I really enjoyed reading this. It brought back memories of my grade school friends and I playing the old, basic, “red box” Dungeons and Dragons in my tree house (yes, I actually had a tree house). Those first dungeons were just rectangles connected by hallways on sheets of graph paper, with an arbitrary monster in each room, but there was something magical about them.
Back then it never occurred to me that the troll in room #2 might wander through his unlocked door and make a meal out of the orcs in room #1 before our party ever arrived, or that he might come to investigate when he heard those orcs getting slaughtered by our intrepid adventurers. I can even remember there being a dragon’s lair at the end of one of those long jumbles of random rooms. I never wondered: “how in the hell did he get in there and how was he ever going to get out?”
I had no idea that those random squares and those random monsters were going to become such an important part of my life; that they were going to have such an influence on the books that I read and the friends that I made. Since then I like to think that my dungeons have gotten more sophisticated, but that they still have the same magic in them that made those first dungeons so much fun.