All About Me
Everyone here in Book Publishing knows its all about me, but for the first time it can be told outside the limited confines of the collection of gray burlap cubicles we lovingly refer to as The Big Giant Room.
Its all about me.
I am a devastatingly handsome, bitingly sarcastic, and artfully clever young man named Phil. Here is a picture of me, in an attitude of prayer:
The robe Im wearing has come to be known as the Robe of Phil, alternately the Robe of Office, the Robe of Dungeon Masterliness, or the Robe Phils Mom Made for Troy Denning to Wear at the Forgotten Realms Reception at Gen Con. The latter is actually the most accurate. While draped in this stately mantle, the true powers of my Dungeon Mastery shine through.
Ive been an editor here for five years now (and have a little gold pin to prove it), but before landing the much coveted Job At TSR (which turned into a job at Wizards of the Coast, which turned into a job at Wizards of the Coast, a division of Hasbro . . .) I was a gamer. Now, when I say "gamer," I mean GAMER. Its what I did. I started playing what we now like to call "hobby games," in the form of science fiction board games, starting in junior high. It was during the summer of 1978, between eighth grade and high school, that I sat down to my first game of D&D.
The box was pretty cheesy, but then we were used to playing Microgames, so that hardly stopped us. Inside was a blue book (ah, yes, the blue book) and a sample dungeon module. My friend Bob bought the game, so that made him the DM. I excitedly rolled up my very first character. Not knowing anything the blue book didnt tell us, I just rolled 3d6 and jotted down the numbers in order. Turned out I had a reasonably high Intelligence (art so often mirrors life), so Bob informed me that I was best suited to be a magic-user. That sounded cool, so we continued. After about twenty minutes or so of heated discussion, we figured out how to read the four-sided die and discovered that I did, in fact, have a hit point. Since we werent sure if that was good or bad, we continued.
Finally I was ready to embark, alone, into the sample dungeon. Ahead of me was a long corridor, stretching into inky darkness. Boldly did I stride forward, only to encounter a real live wandering monster. It was a skeleton and it was rushing to the attack. Cool, I thought. Bring it!
We rolled initiative and the skeleton won. Bob rolled to hit. I had a 10 Armor Class. The skeleton hit me. I had one hit point. You do the math.
A few months later we met a couple guys in our freshman art class who had actually played Dungeons & Dragons. I told them the above story as an example of why D&D sucked and they laughed at me, then showed me how to really play.
From those humble beginnings, playing our first Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games with excerpts from the yet-to-be-released Dungeon Master Guide printed in Dragon Magazine (I dont even want to know how much those issues would be worth today if Id kept them. That was, like, issue #6), Ive been playing ever since and have even, much to my mothers surprise, built a career around it.
Now, 22 years later and deep into the Tegel Campaign, there have been a lot of rumors and wild talk in the media. Those of us in the know about the campaign have had a good laugh at a few of them, and occasionally had to hire lawyers. Now that weve finally begun to speak openly and candidly about the campaign in a public forum, lets get one rumor out of the way right off the bat. I am, indeed, naked under the robe, as this photo will no doubt prove:
But then, after all, arent we all really naked under our clothes?
About the Author
Phil Athans is a senior editor in Book Publishing at Wizards and the author of the successful novelization Baldurs Gate. For more about Phil, read his author biography.
Wizards of the Coast, Inc. All rights reserved.