•02/27/2014 • Leave a Comment
First movie that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?
The Rankin-Bass 1977 animated version of The Hobbit is #1, with very honorable mentions to Harryhausen’s Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Clash of the Titans (1981), and the Schwarzenegger Conan flicks. Not because they are necessarily “D&D-like” in every respect, but because they were my cinematic introductions to fantasy adventure.
Longest-running campaign/group you’ve been in?
My longest running regular group was probably my AD&D group during my college daze at UCSB, which met at least twice a month from ~1998-2000 and had, at its peak, 11 active players and 15+ characters. I have individual friends with whom I’ve gamed since then for longer periods overall, but not on as regular a basis.
Do you still game with the group that introduced you to the hobby?
Nope. That first group didn’t last long — a few months of D&D, then a much smaller group took to Star Frontiers. I’m still somewhat in touch with the two guys I played Top Secret with in 5th-6th grade, but we haven’t played together since grade school.
If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming?
Maybe if I hadn’t been such a TSR-exclusive fanboy, I would have gotten to play some other great games. I vaguely knew that there were other game companies out there, but with the exceptions of Car Wars and Twilight: 2000 — one I played and one I wanted to play but never did — I wasn’t interested in their products because somewhere along the line I picked up the notion that “TSR is the best.” I even turned my nose up at games based on properties I loved at the time, such as Victory Games’ James Bond 007 or WEG Star Wars. (Later of course I would learn the error of my ways…)
•02/24/2014 • Leave a Comment
First song that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?
King Crimson – “The Court of the Crimson King”
Peter Sinfield’s lyrical imagery in this tune is so deliciously fantastic, cryptic, and esoteric, almost as if it were intended to be a font of RPG inspiration. It has been a lyric which has sparked my imagination in different ways over the years, each time focusing on a couplet here, a verse there, perhaps even a single image.
•02/22/2014 • Leave a Comment
First D&D novel you read.
The first D&D book I read was Dungeon of Dread (Endless Quest #1) but since this question specifically asks about novels, we’ll just disregard this and all the other TSR gamebooks I read in elementary school… The first D&D novel I ever read was The Crystal Shard by R. A. Salvatore, which I found on a spinner rack in my high school library sometime in 1992-93. I really liked it, and subsequently tracked down the two other volumes in the trilogy. I never caught the Drizzt-fever and was thankfully never left shaking with a desire to play an outcast, good-aligned, dual-scimitar-wielding Dark Elf Ranger. I will confess that one of the most annoying PCs I ever had to DM was an unholy combination of Drizzt (renegade Drow) and Raistlin Majere (brooding wizard) from the Dragonlance series…
As an aside — the first D&D novel I wanted to read was the original Dragonlance Chronicles, purely on the basis of the Elmore covers which as a kid I thought were among the coolest covers I had ever seen. I didn’t actually read the Chronicles until I was in college, and when I did I was completely underwhelmed by them — probably because I had built up the awesomeness so high in my mind as a kid… (“How can a book with a cover this cool not be awesome?”)
The Icewind Dale Trilogy and Dragonlance Chronicles are the only officially-licensed D&D novels* I can remember reading, and will likely remain so. Nowadays I generally avoid RPG/video game/movie-related novels like the plague, although I confess to being intrigued by the recent run of Delta Green story collections…
*Not included are Andre Norton’s Quag Keep (the “first D&D novel”) or contemporary fantasy works based on the author’s D&D campaigns/characters, such as Feist’s Riftwar series.
•02/21/2014 • Leave a Comment
First time you sold some of your D&D books — for whatever reason
The first time I sold any gaming books was when I was an undergrad at UCSB — not to buy food, beer, weed, textbooks, or other school supplies, but other gaming stuff. My copies of the 2e core books (“2.5″-era) and 2nd edition Forgotten Realms box were gathering dust on a shelf, so I ended up taking them to Metro Comics in downtown Santa Barbara, which at the time (~1997-98) had quite a selection of used RPG materials. I can’t recall exactly what I traded for, since I was a pretty regular customer there — given my interests at the time, it would most likely have been stuff for 1e, Gamma World, or Call of Cthulhu (which I really dug, but sadly my group wasn’t interested in playing…)
•02/20/2014 • Leave a Comment
First non-D&D RPG you played?
My friends and I started playing Star Frontiers sometime in the spring/summer of 1984. I don’t recall who was the first to get hold of the game materials — a couple friends had Alpha Dawn and I had the Knight Hawks expansion (which we didn’t use nearly as often) — but once we had them, D&D was pretty much jettisoned out the airlock in favor of sci-fi adventure. I recall that our PC group was evenly split between Yazirians and Dralasites. My buddy MM and I were staunchly pro-Dralasite, and our group had a houserule that allowed Dralasites a limited shapeshifting ability a la Gleep and Gloop from the Herculoids cartoon.
We played the heck out of Star Frontiers for probably a year or so. Once I got my hands on the Top Secret boxed set (Christmas 1985), we shifted gears again and pretty much just played that (with some side forays into Car Wars and, to a lesser extent, Gamma World) for the next few years.
•02/19/2014 • Leave a Comment
First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you?
I can’t say I’ve ever played with someone who consistently annoyed me — what would be the point?
We all have annoying traits, and I’ve played with plenty of gamers who said/did annoying things at one time or another. There were a couple people over the years (no names, they were dear friends and otherwise nice and fun people) who came close to being consistently annoying in games due to their munchkinistic tendencies, but thankfully never to the point of “they go or I go.”
•02/18/2014 • Leave a Comment
First gaming convention?
I’ll probably lose a lot of gamer-geek cred by saying this: I have never attended a gaming convention. On one hand, I can see the draw: try out unfamiliar games, find some cool bargains or new games, maybe even participate in a session with one of the game’s elder statesmen (not so much anymore, sadly) or leading designers. For these very reasons I’ve considered going to DunDraCon a few times now that I live in the SF Bay Area (and won’t have to pay for travel or lodging), but never actually made it. For me, FRP gaming has always been first and foremost about having fun with friends in an intimate setting, and I’ve never really felt the desire to spend money on travel/lodging/con fees so I can game in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. When it comes to future cons though, I’ll never say “never” — maybe one of these years I’ll actually make it to DunDraCon…