Saturday, 1 March 2014

How it all began

28 questions about how you started RPGs originally meant for the 40th anniversary of D&D, via Siskoid and HeroPress.

Having spent plenty of time and wordcount doing a variant on the Vampire version that spun off from a similar run a few months ago, and not being a big D&D person, I am interested in a purely academic sense. to see how different people relate to different games.

But as several questions seem a lot more “first RPG” than “D&D” and I first played D&D after more than a decade at the table, I could try answering for Fighting Fantasy...

1: First person who introduced you to D&D RPGs? Which edition? Your first Character?
Started with Fighting Fantasy, first the gamebooks, then the RPG in a book. Started by Lesley, one of my cousins then living around the corner. First GMed by my brother, with my cousin and her four younger sisters also playing. I was around the middle of the group age-wise at ten or eleven. My first character was nominally an elf because of the miniature I liked best. Without special rules. Or a name. Or the use of a bow. I remember running from a killer bear because of what I still consider an unfair ruling. I GMed next time, and was rather less brutal. (For D&D, it was that game that the cartoon was based on, although judging by the articles in White Dwarf I could see not that closely. And it had classes and levels and stuff, which sounded less appealing than skills and point buy already.)

2: First person YOU introduced to D&D RPGs? Which edition? THEIR first character?
Alex in primary school, who was willing to try actual rules as well as improvised FF-style adventures, and almost got through character creation for my first “proper” game, MERP. Let us never speak of it again. Couldn’t tell you his character.

3: First dungeon you explored as a PC or ran as a DM GM.
The Wishing Well, in the FF intro book. Don’t show players the map!

4: First dragon you slew (or some other powerful monster).
Do giant robots count? If so, the Sentinel I blasted the head off in a Future Past Marvel Superheroes adventure, after a couple years GMing rather than playing at the start of high school.

5: First character to go from 1st level to 20th level (or highest possible level in a given edition).

6: First character death. How did you handle it?
Does Paranoia count?

7: First D&D Product you ever bought. Do you still have it?
Oriental Adventures. I do. Yes, it turned out to be a sourcebook without standalone rules.

8: First set of polyhedral dice you owned. Do you still use them?
The MERP box dice. No. MERP has a mind of metal and wheels and does not care for growing things.

9: First campaign setting (homebrew or published) you played in.
Ran: loosely strung together TOON. Played: Marvel.

10: First gaming magazine you ever bought (Dragon, Dungeon, White Dwarf, etc.).
White Dwarf 67. Containing an adventure for Golden Heroes that I actually ran. By Phil Masters, who I have since GMed for. In a system he wrote for. Yes, that was a bit scary.

11: First splatbook you begged your DM to approve.
N/A. Wrong side of the player divide.

12: First store where you bought your gaming supplies. Does it still exist?
John Menzies for miniatures during the golden age of FF. No. It is recorded forever at the start of Trainspotting.
Then Gamesmaster, Forrest Road, an actual gaming store. Again, no. Where once there were games, now there is frozen yoghurt.

13: First miniature(s) you used for D&D RPGs.
This guy. For that FF game. No bow stats, let alone elf stats or one eye stats. To this day I kinda want to do him justice. Miniatures and maps are of negligible use for the likes of TOON so I got out of the habit quickly, though I still like the pretty.

14: Did you meet your significant other while playing D&D? Does he or she still play? (Or just post a randomly generated monster in protest of Valentine's Day).
Not D&D.

15: What was the first edition you didn't enjoy. Why?

16: Do you remember your first edition war? Did you win? ;)
Vampire: The Masquerade, over the Sabbat. I won in the sense of learning not to play with 2nd edition Sabbat fans.

17: First time you heard D&D was somehow "evil."
From people worrying about this portrayal in White Dwarf letters pages.

18: First gaming convention you ever attended.
Big Con, which was really quite small, here in Edinburgh. The precursor to Conpulsion, which is a lot bigger. I think it was the second one where I played a one-shot about why supervillain team-ups never succeed.

19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.
He knows who he is. (He probably isn’t reading this, but never mind.)

20: First non-D&D RPG you played.
I played non-D&D RPGs for over a decade before trying D&D as a GM in my then group wanted to run it, and I was right, it did not appeal to me.

21: First time you sold some of your D&D books--for whatever reason.
Sell... books...? What means this strange notion?

22: First D&D-based novel you ever read (Dragonlance Trilogy, Realms novels, etc.)
The Dragonlance Chronicles. Around when they came out, years before playing D&D. (I also got some of the Endless Quest gamebooks, which were pretty limited in choices, which was a fatal flaw.)

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

24: First movie that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?
See above. (Look, the Vampire TV show is way worse, okay?)
For RPGs in general, Star Wars. Well, duh.

25: Longest running campaign/gaming group you've been in.
Six and a half years of British collegiate Buffy. Longest group is over a decade, with components going back to high school and college.

26: Do you still game with the people who introduced you to the hobby?
Nope. My cousins moved back down south a few months later, and it didn’t “stick” for my brother. Two of my high school crew, though.

27: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming?
Give MERP a miss.

28: What is the single most important lesson you've learned from playing Dungeons & Dragons RPGs?
There’s usually another way to approach a problem.

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