RPG Evolution: For Those Who Support Us

My godmother, who always supported my D&D hobby, passed away recently. This is for her.

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Is This a Trick?​

When I was first introduced to Dungeons & Dragons, there were two camps that supported my new hobby. The first was led by my mother, who felt that anything book related was good, period. This policy meant she never hesitated in buying me books and since Advanced Dungeons & Dragons tomes were in book form, I was always up to date on the latest version of the game.

In the early days, when there were two different versions of Dungeons & Dragons being published at the same time (Basic and Advanced), what to buy a younger gamer as a gift wasn't always clear. I already owned the Red Basic D&D set, but there was a steady stream of AD&D books coming out I didn't own. My aunt, my mother's older sister and my godmother, was just as excited as my mom about my new "book habit", but was more focused on buying "D&D stuff" (the second camp) and bought me all the AD&D books as they came out.

She had a sense of humor about it, so she put the hardcover books in clothing boxes. Only later did I realize this was meant to be a joke (I mean, I could tell they were books by the weight and how they slide around in the box). I was taught to say "thank you" no matter what gift I got, so if she was expecting me to be disappointed I (hopefully) didn't show it.

And that's how I got my first AD&D hardcover, the Monster Manual.

A Tale of Two Editions​

What I didn't realize was that the book wasn't compatible with Basic Dungeons & Dragons. We made it work anyway, but it took my high school group some time to realize that there were differences at all. And it was thanks to my godmother (who had no idea either), that I ended up with a full set of AD&D books. That led to our group splitting when I insisted our Basic D&D campaign shift gears to AD&D instead of moving on to the Basic Masters set. The rift was traumatic but temporary, and we all eventually settled into AD&D. And it's all thanks to my godmother.

I'm pleased to say that I was able to tell her about how influential she was in my life in-person, something she was quite proud of. Unfortunately, she suffered from a host of physical illnesses as well as dementia, and eventually succumbed to Covid-related complications. She passed away on February 18, 2022.

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Honoring Her Memory​

It's a different time now, but as I get older and bask in the glory that is D&D being cool again, I find it important to remember those who supported us when even mentioning you played D&D was a deal-breaker: for dates, for job prospects, and at the dinner table. I grew up with great privilege and a family that cherished education and books, but I realize not everyone has those advantages. If you're interested in giving back, here's a few recommendations.

Please Note: I’m the Chair of the Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games (CAR-PGA). We have our own Gamers in Need page if you’re interested in learning more about how to give back to the gaming community.

Jasper's Game raises awareness and donations for suicide prevention and mental health. The Roleplaying Game Creators Relief Fund provides financial assistance to tabletop roleplaying game creators suffering hardship due to medical emergencies, natural disasters, and other catastrophic situations. And RPG Research is creating an online and in-person historical and research museum that also provides experiential learning on the history of all role-playing game formats.

To honor my aunt's memory, I made a donation in her name to Fantasy Book Quest 2022, which aims to put fantasy books in school libraries. Given the current state of affairs in the world, I've also contributed 5E RPG: Oz Adventures to DriveThruRPG's D&D Compatible Charity Bundle. All proceeds support Doctors Without Borders' emergency preparedness response in Ukraine. EN World has also created a collection of healing spells, rewards, magical ceremonies, and monk archetypes that can be used in your 5E game. 100% of the funds raised from this campaign will be donated to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. The funds will help DEC charities provide food, water, shelter and healthcare to refugees and displaced families.

However you give back, I hope we all take a moment to remember those who supported us and those who are no longer with us. We couldn't have gotten this far without their support.
 

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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Condolences on your loss.

What I didn't realize was that the book wasn't compatible with Basic Dungeons & Dragons. We made it work anyway, but it took my high school group some time to realize that there were differences at all.
This exact thing happened to us, and while we worked with it for a while, we eventually just moved to AD&D. No split in the party, we all moved lock stock and barrel.
 

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talien

Community Supporter
I had that same confusing period in the 80s . . . when I had both BECMI D&D sets and AD&D books. When I finally realized they were two different games, I was irritated! Sold off my entire AD&D collection and went pure BECMI until the 90s. Most gamers I've talked to from that era went the opposite direction, and went with "advanced" D&D over "basic" D&D.
I glossed over this because I didn't want to take away from the tribute to my godmother, but yeah it was traumatic, like an intense election campaign. We were each convinced the other game was better, and the reality was the group couldn't survive unless we all agreed on it. But it was also high school, so ... drama.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I glossed over this because I didn't want to take away from the tribute to my godmother, but yeah it was traumatic, like an intense election campaign. We were each convinced the other game was better, and the reality was the group couldn't survive unless we all agreed on it. But it was also high school, so ... drama.
Oh, to further drag this semi off-topic . . . .

Heroes & Villains just launched a line of BECMI t-shirts! They have two designs for each of the boxed sets!

 


evildmguy

Explorer
Awesome tribute! I also started playing in the 80s and through the "Satanic Panic" of the 80s but my Mom was very encouraging. She would come home with more books she found at garage sales! I had several players back then who were jealous of that because their parents let them play but weren't excited about it. I did have one friend who was forbidden from playing. Forty two years later, still going strong with gaming!
 

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