D&D General Was your first experience with D&D as a player or as a DM?

Was your first experience with D&D as a player or DM?

  • As a player with an experienced DM

    Votes: 54 42.9%
  • A a player with a first time DM

    Votes: 38 30.2%
  • As a DM

    Votes: 34 27.0%


got lucky my dad was stationed in Gulfport MS and the guy at a local game shop did continuing ed gaming classes. for 50 bucks i got a tunnels and trolls book, a star fleet battles in a ziplock bag and a few other games. We spent two weeks learning the games and he ran a few ADND adventures. My first DND character lasted 5 minutes then squish. So I played a ranger after that.

since then till recently I've been the forever DM. been nice to play.

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Started off with the old red box set, voted the 2nd option just because I'm not sure the DM had much experience playing prior. My older cousin ran a game for his younger brother and I, I think we were 6 or 7 maybe? Needless to say, we didn't really understand the game so he rolled a lot of the dice and just had us say what we wanted to do.

I recall throwing my torch at the first skeleton we encountered hoping to scare it away instead of using my sword. Good times. lol


Lowcountry Low Roller
I played once I think as a teen, with a friend who DMed for a couple of us, But I do remember leafing through the books a few times (the book names certainly stick with me).

I didn‘t start playing for real until 2014 when 5e came out and the only way to get a game rolling was to start DMing myself. So that’s how I answered the poll.


My first game (of AD&D 1E) was as a player, but technically it was with two experienced DMs. My two cousins, who lived an hour away from our house, were both experienced DMs and each ran his own campaign back home (with painted metal minis and everything). So one day, when visiting us, they brought their D&D books and some pre-generated PCs, I and my two younger brothers picked from the lot, and one of the cousins DMed while the other ran a shared PC between the two of them. They had each designed half of a dungeon, so when we crossed over to that point on the map they swapped, with the one who had designed that half taking over the DM role and the former DM running their shared PC.

That Christmas, I got the Dungeon Master's Guide for Christmas, one brother got the Player's handbook, and the other brother got the Monster Manual, and we were off. As the oldest, I became the DM, although my oldest younger brother tried his hand at it a few times. I've been DMing ever since, although in recent years I've also become a regular player, as my own younger son started up a series of campaigns (and then later one of our players decided to give it a try).



Player. Some high school upper classmen invited my 7th grade butt to fill in for a regular player while they ran Tomb of Horrors. They gave me a cleric. I died on my very first action, trying to turn something (a vampire maybe? Don't recall). They felt bad enough that at the end of the encounter they just said, "He lives!" I died again in the next room, and that was it. The next time I played was also as a player, but with peers. I didn't try DMing 'til a couple years later.


As a player with a first time DM.

Now, for context, this was 1985. The DM was my dad and the other players were my brothers. It was the Metzner Basic set and my first character, a cleric called Clarion, was eaten by the carrion crawler under the old gate in the first 5 minutesof the first game. But I'm not still bitter about it almost 40 years later.

My dad only DMed the one session and my oldest brother took over. I think I DMed for the first time a year later since even at that age I was already writing stories.

Edgar Ironpelt

It was a long time ago: Fall of 1978, I arrived at Michigan State as a freshman and discovered the Tolkien Society and a bunch of geek-stuff, including D&D. I think I played before I did any actual DMing, but I did start DMing very early on.

I do remember buying the AD&D (1e) Players Handbook and Monster Manual, but not the Dungeon Masters' Guide - because the DMG hadn't been released yet.

I also remember seeing actual copies of Metagaming's Microgames at the hobby store there - something I'd only known about previously from ads for mail-order.

Self taught 2e AD&D DM with the help of a audio cd from the 90s era black box starter. Memories of D&D was brand new to me and the thought of endless possibilities. I'll never forget laying out the FR grey box maps across my living room floor and just being excited and awe struck.

I dm'd the three dungeons that came in that starter box. Then I went mad and started drawing dungeons non stop in a notebook of graph paper. Wished I could find that notebook now.

Question for the group. Did anyone play the Adventure that was included in the grey Forgotten Realms book? I attempted it but never got to the point of play. I never finished reading it. Can anyone give me a run down on that particular adventure? Did it tie into any other adventures? Was it even good?
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My first time was as a player but I have no idea how experienced the DM was so I didn't vote in the poll.

I was pretty young. It was in the late 1970's, no later than 1980, and I didn't really know much about D&D at the time. A friend from school invited me to play with a group of his friends. I have no memory of making a character, but I can't say for sure I didn't, and have no recollection of being told how to play. We all gathered around a picnic table in the backyard to play. The DM did his DM thing and described the situation to the players (I have no memory of what it was) and everyone else got up and ran into the woods. I was completely confused and sat there for a little while by myself before I hopped on my bike and went home. When I saw my friend again at school, he asked me where I went and I told him I didn't understand what was happening so I left. I really didn't get into the game again until about 1983, when I fell in love with it, and couldn't square in my head what I read in the rules with what happened that day. It wasn't until I started playing Vampire the Masquerade that I realized they were basically LARPing.

Self taught DM. I was bad when I started out. I mean, golly whiz no improvising ability in the slightest, overpowered NPCs showing up to do the important stuff, basically making the players sit through a terrible novel kind of bad.

It was bad, is what I'm saying.


As a player. I was in Grade 8 and my friend Willem was invited me to play a game with his older brother, who was in college. A few of us got to play with those cool college kids before starting our own campaign, where I was the main DM. This is also when I started listening to bands like Black Sabbath and Rush, because obviously if the DM was into them, they had to be cool!


I first started playing as a DM with the rules cyclopedia with my cousin. We had some thunder rift modules pretty early on, though I'm not sure if we had them from the start or if we got them later on.

Self taught DM. I was bad when I started out. I mean, golly whiz no improvising ability in the slightest, overpowered NPCs showing up to do the important stuff, basically making the players sit through a terrible novel kind of bad.

It was bad, is what I'm saying.

I remember the NPC that is secretly a God, being an all too common occurrence in my early days of D&D.

Looking back at the poll, I’m not sure it really tells us anything interesting or new and I probably could have done a better job with the options available.
But I really appreciate everyone who participated, especially those that took the time to write about their initial experience.

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