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Dr.Bedlam

How Did You Learn To Play?

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2 hours ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

 

You make me feel like an idiot. I never once thought about online resources. There was no ONLINE when I got started...
 

 

Technically, not when I got started either. But I was a lot younger.... I went from fantasy books (I was.. ten, when I started on Pern? Mom handed me books, I devoured them, no comment was made on content). to learning about RPGs - a little bit, anyway, I knew that games existed where you played with people, and there were dice, but up to that point, my exposure to such games was computer games (The Bard's Tale), and Choose Your Own Adventure stories, which ... well. The library didn't have many of those. At some point in my early teens, we got a modem, and I learned how to navigate a BBS to play Inn of the Red Dragon (I did manage to kill the dragon at least once).

 

Then I met a boy (I was going on seventeen, and the internet was a thing) . He gave me, for Christmas, a couple of RPG books! V:tM PHB and the D&D 2e PHB. I still didn't have a local group, so I went hunting online and eventually stumbled over Macray's Keep. I played there for a while (.. I think I might still have that first character sheet) then migrated to Rondak's Portal. It was a long time before I bumped into anybody who had a group I could join in person, and ... wow, that was different.

 

I met Mr. Thorne on Rondak's Portal, but that's another story.. ^^;

 

 

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I learned from my father, whom my mother thought that D&D and its derivatives were dumb.  Frankly, she still does (and finds my love of tabletop gaming grating, until she found out I have started competing... then it changed her tune slightly). 

 

Started with a box set from 1990 (started in 92), with AD&D 2nd edition, moving from Dragonlance to Planescape, and picking up and reading both the Forgotten Realms AND Dark Sun box sets (recently got rid of the DS box set on eBay, still have the others). 

 

I started a group, which included my girlfriend at the time, my best friend, and my brother, on my homebrew world (a mix of Arthurian legends and FF Mystic Quest names).  We had a blast.  Then everyone split apart, my brother stopped gaming (thank you, mother <read with as much frost as humanly possible>), my friend joined the Marine Corps (ruining his character development abilities... OMG), and I broke up with the GF. 

 

Fast forward to 2005, I found a GM, who has become one of my best friends, and he ran KnightErrantJR's Mistledale Campaign in the 3.5 era of D&D (that's held over at Candlekeep.com, I was Grim Greycastle), and I've been a regular in as many of his games as possible.  13 years and counting, and we have run games and had fun doing it.  That is how it's supposed to happen.  We then played Pathfinder, then have experimented in a bunch of different things.  Shadow of the Demon Lord and Star Wars are the most recent.  SotDL was amazing, and we're 3 sessions in on Star Wars. 

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I guess my dad was probably the initial spark. Growing up, we always had a computer, which in the early 90's in Appalachia was not a very common thing. And the best part of having a computer? The games, of course. One of which was the original Eye of the Beholder, who's box art actually scared the crap out of me as a wee lad of about 5 when I first discovered it. At that point, though, it was just a box on a shelf because it was an "old" game, having been out for a few years and my dad having played it to death already. He'd never let me play it. But skip forward a few years, and I was playing Diablo to death, and my dad would comment about how it was like a single-player D&D. Then Baldur's Gate came out, and I played it for a bit but never got the hang of it. But the whole time, my dad would talk about how he played D&D in high school and when he was in the army, how it was a game where you could run around doing whatever you wanted, and how I shouldn't listen to my grandparents about it because they bought into the Satanic Panic bullcrap and would feed me nothing but lies about it.

 

Then, on one of the rare occasions that we made the drive to the nearest Toys R Us stores, I saw the 3rd edition starter box. And I wanted it. I had to have it. And it was only $30! Sadly, I didn't get it. Not even as a Christmas or Birthday present. Don't know why, either, except for maybe an intuition on my parents' parts that none of my siblings or cousins would want to play and so it would have sat largely unused. Because being a geek in Appalachia is a hard thing to do thanks to low population density and a propensity for rednecks to dominate. At some point along the way I did come into possession of a small booklet of the Official Diablo 2 D&D adaptation, possibly as part of the Diablo 2 purchase, but nothing ever came of it.

 

Then, the summer before I went to high school Neverwinter Nights came out, and I played the pants off of it. So when school started I was talking to some of my fellow gamer friends about it, and how great it was, when a couple sophomores and juniors overheard me. They came over, introduced themselves, and told us that if we wanted to play D&D for real they had a group and they were just getting ready to start a new campaign. I talked my overprotective mother into letting me go to one of their houses one Saturday, and that was when I rolled up my first character - a half-orc barbarian.

 

Of course, they had house ruled the game all to hell, and our characters were all super overpowered because of it. For instance, the DM let us all have one special ability of our own creation, we got a single stat of our choosing as an 18 right off the bat, and other stats were rolled using 4d6, drop the lowest, reroll 1s. I ended up with 18 con, 18 dex, 14 cha, 13 wis, 12 int, and a 20 str. And for my special ability I told him I wanted my character to be able to split into two people in combat. And he allowed it. The only "downside" was that each copy got half of my current HP, but if one went down there was no other penalty. But, thankfully, that campaign ended quickly because the guy who was DMing was new to that role and realized he couldn't handle it yet. So we went to a new DM and while the stat rolling rules were the same, we didn't get special abilities. He did allow templates and races with an ECL, though. So that time around I was a half-elf wizard with the half-fiend template from the monster manual. Aside from the d4 hit dice, he was stupid powerful. You're talking an Int of 22 at level 1 with big boosts to all other stats, poison immunity, elemental resistance, natural attacks, flight, and extra free spells.

 

And that was basically how I got started. With stupid powerful characters, railroaded Monty Haul games, and no real plot to speak of...

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Self-taught along with a bunch of like-minded friends at college. Picked up first edition when it made it over to UK in the late 70's. Had long sessions nearly every weekend,  while we puzzled out how the whole thing was meant to work and got through indecent amounts of Newcastle Brown Ale. Made many horrendous mistakes with the rules but had a fabulous time.

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I'm actually patient zero for my DnD cluster.

 

I also used to read a lot, pretty much from age 6 onwards. Mainly fantasy, but also everything else I got my hands on. My parents raised us on very little TV and next to no video games, even though my brother and I are part of the generation in which video games were already kinda established. It was fine when we were very little, but got kinda ridiculous in our teens (yes mom, we will only spend half an hour in front of the PC per day and we will always play together).

Ofc my online time exploded as soon as my mom lost her control over it. I downloaded the first fantasy online game that I found advertised somewhere, because it reminded me of my books. It was a terrible pay2win thing. I continued with WoW which I played for 7 years, pretty much leading my own guild from the start. It helped me a lot and got me a great group of friends, but in all of my years gaming I was always dissatisfied with the amount of actual RP and lore. Why did I, who played a cleric/priest character in every RPG and MMORPG I got my hands on never really got confronted with that character's believes? In some cases it wasn't even known what the religion of that world was. Why did that world react the same to me, no matter if I was an elf, a human, or something freaky with horns? Why were so many of my choices meaningless, or worse, the game gave me no real choices to begin with?

I still love video games to this day, but it didn't scratch an itch I was feeling.

 

Fast forward to 2.5 years ago. My bf was watching Critical Role, because he liked geekandsundry or it was on the twitch starting page or whatever. I was bored, so I started to watch with him. And as the character intros rolled I understood that this was what I had been waiting for. I asked my bf if he would like to play. I asked a friend from high school who, by chance, moved to the same city as myself, if he would like to play. Sadly, that was the extend of our local contacts. We asked the friends gf, but she was super dismissive and ridiculed the idea (and made sure to tell her friend men in robes look gay and he had to play something with a lot of STR). 

We paused or search for almost a year. I took that time to read a lot and buy the first books. Finally, we started to dare each other to ask more people to join our group. My highschool friend asked his uni project partner. I asked his sister who seemed super interested when we pitched DnD to the unwilling gf, but my friend insisted would never play. Both joined. I also asked a girl from the uni course I just had started.

 

We started playing LMoP with none of them having read anything about DnD. I brought them pre-made characters and we had a blast. We played LMoP for roughly a year and are now playing our first real campaign which just had it's first anniversary.

We had three more players join, all pretty much bc they overheard my players talking about the game and it was something they always wanted to try out. 2 players left bc of scheduling or moving.

The sister of my friend (who he was convinced would never, ever play) has become a good friend of mine, helps me to paint minis and hosts her own all-female game once a month. 

 

Thing is, even though I had no elder cousin and was teached by internet ressources and books, I still had to recruit a group. It's the natur of the game. And all the players I found were teached by me, so they had that "older cousin", even though I wasn't really the most qualified person for the job at the time.

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I first caught it when I was still a little girl. In the early 90s my oldest brother brought home some of the books, loaned to him by a Boy Scouts buddy. My brother insisted that the game "wasn't for girls" (just like the Atari, jerk), but I sneaked the books away and read some of them. 

 

I think RPGitis lay dormant in me for a while, until I was in college. My other, less douchey, brother invited me to play. Of course, we only played a couple games, and I didn't get a good handle on the game, before the DM left the area. 

 

When it really became a full blown case was when I met my husband. He's all about DnD, and after some tentative questions from me, gleefully got me involved.

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I’ve been starting to write a reminiscence on early D&D, eventually for my blog, but here’s the intro on how I ended up with it:

 

TL,DR: patient 0 and self taught for my group, too, but it was 1976...

 

In the Beginning

 

    As a child of the 1960s, I started playing with toy soldiers before I can remember. I used to go to hobby shops with my father, a model railroader, and I would buy the occasional Roco Minitank, and eventually some Airfix 1/72 scale soft plastic figures to go with them.  

 

     A fifth-grade classmate introduced me to the idea of rules for wargames in 1971, by lending me a copy of Introduction to Battle Gaming by Terence Wise.  This is illustrated with a variety of Airfix figures (and plastic vehicle kits for WWII) and formed the basis of my early miniatures experience.  Eventually the local hobby shop people handed me a promotional copy (volume 1, #2, December 1973) of Gene McCoy’s Wargamer’s Digest magazine, which I bought unfailingly for years. That gave me access to advertisements and reviews showing the wider world of miniatures “out there” somewhere.  Around the same time, I was introduced to The Lord of the Rings, and started buying figures from Minifigs Middle Earth (later Mythical Earth) range of unlicensed Tolkien figures, with the intention of doing some battles from Tolkien.  Unfortunately for my ambitions, my allowance did not stretch very far with respect to purchasing the figures, and my supply sources were irregular anyway.  

 

     Volume 1, #7 of Wargamer’s Digest, dated May 1974, contained an article by Gary Gygax entitled “Swords and Sorcery in Wargaming”.  This writeup of an adventure of the wizard Mordenkainen and his apprentice Bigby was my first exposure to Dungeons & Dragons.  It sounded somewhat interesting, but was not the Tolkien mass battle system I was looking for.  However, the ads suggested that Chainmail was what I needed.    I eventually got a copy, although I didn’t actually do much with it, since my miniatures collection was a little sparse.  

 

     I eventually expanded my reading to more of what would later be called “Appendix N”, and, in due time, I asked for (and received) a copy of Dungeons & Dragons for my 15th birthday in the spring of 1976.  My father was able to obtain this (a 4th printing white box copy) from Rider’s Hobby Shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan (also a source of Minifigs).  Ann Arbor was a little over thirty miles from home, so it wasn’t exactly local to a pre-driver’s license teenager.  

 

     Using the rules, I had drawn up a couple of levels of a dungeon, and tried it out on my younger brother, who was still in middle school, who had to be cajoled by my mother into humoring me.

 

     As it happened, my other gaming interest was board wargames.  I started high school in the fall of 1975, and we ended up forming a wargames club to play these games, sponsored, naturally enough, by a history teacher.  Several of the other members had an interest in miniatures of various sorts, and it wasn’t difficult to find a few people willing to give D&D a try that spring.  By the summer break, we had a group recruited from the games club and my brother’s middle school friends.  Membership varied considerably, and I don’t recall whether the summer of 1976 or 1977 saw our peak of nearly a dozen players gathered at the table in my parents’ basement.  In retrospect, I am sure that my dungeonmaster skills were not up to this challenge.  By the summer of 1978, just before I went off to college, we were probably approaching what I think of as the final core group of four of us.  We still meet when we can, by the way, most recently for a D&D campaign related miniatures game at Christmas in 2017.  

 

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Around 1978, my brother and I discovered D&D through advertising in the UK edition of Marvel's Conan comic.  We agreed that the game looked interesting.  He bought me a set for Christmas and we learned to play it together.

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Drinking, smoking pot, ... and D&D.

 

My morning is made.

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10 hours ago, Inarah said:

Anyway, one night I got permission to go out for a sleepover and we ended up going to a party with a bunch of older even more disreputable guys in a creepy old cabin in the woods.  They were drinking and smoking pot and.... playing D&D.  Someone put a Ranger character sheet in front of me and said "roll the dice when we tell you to."  I have no idea what was going on in the game, there was a lot of arguing and I only rolled once or twice.   It got really late and it had begun to snow and we thought we needed to leave to get back to town before the roads got bad. 

 

Well we drove out of the tree cover and into 6" of ground cover already and a full blown blizzard, but my friend thought she could get her 197? Monza down the mountain, so off we went.  Only to find ourselves lost and in a ditch half an hour later.   It had been something like 60 degrees earlier in the day and neither of us had coats or anything, but we were sure we were only a mile or so from the cabin so we were going to walk.  (Stupid idea, but we were young...)  I asked my friend to turn on the interior car light because I thought I had seen a blanket in the back, and as we were rooting around behind the seats....

 

At the top of the hill a passing patrol car taking a local policeman home for the night happened to see our light in the distance and stopped. Probably saved our lives.  He got us as far as my grandmother's house, where we spent the night on the fold out couch.  I caught a lot of crap for just being in the situation, never told my parents what we were actually doing out there.   My friend had to get her car towed a few days later.

 

This is the first time I've heard someone's first experience with D&D start with the premise of a slasher movie.

 

Part of my mind wants to say: "You are grounded young lady!"

Edited by Cranky Dog
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4 minutes ago, Cranky Dog said:

This is the first time I've heard someone's first experience with D&D start with the premise of a slasher movie.

 

Part of my mind wants to say: "You are grounded young lady!"

 

Well, I asked...

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In the early 90's my parents bought us a desktop PC. It was a Packard Bell 386 with dual floppy drives and a mouse (we were swank). On New Year's Eve my parents were headed out to celebrate with some friends, leaving me home alone. I didn't own a game console at the time, so The Dad bought me a game to keep me occupied. It was the Gold Box SSI Pool of Radiance. I spent an inordinate amount of time failing at the game, having no real knowledge of how D&D worked, and mostly just winging it (I was terrible at building a balanced party). Our neighbors from down the road would occasionally get dropped off at our place to catch the school bus. One day they were there, and for whatever reason they got to talking games, and I mentioned Pool of Radiance. Turns out they had it, Curse of the Azure Bonds, and Secret of the Silver Blades. They mentioned AD&D, and the next time they got together to play they invited me down. We played a bastardized mish-mash of 1e and 2e. I was hooked. 

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     Early 70's, I was in Middle School, we were visiting family friends in another state (my mom and the other mom were friends) and the other son (older than I) had an Avalon Hill board wargame set up in his bedroom. I was fascinated by it.  So, not long after, my parents bought me such a game (they were available in the local toy stores then), and my board wargaming hobby was born.  I grew quite a collection of Avalon Hill, SPI and others.  I also subscribed to the AH magazine, The General.  In one issue they had an ad for a gaming convention not to far away in the neighboring state, and my parents took me.  At the convention, I saw a huge American Civil War miniatures game set-up, with ranks of beautifully painted figures, and I think my eyes must have bulged out of my head like a cartoon character.    I asked my parents if I could find out how to do that, and the three of us shuffled off to a booth at the con run by Heritage, where Duke Seifried sold me everything I needed to start in ACW miniatures gaming; enough 15mm figures to make a couple regiments, a battery, and generals, for each side; along with a copy of the venerable "Rally 'Round the Flag" rules.  My life's course was set...

 

     I was in high school now, and through a subscription to Wargamers' Digest, I learned all about the wider world of miniatures including assorted Fantasy ranges.  At this time a high school friend was trying to get a group together to play D&D (He had learned it from his collage age brother), and having heard about it, but knowing nothing other than you could use miniatures figures to play it, I volunteered to play.   I was hooked, and got my own boxed set from the local Walden's Book Store, soon followed by the Monster Manual, and Players Handbook.

 

    I was soon DM-ing my own group, and ran a couple groups over the years in college.    Sadly, as adult and married life interceded, and time became more valuable, I could no longer do All The Hobbies, so my RPGing has fallen by  the wayside in favor of the general tabletop miniatures gaming.   But I miss it sometimes, and still enjoy more RPG influenced miniatures games like Frostgrave and Ghost Archipelago.

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Now I learned about RPGs in mags. After I learned how by reading, I found a group at the local university.  I had graduated (not at that university) but I went and joined the group.  I have stayed with the group ever since.  We are no longer affiliated with the university because the club president (a student because that was the rules) got in a huff because he was a bad loser and dissolved the club without telling us. People have joined and dropped thought the years, but  three of the original group are still there most Tuesdays.  We rotate houses.

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I heard about D&D throughout high school and really wanted to try it, but I never had anyone to try it with, nor did I know how to get the books (if I had found them, my parents would have probably bought them for me...my mom loved getting me books, and my dad loved it any time I did anything even remotely social). On my first night on campus (or maybe the 2nd night, I don't remember), however, I went with my roommate down to the board game night happening downstairs in the lobby of the dorms. 

 

Both my roommate and I were fairly timid people, but Mr. Mouse (yes, this is when I met Mr. Mouse, as well) and the guy across the hall from him brought down Mr. Mouse's copy of Catan (my first ever Euro game) and actually approached us to ask if we would play.

 

Fast forward on, and the guy across the hall from Mr. Mouse hears me mention to him that I always wanted to try D&D. Well, he was part of a group, so Across the Hall Guy (gah, let's shorten that to AtHG) invited me to try joining him for D&D. My first time playing was 3.5e, with a DM that would eventually be known to me as The-Ex-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. I was almost dating AtHG at this point (mostly getting close to him so I could get to know Mr. Mouse), so I continued going, and I really enjoyed it (even if my characters tended to be a bit...inappropriate). With The-Ex-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named I played one 3.5 campaign, one Pathfinder campaign, and one kind-of-but-not-really-Pathfinder-anymore campaign. I didn't have my rulebooks yet at this point, so my characters were more or less made for me. I ended up dating The-Ex-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named during this time, and stopped playing when we broke up. 

 

Fast forward again, Mr. Mouse and I are dating and I start picking up rule books. I'm part of a few campaigns that never take off the ground. Then, Mr. Mouse decides to start playing with me as his DM - my first time DMing. This was fairly recent, with Hoard of the Dragon Queen this past summer. Since then, I had one campaign that lasted until the summer break for our friends ended, and then one that is still ongoing with some more local people.

 

I found that I like DMing more, for the most part. :)

Edited by Paradoxical Mouse
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      At $60,000: We will print the poster map larger (included in boxed set)
      At $80,000: We will add a second Lankhmar adventure module (PDF for all backers; print copy in the Print Pack)
      At $100,000: We will add a supplement called "A Dozen Lankhmar Locations," which will provide information, maps, and floorplans on setting adventures in a dozen famous Lankhmar locales (including the Silver Eel!) (PDF for all backers; print copy in the boxed set)
      At $120,000: We will add a third Lankhmar adventure module (PDF for all backers; print copy in the Print Pack)
      At $140,000: We will add a supplement called "Random NPCs in Lankhmar," which will provide tables and information for generating random NPCs that your PCs can encounter in Lankhmar (PDF for all backers; print copy in the Print Pack)
      At $160,000: We will add a fourth Lankhmar adventure module (PDF for all backers; print copy in the Print Pack)
      At $180,000: We will add a Lankhmar-themed three-panel Judges Screen (PDF for all backers; print copy in the boxed set)
      At $200,000: We will add a fifth Lankhmar adventure module (PDF for all backers; print copy in the Print Pack)
      At $220,000: We will add a cloth map in the boxed set (print copy in the boxed set)
      At $240,000: We will add a sixth Lankhmar adventure module (PDF for all backers; print copy in the Print Pack)
      At $250,000: We will add send Michael Curtis to Houston for a week to research the Fritz Leiber archives in the University of Houston. We anticipate this may result in a new product of some kind to be delivered to backers of this Kickstarter, but exactly what we'll discover in the archives - and what product may result from it - can't be determined until Michael sets foot in the archives!
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