So, since Dungeons and Dragons is now 40 years old (!!!) there is a thing where people answer 28 questions in February related to their own D&D history. I don’t think I have enough memory of my “firsts” in D&D to justify 28 separate posts. I think I started playing D&D 30 years ago, give or take, and there has been a lot of memory-damaging activity since then. But anyway here goes. I’m a six-fingered typist so I’ll just paste in the image with the qns and type my answers below.
1. My brother & I were introduced to the game by some kids in my brother’s class — Jimmy & John Miller. It was AD&D 1st edition. My first character was a nameless fighter…I am not sure if he was a dwarf or human.
2. My brother & I introduced a few friends eventually, but I don’t really remember any of them taking to it so much, though two of them did get into the figures briefly. After the Millers moved away, my brother & I played a lot of solo adventures, and roped in whoever we could, but nothing like a real gaming group emerged until later.
3. The first dungeon I explored … no idea. Something John Miller made up, I guess. The first dungeon I ever ran was only four or five years ago; I used a map I found online and keyed it randomly, then made up a reason why kobolds, dwarves, gnomes, and a living statue all lived in the same mines.
4. You’d think you’d remember your first dragon, wouldn’t you? I don’t. My first serious monster kill I recall somewhat was a vampire, which I found in a module. Somehow my fighter/assassin defeated her and took her magical bastard sword.
5. The highest level I ever achieved starting from 1st level was 8th/8th fighter/assassin. Most of my characters made it to 3rd or 4th level before the campaign petered out and we started over.
6. First character death: the nameless fighter that was my first character. All I remember was my brother was DMing, and decided to let me fight Hercules (who I thought I could take). One poison arrow later, my character was dead and I did not handle it well. I believe I may have cried a bit. Well, I was 9 or 10…
7. The first D&D product I bought was a Grenadier skeleton. The hobby shop in town sold figures individually for $1 each from opened boxes. I still have it, though he’s broken and now is a casualty marker.
This guy. I wish I had a dozen more … I’d convert them into all kinds of poses.
8. Dice? I guess they came in a Basic (Moldvay) box, and I might still have one or two of them, but I am not really a dice guy and don’t care much about them.
9. First setting was homebrew. We never played published settings until much later, in other games. I have never played more than a session in Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, etc.
10. The Dragon, no. 54 or 55, with the Erol Otus cover.
11. I don’t think I knew what a splatbook was until 2e, and those were generally accepted without comment.
12. Tom Thumb Hobbies in Turnersville, New Jersey. As far as I can tell they no longer exist. I don’t know if it was a franchise related to the Illinois store.
13. See #7. It was mostly Grenadier’s AD&D minis, Heritage models, and Ral Partha. Grenadier were the easiest to find and most economical; Ral Partha were the best sculpts.
14. No, but a gaming friend did introduce us. She has never played D&D, but has played various board games and will listen to my prattle about adventures, and appreciates my figures.
15. 2nd edition betrayed me a bit with dropping half-orcs, assassins, demons, & devils. But the rules were ok. 3rd edition was the first edition I just didn’t like for the mechanics, bloat, etc.
16. I must have argued some online when 4th edition came out, but don’t remember details. No one wins arguments online.
17. The satanic panic was in full swing by 1984, I think. D&D was right there with rock music. I think I saw an episode of “The Eagle’s Nest,” an evangelical talk show, that first made the connection for me.
18. A convention in New Jersey, probably 1984 or 1983, that I think I saw advertised in The Dragon. It was at a nearby junior college or community college. My brother & I and our friends the Miller twins all got dropped off by my dad and we wandered around not really knowing what to do. We tried to get into some games and were dismissed by all the students and adults, so we mostly explored the dealers room and an art exhibit room and waited in lines to be told every game was “full”.
19. Until college I’d never gamed with strangers, so it would have been then, in the “gaming club,” which had lots of hardcore nerds that even I couldn’t stand, and I’m a very tolerant person. There were the usual assortment of mouthbreathers & dudes with hygiene issues. I can’t single anyone out really.
20. I think we tried Superhero 2040AD (didn’t get past character generation); Traveller (ditto); and maybe others. We dabbled in Boot Hill and Gamma World, preferring Boot Hill. The first game we really played regularly after D&D was Villains & Vigilantes.
21. Never sold any, but my brother & I gave away most of our modules, magazines, and supplements in the early 1990s, thinking were forever done with D&D. He kept the core books form 1st edition, and the core books and some splat books from 2e, and I kept my original Greyhawk mainly for the heraldry on the cover.
22. Dragonlance. I don’t I made it past the first book, it was so godawful. (And I managed to read good dozen or more Xanth books! Dragonlance is that bad.)
23. The Wizard, by Black Sabbath. Discovered Black Sabbath about the same time as D&D. Also it is about a wizard.
24. Conan the Barbarian, Dragonslayer, Hawk the Slayer, Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings. All for different reasons but they are all the essence of D&D, for better or worse.
25. Probably my current one. My brother Tom has been in every gaming group I’ve been in apart from my stint at Toledo. Richard has been the other core player for a good 10 years, maybe more. John I knew back in the early 90s and has been gaming with us for a good 5 years I think. The other guys I haven’t known quite as long but it feels like a very coherent group, and we get along great.
26. Just my brother. We moved from NJ to KS then OH so it’s been a little hard to keep in touch with the other groups.
27. They only thing I’d do differently is be less embarrassed by the hobby. And maybe be more selective about buying figures.
28. The meaning of all those Latin abbreviations (i.e., et al., qv., cf., e.g.)? Nah, maybe this: it’s fun to read.
There. Questions answered and it didn’t take all month.