What was your introduction to D&D
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  1. #1
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    Gallant (Lvl 3)



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    What was your introduction to D&D

    This is my non-fiction story about my first time, though the names have been changed. Hope you enjoy it! Keep in mind, we were kids, so rules, rulings, and even famous names may be wrong or misused.
    THE MIRROR

    The car floated down Highway 359 and took to the bumps in the road as if it were hovering. The sky was dark, the radio was off, and the dome light was on, but dimmed. The silence was occasionally broken by the Spanish call of cards, “siete de espadas.” In addition to the calling of cards, there would be some idle banter and then the chuckle of four old ladies. Hector simply sat quietly in the center of the back seat and toyed with the cockpit to his X-Wing, very tempted to turn it on and hear the sweet, piercing noises. He held it in front of him and faced it forward as he pretended the car had disappeared and only the ship traveled down the highway as he tilted it to turn as the road turned. He was Luke Skywalker making the run through the Death Star trench.

    “Cuatro de corazones,” the game of Crazy Eights interrupted his mission to destroy the Death Star and save the rebels. He frowned and laid the ship on his lap as he flicked the cockpit open and closed, open and closed. In his backpack was his new toy: a mock-up of the ice cave and a die cast wampa he couldn’t wait to show his cousin, Eric. This brought a brief moment of excitement until he looked out and saw they were barely crossing one of the towns that were midway to their destination. It was an hour trip and he knew he was only about halfway there. He decided to pass the time imagining the things he would do there.

    His cousin’s house had its own places of legend. It was a town of roughly six-thousand people. Oftentimes, at night, the abandoned buildings and dark spaces in between the yellow streetlights were playgrounds for fear and the imagination. His cousin’s house was located on a particular corner on the outskirts of town where only two streets met. On the inside corner was Eric’s home and their grandmother’s home: Abuela (next door to each other with a dirt alley in between). In Abuela’s yard was the Great Tree, as tall as the heavens and branches so low, seven-year olds could climb. Many days were spent in the grass and twigs under that pecan tree. The alley was a great source of fear, and a gate to be crossed only when necessary if it were night time. Several times a night, they would have to transition from Abuela’s house to his. Each time, they would inch towards the alley, look down into the darkness and hope they saw nothing, then run across as fast as they could to the other home. Eric’s home also had its own source of imaginative fear. It was built on stilts which left a cavernous opening under it. It looked as though the underside of the home was a dark forest with its trunk-sized stilts, or that the stilts were rocky cave formations. The stairs that ran up the side of the home to the front door left them frightful that something was going to reach from under the house and grab their ankles as they ran up the stairs. On the outside corner of the intersection was a patch of mesquite and elm woods (called “monte”). It held the promise of strangeness and mythical creatures hidden within when the sun went down. When the cicadas went quiet and the coyotes called, they often imagined it was because something was lurking in those woods.--

    “--aqui tengo un ocho,” the lady to his right said as she handed a card over to his grandmother in the front seat.

    His grandmother looked in the rearview mirror, “Y que qieres?”

    “Espadas – y aqui tengo una reina de espadas para cubrirlo.” Hector slumped in the seat and laid the ship on his chest. It always seemed the real world of 1984 would never let him go and be somewhere else. He opened the cockpit and wished he could climb in and take-off. So close to his face, the toy seemed big enough that he almost could. It would get him there so much faster.


    He didn’t remember falling asleep, but he woke to the sound of the car door and the bright dome light (which was turned-up) as one of the ladies stepped out of the back seat and said her goodbyes. As she shut the door, he scooted over and reveled in the available space to stretch his legs. He looked out of the window and saw the familiar, old, yellow, streetlights, encroachingly numerous mesquite trees, and dilapidated buildings. They were now in town and just dropping off Abuela’s friends. It was much like a countdown. That was “three.” When the next lady was dropped off, he counted “two.” Finally, they pulled to the last home, and he counted “one.” He sat up in the center of the back seat looking in all directions, absorbing the familiarity. This visit happened almost once a month, and still, it could not occur often enough. He saw the Circle-C (a convenience store), and the Dairy Queen (where his grandfather likely was, sipping on coffee and chatting with friends until two in the morning). He saw the video rental place where they had both VHS and Betamax available. Then they turned from the main road, down the familiar, unlit street of Amada. It had no curbs and the asphalt was cracked and full of potholes. The edge of the road was a ragged, crumbly margin met with caliche. When they crossed highway 16, they reached the familiar, caliche corner of Amada and Pecan. As the car pulled into the carport, he looked to the right, to the Great Tree, and appreciated its majesty as it stood guard over Abuela’s home, a shadow in the dark.

    “Okay, `jito. Ju be carful and go straight to jor primo’s.” Abuela spoke with a heavy Spanish accent: genuine Spanish. Abuela, and his mother, were both born in Madrid, Spain. He slung his backpack over his shoulder and held the X-Wing out as though it were flying as he made shushing sounds to emulate flight. He ran as fast as he could – until he reached the alley.

    His shushing stopped and he hugged his ship as he inched towards the edge of his grandmother’s yard. He leaned forward and looked down the dark path. Nothing moved, but it almost felt as the alley breathed as a breeze blew from it. He swallowed and ran, but did not stop. As he approached the house and saw the cavernous darkness under the house, he resolved not to stop then, either, and hit the stairs at full speed. He lifted his feet as soon as they touched redwood imagining that a clawed hand of some sort was reaching from under the house to grab his foot. He looked up and there was a figure, standing and waiting, “Ah!” he shouted. But it was just his aunt, with a finger to her lips, signaling to be quiet.

    “Eric and Fatima are asleep.” She guided him into the house that smelled of urine – Fatima was only five-years old and had a bed-wetting problem. It wasn’t a bothersome smell – the house always smelled that way. It was almost familiar, and though it wasn’t sanitary, the smell always reminded him that he would soon be in good company. “Eric’s in his room. Just sleep in here so you don’t wake him.” She led him to the bronze-colored, velvet-cushioned couch – imprinted with a cabin and waterwheel. Its wooden frame never meant comfort and the velvet was itchy, but soon it wouldn’t matter. He would have slept on the sandy, linoleum floor if he had to. She laid a blanket and he dropped his backpack and crawled onto the couch where he curled up and, almost instantly, fell into slumber.

    ***

    "Hector!" Hector woke to his cousin shaking him. The unfamiliar pillow and pungent scent reminded him he was not at home and woke slowly. He threw the blanket off and rubbed his eyes as he sat up. The scent of bacon also filled the air, accompanied by a smokey haze. The house was filled with muted activity: his aunt was making breakfast, Fatima was playing with her She-Ra Crystal Castle, and he could faintly hear the clothes washer running. His cousin was only a year older, but that meant influence and authority to a seven and eight-year old. "Hector, wake up!"

    He was happy to be there, but that still didn't change his mood. Crankiness was part of the package when waking a kid up. "Whaaaaaat," he whined.

    "We're going to John and Denise's."

    Hector yawned and blinked as Eric came into focus. "Yeah, but bacon."

    "You kids are eating before you go," Their aunt called from the kitchen.

    Eric sat next to Hector, who was still in a daze, and lowered his voice. "They moved to the trailer park, and John is a dungeon master. You gotta play." Hector must have still been asleep, because he felt like he should know who these people were and what a dungeon master was, but he was lost and didn't want to feel stupid for not knowing about these things. So he just stayed quiet and nodded his head. Eric, anxious to tell his story - and aware that Hector likely didn't know, because this was such a secret game - spoke with muted enthusiasm, "There's wizards and dragons, and elves, and dwarves, and magic - it's just cool!" Eric felt like he had been initiated into a secret society with secret knowledge: a game only available to the privileged few that could be introduced by word of mouth. This was not a game you could find in stores, and he was anxious to induct his cousin, Hector.


    The trailer park was only a few lots way and was only big enough to hold three or four campers. It was less a trailer park and more a graveled lot. As they walked down the alley, Eric attempted to explain the concept of the game to Hector. "No, its not like Atari, but there's no board either. It goes on in your head, dude." Hector looked around the alley, and for a brief moment, wondered what was so scary about it at night. It consisted of two dirt rows cause by vehicles that traversed it, with patches of crab grass and annoying grass stickers running along the center. One side of the entrance had his cousins house, and the other was his grandmother's house. Behind his cousin's house was the old lot where he lived for a short time - now it had storage shed which still contained some of his toys. Sometimes he would break into them and sift through the old memories. Behind his grandmother's house was a tiny shack where his mother's uncle lived - a creepy old man who would startle him if he peered in the window. Further down, on the right, behind his mother's creepy uncle, was the small lot with two RV's. The second one was a silver, egg-shaped one with the door open. Sitting at the door was a twelve-year old boy looking at a book. Behind him was a girl - Denise - who paced as she spoke on the phone - a cord trailed behind her like a lost puppy.

    "John!" Eric called and ran forward.

    The boy looked up. "What's up, man?"

    Eric looked back at Hector, out of breath, and said, "This is my cousin, Hector. Can we play that game again?"

    John lit up and stood as he waved the book up to show it was what he was reading, "Yeah! I was just looking it over."

    "Cool! I got dibs on Silverleaf."


    The boys sat at the small table the RV provided, but it was big enough for a few kids. John had set an intriguing red box on the table with really neat artwork that seemed almost sinful to look at - a great read dragon and an armored man with a raised sword. John laid his book aside and Hector almost felt like he was about to view a treasure only a secretive few were privileged to view. He almost glanced out the door to make sure adults weren't watching. When the box came open, John produced another book and a handful of plastic gems. Eric instantly grabbed one of them and started tumbling it on the table and Hector noticed there were numbers. They were dice! He had never seen dice with more than six numbers on them before. There was a pyramid shaped one numbered one through four; the familiar, cube-shaped six-sided one; one that looked like two pyramids, back to back, that went up to eight; another gem-like one numbered zero through nine - he later learned that "0" was ten; one with soccer ball shapes on it that went up to twelve; and one covered in a bunch of triangles that went all the way up to twenty!

    John pulled a sheet of paper out of the box and handed it to Eric, "Here's Silverleaf," and another paper that he handed to Hector, "And here's Red Doogle." Hector looked over the hand-written, wide-ruled, loose-leaf paper. It had all sorts of strange, occult looking notes with combinations of letters and numbers: "STR: 8," "INT: 14," "WIS: 12;" There were odd scripts and drawings, sketches and notations. It looked as though someone had thrown together make-believe words and mixed them with the devil's language.

    "What's this?"

    John smiled as though proud to explain, "That's your character sheet. His name is Red Doogle and he's a wizard!" He saw that Hector was a little lost. "Here, put it down, I'll help you. Those numbers are your abilities: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma. The numbers mean how good you are at those abilities. When you roll the d20," he took the twenty-sided die and tumbled it, "you look at the numbers and see how you did." He pointed at another part of the sheet, "here are your spells, and here is all your stuff, like your staff and your money." He looked at Hector, who in turn was glaring at the sheet trying to reconcile what he heard with what he saw. "It's okay, Eric and I will help you." He tried to sit back down, but something in his pocket bothered him. He pulled out an audio cassette tape. "OH! Eric! Check his out! I found this tape in Jersey!" He ran to the back room and came back with a tape player, plugged it in and laid it on the table.

    Denise flopped onto the seat at the table and saw him flip the cassette door open. "Oh! you boys are gonna love this!" John flipped the door shut and hit play. A deep, slow, baseline played with cellos in the background. Denise bounced her head to the music as she reached for the box and grabbed a sheet of paper out of it, "And there's Laguna. -- Dude, this group is awesome! And the guy talking is Orson Wells." Hector felt like he should know who that was. "The band is called Manowar, and this song is Defender!" Behind the baseline, a man in a deep voice spoke. It was a letter from a father to a son, passing on the torch to defend the helpless ones. Hector suddenly felt inspired to be that man. He wanted to raise his sword in the face of evil and vanquish bad men. Soon, the music changed to a speedy, screaming guitar and a singer whose voice sounded like a jet engine. He had never heard anything like it.

    ***

    The room was unlike one any would expect in a dungeon, with the exception of the stone masonry that formed the walls. A canopied bed sat at one of the walls, while the remainder of the room contained a vanity, wardrobe, tapestries portraying a seven-headed dragon, a velvet-red carpet, and a very large mirror. A cursory inspection of the room revealed nothing special as far as items of interest or money, but the mirror held Silverleaf in thrall. It's work seemed elvish - his race - but the interest was in the reflection: took a minute to notice, but he saw the reflection blink. If he blinked, he shouldn't see his reflection at all as his eyes were closed. In other words, if his reflection was blinking, it should be when he did. He reached out and touched the mirror.

    Red Doogle turned to Silverleaf just in time to recognize the trap, but did not react fast enough, "No! Wait!" Silverleaf vanished.

    Laguna, a thief, and Silverleaf's companion, ran for the mirror, "Let's help him!"

    Red Doogle tried to stop her, too. "You don't just--" but it was too late. He knew it was a trap, but he also knew they would need his help on the other side. He shook his head, walked to the mirror, and touched it.


    Red Doogle examined his surroundings - and felt a little chill. It occurred to him that all his belongings, including his clothes, were stuck to the ceiling. it also occurred to him that his friends were in the same predicament. It then occurred to both men that Laguna... was a woman. She covered herself and blushed as she shouted, "Eyes to yourselves, gentlemen!" They smiled, then look to the ceiling and pondered. The room was circular and was about twenty feet in diameter, and thirty feet high. Half way between the floor and ceiling was a mirror with an ornate frame - not hung, but built into the wall. There were, otherwise, no doors nor way to climb.

    Red Doogle asked, "Anyone have a rope?"

    Laguna pointed, "Yeah. Up there." She looked closer, "And it's not that easy." She pointed across from the mirror. "There's a tiny hole there. I suspect there's a trigger or trip wire that will shoot an arrow or rock from there and smash the mirror if we're not careful."

    "And then what?" Silverleaf asked.

    Red Doogle wasn't familiar with this particular room, but he knew the magic of the mirror. "Then we're trapped forever." He thought some more. "I can shield the mirror and protect it, but how do we get up? -- I got it," Red Doogle said. "Silverleaf, go stand under the the mirror and brace yourself." He did so. "Laguna, I'm going to stand on his shoulders, use us as a ladder and climb onto the mirror. -- But be careful not to break the glass."

    Laguna looked up at the mirror and pondered what she could do from there. She looked at the items, the hole, back to the items and back to the mirror. "That's right! But the trap?"

    Red Doogle opened his spell book, reached into his pouch where he grabbed some mystical components and dust and motioned his hand in a circle as he released it into the air. A blue shimmering sheet appeared over the mirror. "I've shielded the mirror. Try and spring the trap so we don't have to worry about it anymore." He, then climbed onto Silverleaf's shoulders - with some difficulty.

    Laguna climbed the both of them as they struggled to keep balance, and then reached up where she felt a hair-thin, fine thread. When it pulled and broke, an arrow shot from the hole and shattered when it hit the shielded mirror. Satisfied, she smiled and grabbed the frame of the mirror and climbed up onto it. "Okay, you can get down, now." Red Doogle climbed down and they brushed themselves off as they looked at Laguna clinging to the mirror frame. She climbed to the top of the frame, looked up at the items and sprung. "Catch me!" She intended to leap for her rope and grab it, but when she did, she did not return to the ground as expected. About four feet more, and she found that she leaped into some sort of field where gravity was reversed, and was winded when she hit the ceiling. She stood up and examined her surroundings. What was up or down? She looked up and saw that it seemed it was the boys that were standing on the ceiling as all the items laid on the floor by her feet. She grabbed the wizards quarterstaff and looked at the hole from which the arrow flew. She focused and leaped for the hole, but she felt gravity reverse, and it was almost like being accelerated. With careful timing, the jammed the staff into the whole and spun, like an acrobat. When she lost momentum, she climbed onto the staff and stood there. The boys watched her perch like a bird on a branch. A second leap and she was back on the ceiling with the items. She grabbed her block and tackle from her backpack and started to rig a system using the staff to get the items out of the field of gravity and down to the boys safely.

    Once their items were safe in hand - and with the assistance of the staff in the hole - they used the block, tackle, and rope to get themselves back to the mirror where they exited the room. However-- They did not find themselves in the bedroom from which they entered. Instead, they found themselves in another stony room with two doors. These doors were in a rather inconvenient spot, as they were on the opposite wall and a creature imposed between them: a giant black widow. "Waste no time!" Silverleaf shouted.

    Red Doogle opened his palm and faced it upwards. An arrow that radiated golden light appeared above his hand and floated in the air. It spun like a compass and pointed at the spider, then sped to the creature, piercing it's thorax, but the creature did not falter.

    Silverleaf danced around the beast with his sword, landing cut after cut, and Laguna drew her crossbow and fired an arrow into its shoulder. The spider spun to bite at Silverleaf as green venom dripped from its fangs, but Silverleaf flipped backwards and avoided its teeth.

    "I'm out of spells!" Red Doogle shouted, and he threw his dagger, missing the creature.

    Silverleaf climbed onto the creatures back and stabbed his sword into its head. The creature reared in its death throes and attempted to get in one last strike, but not before Laguna put an arrow right through one of its eyes. With a rattling gurgle, it collapsed to the floor and shook all its legs. As Silverleaf stepped back, he noticed his foot fell right next to a giant ruby embedded in its back. He pried it off and smiled.

    "Which door?" Red Doogle stared.


    "Eric! I need you to come home and watch your sister!"

    John and Denise stared at Eric.

    "Sorry, I gotta go," Eric said. He and Hector leaped out of the RV and ran to his mother.

    "What were you kids doing?"

    Hector, excited for his first time, "We were playing Dungeons and--"

    Eric interrupted, "No! Shh!"

    "--Dragons." Hector was confused at Eric's sudden fear.

    "What?!" Eric's mom shot him a look. Eric stopped and Hector stepped back to watch the story unfold. "You go to the house right now and wait for me in the living room. - Hector, wait for me in Eric's room. I need to call your mother."

    ***

    Hector sat on Eric's bed, fiddling with his die cast wampa - which he had yet to show his cousin. It had a cream colored fur and a dark brown base. The horns came out of the sides of its face. He awkwardly listened to the shouting that came from the living room.

    "Watch the news with your dad, tonight, mijo, and I bet you her name will come up: Patricia Pulling! Mijo, her boy turned to devil worship and killed himself! Do you want that? For you? For your mother?" The pungent smell of urine no longer smelled like he was about to have fun with his cousin. Now, it just smelled like nasty, unsanitary urine. He didn't want to be there. "That game and the heavy metal you listen to is poison! It's poisoning your mind! And now you're bringing your cousin into it? What am I supposed to tell his mother?" Hector cringed at the thought. He heard Eric's voice, but didn't understand what he said. "Don't get smart with me, son! If that stuff didn't influence you, then what made you think it was okay to go behind my back and play that game again, especially after I told you not to?! Go to your room, and tell Hector to come here." The hairs on the back of his neck stood and he shivered. He put the figure back in his backpack and zipped it up.

    Eric walked in the room. "My mom wants you."

    "I heard." He picked up his back pack and slung it over his shoulder. The weight made his body waver - weak and weary with worry. He walked down the hallway and imagined the inundation that waited for him in the living room. When he got there, he didn't look up. He simply heard his aunt's voice. "I'm taking you home."

    ***

    Hector was usually excited when the front seat was open, but he opted to sit in the back. It pained him to imagine what his mother would say, so he attempted to distract himself. He held his X-Wing out and pretended it was flying along the highway, but it did nothing to break the ghost of what happened, and it haunted him. He put it back down and looked out the window. He recalled the mirror, the naked friends, the clothes and the trap. He recalled the spider and his part in helping the team. He may not have understood the rules, but he was full of ideas that helped everyone - and the spells that helped them pull through. He took a notebook and pencil out of his backpack and ripped out a sheet of paper. He stared at the blank, white background with blue lines and the single, red, vertical one, and tried to recall what he saw on Red Doogle's character sheet. He wrote "Magic Missile," "STR:," "WIS:," and "DEX:," though he could not remember the rest. He noted arbitrary numbers beside them and pulled a six-sided, classic white, cube die he stole from his aunt's house and rolled it on his notebook. He couldn't understand, nor remember the rules, but he got excited when the die rolled high. That was good enough for him.
    Last edited by HRSegovia; Friday, 18th December, 2015 at 07:21 AM.

  2. #2
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    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



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    My first introduction to D&D probably started by playing the board game Hero Quest, and later we moved on to a sort of home brew light version of D&D 2nd edition, called Elemental Quest.

    Elemental Quest was as cliche as you can possibly imagine. It was all about defeating the ominous Lord Dark and his evil army, by collecting the various elemental crystals to create the only weapon that could defeat him, or something along those lines. We were very young, so my memory is hazy. What made Elemental Quest quite interesting, was that we also made our own custom clay figurines. We made up all of our own monsters, and then spend a lot of time molding them and painting them. Of course they looked nothing close to the sort of miniatures that we use today. But still, it was an awesome army. If one of the adventures had a big dragon at the end, then we started making a big dragon out of clay first.

    We then moved on to 2nd edition, and played that for quite a long time. I don't remember much of the campaigns that we ran back then.

    But eventually 3rd edition came out, and at first we were kind of hesitant. This is the first time we started feeling that WotC was just releasing new versions of the game just to sell more books... although this is only partially true. Yes, its true from a purely business point of view. But there was also much to improve on the game. And so once we started actually playing 3rd edition, we never looked back. Stuff like the tac0 system (hopelessly convoluted), and the reverse armor class (which never made any sense!), or all the countless saves (rod, staff, wand, petrification, -ugh). Once we started on 3rd edition, the whole game felt much more accessible and streamlined. It kind of surprises me today when people look back at 3rd edition, and think that the rules are so overly complicated.... no they are not. Not in comparison to 2nd edition! And 3.5 improved a ton of stuff as well, so we easily made that switch.

    We maintained an entire book with all the details of our home brew 3.5 setting, along with any drawings that we made during the sessions (be it maps, or just funny drawings of characters and situations). We would often switch DM's, and so each DM would add new cities and characters to this ever growing world. We wrote everything down, to keep things consistent. We made sure that if the players ever returned to a certain city, in someone elses campaign, that the city would still have the same ruler as before, with the same appearance. An interesting detail, is that the dark skinned war mongering Kooghan were first introduced as villains in the campaign of one of our DM's, and I would later bring them back as an allied pirate faction in Pirates of the Emerald Coast.

    When fourth edition came out, we again had that same feeling that we had before. Only this time around, the feeling was more justified. By now we had piles upon piles of 3rd edition books, and 4th edition really didn't seem all that great in comparison to 3.5. And so we ignored it... and apparently a lot of other players did too, because 4th edition didn't do so well. We continued with 3.5, until eventually I moved, and had to find a new group to play with. After a few years in a new city, I found a group of old larp friends, and we started a new 3.5 campaign. I ran a brief monster campaign with them (the players played a Troll, Frost giant, Mindflayer, Succubus and Fairy).

    We also played a Call of Cthulhu campaign called The Evans City Conspiracy, in which the players had to deal with a city that was slowly moving further in time, and would eventually be sucked into another world. For this campaign, I tried out something new. I gave all the players black envelopes, which contained a list of secrets. They had to choose one secret (or make up their own), and keep that secret from being discovered by their party members. The penalty would be sanity damage. This added an exciting feeling of paranoia to the game, where one player would know what is going on, but he would not be able to tell his fellow players.

    We also tried out some campaigns that didn't work so well. We tried a World of Warcraft campaign, a Star Wars campaign, and a Mech Warrior campaign. Most of these campaigns failed because we had a few players that just weren't working for the group. It was a hard decision, but I was the first to decide that it just wasn't working. So we formed a new group, and left the troublesome players behind.

    Meanwhile we also started playing a 2nd edition campaign with an old role playing buddy of ours (we had to fill in the gap of the missing players). This guy is a great storyteller, but he had not moved on to 3rd edition yet, and he had all the 2nd edition books. We figured we might as well play a bit of 2nd edition for old times sake. He came up with a really cool evil campaign, in which our group of 3 players all played the parts of powerful evil witches, who had been world destroying entities at some point in the past, in some fragment of reality. It quickly got very complicated, with lots of cosmic powers, gods and demons, and multiple versions of our characters across different realities. Awesome stuff really.

    But this is just around the time when I started up my 3.5 pirate campaign, Pirates of the Emerald Coast. And once this old buddy of ours got used to 3rd edition, he decided that he wanted to convert his evil witches campaign to the 3.5 system too. Much like we did many years ago, he noticed that 3.5 simply played much better than 2nd edition. We also got a buddy of ours that had never played D&D before into playing the pirate campaign, and he has remained with the group ever since.

    The pirate campaign is really where I stepped up my game as a DM, I think. It is the first time that I made the game a real sandbox adventure. It is all about naval combat, aquatic adventures, and random events. It is a world that is constantly in motion, with dozens of random encounter tables, vast volumes of text that detail every country and city in great detail. And an intriguing plot full of twists and turns. The players are completely in control of their adventure. I'm just the evil storyteller, who constantly throws in surprising twists, and engages them with complications. The world is ever changing, based on the choices of the players. And we even expand the game itself, by including new rules for base building, custom lists of weapons, items and ship upgrades, new spells, new monsters, and even new rules for alcohol. Every npc also is a fully fleshed out character, with his/her own backstory, and secrets.

    Meanwhile one of my friends also started his own home brew 3.5 campaign, with the idea of points of light in an otherwise dark world. What made this campaign very interesting, was the idea that our first couple of sessions were just our characters as kids growing up together. We started out without a class, and then slowly grew into our classes. We also didn't roll for our stats, but used the Three Dragon Ante tarot to determine our stats randomly. This was an important step to get all of us out of the min-max mindset. Its not about having optimal stats. It should be about role playing.

    We started out in our home village, and then slowly started expanding the map by exploring, spreading more light in doing so. Places that we liberated from evil, became important strongholds and wells for resources. This good friend of mine borrowed a lot of the ideas for random encounters from my pirate campaign, and I borrowed a lot of ideas from his. We are constantly inspiring each other, and stepping up our game. And yet the two campaigns feel completely unique. Its been a while since we've played this campaign, but we should continue it at the start of 2016.

    Now 5th edition has been released. Most of us have looked at the books, and we like what we see. We all have our opinions about it, but it is mostly positive. But I don't think we'll be switching soon. We just have way too many 3.5 books, and it works just fine for us. So for now, we play Pirates of the Emerald Coast, and you can follow our adventures right here.
    Last edited by Imaculata; Sunday, 13th December, 2015 at 01:34 PM.

  3. #3
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    Gallant (Lvl 3)



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    My first introduction to D&D probably started by playing the board game Hero Quest
    I LOVED Hero quest. This came much later in my life, but I enjoyed buying squared paper from Office Max (which were a comparable size to the squares on the hero quest board) and making my own, larger dungeons, and more complex enemies. My favorite adventure was one where I had my players hunting two demons called Pogo and Wylon.

    Elemental Quest was as cliche as you can possibly imagine. It was all about defeating the ominous Lord Dark and his evil army, by collecting the various elemental crystals to create the only weapon that could defeat him, or something along those lines. We were very young, so my memory is hazy. What made Elemental Quest quite interesting, was that we also made our own custom clay figurines. We made up all of our own monsters, and then spend a lot of time molding them and painting them. Of course they looked nothing close to the sort of miniatures that we use today. But still, it was an awesome army. If one of the adventures had a big dragon at the end, then we started making a big dragon out of clay first.
    This sounds like it would have been awesome!

    We maintained an entire book with all the details of our home brew 3.5 setting, along with any drawings that we made during the sessions (be it maps, or just funny drawings of characters and situations). We would often switch DM's, and so each DM would add new cities and characters to this ever growing world. We wrote everything down, to keep things consistent. We made sure that if the players ever returned to a certain city, in someone elses campaign, that the city would still have the same ruler as before, with the same appearance. An interesting detail, is that the dark skinned war mongering Kooghan were first introduced as villains in the campaign of one of our DM's, and I would later bring them back as an allied pirate faction in Pirates of the Emerald Coast.
    I wish I had the benefit of having the same players all this time to do this as well. After my parents divorced, we hardly saw each other again. My next group of folks was during my teen years where we experimented with many other games instead of D&D (like Chill, Battletech, Warhammer Fantasy, Star Wars, Shadowrun, and the first game I ever ran: Cyperpunk). In later teens, I got back into D&D with 2nd Edition, but went into the Air Force soon after and back into the experimentation with games like Deadlands and BESM - all the way to 3rd Ed. From there it's been a cycle of D&D with occasional spurs of other games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HRSegovia View Post
    I LOVED Hero quest. This came much later in my life, but I enjoyed buying squared paper from Office Max (which were a comparable size to the squares on the hero quest board) and making my own, larger dungeons, and more complex enemies. My favorite adventure was one where I had my players hunting two demons called Pogo and Wylon.
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    I also remember playing the boardgame Dark World, although that was never as exciting as Hero Quest was. But that is how I developed my facination with dungeoneering, battling monsters, role playing, and probably also level design. Back then just playing the "role" of a class was considered role playing. It didn't yet involve actually playing the character yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by HRSegovia View Post
    This sounds like it would have been awesome!
    It sure was. I wish I still had some of those clay figurines. But unfortunately they broke easily, even though we coated them in varnish. Every dungeon revolved around a unique element. So we had the standard fire dungeon, ice dungeon, etc. But it was a ton of fun. It allowed us to ignore most of the overly complicated 2nd edition rules, and just worry about the basics. We drew all the dungeons on paper, and also made props out of clay to detail the dungeons. This is actually a pretty cost effective way to convey a dungeon in DnD, especially if its a cave. Just make a bunch of clay rock formations, and move them about to create a path.

    Quote Originally Posted by HRSegovia View Post
    I wish I had the benefit of having the same players all this time to do this as well. After my parents divorced, we hardly saw each other again. My next group of folks was during my teen years where we experimented with many other games instead of D&D (like Chill, Battletech, Warhammer Fantasy, Star Wars, Shadowrun, and the first game I ever ran: Cyperpunk). In later teens, I got back into D&D with 2nd Edition, but went into the Air Force soon after and back into the experimentation with games like Deadlands and BESM - all the way to 3rd Ed. From there it's been a cycle of D&D with occasional spurs of other games.
    Back then my old group consisted of players who would all occasionally be the DM. We simply took turns. We settled on a generic fantasy setting, and then each DM added to what was already established by previous DM's. There were many reocurring characters, such as the annoying Christian the Fierce, who was a repulsive vain retired hero that we kept bumping into. His specialty was taking credit for other people's accomplishments. In one campaign Christian the Fierce even had his own theme park, complete with a steam powered roller coaster with mine carts that portrayed all his past adventures, a giant statue of himself in every corner of the park, and a massive dragon skeleton in front of his office that supposedly he had slain.
    We also had a drow villain whose name eludes me, but he would always escape death, and pop up later to get the players to do his dirty work. He was excellent. But Christian the Fierce without a doubt was the most hilarious character. Every DM would bring him back occasionally. Then there was this one session where Christian the Fierce tragically died, only to have his death be redconned again in a time traveling plot in one of my campaigns. Because apparently the fate of the world depended on Christian the Fierce surviving to save it.

    This was actually a pretty hilarious plot. For many campaigns my barbarian character Logue had shared the bizarre legends and tales of his old tribe. One such legend was of the dreaded monster Locknar, who would one day swallow the world. This always was a source of much amusement for the players, up to that fateful campaign when I confronted them with Locknar. But fortunately for them, Locknar really wasn't such a bad guy. In fact, he was just misunderstood. For many centuries he had tried to convey his warning of impending doom to various primitive tribes with no success, because there was always a language barrier. And so he became the villain of legend. Apparently the fate of the world depended on Christian the Fierce saving it. So the players had to go back in time, to save the man they hated more than anyone else, while avoiding their past selves. During this campaign they also caused an unintended paradox, when their drow party member accidentally met her past self, back when she was still an elf. Sensing a more recent body nearby, the soul of the elf immediately occupied the newer body of the present-day drow. And thus the present-day drow got her soul back, and turned into an elf again. And her elf-self from the past lost her soul, and became a drow. An infinite loop! She was responsible for her own fate due to a time paradox.

    My newer group only consists of 2 other DM's, and they each have their own unique home brew world. So it would no longer work to do a shared world. I'm much too attached to my own settings, as I'm sure they are too. Besides, I don't trust anyone else with the world, since it has rather strict lore facts. But if you can find the right group of people, then it is great to do a shared world.
    Last edited by Imaculata; Monday, 14th December, 2015 at 03:35 AM.

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    Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s my friends and I played with Lego Castle sets. We'd construct elaborate layouts in my friend David's basement. We built mighty armies and had them battle one another. All of it was very free-form. In the fall of 1991 David's older brother returned from college, saw our Lego armies clashing, and decided it was time to pass down to us some old orange-spine books he had. These were, of course, the AD&D Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad_Jack View Post
    I'm old-school. I was around eight or nine in the early '80's when one of my younger brother's friends from school came over our house to hang out. The kid's older brother who was sixteen had driven him over, and had brought his D&D stuff with him to work on something.
    That was the 1981 "magenta" box of the Basic rules.
    He ran us through an adventure which largely involved killing everything, smashing all the furniture and setting anything flammable on fire with out torches, lol.
    When I was ten, I got my own copy of the 1983 red box Basic set.
    The '83 red box was my first and is the one referenced in the story.

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    There was a club at my high school that met at lunchtimes. The first game I played was a six-session AD&D 1st Ed game run by a guy called Eric who had actually left the school in the summer and was about to go on to university.

    Once he moved on, various other people tried to get games together, but they were never able to run a game that lasted more than a couple of weeks. About the same time, I pestered my parents to get me the BECMI Red Box, and I've been DMing pretty much ever since.

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    first of all, great read, brought back a heap of memories, good stuff! ( cord trailing behind her like a lost puppy! nice one!)

    my story:
    ------------

    It was 1979, just started 7th grade, and one of our requisite classes was Reading. Some of us were so advanced in Reading that we finished the 7th graded book ( Accents?) in 6th grade, our teacher put us to the back of class and asked us to write during class. This was great for me, I was just beginning to realize my ability to woo the female species with rhymes, lines of prose which I deemed the greatest literary additions to poetry at the time, but now keep hidden away in a three locked box.

    After a couple of weeks of this, one of the kids, David, came to class with a boxed game, and approached the teacher. The teacher and he spoke to one another, out of earshot of us, David pointing at the back corner of the room where there was a table with a few books on it. Teacher lopedn the box , pulled out some booklets and flipped through them, looked at David, at us, at the corner, and grimaced. He pointed to David's desk and said what must have been for him to take a seat.

    "did he say yes" whispered one of the others obviously in the know. I was not really part of this group, so out of the loop, I tried to make out the writing on the box but David and I were not to close and he had already stuff it into the space under the desktop.
    "he said he has to think about it, but not today'

    Two days later I came to class, there was a partition in the back of the class, and one of my elite reader friends ( yes we were special) was sitting in view of the classroom door, motioning over with excitement.

    "Cool! we have someone to play the Dwarf! we already have a Thief, Magic-user, Fighter and Elf! " he said quietly, excitedly.

    I crossed to the back corner and peeked into what would soon become our secret haven, our nerd fortress, our sanctuary from eternal boredom.

    David had that red box out again, it had an image of a red dragon sitting on a treasure pile in the background, and a man with a sword next to a wizard in the foreground. It read "Dungeons & Dragons" in great big red block letters. " You can also play a Halfling if you wish, " David muttered not looking up from one of the booklets I had seen the teacher pull out, "Dungeon Module B2, Keep on the Borderlands" in gold block letters on magenta.

    Done peeking, my curiosity piqued, I glanced back toward the front of class to see my teacher nod and smile as he put his finger to his lips and used his other hand to gesture that I was to keep the volume down, and eagerly took my vacant seat at the 'square' table.

    Diced were presented, rules were explained, I chose the dwarf, and joined the party. We played for the rest of the school year, eventually allowed to play in the back corner of the library during reading class. We Defeated the Caves of Chaos, and some of us purchased hardcover books to advance our characters further. We started playing after school, on the weekends, in between riding our BMX bikes, building treeforts, fishing, and other endeavors. The year passed and I had put all of my allowance toward purchasing hardcovers, and some other modules, as well as the The World of Greyhawk folio edition, from which I began ordering and collecting miniatures from the little booklet that came in the Greyhawk box, from a company called Ral Partha.

    I kept playing and never stopped.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Imaculata View Post
    My first introduction to D&D probably started by playing the board game Hero Quest...
    Mine too! We played through all of the HQ modules, then started writing our own. We wanted more options so I picked up the 2nd Ed. AD&D PHB, MM, and DMG and we started translating classes and races into HQ. Somewhere in the process I realized instead of translating complex rules for a simple game because we want something more complex, we should save our time and effort and use the complex ruleset. My parents got me an intro D&D boxed set for a gift and one session in, we were hooked!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Radaceus View Post
    David muttered not looking up from one of the booklets I had seen the teacher pull out, "Dungeon Module B2, Keep on the Borderlands" in gold block letters on magenta.
    Still have mine!

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