Saturday, August 31, 2013

D30 Days: Day 1 How I Got Started

Well, folks, here is the small tale of how I got started with D&D.  When I was about 10 or so, I spent the night at my cousin's house.  He was an avid AD&D player (1st Edition).  Of course, he always ran the game stoned, but that's a topic for another day.  Now, I was never let in on the game, since he was much older and didn't really want to teach me, but after I pored over the rules and became fascinated by them (and it should be mentioned that his rulebooks were jacked - they had all fallen apart and he had everything in folders). 

I had to figure out where to start from scratch.  Well, after some failed attempts at figuring out what to buy, I picked up the pictured "black box" basic set.  This was a current set when I was about 12 (yes, it took some time to get any money when I was young - we were poor),  This box came out about before the (awesome) Haunted Tower and Goblins Lair sets, set in the Thunder Rift world.  I immediately began learning the rules and playing the game with my best friend and my brother.  I only had two players for about three or four years.

Later that year, I picked up the still-unbelievable Rules Cyclopedia, which I still use.  I proceeded immediately to run a Monty Haul campaign replete with +5 swords with special abilities and so many heaps of treasure it would make Donald Trump vomit.  Also, because I just didn't know any better, the characters wound up being Grand Masters of their weapons by about 14th level.  They were unstoppable.  There was no real setting, no real end-game, no goals beyond the acquisition of cool things.  But it was fun!  I could throw any monster at them and it would just sort of work itself out and we all had a blast with it.  We didn't worry about the things we do now, like "Does the story make sense?" or "Are these rules balanced?" or "Is this system broken?" or any number of other things.  It was a simpler time.

I jumped right into 2nd Edition after this, and ran several long campaigns.  I resisted 3rd Edition with the best of them when it came out, but I really grew to like it after the revisions hit the market.  When 4th Edition came out, I bought the books, took a few looks, and quickly traded them for old supplements.  I still don't like that system., and when Pathfinder came out, I instantly bought it.  Let that be a lesson, Wizards:  backward compatibility is very, very useful to many of us.  But then I discovered the OSR movement on the internet, and I was hooked on products like Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, and especially Swords & Wizardry.  I love the wildly creative atmosphere the participants in the movement have generated, and it's a brilliant star in a dead RPG sky.

All this said, I am looking forward to getting my next campaign off the ground, and giving some guys who haven't played with old-school rules for decades a surprise.


  1. Reading about your cousin reminds me of a friend who learned how to play Dungeons and Dragons strung out on shrooms. Great role player, but he could never remember how to play the game sober.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing how you got involved in the hobby! It's really neat reading everyone's stories.

  2. Very cool. I picked up that "Black Box" basic set a few years back myself.