Imagine it. Miami, 1988.
A young high school nerd is on his computer visiting various BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems, the precursor to the Internet for you younglings.). He sees a post in a forum about looking for people to play in a Superhero play by post game. Being a comic book fan, the young man was intrigued. He messaged that person and asked a bunch of questions. A few posts later, the young man was sold on the idea of this role-playing game idea. Superheroes, writing, and geekery? He was in wholeheartedly.
The young boy asks were he might be able to find this rulebook. Minutes later, a reply. Pretty much any bookstore should have a copy of it. Grabbing his wallet and the keys to the family station wagon, the young man set off on his first quest.
He first visits the Waldenbooks Store by his house. He has no fear, he has been in this large labyrinth many times, but not in that section of the store. He avoids the siren call of the other books calling to him and searches the rack for this great tome. Perusing the shelf, his quest comes to an end quickly. Other great tomes, but not the one he seeks. Back into this trusty steed, Reliant K.
Next place on his journey takes him to the mall across the street, to a smaller location, B. Dalton. Night has yet to fall, so the location is calm. The siren call is strong here also and the young redheaded woman who is keeper of the till is someone the young man likes. Shoving aside the distractions, he finds the shelves in the back. Again, this quest comes to a quick end. Different mighty tomes, some related to the one he seeks. Summoning up great courage, he speaks the to the keeper of the till. He asks the woman about the tome he seeks. Her face becomes confused and suggests the previous dungeon I visited. The young man is then told to travel to the other side of town to find what he seeks. Back to this steed.
Night has fallen by the time he arrives at his destination. He did not factor in that it was all Hallow’s Eve and this location would be infested with small vermin, dressed in garish outfits begging for sweets. The young man maneuvers his way through the horde, avoiding eye contact and their pleas for candies and other confections. Occasionally, he is distracted by young women moving through the crowds but he keeps his focus pure. Another Waldenbooks, how many of these dungeons exist? Once he forces his way through the ravenous vermin and passes beyond the gate, it is quiet. The young man can quickly make his way to where this tome lays. His diligence and hard work has paid off, the tome he seeks is before him. He picks it up, looks it over and is in awe of what new worlds are open to him. He flips it over and horror crosses his face.
No! He has labored too much and travel very far to find this tome. He must return it to his dwelling.
That young man was me getting my first rpg book, Champions, Hero System Rule Book. I spent all night reading the book, making characters and wondering what I did get myself into?