Friday, August 26, 2011

More Papers of the 1974 Freaky Fantasy Gamer Guild

In my last post I mentioned how I stumbled across some extremely, extremely authentic D&D papers that seem to span from 1975 to possibly as late as 1985. So far I haven't managed a good scan; my printer/scanner doesn't like light purple, and the handwritten pages are barely decipherable.

I did quickly type out one of the articles, I think from about 1980? (?) The mimeograph appears to be dot-matrix, though, not a typewriter, and I don't know when that started.

This editorial appears to be an entire issue of the 'zine unless there are some missing pages or loose pages that I haven't matched up. As the man says at the end, "Peace in D&D." Enjoy.

I’m still on the road trip, females and males of planet Earth, taking a break from all the things that went down at the wargaming club last week over how far a tirailleur’s musket can shoot accurately, you know? The whole scene was a drag, but it’s giving me a chance to get down with the underground D&D movement across the nation, and I’m grooving on that opportunity. As the man says, the moving pen has writ, and all your tears cannot wash out a word of it. Sound words.

So I’m hangin loose at a temporary crash pad, and just in case there’s a friend of the bears – if you know what I mean -- on the mailing list I won’t say what city I’m in. And I’m in touch with some cats that play D&D, cause you can always find that scene if you know where to look for it. Interesting story, kind of weird: I’m at the local wargaming club (Napoleonics, mostly, some Civil War) and I meet this young-looking cat with one of those new Advanced D&D books, reading at it, and I’m like, “Hey, whoopie-cat,” and he’s like, “pleased to meet you.” Which isn’t what I expected, because he’s got the beard and the ponytail, and a bandanna. Pleased to meet you? And so I’m, “Got that Advanced D&D there?” and he’s all “Yes sir.” So I’m starting to think maybe he’s fuzz, and whether I parked the blue minivan in a legal place. But then he’s like, “It’s good, but I think maybe it’s not the right teaching tool for the game.” So, okay, he’s not fuzz, maybe just not ready to let it all hang out. Maybe he thinks I’m fuzz, cause you find them checking out the underground D&D scene for the man. So I’m hip, whatever. “Teaching tool?” And he sort of curls his mustache into points like Snidley Whiplash in the cartoon, and says, “Yeah, what you really need is a series of books that gradually introduce the gamer to the concepts all the way up to … well, I guess you could do it all the way up to when they become immortal.” So I’m backing away slowly through one of the bead curtains, but there’s this overalls-with-nothing-under chick in the way trying to put up a Keep on Truckin poster, cause there’s only about seven on the walls already. She’s blocking the way out, so I say to the guy, “Man, why would you need books for all that? You can just make it up, man!” And he looks at me from under his bandanna, and he says, “I know I could.” Kind of like Clint Eastwood. Like, shivers, you know? And he says, “I’m on my way to Lake Geneva, man. I’m tired of this underground D&D, hiding and running all the time. I’m going to shave my beard and get a job out there.” And there was like, this charisma, even though the guy was kind of short and way too polite. So I follow him out into the parking lot and he walks up to the VW van parked next to my very own mobile bachelor pad, and opens up the door. “I’m going to Lake Geneva,” he like repeats. “Win competitions. Hit the big time, not like this” … and he gestures over at the club, with its lime green paint and the “Condemned” sign that the man puts up wherever revolution stirs. “I’ve got all my worldly possessions and I’m going to truck over to the real scene.” I’m looking in the van, and he doesn’t have many worldly possessions, just an old guitar, a broken lava lamp and what I think was an EZ Bake Oven. But that van, I don’t know, man, it had the feeling of destiny somehow, like when you see the dude who’s going to win the SCA tournament, and you think to yourself, “That dude is going to win the SCA tournament.” So I’m still there when he fires up the VW van in a big cloud of smoke from the engine and a roar like a red dragon, and just as he puts it in gear, I get that sense of destiny again, so I walk up to the window. He’s trying to fix the coat hanger antenna he’s got powering his hi-fi rig, and he doesn’t notice me, so I reach in and bang on the orange shag carpet on the van ceiling. “Hey, man,” I ask him, “what’s your handle, anyway?” He looks at me, and with the roar of the VW preparing for take-off I can barely hear him, man, but just as he lurched the van out of the parking space and headed off onto the road I could hear him shout, “Name’s Mitzer! Bank Mitzer!” And he puts the pedal to the metal, on the way to his dream.

So, all you whoopie-cats out there in the underground D&D scene, reading the zine of the scene, throw some peace and love out there for Bank Mitzer. Whether you like the establishment or not, man, sometimes you have to make sacrifices for your dream. He’ll probably never have a long beard and a ponytail and a curly mustache again now that he’s going pro. But that’s his dream, and I guess if he succeeds at it, he might even make himself some real bread.

Peace in D&D,

[Signature that looks a lot like “Steve Colbert,” but Steven Colbert of the Colbert report is too young to have been the author]



  1. Edited: I missed the word "himself" in the last sentence, I guess I was getting tired of typing and zoned out. Added it into the main body of the post.

  2. Gosh, I wonder whatever happened to that Mitzer fellow?

  3. Hard to say, Jeff. There were probably a lot of people with the dream of working for TSR, and only a very few people were hired. Tim Kask might remember if there was ever somebody named Mitzer who applied or maybe even worked there, I don't know.

  4. Actually, if this was really from 1980, I think Tim had already left TSR by then. I forget the dates he was there. I guess we'll never know what happened to Bank.

  5. Are you sure this is not from a later year? It's too good to be true. Maybe you could ask the man himself if he remembers something like this.

  6. Man, the 70s were so crazy. Bead curtains, Keep on Truckin posters, Underground D&D scenes; you just can't make that stuff up you know?

  7. Ever think that Bank Mitzer could be

    and this guy was eating far to many special brownies?

  8. Nah, that would be far too unlikely, wouldn't it? Probably some nobody...

  9. nice find! I'll bet they were spatial brownies

  10. "Hey, whoopie-cat." Well, that there blows my theory that I was the only human being on Earth that heard that lyric that way... :-)

    Word verification: psecisms: noisms' evil half-sister!