What was your introduction to D&D


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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.
 
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HRSegovia

Explorer
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.
 

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.

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.

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.
 
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Jacob Marley

First Post
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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. :)
 

HRSegovia

Explorer
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.
 

delericho

Legend
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.
 

Radaceus

Explorer
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.
 

Wednesday Boy

The Nerd WhoFell to Earth
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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