The Bordermen Society
The year was 1978. I was 12 years old. It was the year of Star Wars and Close Encounters, the animated Lord of the Rings and Carradine’s Circle of Iron, and Doctor Strange made his tv debut. Jim Shooter took over Marvel and Claremont, Byrne, and Austin became the Holy Triumvirate. It was the year I discovered Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King. It was also, for me, the year of Dungeons & Dragons.
I didn’t know anyone who played the game at the time. It would be two years before I hooked up with the Oak Hill Dungeons & Dragons Club. I don’t remember how it first entered my radar, but I begged for and got the D&D Basic Set from my parents that year. You know the one — cheap polyhedrals you had to fill in with crayon, the In Search of the Unknown module, and the Blue Basic Rulebook.
I drafted my brother and our neighborhood friends to play, even got my dad to play a couple of times.
I thought our group needed a name, something cool and inspiring. I didn’t have to look far. Our hometown, Converse, was the home of the Bordermen, so named because it straddled Miami, Grant, Howard, and Wabash Counties.
A Borderman was, for all intents and purposes, a ranger, ala Strider from the Lord of the Rings… someone at home in the untamed frontier, defending pioneers who sought to carve out a place for themselves in the savage wilderness.
It may have been a fitting name for our local sports teams, but it was a brilliant one for our little Dungeons and Dragons Club. Now that the Oak Hill Dungeons & Dragons Club has reformed and we’ve taken to gathering in Converse for our game sessions, that old moniker has been weighing on my mind.
The ghost of The Bordermen Society lives on in the Oak Hill Dungeons & Dragons Club. Whenever a settler finds themselves beset by goblins, orcs, or something even worse, the spirit of the Bordermen is near, ready to bring grit and steel to bear.