Anvil of Time: The Lost Editorial

Dungeon #86

I sent in a guest editorial for Dungeon Magazine to run in the same issue as my ‘Anvil of Time’ adventure but for a number of odd reasons, it isn’t going to run. I thought, however, I’d share it with you here:

THE LOST EDITORIAL for Anvil of Time:

Just over two decades ago, my wife Laura introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons. It was the fall of 1978. We had been married for just over a year when some friends of hers in a local drama group invited her to play the game with them. In the process, she forgot her husband completely and failed to pick me up from work. I found her at the playhouse having suddenly remembered that I existed. I was not happy.

She bought our first copy of the game … the old ‘blue basic’ set … as soon as our meager student funds could afford it. It was supposed to be my birthday present but gave it to me a month early. I was instantly caught up in the vision of the game. Student loans would soon find partial use in buying the original Player’s Handbook, Dungeonmaster’s Guide and Monster Manual the moment they came out. As it turned out, it was the wisest investment to which those funds were ever applied.

My wife, however, did have a practical side. She insisted that if we were going to spend all this money on D&D, we had better find some way to make money at it. We wrote modules together on our card table. I would ‘justify’ the right margins by hand on our typewriter, inserting extra spaces between the words of each line. We then cut and pasted them on regular sheets of typing paper to be photocopied. We would hand collate the modules from stacks laid all around the apartment floor, staple them together and hand-bind them with book tape. ‘Rahasia’ and ‘Pharaoh’ first made their appearance this way … and if you are lucky enough to have one of these originals you have a collector’s item indeed!

Times have changed but the magic remains the same. In this issue I make my return to adventure game design with ‘Anvil of Time’ – a Dragonlance module especially created for 3rd Edition. No card table this time: the adventure was created on my IBM PC using Campaign Cartographer for the original maps, Strata 3D and Poser software for the renderings and graphics, with Pagemaker and Adobe Acrobat for the playtest layout. Using the internet, subscribers to my online newsletter from all around the world volunteered to be playtesters. They downloaded the adventure, tested it, and give me their important feedback nearly instantly. I am grateful to all my internet friends who made this adventure such a joy to create.

Most of all, however, I am grateful to that wonderful young wife with the large brown eyes, who still shows me that there is wonder and magic left in the world after all this time.

— Tracy Hickman, from Hickman Newsletter #53

About Tracy Hickman

Dragonlance originators Tracy and Laura Hickman have been publishing game designs and stories together for over thirty-two years - nearly as long as their marriage - and thus started them both on a life of adventure and imagination. Tracy is a New York Times best-selling co-author (with Margaret Weis) of many Dragonlance novels including the original "Dragonlance Chronicles", "Dragonlance Legends", "Rose of the Prophet" and "Darksword" trilogies as well as the seven-book "Deathgate Cycle". Tracy and Laura are remembered together for their role-playing game designs in "Dragonlance" and the "Oasis of the White Palm" series but are perhaps best known for their classic adventure, the original "Ravenloft." For more information on Tracy, visit his website at
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Memorable Quotes

    I’ve just thought of another reason why you ought not want to be speaker just yet. I’m a husband, father, and monarch. So far you’re only a husband. A wry smile quirked his lips. Have children. That will bring age and hasten wisdom.

    — Sithel, Firstborn