What was the first DnD-Based Novel You Read?
What I love about the way this question’s actually written is that it pretty much presupposes you’re dealing with a series. The books that got me into DnD were the original Dragonlance Chronicles, which I bought for thirty cents at a garage sale. I read those books so many times…I still choke up thinking about Flint and the forge and…also, that series is why Blues are my favorite dragons.
I also had a fistful of the Choose Your Own Adventure DnD books; I distinctly remember reading about a white dragon on a mountain, breathing a cone of ice, when I was in maybe second grade. I pictured it as a tornado, not understanding what they meant by cone (and that’s such a silly thing to say in a narrative text, as opposed to a rulebook); my mental image was of a big white lizard shooting swirly tornadoes into the air while a frost giant looked on impassively.
But–and I’ve mentioned this at least once during this journey, I believe–my first DnD novel was The Name of the Game. I’m talking this was one of the first books I can remember owning; it came after the Sword of Shannara and Dave Barry’s Guide to Life (along with Dave Barry’s Not Making This Up, Dave Barry Does Japan, and a few others) and The Big Book of New American Humor. I’d point out that The Name of the Game is a crazy book for a kid that young to have, given that it includes dream-rape, a creepy line about how chicks dig Micah’s demon finger/hand, and a part where the main character rips open a barn and eats a couple of shrieking horses…but given what was in some of the other books I just listed, it’s really nothing crazy. Definitely formative, though, meaning that I was horrified by the actual illustration of the Aurumvorax in the 2e MM, because in the novel it looks like a cat.
I eventually tracked down almost all of the rest of Mika the Wolf Nomad’s series, which includes some odd cross-species business and some more rape and lots of demons. I also delved deep into Dragonlance once I got started; I had around 40 titles by the time I finished high school. I went into the Forgotten Realms on occasion too, but I really can’t stand that setting and loathe its two big names (Elminster and Drizzt). I loved Cadderly when I’d just read The Cleric Quintet, but was crushed to learn he didn’t get the end that series suggested. That book, though, and the original three Dragonlance novels were two go-tos for selling to parents of young dudes when I flogged books in a few different establishments. My pledge, and I still stand by it, is that if you get a kid–especially a guy–onto one of those series young you have birthdays and holidays handled for years. I just sent them to my little nephews this Christmas, over the objections of my lovely Ladyhalf, and am heartily bummed that their environmental situation is such that everyone (again, starting with my wife) is pretty much saying “They can’t possibly read those at that age!” Because, again, they’re about half-again as old as I was when I got down with the aforementioned demon-hand-griffon-horse-eatery.