This month I’ve been doing the #rpgaday discussion suggested by David Chapman. It made me think back to my early days of RPGs, which was of course D&D.
My 4th grade teacher suggested the D&D Basic Set to my mom as something that might interest me. My teacher had bought it for her own son and he loved it. Thank you Mrs. Woldridge wherever you are. I am still playing D&D today.
My first D&D was the Moldvay Box set. I remember reading the rulebook and the included adventure (Keep on the Borderlands) over and over. I didn’t have anyone to play with me though. My brother was too young at the time (though I sure got him into it later) and I tried to rope my parents into it but I could tell they weren’t interested. Then one of my friends had a sleep over for his birthday and I brought the set with me. We rolled up characters and we played for 12 hours straight at least. I don’t really remember what time we started but I know his mom made us stop playing and go to bed at 4 am.
I was total old school on the character creation, 3d6, all in order, no rerolls. If one of the players rolled at least a 13 in a stat, that determined their class. Whoever got 13 wisdom was the cleric, 13 Int, Wizard. I think the fighter even had 16 strength. I didn’t really understand the rules. The attack table didn’t make any sense to me, so I made my first house rule: roll a d6 to hit, 1-3 miss, 4-6 hit. I understood hit points but it seemed really unfair that some classes got more than others so I told everyone that they had 10 hit points. Also I was pretty sure that if I killed anyone they would quit and not want to play. We were all nine years old after all.
I ran an NPC in the game. My NPC ended up being a cleric due Wisdom being his best stat. I still remember his name, Atanious. I have no idea how to pronounce that. I didn’t even use Keep on the Borderlands that night. I didn’t want to “use up” my only adventure on my first game, so I ran the example dungeon in the book. I think the guy playing the wizard still died.
After that night, D&D was all my friends talked about. It was all we did. We planned sleepovers just to play D&D. I eventually ran Keep on the Borderlands, acquired the Expert set and ran Isle of Dread. We also did a lot of the old “mega-dungeon” idea. I would draw up a map and then they would explore it. When they hit a room I would roll up a random monster and treasure. No plot, just killing and looting.
Then one day, I came home from school and my mom said “I saw a D&D book at the store today so I bought it for you, it’s on the table.” It was Q1, Queen of the Demonweb Pits. I tore into it. It didn’t make any sense. What were all these new spells? Where did these magic items come from? What the heck was a druid? And then a saw the little yellow banner on the cover, “For Advanced D&D Game” There was an advanced version! D&D didn’t end at expert!
I don’t remember how much time passed between discovering there was an Advanced D&D and actually buying it, but I remember buying it. My mom had a doctor’s appointment and she took me with her. We went to Toy’s R Us before her appointment and she said I could buy some D&D books to read while I was waiting. I bought the Players Handbook, a pack of character sheets (the green ones that came in a blue folder) and an adventure. I don’t know how much the other stuff was, but I know the players handbook was $9. The adventure was G1-2-3 Against the Giants. Q1 said the campaign started with that one, so I needed it. I couldn’t possibly run them out of order. Thinking back, I never ran the whole campaign. I ran the G-series and Q1 but I not D1-2-3.
A week later I gathered up enough loose change to make $9 and begged my mom to take it and buy me the monster manual. I’m not sure why that one and not the DMG. I think the DMG was more expensive. One of my friends had it so we were good. I got the DMG for Christmas later that year.
After that it was all AD&D. I even figured out how the rules worked at some point and we stopped using my D6 to hit house rule.
This turned out to be longer than I thought so I’ll call this Part One. No one wants to read a novel sized blog entry.