Thirty-eight years ago today, in front of P.S. 130 in Brooklyn, New York, I was introduced to Dungeons & Dragons. I went on to make up a character, play through a session, and started my long, crazy, wondrous obsession with the hobby of Role Playing Games.
All that time...
I've been looking forward to writing this post, commemorating such a long time following the same interest and passion, but now that I'm here I'm not sure what to say. There are so many memories. I've had so much fun, and there are so many things I've learned, it's not just hard to know where to begin, but it's hard to process it all as you start churning it up in your head to put it all down.
I started as a player of Basic D&D in 1977. I first GMed a game, also Basic D&D, in the Summer of 1978. I identify myself as a Gamemaster primarily, who also plays. I prefer to GM about a thousand times more than I like to play.
The first game I played after D&D was probably Boot Hill. I also believe it was the first game I ran after D&D, and possibly the very first campaign I ever ran. That would be 1979 I think. I've never run another Western campaign since.
I played, or attempted to play, Traveller for the first time in 1979. I hated it as only a 10 year old can when he feels like someone made a boring mockery of his favorite genre. I wouldn't get to play in, or run the kind of Science Fiction game I wanted until I purchased FASA's Star Trek RPG in 1982.
I did play a few other games between 1979, and 1982, notably Gamma World, the closest thing to Science Fiction I would get before Star Trek. From my initial entry into the hobby to 1982 though, we played mostly D&D. I altered it, added to it, ran things a bit more like a Superhero comic book, but it was D&D, and AD&D all the way for a good stretch.
I discovered Villains and Vigilantes in 1982, at one of New York's largest Comic Book, Sci-Fi, fandom related stores a few months prior to finding Star Trek at NYC's primary, dedicated game shop. V&V took away a lot of D&D's thunder for me.
That was nothing compared to buying the Star Trek RPG. It launched a fully volley of Photon Torpedoes at D&D that the old girl never recovered from in my eyes. For me, it was the beginning of the end for Dungeons and Dragons' place at my gaming table, and the dawn of a much larger world.
Between 1982, and 1987, we played a lot of, well, a lot of games. A lot. Trying new games was a goal of ours in, and of itself. A hobby within the hobby you might say. Many games never went past the first try out, or very short campaigns of three to five sessions at the most.
We eventually settled on favorites that saw a lot of table time, as free moments were devoted to gaming. Our mainstays were Star Trek, V&V, Mekton (and then Mekton II in 87'), Space Opera, Star Frontiers, Ghostbusters, MegaTraveller (Traveller redeemed!) and Toon. In 1987, West End Games produced the Star Wars Role Playing Game, and following hot on it's heals over the next few years was Ars Magica, Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, and my introduction to Champions. Not to be left out, and an absolute favorite during my high school years, was Teenagers from Outer Space.
D&D couldn't hold a candle next to the plethora of Science Fiction, Superhero, Anime/Manga, and oddball games that existed by the early 1990s. It was also around this time that I began to research and collect Japanese tabletop RPGs, or TRPGs, quite seriously, falling in love with Sword World, Wares Blade, Metal Head, SATASUPE Remix, Paradise Fleet, and others.
I attended my first Gen Con in 91'. I went again in 93', and 95'. I went there with my ex-wife in either 1998, or 99' and again in 2000. I then didn't go again until some years later, and my last time was around 2007 I believe.
I love conventions, and have attended far too many to count, both as a fan, and professionally. Among the ones I have the fondest memories of include Dex Con (NJ), Katsucon (MD), Origins (Chicago, IL), Otakon (Baltimore, MD), Shore Con (NJ), and a number of small local conventions such as Crusader Con, and the seriously missed RECESS.
I have done work that has appeared professionally in a number of RPGs. My most well known was writing I did for Star Trek (LUG), and Star Wars (WEG). I've also done artwork that appeared in Adventures in Oz, and some online magazines that are no longer with us.
I have appeared on National Television at least twice talking about RPGs on news, and Human Interest programs.
I have taught classes using RPGs as a tool for English-as-a-Second-Language students, and others, from 2nd, to 7th grade.
My longest campaign was, believe it, or not, an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons campaign, set in my homebrewed world of Aerth, which lasted 3 and a half years (almost four). It spanned over 300 sessions, most of which were about 6 hours long, others about 8.
Other long campaigns have included multi-year games of Star Trek, V&V, Space Opera, Champions, and Traveller, and year long campaigns of Star Wars, Mutants and Masterminds, Mekton, Teenagers from Outer Space, and many more.
I have had the absolute pleasure, and good karma, to have gamed with some of the greatest gamers, and most wonderful people, a guy could hope to know. There is no way to list all of you, but I feel I wouldn't be writing this now, and most of my best stuff wouldn't exist, without Tom Z., Paul, David F., Joe C., Chris D., Bruce D., Martin L., Richard K,, Mathew K., Ben O., David P., David K., Richard G., Rachel F., Danny G., Aldrin A., Nelson M., Martin K (RIP)., Ken L., Allen H., Lynn M., Rebecca H., Rob L., Phil L., Beverly M., Anna P., Avram G., David C., William C., AJ, Peter 'Pedro' H., Selim N., Michael M., Artie I., Vlad R., Adam T., Jason M. (Big J), Jason N. (Little J), Keith C., Junior, Ray H., Will L., Emi L., Steve Y., Andy R., Hans, Carl, Keith J., Lloyd G., Cameron C., Dan R., Leo J., Alex B., Arthur L., and of course, Selina.
Well, I think that's all I have in me for today.
Thanks for being here dear readers. Thank you for sharing, and spreading the love, the interest, the dreams, the ideas, the questions, and answers.
As always, a very special thank you to those I've never gamed with, but who remain steadfast friends of the blog - WQRobb, Lord Blacksteel, Lowell Francis, Ivy Shorts/The Happy Whisk, Jay of EXONAUTS, and Charles 'Dyvers' Atkins.
Play on everybody, play on.
For further (hopefully entertaining) information about my early days in the hobby, check out my 'Secret Origins', Parts 1, 2, and 3.