Sunday, September 23, 2012

Growing up in the d20 Dark Ages (Part 2)

What's your earliest memory of D&D?

Okay, my story isn't quite from the d20 Dark Ages, but I had to start some place. My first brush with D&D wasn't my first time as a player. 

D&D found me when I was around four years old, if I recall. My older brother started playing D&D sometime when he was in junior high. He often DMed for his friends, who would come over to our house a rummage for snacks. They would pack around the kitchen table. And sometimes I'd watch. At times, he would get stuck baby-sitting me and have to bring me over to one of his friend's house, much to his annoyance, I bet.

I had a good idea how D&D worked. The Saturday morning cartoon shed some light one what D&D was about. I also understood that my brother was telling some kind of story and the player's were, well, playing characters in that story.

The books had scary pictures on the front, but at the same time I found them fascinating. I remember liking, I mean really liking the artwork on the back of the Dungeon Master's screen. My brother would let me behind the screen and look at his notes, though I barely understood them. Once I let spaghetti hang from my mouth to imitate the four-armed creature being summoned on the back cover of Deities and Demigods. I do remember my brother running the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh one night, when the kitchen windows were as dark as the windows of the Haunted House. 

I know my brother wrote more adventures than what survived to this day. I remember the maps. I remember somebody saying, "Why would somebody put a door in a hallway?" Somehow I had seen that map, and the question made sense. My brother had like a 100ft long hallway with a door right in the middle. I also remember everybody laughing because some body's character was left behind in a dungeon corridor, unconscious. The player, my brother's best friend, just had to suck it up. 

I did have a taste for the theatrical. See, I had these full color He-Man stickers of He-Man, Skeletor, and a few others. I don't remember where I got them from. But I do remember I thought they would look good on the DM screen for the players to look at and get in the mood.So I stuck them to pieces of notepad paper and then paper clipped them to the DM screen (trying not to cover up the original artwork, of course). He took most of them down. 

I'm sure at some point I asked him if I could play because I remember him pointing out that the age requirement: 10 and up. In the end, this was a good thing. D&D started off as a "game of adult fantasy" and the books do contain content not for kids.

This didn't bother me too much, if I recall. I had a lot of other things like Transformers and G.I. Joe to keep me occupied. I also read quite a bit, too.

So what's your earliest memory of D&D? Was it before you played the game? If so, what did you think D&D was like? Who introduced you to D&D or to RPGs as whole?

1 comment:

  1. My first D&D experience was playing, I think, Ghost Tower of Inverness in 1984. I was 7. My DM, Eric, was a very precocious 7 with a high school-aged brother also very into D&D. I played 3 barbarian brothers a la Dragon Magazine (pre-UA) pre-made by Eric. It was fairly disasterous, as I recall, with much death and some player suicide involved.

    In the next year or so I found my parents' Holmes Basic D&D set, a gift from my uncle, and read through the rules and Keep on the Borderland, and was thoroughly hooked. I remember trying to explain the premise to my grandmother in the back of my parents' car, and her just not getting it. Imagine that.

    Later, at about age 9, Eric's older brother Farell ran us through KOTB along with a big group of his high school friends. This was formative to my understanding of roleplaying as he included questions such as "What is your characters greatest fear, favorite food, etc." in the character generation.

    When the Dragonlance books came out, I was in 5th grade, and I got enough of a player base in my elementary school to start a regular game. We played essentially 2 grand campaigns from then through high school.

    After high school, I didn't play until I joined your group as a player for 2e and 3.5, which was a lot of fun and definitely the best campaign of any game in which I've been a player. This may explain why I'm not a very good roleplayer: little experience outside of DMing. Anyway, I hope you sit down behind the screen again now that you've moved.

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