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40 years...

Hjorimir

Explorer
40 years ago, I started playing AD&D. I got to play because I cried to my dad that my older brother wasn’t being nice and allowing me to play with him and his friends. They gave me the cleric to play, naturally.

The first character I actually made was my ranger. His name was Silver Arrow because – wait for it – he shot silver arrows. I recovered a +1 dagger from the Caverns of Quasqueton (In Search of the Unknown). It was my precious.

Around 1980 my brother got a copy of Greyhawk. I used tracing paper to copy sections of the map, so I could run a game for my friends. The maps I drew were “my” world because I drew them…and there may be some odd truth in that. I was the Dungeon Master and I was all powerful. I scrawled dungeon maps onto graph paper making sure to create as many rooms as I could to hold all the monsters just sitting there waiting to be encountered by any that were brave enough to open their door. We had endless amounts of fun.

It’s fair to say that this hobby has been a foundational part of my life. Some might say that’s not a good thing, but I’ve got no complaints. My closest friends are those I’ve roleplayed with over the years. I count most friendships in decades at this point. We’re a tight-knit group.

These days, I’m playing 5e two – sometimes three – times per week. Life is grand.

I’m not exactly sure what the point of this post is other than maybe that I feel a need to thank the community for keeping these silly pen and paper games going.

What’s your story?
 

aco175

Explorer
I too have been molded by 30something years of gaming. I no longer get to play with most everyone from middle school and high school, but now my kid has started playing, so that is actually better. I still play with my father, although he has not DMd for 20 years.
 

Warpiglet

Explorer
40 years ago, I started playing AD&D. I got to play because I cried to my dad that my older brother wasn’t being nice and allowing me to play with him and his friends. They gave me the cleric to play, naturally.

The first character I actually made was my ranger. His name was Silver Arrow because – wait for it – he shot silver arrows. I recovered a +1 dagger from the Caverns of Quasqueton (In Search of the Unknown). It was my precious.

Around 1980 my brother got a copy of Greyhawk. I used tracing paper to copy sections of the map, so I could run a game for my friends. The maps I drew were “my” world because I drew them…and there may be some odd truth in that. I was the Dungeon Master and I was all powerful. I scrawled dungeon maps onto graph paper making sure to create as many rooms as I could to hold all the monsters just sitting there waiting to be encountered by any that were brave enough to open their door. We had endless amounts of fun.

It’s fair to say that this hobby has been a foundational part of my life. Some might say that’s not a good thing, but I’ve got no complaints. My closest friends are those I’ve roleplayed with over the years. I count most friendships in decades at this point. We’re a tight-knit group.

These days, I’m playing 5e two – sometimes three – times per week. Life is grand.

I’m not exactly sure what the point of this post is other than maybe that I feel a need to thank the community for keeping these silly pen and paper games going.

What’s your story?
love your story! I have played for close to 37 years. it has been a huge part of my life...it faded in grad school but now its back.

honestly, it helped me become a better reader as a child and solidified friendships i still have. i have played with my core group over 30 years with some years of no playing at times.

now we are back big time. I have taken the helm and dm'd for 5 or six consecutive sessions. we are getting a little gray and have wives and kids...but damn do we still like to roll that d20!

We are engineers, lawyers, a psychologist and older fatter professionals but no matter. if i am not playing it i am dreaming it. its the hobby that can go anywhere and be fun while even just thinking about past or future sessions.

All hail GYGAX!!!
 

pogre

Adventurer
Almost 43 years ago I started playing D&D. I mostly play with my boys now - ages 18, 14, and 12. But, I also get to play at a table every other week with some other grognards. I pretty much have stuck with O-D&D and the odd editions (1st, 3rd, and 5th). I play lots of different games, but I always seem to come back to D&D. There is something about the game that keeps bringing me back.

I think my Mom finally realized a few years ago I was not giving up gaming for more adult pursuits! ;)
 

Negflar2099

Villager
D&D and roleplaying games have been a huge part of my life since I was a kid. I met my wife at a game, and met all of my current friends through gaming. Being a DM has made me more comfortable in my own skin and more confident as well as teaching me how to command the attention of a group (a useful skill when giving an presentation or even just hanging out with people). I'm working on becoming a writer (my dream job) because of the D&D short stories and novels I've read as a kid. Just as importantly D&D taught me that the best games are cooperative and non-zero sum, and that striving to solve a problem with your friends is so much more rewarding than trying to out play them.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
I first rolled the dice in 1979. I've played in 5 different decades.

My best estimate puts me at over 10,000 hours of D&D played, and over 27,500 hours if you include planning and related activities (D&D video games, D&D miniatures games, D&D forum visiting, etc...). There are 8760 hours in a year. That puts me at about 1.25 years of D&D played, and 3 years of D&D activity in general.

I've played ~110 characters for more than 1 session (although more than a few of them were 'reboots' of a beloved character).

My longest continuously run character was an elven thief-magic user run from 1993 to 2003. He was in an AD&D campaign that started off as weekly in college and then slowed down to being played on the occasional weekends.

My favorite PC of all time was my first Forgotten Realms PC - The son of a Red Wizard of Thay, the evil Dryken stole a magic helmet that was being delivered to his father and discovered it was a Helm of Opposite Alignment. He went from CE to LG and proceeded to flee Thay before someone restored him to evil. He then proceeded to Dual Class to Wizard (changing his name to Myztek) after a near TPK and advanced rapidly. That instance of the FR is still being run by the DM somewhere in Texas, and Myztek is a prominent NPC. I occasionally get an email or text from my old friend asking me how Myztek would respond to a request from the PCs or to some major event in his Realms... something that always makes me smile.

I've bought too many books in every edition, but the true money sink for me has been in miniatures. I was spending nearly a thousand a year on miniatures during the DDM era... for nearly a decade. If you toss in the metal minis, the board games I bought for the minis, etc... Oh, vey.
 

akr71

Explorer
I was introduced to the game 40 years ago, but spent a couple decades away from the game too. My dad brought home the Basic boxed set and he DM'd for my brother & I. Probably 1978/79-ish and I would have been 7 or 8. We played off and on and we bought the AD&D books. Then my brother started playing with his friends and playing as a family was infrequent at best.

When I hit junior high, I started playing with my friends. We took turns DMing and had a blast - running photocopied modules, making our own crazy dungeons, etc. My dad was air force so we moved around a lot. D&D was really the only constant - we'd move, I'd try to find a new group of players which wasn't always the easiest thing in the 80's.

Toward the end of high school & the end of the 80's my DM was a bit of a knob/control freak. Parties, girls and beer were far more interesting. I left the game behind. In the late 90's my girlfriend (now wife) and I played Baldur's Gate & Icewind Dale on the PC together - one would play while the other watched. That was the closest I came to D&D for a number of years and her only experience with D&D.

Fast forward to 2015 - my kids wanted to spend their xmas money so we went to the bookstore. My wife & daughter call me over - they're holding the 5e starter set "wouldn't it be fun to play as a family?" I sigh and say "I'll DM for you, if you want, but you have to agree to give it a fair chance." Three years later we still play together as a family nearly every weekend. My daughter got me to run a one-shot for her friends - they fell in love with the game - one of them stepped up to DM for her group. My son (now 9) wants to get his friends into it - one plays with his brothers, but he is having trouble convincing his best pal. I've got an adventure ready to go for the day it happens, but no pressure... Actually he has run games for us - very free form, anime influenced games. Mostly improved stories where he gets us to roll dice when he isn't sure which way to take the story.

I also play in a bi-weekly Roll20 game and my wife and I host a game night with some friends. I'm usually the DM, but another player is taking a shot and my wife wants to as well.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
[MENTION=5745]Hjorimir[/MENTION], good to hear that there are other old-timers out there. I had to add it up, but I first played D&D 41 years ago when an older friend brought home this new game from college. Who knew I'd still be sticking with it all these years? Or that I'd be using the same basic world I first created as a DM way back then?

Admittedly my adventures are a little more advanced than they used to be, although I am still inordinately proud that one of my first dungeons had corridors that spelled out DEATH, DOOM and DESTRUCTION for every level. The last level took two whole pieces of graph paper to map out! Talk about intricate, in- depth planning. B-)

Things have changed over the years, and there was a period of time when I wasn't playing for about 10 years. When I started up again it was just like old times, sitting around a table laughing, joking and in general having a good time. I think someone asked me one time why I played and I simply told them that I laugh more per hour in a D&D session than just about any other activity. Well, that and I don't know if my wife and I would be married if it hadn't been for the campaign we joined after my dry spell.

Another reason I've kept playing is that and every time I've moved it's been (relatively) simple to find a new group and make new friends. So I'm happy that 5E still feels much like the game I first played all those years ago, albeit with a slightly more comprehensive set of rules. There's just something about sitting around a table playing pretend that was always rewarding and still is.
 

toucanbuzz

Villager
Story warms my heart!

It was the 1980s, and with carefully saved birthday money I picked out the Red Dragon Box from the Waldenbooks in the mall. It was a big day. I had read numerous Super Adventure type Books (with dice!) and finally wanted to play the real thing. Since I bought the box, I got to run the games. Soon, we were pooling loose change for my mother to write a check so we could order something from the TSR catalog each month. I began painting miniatures, and once I got the AD&D PHB, I couldn't stop writing adventures, developing traps, creating treasure hordes, and sharing those with friends. When Dragonlance came along, I devoured every book, fell in love, and ran a campaign for heroic knights and wizards.

It's weird to look back. I've had my highs and lows over the years, tried various editions, seen good and bad players, and ultimately D&D 5th felt like coming home, just more seasoned. I've got small kids now, and I have no idea if they'll think daddy's game is silly or something that spurs the imagination. But no matter how time flows, I know it's a good day when friends get around a table, dice roll, laughter flows, and there's a wonder about what lies around the next bend.
 

devincutler

Villager
Read The Hobbit in 1972 when I was 6 years old. Fell in love with fantasy genre. In 1974 I read LOTR. My uncle, who played in one of the very early Cal Tech D&D groups tried to introduce me to this game that he said was like playing LOTR. I was too scared (being 7 years old) and declined. On my 8th birthday, in August of 1974, my uncle gave me the boxed set of original 3 books as a birthday gift. I agreed to play and was hooked ever since.

Been playing now for 43.5 years, DMing for most of that time.
 

Ath-kethin

Explorer
24 years here! I feel like a newbie in this crowd.

My first D&D character was a Thri-kreen psionicist/ranger in a Dark Sun campaign. He had a thing for eating elves, his "appearance" line on the character sheet read "ugly as hell," and the primary combat tactic of that group was my thri-kreen picking up and throwing the halfling into battle. I do not remember any other characters from that campaign.

I have been the DM of virtually every other D&D game I have ever played. I love the game with a passion I can't fully describe, and I love the fact that after all these years I am finally able (as in I have both the time and means simultaneously) to write for it and make a little bit of money doing so. I have even made enough money doing so that my tax preparer says I can write off RPG purchases as business expenses. I have a 4 year old kid who loves the Hobbit and has an imagination I cannot believe.

Truly, this is a glorious time to be alive.
 

Vymair

Villager
39 years here. My first character was a wizard named Gandalf. He died several times in Search for the Unknown but more powerful character had him resurrected and held his debt. I played regularly through junior high, high school and college. I moved away and only briefly during a short hiatus back in my home town until I moved away again. I moved back for good 18 years ago and have been playing regularly ever since. I both DM and play, though I haven't DM'd much at all over the past 8 years or so, though I am starting a new campaign here soon. I'm over 50 now and it's one of more core hobbies and key to my biggest social circle. Also taught me organization skills, creative thinking and I react well under pressure. It's a been a boon to my life in many ways.
 

Raith5

Adventurer
36 years here since I started with the Moldvay basic set and have since played all the editions since. Like others in this thread, I have a learnt a lot through this game, made great friends and made some very lame characters over the years. It is a long time but I dont feel like a Grognard, as I interested most in current and future editions of the game. I havent got attached to any edition in particular and am interested in seeing how the game has evolved and will continue to evolve.
 

Hussar

Legend
Started in 1980 after my older brother got me into it with Moldvay Basic/Expert. Been a junkie ever since and, with only a couple of breaks here and there, I've basically played weekly the whole time. Good grief.

That's a pile of time. :D
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
First played, I think, in '83 or '84. Played heavily through Junior High and first few years of high school, then moved on to Warhammer, and we also tried lots of other systems: Stair Frontiers, Gamma World, Paranoia, Boot Hill, Star Wars, and various friends home-brew games. Stopped playing when I went to college. Never played DnD 2nd, 3rd, or 4th edition. Started playing again when 5th edition came out. The stars had aligned. I had move the family back near where I grew up and started getting together with old high-school friends to play various board and card games. When 5th edition came out I decided to run run a campaign and have been playing regularly since. Love 5e and plan to play it for a long time and as my main game, but I've also run Paranoia and have tried various indie games (InSPECtres is a favorite).
 

Draegn

Explorer
I began playing with my older brothers after mom made them let me play. Call it punishment for doing naughty things to Barbie. Our game was AD&D with Dragon magazine content and Bard Games content. After a few years we switched to Shadowrun. After A levels during SR3 we tried 3 and 3.5 through the Neverwinter Night games. I missed most of 4e, uni required too much time. Now the game I run is very customized. Is having a few key terms such as HP, EXP, etc enough to call the game Dungeons and Dragons?

My game was once described as AD&D 3e with the Talislanta skill set, 3e Shadowrun magic system and the Harn religion rules.
 

Lord Mhoram

Explorer
41 for me. Started in '77 with Holmes, I was 10. Had my best friend's older brother find a game in Kansas and brought back with him called D&D. The next year the Players handbook for "Advanced" came out. So basic to advanced ok. The I realized it was a completely different game. But I liked it.
Don't remember much about my earliest characters, they were mostly disposable. My first character ever was a wizard that got killed by that stupid vampire thorn thing in B1. I played and GMed Gamma World in there too. Those were the only two RPGs I played between 77 and 85. I moved to college and discovered just how much out there I was missing - and Champions/HERO became my game of choice for decades.
I met my wife because she was the GM of the group I joined when I moved to a new area. We games solo together - and as we played HERO with the group we did different things solo - so we played our houseruled 1st edition AD&D until about 95. We also played around with Rolemaster, Mythus and some others. About that point we stopped playing any form of D&D, and just played HERO.
We didn't play 2nd ed (although we did use the Spelljammers stuff) - it got rid of things we liked (monks, demons devils) and kept or brought in things we didn't like (level limits for demi humans, Planescape, Dark Sun).
I came back in 3rd edition D&D, both because I preferred the game, and I loved the concept of the OGL and d20 license - which never achieved what I thought it could. When 4E came out, I gave it a try, found it wasn't to my taste, and moved to pathfinder.
Came over the 5th about a month ago, and am playing in 1 game (montly), and GMing 2 others already (one is every 2 weeks, and the other is solo for my wife, whenever we have a few hours free). And we still have our weekly HERO game.
 

Li Shenron

Adventurer
22 years ago in winter 1995-1996, when one of my best friends was gifted with a re-issue box of BECMI and decided to DM a game for us. I was hooked by a combination of features: the complexity of the rules (compared to any other game I knew), the mix between narrative and mechanics, and the idea of a game that was practically zero-cost but infinitely expandable. Before that, I had actually had a glimpse at the concept of RPG through a magazine article that came with a sample set of rules for a sci-fi game, so while I wasn't completely new to the idea in general, D&D actually brought it to our table :)
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
In 1982 I lived in Michigan. One day I went over to a friend's house and his older brother had this book with a unicorn and a few other weird creatures on the cover. It was called the Monster Manual. I loved reading mythology, Tolkien and other books of that nature, so I inquired further and was told that it was called Dungeons & Dragons. The older brother offered to teach me how to play, but his mother said I couldn't unless my father was okay with it. He wasn't. It was of the devil. A year later my father's friends held an intervention(he was an alcoholic and drug user) and persuaded him to let me move to California to live with my mother.

Shortly after arriving my mother was buying me stuff and asked me if I wanted any games. I immediately said Dungeons & Dragons. She located a game store called The Last Grenadier and bought me the core three books. I immediately started delving into them and read very quickly, missing a few things. Then I grabbed my new friend from the apartment above mine and started running games for him. One of the things I misread was hit dice/hit points. I thought that hit dice WAS hit points, which made things really easy to kill, but who was I to complain about that. It did puzzle me a bit when I came across a monster whose hit dice was something like 4+12. I mean, why didn't they just tell me that it had 16 hit points!?!?

It didn't take me long to figure out those few misunderstandings and I was off. I was drawing up dungeons on a daily basis. There was no rhyme or reason to them. I just drew passages, stuck doors with rooms of random sizes and shapes behind them. Threw the occasional secret door in and planted monsters in every......single.....room. Then I randomly rolled up the treasure and my buddy hacked and slashed his way to eventual death. Town was just a place to buy and sell stuff. I didn't really play NPCs much, if at all. They just hired my buddy to clear out the dungeons, and bought and sold stuff.

Over the next few years I met and played with more guys. As we got older, the above world started mattering more and more. NPCs were to be interacted with for more than just quest giving and sales. We started coming up with a few details for how our PCs behaved and things that they wanted. The game began evolving for us. Fast forward 30 more years and the game is still evolving for us. To this day I still play D&D with a few of those guys I first started out with back in the early/mid '80s. And my wife laughs at us from the other room on game nights(#notagamer).
 

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