My introduction to RPGs came in 1983. I was eight at the time and already a fan of Middle Earth, Narnia, Greek and Norse mythology, Arthurian legends, and (of course) Star Wars. One day at school, my friend Scott showed up with a copy of the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Rules (Moldvay edit) and helped me create my first character, a hobbit with a “fire sword.” We played at recess and I was immediately hooked on this new game, which felt like a natural progression from the Choose Your Own Adventure series and other gamebooks my friends and I all devoured. Scott didn’t use dice or maps or anything as DM, it was totally free-form and improvised — a model I eagerly emulated a few days later when I ran my first adventure.
I still love playing tabletop RPGs when time permits (with books, dice, and maps no less!), and occasionally I’ll write something about games I’m thinking about, playing, or thinking about playing.