I was tinkering with my computer last night - cleaning up the hard drives and removing old files - when I came across a folder filled with all my old D&D character sheets. Its been such a long time since I needed to create a new PC that I had almost forgotten I had this folder (a real treasure trove) on my computer. Each character sheet describes a hero of my past and comes complete with memories of adventures and quests that are as vivid to me now as they were when I played them the first time.
I still have the character sheet for my first ever D&D character. Of course I didn't have a computer back then (few people did in those dark ages) but many years later I transferred the details from a photocopy of the original character sheet onto a digital version of the Basic Character Sheet. I'm glad I did because Volcan the Slayer (how embarrassing) still lives as a result. I recall his first ever battle - against a Carrion Crawler - and knew I was hooked on this game for life.
Another favorite was the expert archer Bryn Keensight. Bryn was lethal with a bow and rose to lead his companions through several adventures. One of my most vivid memories was facing off against a Beholder and realising that Bryn was running out of arrows. So the archer pulled out a Rod of Lordly Might - a magical item with the ability to turn into one of several weapons - and charged into close combat with the eye tyrant. The attack was a success, but only just.
I also found some of my darker characters including a thief/assassin with a tenuous grip on the rules of civilised society. Silas was a dangerous character, for friend and foe alike, but met his match in the form of a very annoying Kender. Another non-hero character was the huge Half Ogre, Bilious Green. Bill was not well endowed with intelligence but what he lacked in brains he made up for in shear muscle. In one encounter he killed a Minotaur with a single attack of his Greatsword (a family heirloom) which confounded the GM as much as the Minotaur.
Reading through these characters I realised that I valued the character sheets as much as I do the miniatures I painted to accompany them. Memories of great games have soaked into these characters and made them an invaluable part of my gaming heritage. I'm glad I kept them and rest assured I will be backing-up and password protecting the files to preserve them for the future!