Fantasy - An Essential Component of Reality - a look at mindplay versus real world as showcased by the game, Dungeons and Dragons

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Fantasy - An Essential Component of Reality

Many boys who were born in the late 1940s to early 1950s amused themselves in the long hours of their growing up by playing at war. Toy rifles were plentiful. Toy pistols fired caps, minute power charges that put the "bang" in "Bang, you're dead." Plastic soldiers, fixed into positions of bayonet wielding, or machinegun firing, fought endless battles against memories of enemies from two wars past, Korea, and WWII. In the mists of imagination, those boys were heroes, vanquishing enemies of America, just like Audie Murphy and John Wayne.

That was fantasy.

The reality of the Viet Nam conflict saw many of those boys returned, in flag draped coffins, to the towns in which they dreamed, played football and escorted young girls on prom night.

Children dream. They gain entry to the world of fantasy as easily as donning a tee shirt, or reading a book.

Fantasy is a component of reality, though what one dreams of becoming as a child is not always what he achieves at his majority.

A phenomenon that began in the mid 1970's, that coincided with the runaway popularity of JRR Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" was the game and lifestyle known as "Dungeons and Dragons." A person who engaged in this activity was known simply as "a gamer." There were few games other than "D&D" as it was known, that required the level of commitment and depth of knowledge needed for mastery of this one.

This was a pre-computer time and a period of emerging power for fantasists. People of all ages, but primarily the young, totally immersed themselves in Swords and Sorcery, dragons, elves, knights at war against evil, and quests against everything dark and foreboding. A roll of the dice decided...