D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop #2: I’m your pusher man

“First person who you introduced to D&D?  Which edition?  Their first character?”

This question is far more difficult to answer than yesterday’s.  I don’t know if I can really pinpoint the first person I introduced to D&D, since after a few months of play my friends and I were eager to expand our gaming to other genres.  I didn’t really get back to D&D until 6th or 7th grade, when, searching for a way to help pass the time on long, hot, dusty backpacking trips, I started running diceless RPG adventures for a few interested friends in my Scout troop.

The first folks I recall introducing to D&D “proper” (via 1st edition AD&D) were a few friends at Modesto Junior College.  Normally, we would spend our evenings drinking, smoking, and talking at someone’s house; I thought that D&D would be a fun way to change things up, so sometime in 1994 I described the game and made my pitch.  None had played D&D, but they grasped the concepts quickly enough, most of them being familiar with console games like Legend of Zelda and Phantasy Star.  Our crowd was a motley bunch of stoner-rockers and hippies though, two social groups typically receptive to fantasy, so it wasn’t really surprising that they went for it.  Thus were born Thalion the ranger, druid Gaul of the Evermoors, elven magic-user/thief Macy Nimblefingers, Morello the mage, and a few other personae whose names are now obscured by the fog of time.  We played sporadically for a few months but the campaign never really got off the ground.  I tried to revive the game group a few times in later years, only to be defeated by schedule conflicts…

Here’s a relic from 1994, my friend Matt’s character sheet for Gaul of the Evermoors, complete with a character sketch — still one of the greatest I’ve ever seen — that pretty well sums up the mindset of this group:

Gaul front          Gaul back

If the image is not clear, Gaul is flanked by the Hamm’s Bear on one side, and a rabbit and a “Property of Modesto” beer keg on the other.  Gaul didn’t adventure long enough to have an animal companion, but I’m sure it would have looked something like this bear…

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