The Elfish Gene
By MARK BARROWCLIFFE
Added: Mon, 09 Mar 2009 00:00:00 UTC
A different kind of flea!
In the summer 1976, twelve-year-old Mark Barrowcliffe had a chance to be normal. He blew it. While other teenagers were being coolly rebellious, Mark—and 20 million other boys in the 1970s and 80s—chose to spend his entire adolescence pretending to be a wizard or a warrior, an evil priest or a dwarf. He had discovered Dungeons & Dragons, and his life would never be the same. No longer would he have to settle for being Mark Barrowcliffe, an ordinary awkward teenager from working-class Coventry, England; he could be Alf the Elf, Foghat the Gnome, or Effilc Worrab, an elven warrior with the head of a mule.
Armed only with pen, paper and some funny-shaped dice, this lost generation gave themselves up to the craze of fantasy role-playing games and everything that went with it—from heavy metal to magic mushrooms to believing that your bike is a horse named Shadowfax. Spat at by bullies, laughed at by girls, now they rule the world. They were the geeks, the fantasy wargamers, and this is their story.
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