“The Real History of Evindale”
Things People Couldn’t Give a Crap About
I couldn’t tell you when exactly the word “Evindale” first popped out of my brain.
The world started in the early 80s on several pieces of hex paper taped together. In 1991 I ran a small company in Stamford, CT and we hosted table-top gaming competitions. Once we shut the doors, Evindale came to life in an AD&D campaign.
Its roots, however, started in the summer of 1977.
The Compleat Strategist
My mother took me to her friend’s house. Together with her friend’s son and his friends we ventured into New York City. There we visited a store whose layout at the time I won’t forget. We entered the storefront and walked up a small flight of stairs on the left side of the store. A corkboard with pinned business cards was on the wall to the left, the sales counter on the right.
I had no idea I was in the Compleat Strategist, a store I consider as legendary as CBGBs was to music.
I remember a gentleman with curly black hair handing my mother a business card. He explained he ran “Dungeons and Dragon” games at parties. For a fee, he would run a game and turn it into a pizza party.
We went back to that woman’s house and her son and his friends started playing this “D&D” thing. Apparently the jaunt to the City was to pick up adventures, dice, or something else related to the game. I wanted to play but was told I was too young. I was 10.
Too curious, I watched and learned.
The Roundhouse, the Sets, and Dice
The Roundhouse was a well-stocked model train store that branched out into D&D. Though it was scarce, for the next several years the Roundhouse was my go-to for all things Dungeons & Dragons.
First, it was the small tan tradeback, then the red box Basic D&D set that came with dice. Next, the modules and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. I wanted it all. (Those dice from the basic set are still in my possession. They’ve seen better days.)
Tennis for Bugbears
The summer of ’78 found me at a country club dreaming of monsters and caverns instead of tennis and golf. The country club scene wasn’t for me. Instead, I befriended the kid who worked the hot dog stand at the pool. I introduced him to it and between customers, tales from “In Search of the Unknown” rang out beside the pool.
That was my first adventure and now having tasted this feast of imagination, well, … yeah.
The Birth of Evindale
Soon after that, I got the hang of DMing. After one of my favorite modules was released (“Keep on the Borderlands”) I began to think of my own world.
I taped together sheets of hex paper. With a fine point ink pen, the shoreline of Ivari/Iviria began to appear.
The coastline was drawn with a forced twitch in my hand to get a rough outline. Soon after, it was colored. Now I needed towns.
The first city to appear on the map was Cultrek. Soon, stories of civilizations ran through my head and most every idea was scribbled on a piece of paper. I visited art stores and bought huge tablets of graph paper for detailed cities and villages. I didn’t know how big it was to become but I knew I wanted it HUGE.
Every shop in Cultrek was drawn. Every NPC I thought was important including every shopkeeper and many assistants. Variable pricing was set for individual shops to create a sense of competition.
By the time I was done with that particular streak of creativity, I filled two small two-drawer filing cabinets. Hanging folders had tables and maps, keys to those maps, stats on various NPCs, and more.
During this time, a new fear-based movement swept across the US. “B.A.D.D.”, or “Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons”, soon caught my mom’s attention. While they sent me to a Born Again Christian summer camp in 1981, my creations at home were doomed.
The Great Purge of 1981
If it was in the filing cabinet, it was destroyed in the name of purity of the soul. Only two pages of that massive collection still exists.
Life continues, however, and in high school I founded the school’s first D&D Club. Evindale was put on the back burner; I lost my reason to do it after so much had been lost.
Many years later in ’90-’91, I ran what was to be the first of a long string of a campaigns set in Evindale and specifically, Mütvia. Since then, I’ve been rebuilding it with many years between progress.
This site is the first such actual improvement on its development.
Moral of this story: don’t even let your creativity die. No matter what happens, keep following your passion.