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D&D General Your first D&D experiences?


Late 70's, I was probably 7 or 8 and remember watching my older brother and his friends play. I remember that they had fallen from a boat and were arguing who was able swim with their armor on, don't remember much else.

It was a few years later, probably around 12 when I got to play for the first time. Looking back, it was a mess. The DM was the only person who had played before and we weren't allowed to see our character sheets (can't remember the reasoning) and he'd make fun of us for not knowing the rules. Looking back, it's surprising that I stuck with it, but I hooked.

Through DnD I met my very best friends in the world 30+ years ago when we were stationed together at 29 Palms. We still play regularly together. The past few years we've been doing a "survey" of different games systems - PbA, Strands of Fate, MAZES and a couple I can't remember the names of.

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Watched the D&D cartoon growing up and played Zelda, Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy and other RPGs before ever seeing an actual book. A friend borrowed the 1E PHB from his uncle and we spent a weekend trying to figure things out, but we really couldn't (the rules for the game are in the DMG).

My brother found a game and joined up, but refused to introduce me to the DM, since he didn't want me "tagging along." I decided to make my own rpg, using what I remembered and stuff from video games. I got two friends together and ran a small adventure, during which my brother's DM stopped by. He asked what we were doing, and unaware of who he was, I explained (badmouthing my brother along the way). He immediately invited me into his game, explaining to my brother that I'm going to play anyway, so I best learn how to play right. He saw my initiative in making an rpg, and ao shortly after I got into the game he apprenticed me to become a DM (this was common in 1E and OD&D, since the rules weren't available to the players).


Late in 1976, I was 13 and a boy from the year above had got the white box set. He knew my friend quite well and asked us to play a game, which we did; a straight dungeon crawl which ended with my fighter, Aelric, and his M-U, Amroth, being killed by orcs after three sessions. Big thanks to DM Dave and friend Phil for getting me started.
For Xmas, I got the white boxed set myself and haven’t looked back.
Just as an aside, I started a D&D club at my school in 1977 and my grandson now attends the same school and tells me the club is still running for 9th grade and above. He’s in 7th grade and plans to join in two years.

D&D, along with friends, school and rugby, got me through a tough childhood and I’ll be forever thankful for all four.


One of the major news channels was having a segment on some kid who vanished into a pipe system under the school, who played a game called Dungeons and Dragons. Cue shot from I guess Gencon with 3D dungeons filled with monsters. I told my dad right then and there I wanted the game*. Got the Holmes set for Christmas, didn't understand a word of the rules (I was 9-10ish?) but got minis (a set of heroes and monsters) and started making maps to play out their adventures on. Roped in my friends and never looked back. Didn't start using the "real" rules until a couple years later (6th grade) with the Moldvay set, then picked up the AD&D 1E rules as an 8th grade graduation present.

* Considering what the news segment was about, it's a wonder I got it.


Mid 80's or so I read a lot of books, often finding it hard to find new books I could afford (ones that cost 25 cents or less). Then I discovered Choose Your Own Adventure Books, and got hooked on the idea of choosing a story. I read through them....and then discovered some D&D Choose Your Own Adventure Books, and read them too. In the very back of the D&D books was an add "if you like this book, try this game".

I did, and so I did.

I found the BECMI Basic Red Box at Book Barn for just $3.99. Then got some people to come over and we stumbled through the game.


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It was 1982 and I was 12 years old in 7th grade. A whole bunch of other nerds in my classes were talking about it, so eventually I convinced my mom to buy me a copy of Moldvay. I drew up a bunch of characters and playtested them through Keep on the Borderlands in hopes of figuring out what the whole game was about and how one played it. From that day on I was in love.

My father had read both the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings to me as a child, and had introduced me to both Fritz Leiber and HP Lovecraft once I was old enough to read on my own. My mother, who just knew that her son seemed to be really into this "fantasy" stuff, out of the blue one day in the early nineties gave me both the original AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide and a box of miniatures, labeled "Whizzards & Warriors". I absolutely poured through that book - an entire chapter listing magic items! A two page chart describing what happens when you're poisoned! It was all utterly fascinating to me, even if I only had a vague notion of what it was.

The problem, really, was that I had no idea that there were other books, let alone that the Players Handbook existed. The DMG kept talking about this game you were supposed to play with it, but I was very vague on how that was supposed to work. Eventually, I managed to corral a few friends in the eighth grade lunch room - I gave them each a miniature, and opened the book to the 'sample dungeon', and instructed them to place their minis on the map. The players kept asking what they could do - I filled it in as best I could imagine, but it was mainly hand-wavey - "oh you're a knight, you can attack things with your sword and have a shield". I was a bit heartbroken when the next day, one of the players stopped me in the hall and told me, "...my dad said you're not supposed to show us the map."

I really should have asked that kid to introduce me to his dad, but I did not. It wasn't until I changed schools that I was sitting in an art class and saw another student wearing a t-shirt with a dragon and a castle on it, and worked up the courage to ask him if he liked fantasy and gaming. He brought me into his 2e game, and we played for years after.

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