The details I can remember are:

  • The trope of a role-playing group getting sucked into a different realm, possibly becoming their characters.
  • One of the females becomes graceful, has the power to fly like a moth, possibly something about bracelets as part of her abilities(?).
  • In one scene she might get stuck in a huge spider web.
  • One of the males is a scrawny guy but becomes a muscle-bound oaf in the realm they travel to.
  • They do get back to their own Earth realm, to the gaming table, but everyone was pretty bummed because they no longer had their alternate abilities/bodies.
  • It seems to have been some "journey to adulthood" type theme overall.

This was a book that was in my high school library in the 90's, was possibly published in the 80's or earlier. I've searched for a bit, but have not found any books that fit what I remember.

  • Welcome to the site! You have a good start here. If you could take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit in any more details, that would be great. Every little bit helps us.
    – amflare
    Nov 22, 2017 at 5:28
  • Are you describing her flight as "like a moth" or do you think that's a phrase from the book?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 22, 2017 at 10:59
  • Quag Keep by Andre Norton is probably the first book like this and I remember there being something about bracelets, but not anyone being moth-like.
    – eshier
    Nov 22, 2017 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


This could be The Twilight Realm by Christopher Carpenter which was first published in 1987.

Description from Amazon editorial review:

Unemployed or starting college, Paul and his friends are uncertain what life holds for them. Their weekly meetings to indulge in role-playing games are a peaceful escape, until one night they step through a mirror into another world and the game becomes real. In Xhandarre, each of the five possesses special powers that complement their earthly attributes. These are powers they need in their quest to free the land from the despotic sorcerer Avron Kromar. Water serpents, birdbats, human wolves and deep dungeons lie in wait for them, but so do Prince Jarmassad (the rightful heir to the throne) and his loyal wizard Meldorion.

This pleasant fantasy-adventure is distinguished by its characterization: the friends remain fallible people who must conquer their own weaknesses as well as magical foes

  • One character (Teresa) gains powers of mental illusions and thought sensing, plus the ability to become incorporeal when she strikes her bracelets together. In this incorporeal form she can pass through solid matter and fly
  • When her RPG character is introduced it includes a reference to appearing like a delicate dragonfly (due to her clothes & posture)
  • Another character (Justin) is transformed from a "slim young man" into a "huge musclebound man"
  • Once transformed he also finds he can no longer speak properly, when he tries "all that emerged were a series of grunts"
  • At one point Teresa is trapped in a giant web "spread eagled like a giant butterfly"
  • At the end of the story they are returned to their normal lives with varying degrees of happiness
  • From memory & quick scan there is a theme of growing up or learning about themselves. Certainly when they return some of the characters make decisions to change their lives based on their experience in the alternate realm.

This, particularly the character bulking up, sounds the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg. The first book is The Sleeping Dragon (1983).

According to Goodreads:

It began as just another evening of fantasy gaming, with James, Karl, Andrea, and the rest ready to assume their various roles as wizard, cleric, warrior, or thief. But sorcerous gamemaster Professor Deighton had something else planned for this unsuspecting group of college students. And the "game" soon became a matter of life and death as the seven adventurers found themselves transported to an alternate world and into the bodies of the actual characters they had been pretending to be.

Cast into a land where magic worked all too well, dragons were a fire-breathing menace, and only those quick enough with a sword or their wits survived, the young gamers faced a terrible task. For the only way they would ever see Earth again was if they could find the legendary Gate Between Worlds - a place guarded by the most terrifying and deadly enemy of all... THE SLEEPING DRAGON

According to Wikipedia, of one of the characters, who really preferred the fantasy world:

In our world, he was crippled with muscular dystrophy, while there he is a powerful dwarf berserker.

This has come up numerous times before: Book about RPG players who get pulled into their game

Name of book series where RPG players become their player characters

Characters taken back in time and into other bodies. Made revolvers to help. "Heroes" in title?

Story about group of students trapped in fantasy world by their GM

(I have not read any of these books, but I did have an acquaintance in college who liked them. I would not normally be very likely to remember much about some books I had merely heard somebody else describe once or twice. However, I remembered in this case, because of the coincidence that the guy I knew in college was also named Joel Rosenberg.)

  • 2
    No one turns into a moth-person in Guardians of the Flames, though. It's still always a good first choice for "sucked into the RPG realm" stories since it is the best known.
    – eshier
    Nov 22, 2017 at 15:22
  • I read this one last year, and it doesn't match up with the description: there's nothing in The Sleeping Dragon about mental illusions, or becoming incorporeal, or a character named Teresa for that matter. The antagonists are also different than OP details.
    – Discord
    Jan 16 at 14:08

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