The rest as they say, is history. It turns out, nerdiness is quite cool these days.

D&D it turns out is an even bigger imagination builder, community making adventure building powerhouse than ever before.

Shortly thereafter my son dreamed up a company and online community called NerdzGarage. Among other things they have been playing D&D at NerdzGarage for 18 months nearly every Sunday, now live streaming to YouTube and Twitch. There is also a lot of tabletop game play, anime, cosplay, conventions  and video gaming.

I occasionally play, I am constantly painting new mini figs and building terrain and ships and castles. I am along for the ride as NerdzGarage grows, writing about D&D,  collecting and writing about comics and playing tabletop games.

Earlier this month I was in Augusta, GA on business and got the call,  ” we need a storm giant figure for Sunday”

Me: Hey SIRI,  find a comic and games shop near me….

Come on along and  join us.



@nerdzgarage on the twitter, instagram and facebook

— This recollection by Nerdz Garage Head of Acquisitions  and Master Builder,  Derek “Jimmy” Smith


Storm Giants and Comic Book Shops

Nerdz Garage has 2 D&D 5E campaigns running right now that alternate Sunday’s depending on which Dungeon Master is available.  They go live each Sunday at 5 o’clock, est on Twitch.  Last week Dylan was the DM for his continuing Heist campaign,  the current arc is ” Water Heist ” using the new seafaring rules from the Ghosts of Salt-Marsh.


I was on the road last  week and Dylan knows that I take a mobile mini figure painting station with me for when I am not working and at the hotel. He gave me some furnishings and barrels to paint that he needs as scenery for this Sunday’s adventure. He let me know this morning that a particular rare figure he had ordered was not going to make it in time for Sunday and could I look around for one on the road….

Heading into Augusta GA that afternoon with time to kill, I set off on my mission. With a little help from google I zeroed in on a shop, Cardboard Castle Games. Quiet on a Thursday afternoon, they were helpfully enough but did not have what I needed. They did have some more miniature barrels and furnishings so I bought these and headed to a comic store they recommended, Top DogComics.                       




An amazing little store to say the least. Staying on mission, l made a note to return sometime and delve into their collection. After a great conversation with the owner about the comic store community in general, I headed to his  recommended store, Augusta Book Exchange. The sign outside says it all.  Uncommon for a game or comic shop they had a thirty foot sign out front hailing to one and all that their island of nerd is there. Said sign also looking 40 years old.



Jackpot! This place has everything and is worthy of a full afternoon browse or an evening to avail oneself of a game table. Super kind folks and they had an epic cloud giant figure , which will easily do as a storm giant once painted…by Sunday!

Derek Smith

Nerdz Garage