D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop #1: How it all began

So a week or so ago I decided to enter the D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop, but of course I wasn’t around to post the first two this weekend.  I usually pass on these kinds of blog events, but the list of questions looked fun so I figured “why not?”  Besides, Frau Gnombient and I are expecting a new zero-level human to join our party in August, and reminiscing about my own entry into the hobby is extra fun now that I’m looking forward to introducing my own kid to the game.  So here goes nothing, please bear with any irregular postings of these entries…

First person who introduced you to D&D?  Which edition?  Your first character?

As I’ve shared on a few forums and elsewhere, I first played D&D sometime during the 1983-84 school year.  A friend of mine in Mrs. Frye’s fourth grade class, Scott Taylor, explained to me and some other friends about this new game he had played with some of his older neighbor friends, Dungeons & Dragons.  As an avid reader of Tolkien, Lewis’s Narnia, and the Choose Your Own Adventure books, I was sold immediately on the idea.  He showed me the rulebook (Moldvay Basic) and I leafed through it a bit, but not enough to really get the rules; in retrospect, I don’t know if Scott really understood the rules either, but at the time it didn’t matter….  Anyway, he helped me create a character: a Halfling with a “fire sword.”  (Sorry, that’s seriously all I remember about him!)

A day or so later, a large group of curious, would-be heroes congregated under a tree in the schoolyard for our first dungeon adventure.   The details of the monster-slaying, treasure-looting dungeon crawl are lost in the mists of memory, all I remember is this: Scott’s  adventure was diceless and extremely free-form, and he took great delight in acting out the death throes of the trolls we burned with our fire swords by vigorously thrashing around on the ground and wailing.  Whatever else happened must have been great, because I was completely hooked on this great new game, and a gang of us eagerly played every day at recess through the end of the school year.  I think I ran my first adventure a week or so after my first play session, I still hadn’t read the rules or even realized that dice were used throughout the game…  The first few Endless Quest books had come out, so I started reading those for inspiration (although they were mostly superseded the following year by the vastly superior Fighting Fantasy series.)  I think I played “proper” B/X D&D for the first time the following summer with some other friends from that same group.


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