Getting started

Man, I am such a sucker for a blogging meme.  Someone started a challenge to post 30 things in September, based on this schedule:

So how did I get started in D&D?  As far as I can remember I was in 3rd grade, which would make it 1980, when my brother made friends with a pair of twins who had fairly recently discovered D&D.  I think they had the Holmes book and the three core manuals (DMG, PHB, MM).  It was a big deal when the new books — Deities and Demigods, and later the Fiend Folio — were released.  Maybe D&DG was already “out” and we just hadn’t seen it.

We were already into fantasy before we found D&D, from movies like Bakshi’s the Lord of the Rings, the Yellow Submarine, and various Rankin-Bass specials, as well as Star Wars and comic books, and the D’Aulaires’ books on Norse and Greek mythology, so it was a pretty easy transition from Star Wars figures and fighting with sticks in the woods to D&D.
I don’t really remember what my first character was.  Probably a fighter; it might have been a dwarf.  I remember we listed the usual abilities (STR, DEX. CON, etc.) and also some of the things from monster stats (No. of attacks, Damage/Attack, and few other things) on our sheets.  John was the first DM.  He wouldn’t let anyone touch the dice unless he told them to make a roll, on pain of character death.  He also loved rolling on the tables in the DMG and I think we had an assortment of magic items he’d rolled up the first session.  As soon as my brother managed to get the books, he began taking the main DMing duties and the game got a lot better.

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Published in: on September 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm  Comments (3)  
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  1. I think my story is very similar to yours. I first played in middle school in 1978. My friend Bob was always trying to recruit people to play those very complicated hex-and-chit war games that recreate the battles of Gettysburg, Alesia, etc. While most of us enjoyed imagining ourselves as powerful generals who could command legions to fight to the death, the rules were too complicated and the games never finished… we usually played a while and then wandered off to do something else.
    I loved monsters and fantasy and devoured books by Lieber, Carter, Burroughs, etc. Once when my friend Bob went away for one of the vacation breaks, he came back to school with this ‘new game’ in a box with a dragon on the cover. We never played one of those tedious Avalon Hill games ever again (which I think made Bob sad because he rather liked those games; sorry, Bob!).
    We played like maniacs for a while, eventually getting the hardcover books (even though I think we ignored all of the Gygax complications like initiative rules, bonuses to hit with a glaive guisarme if your opponent was wearing ring mail on an even dated Tuesday, etc.).
    Eventually I got interested in other things and we graduated from school and went our seperate ways… our game group broke up and I got interested in girls so I didn’t touch a 20 sided dice for years… but later the bug bit me and I picked it up again.
    Plus I always spent a lot of time drawing monsters and funky shit.

  2. I started later than you, in early 1983. I was into SF more than Fantasy in those days, but my friends and I did enjoy Ray Harryhausen films and cheesy stuff like Hawk the Slayer and The Beastmaster. A schoolfriend called Steve came to stay with us for a few weeks and he had the Moldvay Basic Set. He ran a very random dungeon of his own devising for my brother and me and another friend, and we were hooked. Steve moved away and we lost touch (like you did in those pre-mobile phone, pre-email, pre-Facebook days), but my brother and I started buying stuff: the B/X sets, then AD&D, White Dwarf, Call of Cthulhu, etc., etc.

    P.S. I love a good meme too, but this one has a few issues. I mean, “Favorite Dragon Color/Type”? “Favorite energy type”? I don’t even know what “Favorite energy type” means. Kinetic or potential? I dunno. Still, I’m looking forward to reading the responses to “Favorite Diety” [sic].

    • Yeah, some of the questions are kind of clown questions unless you play 3e… Some of my answers are gonna be pretty brief, I think.


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