Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Anniversary Present

So I thought this was interesting.

Yeah, I am not sure why I thought so either, but it could be because I am reminiscing about D&D thanks to it celebrating it's 40th birthday AND the fact that I am now in a (*shudder*) Pathfinder game. Honestly, it's making me miss some of my favorite old campaigns. I sure hope I get to run Champions and Star Wars D6 again soon.

Ah-hah! See what I did there? Heh.

Anyway, I figure I'll give this list a shot. Supposed to do it in February and in thirty days but I figure with my, er, love of D&D I should be able to crank it out in an evening.


Day 1:

The first person to introduce me to D&D was my friend Tom Zizzo. He was one year younger than me (I was 8, he was 7) and his older brother taught him. It was the edition of Basic which had the book cover with an illustration of a dragon on a treasure hoard in blue. All blue. Like a hundred shades of blue. My first character was Gobo Pepperthorn, a Halfling.

Day 2:

This is harder. Most of the people I played with all discovered it around the same time. Hmmm. Wait! My friend Joseph Cangelosi. We were best buddies growing up. My Mom used to say, "This is my son Adam and my other son Joseph. Only, he's not related." Joe's first character was an Elven Fighter/Magic User in the version of Basic with the Erol Otus cover.

I can only remember Basic D&D by the cover art.

Day 3.

Both of these have the same answer. We made up our own.

As a player, my first dungeon wasn't until our third session I think. In the first session I walked through an abandoned medieval village that was really a Western ghost town, complete with swinging door saloon. This is because in our 7 and 8 year old minds, a lack of guns and the presence of knights in armor were the only things that separated the Dark Ages from the Old West.

As a GM my first dungeon wasn't really a dungeon either but the ruin of an old castle. It was my own creation based on a picture in an old book my parents had.

Day 4:

My first character jumped in front of a dragon's breath attack to save a fellow PC who I had discovered was secretly the long lost prince of the Elves. He didn't know it himself, but I managed to tell him with my character's dying breath.

I've never slayed a dragon as a PC in D&D.

I helped slay some giants in D&D, or as I like to call them, 'very bigs'. We played the G series of modules and we fought and killed stone very bigs, frost very bigs and fire very bigs.

D&D giants are too damn small.

My buddy Joe and I were the only two survivors and the victors of a convention run through of The Tomb of Horrors. He defeated the Lich.

Day 5:

My highest level character was Redsand Thickstone, a Dwarf Cleric/Fighter in our homebrewed variant of Advanced D&D 1st Edition (the basis for my current D&D AD or D&D-But-Not system). I think he was 13/12 when we last saw him. I forget. I could be wrong as he was converted into an NPC and appeared in one of our later 3.0-variant campaigns.

Day 6:

My first character death was my first character ever who perished in a heroic blaze (literally) of glory as mentioned above. I took it fine. To be honest, I killed him off with that crazy maneuver because I was tired of him and was thinking of trying something different.

I am not wired to be a player.

Day 7:

This one is kind of funny.

I can't tell you what the first D&D product I bought was. I don't know or remember. I received the Erol Otus cover Basic Boxed Set from my aunt for Hanukkah. I got some additional modules and books over the next couple of years as birthday, Hanukkah or other types of presents. My grandparents got me the AD&D 1st Edition rulebooks, I recall that distinctly.

An issue of Dragon magazine might have been the first D&D item I bought myself.

Day 8:

My first set of dice were whichever ones came with the Basic Set. No, I don't still have them.

Day 9:

Homebrewed by the GM, as a player.

As a GM, my first campaign setting was a kitbashed mess of World of Greyhawk mixed with my own, original ideas, places, etc. I eventually phased out the Greyhawk parts and replaced them with my own locations and background stories.

Day 10:

Dragon. Definitely Dragon.

Day 11:

Not applicable. I was nearly always the GM and we didn't really use 'splatbooks' back then.

Day 12:

The first store I ever bought gaming stuff from is long gone.

It was called The Hobby Hut and was located on Nostrand Ave. in Brooklyn, NY.

Day 13:

Don't remember exactly what they were but I think they were made by Grenadier. We only used minis off and on and then mostly off.

Day 14:

No significant other at the time of this writing.

I am divorced, quite a number of years now, and I taught my ex-wife how to play. She was great at it and is still very much a fan and advocate of RPGs. We are still good friends and though we don't get to game together often, she runs the learning center where I teach and run RPGs for students in Brooklyn on Sundays.

Very much open to meeting someone who loves to game. Fingers crossed.

Day 15:

Ooh. Tough. Loaded question in a way.

I first became disillusioned with D&D all the way back with Advanced D&D 1st Edition. This new and expanded version, somehow better than my Basic version, seemed to talk all about creativity and than show nothing but limits. Limits to Race/Class combinations, limits to how high you could advance in those classes, a whole page on 'No Monsters As Player Characters', etc.

By the time 2nd Edition came around I was hardly ever playing or running D&D any more. Always more of a Science Fiction and Superheroes fan than a Fantasy one, I had given up D&D for Star Trek, Space Opera, Star Frontiers, Villains & Vigilantes, Champions, DC Heroes, Star Wars D6, Mekton, Teenagers From Outer Space, Ghostbusters, Paranoia, Toon, Ars Magica and a whole host of other games.

I don't think I purchased more than a handful of products from 2nd Edition. I didn't hate it, I just didn't like it or care about it any more.

I actively dislike 4th Edition. Terrible design. I am not much of a fan of Pathfinder either but trying to keep an open mind.

Day 16:

Fifth is coming out and Fourth had the shortest life span of any edition so I'd say I am on the winning side.

Truth is though, I was more of an observer than a participant in this war. I don't care for D&D in any edition any more.

Day 17:

Vaguely remember news reports in the late 80's.

I've actually appeared on TV no less than twice (possibly three times) being interviewed on the subject while I was at my FLGS or my old job at a comic book and game shop.

Humans are not the brightest of creatures.

Day 18:

While I attended comic book, Star Trek and Science Fiction conventions before attending my first game con, I believe my first one was either a Gen Con or a local one by the name of CrusaderCon. It was a blast and a great story all its own. My first Gen Con was also quite awesome.

Day 19:

I think his name was Josh or Joshua. He was...remember the Cavalier from the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon series? That was Josh. Looked like him, sounded like him and wanted to be a Cavalier. He died a lot as I recall.

Day 20:

Not sure. It was either Gangbusters or Boot Hill. I played both but can never recall which I played first. We only did a one shot of Gangbusters but I ran a really fun Boot Hill campaign mixed with D&D rules that lasted a whole Summer.

Day 21:

Early-to-mid 90's. I sold some of the non-essential books to purchase stuff for games I was playing more regularly.

Day 22:

Dragonlance. Had to be. I haven't read very many D&D based novels.

Day 23:

Viva La Vida by Coldplay.

Day 24:

For D&D? Star Wars maybe? I don't know that there has ever been a D&D movie. Even the D&D movie isn't a D&D movie, although it comes pretty close.
Nah, not Star Wars. I like that movie too much. Hmmm. One of the prequels?

Day 25:

The longest game I was ever in as a player was a campaign of Champions that lasted nearly 10 years, though I was only in it for 2 1/2 to 3 I think. Actually maybe 2-2 1/2.

I ran a campaign of my homebrewed variant Advanced D&D that last 3 1/2 to 4 years of real time. That group remained together for all that time roughly unchanged.

I've run two other long standing campaigns, one of Star Trek and another of Star Wars, but none quite as long as the aforementioned AD&D AD game.

Day 26:

LOL, no. That was over 36 years ago. People move.

Day 27:

Game my favorite games more and D&D less.

Day 28:

The single most important lesson I've learned from D&D is to be flexible in your thinking. Think on the fly. Don't get bogged down or stuck by minutiae.


Barking Alien

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