Saturday, February 1, 2014

Day 1: My Brother Introduced Me to D&D.



My brother and his friends in junior high started playing D&D when I was 3 or 4 (he was/is 9 years older than me), right before Dragonlance hit the scene. (I remember his Dragonlances on the headboard shelf of his waterbed--yeah, waterebed, behold the 1980s!) He put quite a bit of thought into his adventures, sitting in his room at night listening to Sting and Police while drawing maps and writing up notes.

Still, he'd sometimes run published modules. While I was too young to play or quite understand what was going on, I was curious. I liked the D&D cartoon, and that sort of gave me a glimpse of what D&D was really about. Hank's energy bow was awesome, but my favorite character was Bobby the Barbarian.

I distinctly remember the night he ran The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh at our kitchen table in the old house we lived in, the window curtains drawn back revealing the cold darkness outside. (Almost everytime I think about it, for some reason Michael Jackson's "Thriller" comes to mind). I felt afraid, but something kept me at the table, listening.

Listening as his friends venture through a haunted house, like something out of ghost story or an episode of Scooby Doo. 

I remember looking through the module later on--I don't remember if I had his permission or not! Spooky cover for a kid in the first grade--is that a vampire?

There was a boat called "The Sea Ghost."  What a name! I still get chills. 


Once, while we ate a restaurant, I let spaghetti dangle from my mouth, imitating the creature being summoned on the back cover of Deities and Demigods. My mother didn't approve. But D&D was already influencing me.

He kept his books on a high shelf where I couldn't get at them easily. Though occasionally I'd get a peak.

He wouldn't let me play until I was 10. I'm glad made me wait. I firmly believe that D&D is meant for adults, or at least pre-teens. They should also be well read. I'd already been reading the Choose Your Own Adventure books and even The Hobbit. 

Finally, one day when he came home from college in 1989, he let me roll up a character, a dwarf fighter named Havoc. I typed up what I remember of my first AD&D adventure in a module format: The Dark Forest.

We played about three sessions, before he wanted to stop running anything that required him "to think," since his computer programming classes were overloading his brain (he did graduate 6 months early, though). I'd also lost my character sheet somewhere along the way, so that was that.

But I was hooked.

The rest is 25 years of me being a gamer. But D&D started influencing my life as a young age. I find it hard to imagine life without it.







5 comments:

  1. I can only imagine the awe of being at such a young age and hearing an older sibling playing such an imaginative and evocative game, no wonder you were hooked.

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  2. Cool origin story. Thanks for sharing. U1 was the first module I ever picked out myself at the toy store.

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  3. Indeed, a very evocative telling of your RPG roots! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Great story. Really enjoying this blog hop so far!

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  5. Thanks for all of the kind words. I've been reading a lot of interesting origin stories today.

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