February 28, 2014

40th D&D - Lessons of D&D

Day 28: What's the single most important lesson you've learned from playing D&D?

I am good at D&D. I can build strong characters with rich stories and role-play. I can min/max with the best of them. I can write engaging plots that people want to play.  I can keep the players guessing and surprised. I can sell my rpg ideas to other people.
Sure, I'm not the perfect D&D player (I have an article in writing that details all the ways I am a horrible DM, but that's for another day), but I pretty good at it.

Who cares, it's only a game. 
Because I can bring enjoyment to other people's lives. No, I can't make their everyday depressing lives overall better, but for brief moments they can have fun...and I had a hand in that (along with the rest of the group). But it's not about being good at a game, it is about being good at something. Too many people go through their lives never being good at anything.

That self-confidence carried over into things such as work or other activities. It's not that I learned some skill from D&D that I could apply to the other things. No, it was simply knowing I could do something well; that let me think I could do other things well.

February 27, 2014

40th D&D - Looking Back

Day 27: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming?

Not really.
I will admit I spent an inordinate amount of time playing D&D, even if most of that time was simply designing adventures. But if I hadn't been playing D&D I would have been doing some other hobby. Playing D&D did help me out in many ways and certainly kept me out of some of the trouble I could have gotten into as a kid. I do not begrudge the time I have spend with D&D.

Likewise, I don't think I missed anything about D&D I wish I had participated in. I have never been to a GenCon, but that's okay. I never was a member of the RPGA, but that's okay. As a person I don't generally regret anything I have or have not done in the past and this applies to my association with D&D as well.

February 26, 2014

40th D&D - Still Gaming

Day 26: Do you still game with the group that introduced you to the hobby?

I first learned about D&D from friends in high school. After high school most of them moved away to various colleges. I still stay in contact with some of them, but we are too spread out to actually play anything. Even sadder I don't think many of them still play. A couple of years ago one of them mentioned he was getting rid of his old D&D books as they were just taking up space and he never planned on playing again. It basically came down to everyone living too far apart.

However, my second group of gaming friends do still play on occasion. Some of them I first played with over 25 years ago and we still game once a week.

February 25, 2014

40th D&D - Longest Campaign

Day 25: Longest running campaign/gaming group you've been in.

I ran a campaign in my own setting for 11 years. It chronicled the attempts of the players to stop a servant of Orcus from taking over the world with his undead hordes. The campaign started with 1E AD&D and moved to 2E when that came out. The majority of the players were there from the beginning to the end. The characters actually managed to defeat the bad guy after 10 years of play time, with the last year seeing the heroes play more one-shot adventures within the world setting. However, without the drive of the singular plot, interest waned...or we were just tired of it.

I did use some of the elements of the setting a few years later when we began to run some LARP (live action role-play) events. These events saw the main villain's spirit being reborn on another world (the LARP setting) and attempting to take over that world as well with undead armies. One of the original players even created one of his LARP characters as the son of one of the original characters from the D&D campaign.

I tend to prefer running longer games rather than one-shots. I prefer the more epic feel in such campaigns where you can see the characters and setting grow and evolve. However, I don't think I'll run an 11-year campaign again.

February 24, 2014

40th D&D - My D&D Movie

Day 24: First movie that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

As I was growing up I saw a bunch of the fantasy films of the 80s that had a heavy D&D vibe to them; Clash of the Titans, Dragonslayer, The Beastmaster, The Dark Crystal, Krull, Legend. However, it wasn't until 1985 and the movie Ladyhawke that I really got a sense of what the vision of D&D and film could be.

Ladyhawke was more of a story than a D&D dungeon/adventure romp.
However, it carries many of the D&D tropes. We have a clever and witty thief, clerics with magic, curses, fighters being fighters. It was what I wanted to run in my games, something more than just beating up on goblins. Ladyhawke was an attempt to do fantasy in a "serious" way. I had moved from simply running one-off dungeon crawls and had been running longer and more "serious" campaigns by then. Ladyhawke reflected what I wanted out of a D&D game.

February 23, 2014

40th D&D - First D&D Song

Day 23: First song that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

Music and D&D have been closely tied together from the beginning for me. At around the same time I discovered D&D, I also became more musically aware. There were many, many days spent after school where I would go up to my room and spend the afternoon making dungeon maps and populating them. Throughout this process the radio would be playing the latest songs. Thus music and D&D came together for me.

The first song that linked the two together for me was Sailing by Christopher Cross. It was released in 1980 and was hugely popular at the time. It was playing on the radio all the time so I would hear it almost every day while working on my D&D dungeons. For those who don't know it (or for those who are confused about how this song is a D&D song for me), the song is about wanting to escape. It's about seeing new horizons, new vistas including those of imagination. It also had a lovely, almost ethereal sound to it. Now, I'll admit that some of the lyric translations were me putting my love of D&D and imagination onto the song, but for me, it worked.

Here are some lyrics that brought it home for me...

"Well, it's not far down to paradise, at least it's not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility"

"It's not far to never-never land, no reason to pretend
And if the wind is right you can find the joy of innocence again"

"Sailing takes me away to where I've always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free"

"Fantasy, it gets the best of me"

"Well it's not far back to sanity, at least it's not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity"

Some say that D&D is an escape and perhaps it was for me as well. But D&D is also about imagination and where it can take a person. This song was also about those things as well. Whenever I hear it now, it brings me back to those innocent days when I had no cares beyond what monster and treasure to put in the next room.

February 22, 2014

40th D&D - First D&D Novel

Day 22: First D&D-based novel you ever read.

Dragons of Autumn Twilight.

This was the first book in the Dragonlance series and it was excellent. I liked the rich characters and epic scale of the series. I was always a prolific reader so I guess it was a natural for me to start reading the D&D books. This book started me on reading all the D&D books I could get my hands on. First it was the complete Dragonlance series along with the follow up books. Then it was the Forgotten Realms books. Then it was Dark Sun. After devouring many of these books I did taper off and stopped reading every one of them. I think I just wanted a change of pace...or they all started to read the same to me. I think the original Dark Sun series were the last D&D books I have read (around 1993).

Sometimes I think about starting to read the D&D books I missed, but I wouldn't know where to start. There are so many of them now, covering a wide variety of world settings.

February 21, 2014

40th D&D - First Sold D&D Book

Day 21: First time you sold some of your D&D books - for whatever reason.

After playing D&D off and on for nearly 35 years, I sold my first D&D book last year. I had never sold a D&D book before that...and I still haven't sold any of my D&D books. I frequent gaming stores and am always looking for new ones. Gaming stores are like treasure vaults to me; its fun looking for hidden treasures in them. Around last year I found some older 1E books for very cheap in some of these stores. While I already had them, I still bought them and resold them on Ebay.

So, while I can say I have sold some D&D books, none were from my own collection.

February 20, 2014

40th D&D - First Non-D&D Game

Day 20: First non-D&D RPG you played.

Villains & Vigilantes.
The people who introduced me to D&D quickly introduced us to other rpgs as well. It was only a couple of months after being introduced to D&D that we were playing a new rpg. I didn't like it that much. It seemed to take a lot of math to make a character. Character generation was slow. With it's random power approach it was easy to end up with a useless character. We ended up spending most of that night making characters and, with the little time we had left to play an adventure, I was pretty much useless with the powers I had rolled. We never ended up playing it again.

However, the one thing I did carry away from that night was that there were other games out there. RPGs were a broad area full of many genres and systems. It was probably because of my early exposure to other games that I have always looked at rpgs in general instead of only D&D specifically.

February 19, 2014

40th D&D - First Annoying Gamer

Day 19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.

I've had my run of "interesting" fellow gamers. The stereotype of socially awkward gamers is a stereotype because it is true in many cases. I've played with a wide range of player types; those who had no life outside of gaming, those who need to tell everyone about their characters, those who want to be the center of attention, those who get angry when things don't go like they want, those who cheat, those who whine and many others. However, we always had one thing in common and that was our love of the game. This allowed me to usually overlook things that would annoy me about other people...

...until one campaign. I was a player in a large game at the local university. There were about 16 players and 1 DM. I had rolled pathetic on my stats (my highest stat was an 11 and my INT was a 5). I ended up making a straight-forward druid whose best spell was goodberries. I was pretty useless to the party power-wise. Druids back then weren't powerhouses and with my low stats I really couldn't pack a punch. The thing is, the DM was allowing all sorts of alternate rules and races. There were characters in the party that were Githyanki and vampires. In fact, the Githyanki character was a powerhouse all by himself with special weapons and abilities that let him almost solo everything; he certainly never feared death...and he made sure to let everyone know this.

The campaign went on for many weeks. The player of the Githyanki was one of the leaders of the group, simply by virtue of his character's abilities. One day, and I still don't know why, the player took it into his head to start messing with me. He purposefully began attacking trees and other parts of nature, knowing full well I couldn't in-character allow this to happen. He was provoking me into a fight, a fight he knew I couldn't possibly win. Basically, he was being a bully by picking on the weakest member of the party. Playing in-character I confronted him and I started getting my butt kicked. Fortunately, some other members of the group were also annoyed by his general arrogance and attacked him, driving him off. The player of the Githyanki never gamed at that table again; I think he got the message he was not welcome anymore.

I actually don't mind confidence in a character and some amount of arrogance, but this player went out of his way to ruin the fun of other players. He gained enjoyment from it. I don't mind players having their foibles but he broke the sense of community that gamers have with each other.

February 18, 2014

40th D&D - First Convention

Day 18: First gaming convention you ever attended.

About 28 years ago I wasn't working (I had some money then and no desire to work). A friend from high school was in the Air Force working as an air traffic controller near Omaha, Nebraska. One day he mentioned there was a gaming convention going on in Omaha and I should attend it and visit him as well. With too much time on my hands I decided to drive out there; I live in New Hampshire so it was a fair distance. It would be my first con.

With it being so long ago, I don't remember too many details, but I do remember one game I played in. It was billed for experienced DMs and there was a secret twist we were all supposed to figure out by the end of the game. We showed up and were given our characters and began to explore a dungeon complex. At the end of the time we were supposed to tell the DM what the secret was. I couldn't figure it out. Finally the DM revealed he had been running the sample dungeon from the AD&D 1E Dungeon Masters Guide.

I am not a fan of cons. I prefer to know who I am gaming with. Since that first time I have never been to another con where I ended up staying for more than an hour. If I do go, I usually just visit the merchants and then leave. However, one day I do hope to visit GenCon.

February 17, 2014

40th D&D - D&D is Evil?

Day 17: First time you heard that D&D was somehow "evil".

The early 80s. I was highly religious as a youth and while my church leaders never out and out said that D&D was evil they were cautious on the concept. This actually caused my group to stop playing D&D and instead move onto other rpgs such as Top Secret and Marvel Superheroes. We decided to make the move before we told we could no longer play any rpgs.

I understood where they were coming from. D&D did have demons and devils in it. The religion I was in was fairly fundamental so "consorting" with such creatures was frowned upon. It is better to avoid such things than toy with them. They understood it was only a game but it still made them nervous.

The situation actually got a lot more difficult near the end. We had slowed down our play and, while I didn't know it at the time, I was on my way out from that faith and community. Near the end, one of my players attempted to rape his cousin. One of his defenses was that rpgs had something to do with it; perhaps desensitizing him to such actions. To me it was plainly an excuse mechanism and an attempt to shift blame, but I never got any fallout from it. However, it did put a taint on everything. I ended up leaving that church for non-rpg related reasons so I didn't hear much of what happened thereafter.

February 16, 2014

40th D&D - Edition Wars

Day 16: Did you remember your first Edition War? Did you win?

I've been around for all the edition transitions and I would say the one from 3E to 4E was the harshest and most prevalent edition war.

Going from 1E to 2E was fairly quiet. Sure there was some grumbling, but overall I think most people felt 2E was more of some minor chances (some would say improvements) to the system. 1E had long been introducing new sub-systems or alternate ways of running the game for years, mostly through Dragon articles or such books as Unearthed Arcana. Thus the changes in 2E were not really surprising. Also, communication was not as fast as it is these days with the internet; it was simply harder to start an edition war that could sustain itself.

Going from 2E to 3E also was a non-event. By the time 3E came out, 2E D&D material had pretty much dried up. TSR didn't have the money to produce anything new. In fact D&D looked like it was on its last leg and about to permanently die. 3E revitalized D&D as an entity (and the whole rpg industry as well). People were more happy that D&D was again relevant than any problems they may have had with the new rule changes. 3E again seemed like a natural evolution from 2E much the way 2E seemed like an evolution of 1E. Sure not everyone liked the changes but it was easy to house rule a change people didn't like. Maybe there was a lot of edition warring with the release of 3E, but it was easy to ignore those people as curmudgeons.

The transition from 3E to 4E was my first true Edition War. 4E came too soon after 3E. The changes to the system were far more radical than previous edition changes. It was harder to retrofit older editions into 4E. It is my supposition that 4E actually gave the players what they had been asking for over the years (usefulness of spellcasters once they run out of spells, not requiring cleric healbots, more magic items, easy to set up encounters for the DM, easier stat blocks, exciting and epic feeling encounters, etc). WotC gave the players what they had been asking for, except the players then discovered they didn't really want them after all. I have spent some of my time defending 4E. In the end, to me it doesn't matter which edition of D&D you are playing (and that includes retroclones and Pathfinder) - they are all D&D to me.

Did I win? Of course I did.

February 15, 2014

40th D&D - Least Favorite Edition

Day 15: What was the first edition of D&D that you didn't enjoy? Why?

I have played all of the editions of D&D. My gaming life-cycle tends to follow a predictable pattern (predictable for me). I play the current edition of D&D, take a break from playing it (usually to try some other rpg games) and then start up again when the next edition comes along.

I played 1E until we stopped to play more Marvel Superheroes.
I played 2E (my longest edition) until we stopped to play White Wolf (Vampire/Werewolf/Mage).
I played 3E until we stopped to play Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea.
I played 4E until we stopped to play Savage Worlds. 

I have never gone back to play a previous edition of D&D. I either play the current edition or move onto other games. That being said, I have never stopped playing an edition because I didn't like it, but rather because we wanted to try something different.

However, to answer the question, the edition I am least likely to go back and play again at any point would be 3E. While I enjoyed my time playing it, out of all the editions it is the one I like least. I would rather play any of the editions again before I played that one.

Why? It was so ponderously heavy. By its end (though some could rightly argue that Pathfinder is really 3E continued, so it really hasn't ended) there was so much material for the game. It became a headache to run the game. If you looked at the stat block for a "named" monster it could be over a page long. Worst of all to properly play the monster you'd have to either know what every feat did or look up over ten different feats/abilities to know how they would affect things. It simply wasn't worth it. I prefer faster games; I hate looking things up in the middle of an encounter. There were too many variables in each encounter between what the player characters could do and what the monsters could do. It simply wasn't worth it.

Sure, a case could be made that you could keep 3E simple. Do not allow splatbooks, keep the levels low, limit what is allowed. However, then what's the point? If you aren't using what 3E has to offer then you are really playing something else at that point, something almost like a retroclone of 3E.

All that being said, one of my players wants to run a 3E campaign and if the group decides that is what they want to play next, I would play it and have fun. I wouldn't vote for it when the group votes for the next game, but I wouldn't hate my time playing it.

February 14, 2014

40th D&D - Significant Other

Day 14: Did you meet your significant other while playing D&D? Does he or she still play?

However, she had played D&D before she met me. We actually met though a LARP (Live Action Role-Play) she was running and I was playing in. I had been playing in a LARP for some time at that point but always liked to try new things. She was running a LARP at the local university she had made up; it was a one-shot day of adventure. I remember the day ending and thinking she was cute but she had a boyfriend (fiance actually) so I didn't think of her again. Fast forward a couple of years and she started playing in the LARP I was a regular in. A couple of years later we started flirting in-character and it led to dating out-of-character. We've been married for over 18 years now.

We both started rpgs with D&D which led to other gaming experiences that ultimately brought us together.

We still game together. She is not a huge fan of D&D (she prefers more story/role-play oriented rpgs and D&D is inherently more combat oriented) but she is also willing to play in whatever game I want to run. Thus we've played 3E and 4E campaigns together (we came together after 2E). We just wrapped up a D&D campaign a couple of months ago and are playing in two new games right now (she is running 7th Sea for one and the second is a homebrew system run by a friend). At some point I'll get the itch to run D&D (likely once D&D Next has been out for awhile) and we'll be playing D&D again.

Side Note: My wife has been to GenCon, whereas I never have been.

February 13, 2014

40th D&D - First Miniature

Day 13: First miniature(s) you used.

When we (our high school group) all started playing D&D we all loved the idea of miniatures. They helped us visualize what was going on and honestly, they were just cool looking. However, we couldn't afford large amounts of miniatures for our games. We could have afforded a miniature for a character but it was the monsters that could quickly get expensive (as a game tended to need a fair amount of them). Thus we never really used them in games; though we did have them on the table.

However, miniatures simply had too great a draw and the first I bought was the Grenadier Models AD&D Dungeon Explorers Figure Set. It had a good mix of character minis that we could use with just about any character mix.

February 12, 2014

40th D&D - First Store

Day 12: First store where you bought your gaming supplies. Does it still exist?

Ritz Camera. It was a camera store that also carried a lot of the more eclectic hobby products. Cameras were a hobby back then so it made sense to also offer the other hobbies. They had race cars, rockets, models, board games and rpgs. They actually kept a pretty good stock of the beginning rpgs, but they always had D&D. They were in a strip mall with the local general store (about 30 miles from home) so we would go there every couple of weeks. I would leave my mother at the other store and I'd hurry over to the camera store and check out what was new. Those were wonderful and exciting times. Every time was like looking at a trove of new treasures.

As time went on they began to carry less and less of the other hobby products as they focused more on their camera and film business. Also, the more niche hobby stores (comic books + games) began to carry more of the market in the area; people stopped getting their rpgs at the camera store.
As the marketplace changed Ritz Camera got into film development and it did them fine for a while. That is until everything went digital and no one cared about film. They couldn't compete with the lower prices that could be had at a Walmart and such. Their last store location went out of business a couple of years ago. I believe they have a website where they sell cameras online only.

Side Note: Most gaming stores will offer to order you something if they do not have it in stock. I have only ever done this twice in my life and I now refuse to do it ever again. Why? Because both stores went out of business after I placed the order and before the item came in. The two instances were 3 years apart. I figure me ordering something from a store is bad luck and for their own sake, I won't do it again.

February 11, 2014

40th D&D - First Splatbook

Day 11: First splatbook you begged your DM to approve.

The definition of splatbook can vary depending on who is doing the talking. Most people will quickly think of the Complete series of sourcebooks from 2E. However, I consider anything that offers up new options for characters as a splatbook and thus, I would have to go with the original 1E Unearthed Arcana as the first splatbook. (An argument could be made that such books as Eldritch Wizardry could be considered among the earliest splatbooks.) It also is the book I first wanted to use as a player for my characters. The cavalier class looked awesome. I think it was also the book that showed me that add-ons and supplemental material for the players was okay to use.

February 10, 2014

40th D&D - First Gaming Magazine

Day 10: First gaming magazine you ever bought (Dragon, Dungeon, White Dwarf, etc).

Dragon Magazine.
When I first started playing D&D we played it fairly RAW (run as written). This was mostly by default as we couldn't afford any of the supplemental publications. We knew about the Dragon Magazine but none of us could afford them. It was as I got older and started getting some disposable cash that I went back and tracked down a lot of the older Dragon Magazines. By then our gaming group had all graduated from high school and I was running my own games with my own set group of players. I didn't tend to allow much of the character options, but I did use a bunch of the monsters, spells, etc for my world building.

February 9, 2014

40th D&D - First Campaign

Day 9: First campaign setting (published or homebrew) you played in.

I know the first setting we had was Greyhawk. However, I don't think we ever played in it. I remember making photocopies of it for everyone that was playing D&D at the time (we shared expenses) but because we all had a copy none of us ran it. Our other gaming at the start didn't have a regular setting, not even the homebrew kind. Adventures were one-offs independent of a setting.

I guess a case could be made that Keep on the Borderlands was a setting since it included places for the characters outside of the dungeon. However, we only ran the dungeon parts and never used the other parts that could be considered "setting".

All that being said, the first setting I played in was a homebrew that I played in about 6 years after I first started playing D&D. It didn't have a formal setting name. If the world had a name I don't recall it now. It was a campaign run at the local college. It had about 12 players and met weekly. In the campaign we traveled the world trying to stop the plan of a villain trying to darken the world and make it his own. It was an epic setting that followed much of the standard D&D rules. There were no house rules or setting rules, but the DM did allow a wide variety of supplemental rules for character generation such as those found in the Dragon magazine. This meant it was fairly wild. It was a chaotic campaign, but there were a lot of memorable highlights as well.

February 8, 2014

40th D&D - First Dice

Day 8: First set of polyhedral dice you owned. Do you still use them?

As I mentioned yesterday (maybe I should look at the questions ahead of time to avoid answering future questions...nah) my first dice came with the Holmes boxed set. They were the kind where you had to color in the numbers with the provided crayon. Also the kind where the edges quickly wore down. After a while those dice would fly across the table on very roll.

I still have them but I never use them anymore. I have other sets I use more; I think my newer dice roll better - or at least more true. And I don't want my first set to wear out even more.

February 7, 2014

40th D&D - First D&D Product

Day 7: First D&D product you ever bought. Do you still have it?

Wow, my memory really isn't good enough for these questions.
I believe it was the Holmes D&D boxed set. I still have it all including the dice. It is severely banged up; it is less a box and more a bunch of flat sheets of cardboard holding the paper in one place. I am the sort of person who believes in using things and not putting them away "for safekeeping". I figure the more something is banged up, the more it shows the love. Of course, I haven't played 1E since 2E came out, but I'm still glad I still have the box set.

February 6, 2014

40th D&D - First Character Death

Day 6: First character death. How did you handle it?

I believe this was Filkar the Pickpocket. I'm not sure how he died, but I remember I couldn't play him anymore. It didn't really bother me, though there was a strange sense with the knowledge I couldn't play him anymore. It was not really a sense of loss, but rather the knowledge that something was beyond my reach or control.

In the early days we never ran any real campaigns. We would usually make new characters for new games run by new DMs (or old DMs with new adventure ideas). By default we never grew very attached to our characters simply because the next game would likely see us not playing the most recent character anyway. If a character lived or died had little affect on us because we weren't going to be playing them in the next adventure anyway.

It wasn't until we started running longer campaigns, especially campaigns that involved character-centric plotlines that the loss of a character would be felt more profoundly.

February 5, 2014

40th D&D - Highest Level Character

Day 5: First character to go from 1st level to the highest level possible in a given edition? (or What's the highest level character you've ever run?)

Another hard one for me, because I tend to DM rather than play. In fact, I haven't played a D&D character in over 20 years, despite playing some form of D&D for the last 34 years. The other problem is that when I was playing characters in D&D we never had a consistent setting; we played in random adventures rather than campaigns. I can't remember a character over 10.

But to attempt to answer the question...I guess it would be Brie Wildways, my dumb-as-a-stump druid. I'm not sure how high he got (I think level 10) but he is the character I played the longest. He was played with the 2E rules. My longest campaigns seemed to be from that edition.

February 4, 2014

40th D&D - My First Dragon

Day 4: First dragon your character slew (or some other powerful monster).

During my early years with D&D we never had any consistent world development or continuity between adventures. We'd make new characters for each adventure; if we did play the same character in another adventure it was seldom. Either way, we never advanced beyond the starting levels. Thus we never encountered the iconic "powerful monsters"; we never got high enough to stand a chance against them. 

Because of these reasons it was many years after my introduction that I killed my first dragon. We were playing D&D at the local university. It was a huge group of about 16 players. The DM was also running a loose game where you could play a variety of alternate races and classes (we had vampire and githyanki characters). I had rolled absolutely pathetic on my stat rolls (nothing over a 12 and an INT of 4). I ended up making a druid but was often fairly useless in the party, or at the least, highly overshadowed. However, the rest of the party (and I suspect the DM) took pity on me. At one point we found a magical acorn in a treasure trove and since I was the druid they gave it to me. It had one shot of a petrification attack.

I held onto that acorn for many adventures. One night we ended up fighting a huge dragon that was causing a lot of damage to the party. We kept hitting it with everything we had but it wasn't going down. After one of its breath attacks, my character jumped into its mouth and hit it with the magic acorn. I had jumped into the mouth because I didn't want to miss with a throw. The dragon failed its save and was instantly turned to stone.

I got to be the hero that night.

February 3, 2014

40th D&D - First Dungeon

Day 3: First dungeon you explored as a player-character or ran as a DM.

When I was started out with D&D, there were a bunch of us and we made each other copies of the various books. We did this because we were all poor high school students and because we were enthusiastic about the game, we wanted to share it with each other. Thus we couldn't run any published dungeons. Therefore all of the dungeons were homemade. I do however, remember a couple of "highlights" from my first dungeon exploration...

As we approached the dungeon entrance, there was a phone booth outside with a spray paint can next to it (our starting games were often littered with anachronisms). There was also kobold guard standing out front. Since it was our first game we had no idea what a kobold was or how tough they were. We were unsure how to proceed. Then the phone started ringing. A kobold guard came out to answer the phone. Having seen this before, one of the players ran up and started spraying the can all over the phone booth. The kobold was so frightened it had a heart attack and died. We then looted the corpse of a few coppers and its weapon.

In one section of the dungeon we came across a pit. Inside the pit was a rust monster, which by then we knew about and disliked. Next to the pit was a bazooka (I did mention we had a lot of anachronisms, didn't I?). I picked up the bazooka and started blasting the rust monster until it was dead (it took several shots as a bazooka didn't do a lot of damage).

We never knew what to expect back in those days. Fun times.

February 2, 2014

40th D&D - Introducing D&D to Others

Day 2: First person who you introduced to D&D. Which edition? Their first character?

Another tough one I can't remember precisely. I started playing back in high school and there were a lot of us that started at around the same time. We all started introducing the game to our other friends...it was like the spreading of a plague. It didn't catch with everyone but everyone was certainly aware of it as we played during lunchtime in the cafeteria. However, that means none of us could say we actually introduced the game to someone individually.
So as to not seem like I am avoiding the question, I guess I will have to go with my sister as the first person I had personally introduced to D&D (Holmes). She didn't like it as much as me. I ran a couple of games for her, but she quickly lost interest.

We all started with the Holmes edition but we all moved over to 1E AD&D. I would have to say that 1E AD&D was the "official" game of D&D played during those early days.

It was weird, with so many games being run, no one ever seemed to latch onto a single character...or they at least didn't stick with me through the years. We ran the gamut of games with different people taking turns as the DM. Thus we had different characters all over the place.

February 1, 2014

40th D&D - My Introduction to D&D

Day 1: First person who introduced you to D&D. Which edition? Your first character?

Michael Steel. He was one grade ahead of me in high school. I believe it was in 1979. A bunch of us were all into computers, fantasy/sci-fi books and movies. Mike introduced us to D&D over time and eventually we ended up going over to his house to play a game. It was awesome! It stuck with me for ever after.

The edition we first played was 1E, the blue box (Holmes), though we quickly migrated to AD&D.

I don't remember my true first character, but the first one I do remember is Filkar the Pickpocket, a thief with some fighting ability.