The curious case of the three-page rant in the old PHB
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Post Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 11:51 pm 
 

I had a feeling someone would mention something like that, but

it's not really the Internet as we know it today.


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Post Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:48 am 
 

I think he's pretty much on target about the Psionics.

  

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:42 am 
 

Agent Cooper wrote:I think he's pretty much on target about the Psionics.


That we can agree on.  :D


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:42 pm 
 

Hello all,
I was googling Jim Perelman and found this thread...
It's been about 28 years since i first saw that Player's Handbook.
I knew Jim Perelman and played in his world.  

We were very good friends.  We went to high school together and got kicked out of high school together, we worked and played at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire together and then we lived together in Santa Cruz where we both went to college.  We did a bunch of other things together and shared some unique experiences that make me a good person to relate the strange story of Jim Perelman today...

First some info on Jim, for those who are interested (keep in mind it was a long time ago).  Jim lived in Tarzana when I met him through mutual high school friends who played D&D with him.  He was 14 or 15 and I was 13 I think... and he was a genius gamer!   Jim's nickname for himself was "Attila the Hun" and when he got his first car, a green Toyota Celica, he had the personalized license plate "Attila H".  And he believed he was the reincarnation of Attila the Hun.  

We played ORIGINAL D&D (the boxed set and the 4 original extension books) and when the first "ADVANCED D&D" books were released we bought them up and adapted our play systems.  Jim also embraced the Arduin-Grimoire and incorporated it in his game, adapted some "Chivalry & Sorcery" combat and attribute systems and thought psionics was BS and never used it in his play.  As you may of noticed he did not think much of Gary Gygax...the rant was written the week after the Player's Handbook was released I think.  And you should have seen what he did to his Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual (although he guarded his secrets carefully).  He also created his own game system with original hit charts, experience tables and incredibly detailed magic spells (much of it written with the same enthusiasm as his Gygax rant) and had a big notebook full of reference material that only a few people ever saw.

Our core group was a bunch of high school kids age 13-18 and this would be back around 1980.  Notably, we were featured in a Los Angeles Times article about D&D (front page of the Calendar section with Jim and I posed for the cameras).  It was a time when roleplaying was getting a bad rap in the press because of dumb and crazy kids playing for real and dying...anyone remember?  We met at each other's houses on the weekends, consumed junk food and played for hours and nobody got hurt.  He ran a great campaign, which was mostly role playing and less about the analytical dice rolling and hit points.  I played a bumbling cleric who was always healing the party from our battles.  I won't go into detail about the campaign other than to mention he used City State of the Invincible Overlord and Empire of the Petal Throne maps, altered original D&D modules and dungeon designs from the depths of his mind that were incredibly fun and creative (the "Pink Floyd" dungeon for instance).

Jim was not a psychotic, but was definitely "crazy" back then and we had a lot of fun being friends.  We stopped gaming and spent a lot more time doing other stuff as the group grew up and went to other schools and off to college and found other interests (girls and real life).  Jim went to Australia and sold kites on the beach for 6 months.  Jim moved up to Santa Cruz for college in 1982 and when I moved there in 1983, I lived with him in a house with 13-18 other people for about two years until he moved out.  I'm not sure he ever graduated, but I can acount for the Tarzana, Santa Cruz and Walnut Creek addresses during the time period 1980-1986.  After that our lives took different paths and I lost touch with him, but his friendship had a big influence on my life.

So if you read this Jim, or if you know how to contact him, have him drop me a line or give me a call.  It's great to know he's been immortalized in the world of the online roleplaying forums.

[email protected]


Last edited by pro565 on Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:30 am 
 

pro565 wrote:We stopped gaming and spent a lot more time doing other stuff as the group grew up and went to other schools and off to college and found other interests (girls and real life).  


Sadly, this is how my gaming group broke up back in the early 1980s, too.   :D

Well, if this is authentic, then thanks a lot.  Really cool.  I'd love to see a copy of that news paper article.   :D


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:09 am 
 

bombadil wrote:
Sadly, this is how my gaming group broke up back in the early 1980s, too.   :D

Well, if this is authentic, then thanks a lot.  Really cool.  I'd love to see a copy of that news paper article.   :D

It's not April 1st yet, but someone could be pulling our collective leg here.  Still, if this is on the level, it'd be cool to locate Jim and send him his wayward book...or at least get it signed.

 YIM  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:30 am 
 

I tried to log in to the Los Angeles times archive to see if I could track down the article mentioned in the post but it is a subscription service.

If anybody else has access to the LA Times archive or Lexis Nexis maybe they could have a go at it.  :D


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:45 am 
 

deimos3428 wrote:It's not April 1st yet, but someone could be pulling our collective leg here.


Let's accuse him of being an ebay scammer.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:00 pm 
 

deimos3428 wrote:It's not April 1st yet, but someone could be pulling our collective leg here.  Still, if this is on the level, it'd be cool to locate Jim and send him his wayward book...or at least get it signed.


Even if he is..it's such a great story, I'd let it slide.  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:24 pm 
 

Ok the, here's the article.  The names have been blacked out for the sake of mystery...

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image


Last edited by pro565 on Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:39 pm, edited 4 times in total.
  


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:29 pm 
 

pro565 wrote:Ok the, here's the article.  The names have been blacked out for the sake of mystery...


Amazing post!  And there's ol' J. Eric Holmes down in the corner of the first clipping. :D


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:33 pm 
 

pro565 wrote:Ok the, here's the article.  The names have been blacked out for the sake of mystery...


LOL Man does that bring back memories...I think it was dictated that every local paper do an "expose" on D&D back in it's heyday...filled with lots of breathless speculation.  I remember a few running in my local paper at the time.  Funny stuff.

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:16 pm 
 

"This is serious stuff, which parents quickly deduce when they see their children--who formerly spent their free time roller skating or disco dancing--suddenly preferring to read up on the Middle Ages."

Absolutely accurate. Back in the day, our gaming group would usually start each D&D session with a good long roller-boogie workout. Naw, I'm not pulling your leg, here are some old home movies as proof:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Duq5QDp6 ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ynsxk9WA ... re=related

  


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:00 pm 
 

Man, that is just way too cool.  Thanks for posting!  What a trip down memory lane.  And finally getting to see a picture of Jim was a blast.  To think I held that PHB in my hands!   :D

By the way, have we figured out yet where it is these days?


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:29 pm 
 

That has to be one of the worst music videos of one the sorriest bands of all time. Now I know why I never heard of them--they suck! Bland, whiney, nearly-nasal blatherings fronted by something that looks like the offspring of Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz and the some slutty feline from the Broadway opus Cats. And if that were not enough, a sax player with a pointy silver hat that looks like nothing more than a glittery pinhead.  
Wow!
If that's a "blast from the past", I'm glad I missed that one.

Breathless exposes were a constant source of humor to me when all of that was going on. Yeah, better fear something that drags your kid's head out of Fantastic Four and into Harold Lamb. Scary stuff when your kid becomes involved in a group activity that involves thinking, cooperation and inventiveness. I was frequently questioned by writer-types on this topic back then but refused to be drawn into it.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:44 pm 
 

I dont know....
I kinda enjoyed the vacumn cleaner solo he did.
And the dude with the hairy knee......... WOW
Another dude was wearing a one piece bedtime jumpsuite.

The lead singer kept voicing the words...
"My teenage heart belongs to you."

Dude musta been at least 45.

OK. I agree that is by far the worst band I had never heard of till today.
I wanted to rate them, but you have to log in to do so.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:56 pm 
 

Thanks for the article scans BTW:
I think the article should be scaned, printed and added to the book as well.
Perhaps printed out and folded into a pocket with the mini disc scans?
(Whoever has the PHB now?)


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:58 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:I think it was dictated that every local paper do an "expose" on D&D back in it's heyday...filled with lots of breathless speculation.

I agree that the article in question (and thanks for doing that, JP's old friend) is representative of its type, but as a longtime journalist, I feel compelled to throw out a couple of mitigating items in defense of the author here.

This sort of "hey, here's a trend, we'd better do a piece on it" article has almost always been handed to what are generically referred to as "general assignment" reporters, a long-suffering race of poor slobs and slob-ettes who show up for work every day at the newspaper not knowing exactly what the hell they'll be sent out to write about.

There was a great one-panel comic many years ago in Editor & Publisher, a magazine for newspaper professionals. It shows an editor standing over the shoulder of a guy labeled "general assignment reporter" as he prepares to throw a dart. The dartboard has a sign above it that says "Today I Am An Expert In ..." and the slices of the board are filled with things like "politics," "crime," "transportation," "health care," and etc., etc. And, really, that sums up a GA reporter's life much better than I can. It's completely thankless.

The over-wrought, breathless style of the piece is, I agree, a little bit much. But I only put half the blame on the writer; I can almost guarantee that someone above her in the L.A. Times food chain made it clear to her that she needed to be including some of that sort of stuff in her final draft.

Honestly, this article is at least 20 times better than most of its brethren. The writing is generally clear, most of the basic facts seem to be in order (or at least close enough for the average L.A. Times reader**), and it paints some nice word-pictures. It's better than I could have done if I had been assigned a piece on, for example, a knitting club.

+++++

**This is an important point. All of the D&D articles from this era were not written for fans of D&D. They were written for a newspaper's total readership ... a much, much larger group of people in most cases. And a group that really doesn't give 1.8 shits if something like "armor class" isn't explained with 100-percent correctness.

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:06 pm 
 

Samurai Rabbi, Magic User Penguin, schizophrenic Troll, Slightly gay Cleric……."Oberon, King of Fairies"

Classic.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:36 pm 
 

Thanks for scanning and posting the article... made even more interesting with J. Eric Holmes.  It should be added to the PHB making its way around the world.  If only we could track down JP now...  :wink:

  
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