When I was a kid I remember reading a short novel about a boy secretly running away and playing Dungeons and Dragons (or a similar game) with some rougher kids. The whole thing was told as though he was doing something underhand or wrong, like getting in with the wrong crowd or taking drugs! I remember there was a focus on him getting lost in the game and having to come back with a miniature to play with as a sort of initiation. I can't remember what it was called and I want to find it again. I think it was called something like 'A Road to Nowhere' but searches for that have got me nothing. Also I think there was a motorbike on the cover. Any ideas?!

  • Maybe you can find it through Wikipedia? D&D in pop culture – Inbar Rose Apr 30 '14 at 11:33
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    Makes me think of one of the Chick Tracts -- ugh. – K-H-W Apr 30 '14 at 13:39
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    Hey, don't go breaking on Chick Tracts, they were an important part of the kitsch of my childhood. I'm still looking for the one I read circa 1980 where they were all hysterically over the top predicting that someday soon in American, gay people would be getting married! ...hmmm probably a bad example. – TechZen May 14 '14 at 12:18
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  • @DampeS8N - I love the way its just glossed over that the kid started with having no techniques to deal with rather mild taunts and name-calling that don't leave a classmate dead, and no visible regret even before he learned about the lies. Nope, totally Santa's fault. – Megha Jun 29 '18 at 3:17

It may prove very difficult to find this specific novel, unless someone else read it too.

You may have read Hobgoblin or possibly the novel Mazes and Monsters which was turned into a movie starring Tom Hanks by the same name. There were also a few other 'me too' novels that will be harder to find as, again, they all have the same plot.

Neither Hobgoblin or Mazes and Monsters have a cover with a motorbike on it or a gang of ruffians, however, so I would guess it was one of the aforementioned knockoffs. Those are really hard to draw a bead on. Hopefully someone else has read that specific book.

All of these are very similar stories that parallel the life of James Egbert who was a young man whose disappearance was blamed on D&D for a variety of silly reasons. It sparked a national controversy which both promoted and almost destroyed D&D.

  • I was a big D&D geek back then and that all ticked us off royally. "Look it's just a past time that engages our brains, what you want us to spend 12 hours every weekend watching sports on TV?" – TechZen May 14 '14 at 12:16
  • ''Hobgoblin'' is a weird case in that his obsession with the D&D analogue is what saves all of the kids in the end. The only way it's ever shown as negative is that it makes it a little harder to socialize with a certain crowd, who are also shown to be violent bullies. – FuzzyBoots Dec 30 '14 at 21:23

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