D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge
Doing this all in one post, ’cause I can’t be bothered to schedule a post a day for all of Feb.
1: First person who introduced you to D&D? Which edition? Your first Character?
I picked up the original “White Box” D&D from the local game store, before anybody else I knew had ever heard of it. This was back in 1975, so nobody outside of Lake Geneva and a few college towns even knew what it was. I don’t remember my first character, but I was the DM of most of the games I played until my brother Alex started his own campaign. My first player character was actually probably in a game that my 6th grade science teacher agreed to run for us, once we explained what it was. My first PC that I clearly remember was Berken the Bold, but that was later, after we had switched out the D&D “alternate” combat system for Melee/Wizard.
2: First person YOU introduced to D&D? Which edition? THEIR first character?
Hm. Probably Alex, maybe my best friend at the time, Ike. Still White Box, and no idea what the character’s name was. The first Alex character I actually do remember was a Traveller character, Lord Admiral Death Vendor, M.D. (crazy Traveller career-path character generation).
3: First dungeon you explored as a PC or ran as a DM.
Something I created based on the example in book 3. I don’t think I gave it a name, even, it was “the dungeon”. At that point I’m not even sure there was a town outside, I think I had a shop on the first level, because the players had to buy stuff somewhere, right?
4: First dragon you slew (or some other powerful monster).
Now this I do remember: we killed a T-Rex in the dungeon that my 6th-grade teacher ran after school. That was an epic battle… I think only a couple PCs were killed, but I think we each had only a few HP left.
5: First character to go from 1st level to 20th level (or highest possible level in a given edition).
I don’t think I’ve ever hit max level in 40 years of playing. I did have one character (Berken) who graduated to demi-godhood because he became so powerful he was boring to play, but by that point we were playing Alex’s house-rules and I don’t think there officially were levels any more.
6: First character death. How did you handle it?
Roll up a new character, of course. After a while we made resurrection pretty cheap and easy, just because it was getting boring rerolling scrubs.
7: First D&D Product you ever bought. Do you still have it?
The old white box… and no, I don’t, more’s the pity. I think it got junked when my mom moved while I was in college (along with a lot of my comics… the age-old tragic story).
8: First set of polyhedral dice you owned. Do you still use them?
Purchased separately, and good grief, no. I don’t think they lasted a year before we’d lost some or all of them.
9: First campaign setting (homebrew or published) you played in.
I think the first actual campaign setting was based on Arduin… before that it was just “the dungeon” and later “the town.” Inspired by that we made whole campaign worlds and solar systems. My biggest and longest-lasting setting at the time was The Four Kingdoms, though later on Neng lasted more years but with different groups of players. Alex’s world started out without a name, but eventually there was Sorrock’s World and… um, I forget. Cargoth’s World?
10: First gaming magazine you ever bought (Dragon, Dungeon, White Dwarf, etc.).
Dragon, but I was a much bigger fan of The Space Gamer. I pretty much fell out of playing actual D&D pretty early on, certainly before Basic was released. We moved on to different systems and homebrews.
11: First splatbook you begged your DM to approve.
Splatbooks are after my time.
12: First store where you bought your gaming supplies. Does it still exist?
The Games People Play, in Cambridge, MA. And yep, it’s still there.
13: First miniature(s) you used for D&D.
I think we got some Ral Partha minis? But mostly we were playing “theater of the mind” style. Minis were expensive, and we had no money. I remember I had to save up my allowance for 2 months (maybe more) to buy Empire of the Petal Throne… still probably the most expensive game relative to my income I have ever bought.
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).
No, but she plays now.
15: What was the first edition you didn’t enjoy. Why?
AD&D 1e… too fiddly and complex, and by the time the DMG was released I thought I was done with D&D forever.
16: Do you remember your first edition war? Did you win?😉
The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
Actually I did used to get involved in edition wars, except it was D&D versus other “better, more realistic games.” I’m kind of ashamed of that, but in my defense a lot of the vocal D&D supporters I was arguing with were big “you’re playing RPGs wrong!” dicks.
17: First time you heard D&D was somehow “evil.”
All during the Satanic Panic I never actually met anybody who held that view, it was just something stupid in the news. Even now, I never have, though I’ve met people whose parents actually fell for it.
18: First gaming convention you ever attended.
Only ever attended some mini-cons, or SF cons that had some gaming events.
19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.
One of my high school “friends” was a complete “Loony” player… looking back I’m pretty sure he only played because it’s what the rest of us were doing, but he had no real interest in anything except being disruptive.
20: First non-D&D RPG you played.
Traveller. SF was more my bag than fantasy, anyway, so my longest running HS campaign was actually a Traveller campaign.
21: First time you sold some of your D&D books–for whatever reason.
I don’t think I ever did. You kids with your internets and ebays don’t know what it was like back when you threw stuff out because how the hell would you ever find somebody to buy it, even if you thought it was “worth something”?
22: First D&D-based novel you ever read (Dragonlance Trilogy, Realms novels, etc.)
I think I got through Quag Keep, but remember nothing. I know I never finished the first Drizzt book. I’ve read a bunch of stuff that was inspired by or parodying D&D and/or RPGs in general (e.g. the Joel Rosenberg Guardians of the Flame series), but I’ve never really cottoned to any of the official D&D published fiction. They mostly came out during the phase when I was snobbishly avoiding D&D, but nothing I’ve really heard about them since has convinced me they’re a treasure trove awaiting discovery.
23: First song that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?
Behold the wizard! Beware his powers! Unspeakable powers!
because that’s what I want my D&D games to be like.
24: First movie that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?
25: Longest running campaign/gaming group you’ve been in.
My current gaming group has been together for 13 years, I believe. Not the same campaign, though. My Friday night group has been only a decade, but we actually don’t play D&D as much in the past few years… more board-games and the like. Still, when we do play, it’s the same campaign… though the GM makes us create new characters whenever we get to around 5th or 6th level, since she thinks 1-5th is the “sweet spot” for D&D adventures.
26: Do you still game with the people who introduced you to the hobby?
I did the introducing, and not really. Alex and my siblings are the only folks I still see from back then, and they’ve mostly fallen away from gaming.
27: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming?
I would do everything differently. Well, maybe not, but I’d like to think I’ve learned a bunch about what’s fun and what’s not over the years, and wouldn’t make a lot of the same mistakes. A lot of that is captured in this blog.
28: What is the single most important lesson you’ve learned from playing Dungeons & Dragons?
Rules make good servants but poor masters.
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