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Snapshots of your personal D&D

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:28 am    Post subject: Snapshots of your personal D&D Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Reading through some conversations with people it's occurred to me that we all have our own D&D history, molded by when we got into the game, what books we saw, our closest personal hobby shop and a hundred other particulars. I thought it would be cool to talk about and collect those little idiosyncrasies.

For instance there's monsters certain people like because of when they got in the game. I noticed that people who are 40+ care a massive amount more about the Gith than I do, the Gith are almost nothing to me because they were one humanoid race of about 70 when I got into the game but the Gith was the awesome looking cover monster for the 1981 Fiend Folio. So when I play in my older friends games there's Gith and in mine there's almost none. In the opposite direction with fiends I love the Balor because 3E came out when I was 13 and the Balor looks fucking rad but the "Type VI tannari" the Balor used to be looked terrible so my older friends don't give a shit about them.

As for me in particular I started with this introduction to AD&D pack
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and the little map you see in it is a town called Freedale which is the name of at least 1 town in every campaign I've almost ever run. It's just the default D&D town to me. If you asked me to run an off the cuff session the odds that all the heroes would be gathered in a tavern in Freedale would be about 80%.

I also realized that in the abridged Monster Manual there the most powerful creature in it was a Copper Dragon and I have not used a single Gold Dragon or Brass Dragon or almost any metallic in my life but I have always kind of liked Copper Dragons and used them from time to time.

I'm really curious about peoples little idiosyncrasies that they developed from exactly when, where and with who their D&D experience began.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Record of Lodoss War and Capcom's D&D brawlers are a formative part of my D&D experience.

I tend to have a more 'generalist' take on what a 'class' should do because the Capcom Wizard can also fight with his staff and stabs with a magic knife.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I started in 94, playing 2E. I pretty much never used fiends, because I didn't understand any of the history of demons/devils -> Tanar'ri/Baatezu, so I didn't care about them. I actually wondered why there were no demons in the Monsteressrous Meannenannial.

My cousin and I did get our grubby mitts on the Humanoid Handbook, which let you play minotaurs. They gave you a +2 Str, which let you bypass the whole 18/xx weirdness, and was quite powerful for much of the low-level game. Needless to say, there were many minotaur PCs for a few years.

I never read any of the Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms books. Even though I was the right age for it, my games were thankfully free of Drizzt clones.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I started playing in late 85 or so. We played all of one adventure before the kid with the books moved out of the neighborhood and we were left to attempt to make up the rules from memory and speculation. In late 86 or early 87, one of my friends found an indie bookstore in a local mall that sold the BECMI boxed sets and some miniatures. That was where we wound up getting all our 2nd edition books when that came out in 89.

We were collectively influenced by b-movies, Steven King, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Lone Wolf, and a bunch of other random fantasy stories. We played the original Bard's Tale, Quest for Glory (at the time called Hero Quest), and SSI gold box series of Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance computer games.

The undead were always the coolest monsters to us, and often featured prominently in our games.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I started sometime in the mid 90s, playing 2e with my folks and their group.

The first character I remember playing was an elf ranger/cleric. I wanted to play an elf paladin of some nature deity in their homebrew setting, but my father - the DM - told me that elves couldn't be paladins.

I think she had 3 hit points at first level.

Good times.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I started in the mid 80's with BECMI (really only used BEC early on), introduced by my older brother who DM'd for me, and later me DMing for him sometimes. Eventually he found some friends who also played, and that was good.

In tween years I converted a half-dozen friends to playing DnD, and when we were allowed to create an elective club in 6th grade I was the main force behind a D&D club which grew that crowd. In high school I left DnD for other games, only to return with the advent of 3e which renewed interest for myself and many of my friends. That was the golden era of play for me. Many campaigns, a half-dozen DMs between my group of friends, and years of play. During an extended long lull in people's free schedules as we became established adults post-college, I and my wife played 3.5 Living Greyhawk for a couple years until 4e shitcanned it.

Nowadays the gang plays either 3e or retrocrap.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was around seven when I had my first experiences with 2e D&D. However my early experiences in 1988 were of D&D being a purely verbally narrated and adjudicated experience. While even then I knew that D&D was played with figurines, as well there that were pages and dice involved; it would be until the late 1990's before I'd be playing D&D and Shadowrun with friends from high school. I played a bit of 3e during the early 2000's, and some time after 3.5 was released began to play it with the regular frequency again.

[Edit & expansion]

When I first started playing I basically treated it like a found-item larp. If I found a length of conduit sheath, I claimed to the DM that I had a "lighting sword" (which they corrected to "thunder sword", which I felt was stupid at the time b/c I wanted a lighting bolt that came out of the handle; even if I hadn't watched Star Wars, I knew that "magical handle of weapon emits an illumination; not an auditory effect"). It was also a fairly messed up game, the older players (who played in the DM's home game on weekends) would regularly kill (relatively) friendly NPCs after they had joined the party. Which led to my approach to D&D being generally morally ambiguous; the PCs will kill just about anyone who's not represented by the player, and the monsters themselves are killed merely b/c they're lethal obstacles towards the PCs movement through arbitrary dungeon labyrinths.

When I began to play at an actual table, our group of players were in our teens and most of us played Neutral Evil characters out of wanting to play with a pragmatic outlook. We never had any encounters with NPCs that would have us wanting to kill or torture them, but we had unanimously decided before the campaign started that our PCs would all be suffering some sort of borderline personality disorder.

One of our groups members actually owned the 2e AD&D set released in the 1990's; and all of us bought a Complete [Class] kit to have "better" classes.

I really don't know how, or why, but we didn't have a cleric or druid (we never got the memo that healing was important); everyone in this campaign was a rogue, fighter (or class kit, or homebrew class kit), or class-kitted wizard. Thus our party was made up of: Assassin, War Wizard, & [Homebrew class kit] Fighter.

I had elected to play as a Fighter (although everyone else expected I would want to play a Wizard), mostly b/c the party didn't have a character that could stand on the front line and melee monsters. A session or two later, my brother joined and added a Samurai from the Complete Fighter class kit and the party then had an explosive damage dealer on the front lines.

We also homebrewed a lot of our own mechanics. Instead of "selling" weapons and buying better ones, we decided that if you had X amount of weapons of a specific bonus, you could break them down to get a single weapon of the next higher up bonus (e.g. two +1 -> one +2; three +2 -> one +3, four +3 -> one +4, five +4 -> one +5). I still can't recall what prompted us to come up with and continue to use this idea however. I also recall that my character would routinely harvest enemy corpses to make trophies/armour (which did nothing mechanically, and annoyed the DM after a while).

Additionally, our Wizard PC was played by the campaign's DM. Our group didn't have any concept that we even could metagame, and any time the Wizard used a non-damage spell that affected the plot, it was b/c an other player had an idea and asked the wizard if they had spell "plot device" on hand.

Eventually our murderhoboing came to an end when the party reached level 10; and we spent our money buying wardogs (me and the assassin player), scrolls (the wizard), or a war-elephant (my brother's samurai), and went to hunt a powerful dragon. After the elephant stomped the fire-breathing monster to death, we rolled up our final encounters treasure and sort of wrapped up and stopped playing that campaign. In an example of breaking conventions of the game, we even rolled the results of our own treasure rewards; the only notable result being that the Samurai ended up with a +6 ring of protection (i.e. a "100" result on the rings of protection table).

When I took up playing in 3.0; I was playing a spear wielding ranger b/c I still had the cognitive bias that narrative choices had no effect upon success within the game. I might as well have played a Warrior in leather armour and been as effective a character.

When I picked up the 3.5 books, I ran a session at my LFGS adapted from a 2e Dungeon adventure with a bunch of strangers. I still am in touch with some of them to this day, and we took our campaign out of the game store and played for a couple of years in a homebrew sandbox campaign that I ran. We reached around level 7 with somewhere around 6-8 party members after that amount of time, and I basically burned out.

After that, the oldest player in our group started running the Eberron adventure path due to having a member of their extended family working somewhere in WoTC's offices and mailing them the adventure booklets. It was around that time that I was digging into the faults of 3.X, and had finally gotten around to learning about [Tome] content, and looked up everything else I could find. We ended the Eberron campaign somewhere after the adventure path that goes to the southern continent across the sea, and were starting the next adventure that led into the Mournlands.

When I began a [Tome] campaign, we had added some new players, and had lost some from the starting group. I ran the campaign as "themed" sandbox adventures; asking the players for d% results, writing the results given (taken down in the order they called them out, not by any sort of equitable method), and input the results into tables of the DMG to determine what that sessions adventure would be. I had gotten tired of sessions where varied player attendance strained the campaign narrative in the Eberron game, and a lot of [Tome] content allowed for truly streamlined gameplay. This allowed for me to be able to run several encounters within a single session, and allow a self-contained adventure to be played each session. I could run as many as 12 players through a single large battle, or a single player in their attempts to track down and slay a single monster.

I brought that last habit to the "In Media Res" After Sundown sessions I later ran. Either giving the players an objective for their PCs to accomplish; or having them give me goals they wished to accomplish and my determining how well their precautions and attempts furthered their goals.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Our group (me, my brother and some friends) got into RPGs when we were around 14-12 years olds. We actually played some GURPS before D&D, but we never fully enjoyed that system because it didn't seem fantastical enough. Our fantasy references were The Lord of the Rings (that we read in European Portuguese, making it sound even more antiquated and stiffy), Conan (the comics), Lodoss War and Bastard! (the OVAs).

The first D&D book I bought was the second edition's Tome of Magic, which sounds like an insane decision, but by then I didn't know how to read English. I decided that if I bought "a Tome of Magic" I'd have something to translate and spice up GURPS boring spells. What I got instead was a lot of crazy and false promises: Tome of Magic talks about some quite insane things, like wizards building demiplanes by using blocks of solid fire, and I had no way to know that the core book didn't deliver the spells to do that. Still, I loved the Numbers priest sphere and so for years my campaigns had some kind of techno-priesthood teleporting around with the power of math.

By the next allowance, I bought the PHB proper and learned to read English with it (not even an exaggeration). While it didn't deliver the balls-to-the-wall spells the Tome of Magic talked about, it did deliver a lot of content that was certainly more flavorful than GURPs Fantasy.

One thing D&D gave to my group was elves that kicked ass. We were primed by like 3/4 of our fantasy references to expect that elves were better than you, and 2nd edition has elves with Dex 19 dual wielding longswords with just the PHB, and once you buy an additional book, Bladesingers.

The funny thing about The Master Race Handbook is that it doesn't sound unbalanced if the players decide that everybody will be elves, which was exactly what we did. So that's probably our group's main idiosyncrasy: For decades, our campaigns were elf-centric and nobody cared. The racial limits to advancement were of course ignored, but we did follow the race/class limitations, which means there was usually some human token tagging around. More than once in our games there was a time-skip appropriate for elves ("40 years later, trouble started again...") and more than once the human's player simply wrote "the second" on his character name and nobody batted an eye. In other timeskips, non-elves took the chance to play a completely different character (that would inherit all the previous character levels and equipment).

Good times.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was first introduced to d&d in 1996, and my formative experiences were Record of the Lodoss War and The Slayers (of which Animerica said "Lodoss is the game every DM dreams about having, while The Slayers is the game they end up with instead").

Being of the weeb, "holy goody-goodness vs. evil evilosity" persuasion, my first DM had a big hardon for undead (still does to this day), which combined with the creepy-awesome art of AD&D's binder that passed for a Monstrous Compendium back then, I got hooked on them as well.

Having said this, my first two meatspace tables were both awful and committed nearly every don't in the book, both on a GM and player level (which you can say was also part of my formative experience).
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I got into RPG's around 12-14, my first exposure was with the 3rd edition D&D Starter set or "Adventure Game" from a friend showing it to me and later introduced me to his D&D Group. I really got more into it around 2003 when D&D forums were rich with info on Quadratic Wizards, Linear Warriors. Art for Goblin, Gnoll, Brass Dragons have been quite standout for me and thus how I like to view them (Gnoll Battleaxes probably the coolest kind of one-handed axe I've seen). Frost Giants art being all Norse-like has been super cool cemented in my mind as well, and of course Marilith/Balor looked awesome.

Since I played Video Games often into formative years, never really focused on a game having REALIZARM in its physics, though I did care about Inventory management/survival (though I stopped caring about that 5+ yrs ago).

I learned of other RPG's in the world via my local store and Wikipedia. Due to games there the ones we played were: D&D, L5R, BESM, (one-shots mostly), D20 Modern, Spycraft, later SR4, and FantasyCraft.

EDIT: Of Interesting Note, I actually ran some homebrewed made up system of a game parodying D&D for couple years, then it was Munchkin RPG of all things, and finally I settled into 3e D&D. Later in 2008 I would try 4e D&D running that until Essentials, then to [Tome] and never looking back for my D&D experience (Though I'm currently playing Shadow of the Demon Lord).
What I find wrong w/ 4th edition: "I want to stab dragons the size of a small keep with skin like supple adamantine and command over time and space to death with my longsword in head to head combat, but I want to be totally within realistic capabilities of a real human being!" --Caedrus mocking 4rries

"the thing about being Mister Cavern [DM], you don't blame players for how they play. That's like blaming the weather. Weather just is. You adapt to it. -Ancient History

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1988 with BE(not CMI because no one owned them yet). I sat down, got handed 3d6, and rolled an 18, which with in-order stats meant I was a Fighter. So I still like Fighters, fuck you, but they were better when 1d10+3 fighter damage was mostly bigger than 1d8 hp the Orcs and always bigger than the 1d4 hp the Kobolds had.

Ran some BEC later. Ran and played most of the weird 2nd edition worlds in Uni, even Birthright, until TSR went broke and the MtG crash killed most of the game shops around the same time. One massive campaign lasted like two and bit years and hit 10th level from 1st.

Played the shit out of 3.0 when it came out, because it fixed pretty much everything about AD&D, and then ... well, broke just as much stuff but the net was still shit enough that people took a while to figure that out. Soon enough though, obviously 9th level Wizards are better than you and Dragons are that plus a Dragon.

Played less and less ever-more-house-ruled 3.x up until 4e came out and split the market and player base. Tried to get into Pathfinder and mostly hated it too. Managed the odd get-together for games up to 5e. Haven't really been bothered since then because I am not running that shit, and it's just easier to not play. Like, it's a long way to travel to play too, but eh, not for that.

And besides, there is also bloodbowl, and I am like 1500 games into learning to play it better, and I'm a slow player so that is a lot of time of late. They also just put out new rules, and they are ... yeah, better. They changed stuff and it fixed pretty much every major problem the game had, and didn't seem to make anything worse (though the odd thing annoys people a bit). Which is GW, for fuck's sake, how shit is Mike Mearls? Where's the fucking magic system for Iron Heroes, Mike?
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I think a lot about why I like what I like but if we're talking about JUST what influence the start of my ttrpg experience had it'll be a lot shorter than getting a complete picture. There's not as much to tell. I started playing the game because of an episode of Dexter's Lab. Because I'd been playing RPGs (JRPGs specifically I didn't get into PC gaming outside of Warcraft 3/Frozen Throne and Starcraft until College) for so long the idea of actually being able to do whatever the fuck I wanted in an actual RPG was very interesting to me. So I bought the beginner's box at first. Learned it. Then got the Core 3 the next summer. It must have been right when 3.0 went to 3.5 because I didn't know what the fuck 3.0 was or why the books were labeled 3-> .5 for some time after I got them. Read all three books cover to cover over that summer. Mind you I had no guidance as to how the game was ideally played outside of what the books said. While I was aware of the internet I really didn't participate much in communicating with other people on it.

Anyways, came to school introduced it to friends. Realized somewhere in High School that I'd be the only GM for a long time. There were no hobby shops in town. I bought the books at a barnes and nobles out of town but had no clue what I would do to actually play under someone else. I didn't actually get to play under another GM until years after I started but that's getting too far away from where I started.

So what I took away from when and how I got started was..

1) I started with 3.5 D20 so it was all I knew for a good few years. I still have a strong preference for it to this day. It is what the friends I taught to play the game know and for some, they never moved on to anything else.

2) I developed a preference for GMing over playing (helped later on by numerous bad GMs that I had after I did meet some).

3) That episode of Dexter's Lab and the potential for what could be done in game made it's mark on me when I started. As a result I am heavily biased against railroady games. I really really don't like games that are just on rails or games that are nothing but combat set pieces with barely developed story to explain why I'm participating in them. I've seriously left games and stopped playing with GMs when I figured out that either of these two things were going to be all there was to it.

4) As you could guess because of 3 I tend to run pretty open ended games. I have no qualms about things that seem to make other GMs uncomfortable. The party splitting for long tracks of time, players deciding to dump one adventure to go on another, interparty conflict, and letting players or the whole team die all are things that can, have, and still have happened when I run. Well exception of the last one. I haven't had a party wipe in 8 years.

But that's about all I can think of that still remains relevant to this day since I started. A lot of my approach to the game changed over the years, especially when I played under other GMs, other games, and since starting on this forum.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was a JRPG and PC D&D (Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment) kid who actually found the first or second edition of the Returner FFRPG when I was like 9. Read the test play transcripts, thought they were the coolest shit, started buying TTRPGs at Borders. Ended up with BESM, Mekton Z and D&D 3.0. Tried to get a game together, couldn't, made characters instead.

Forgot about elfgaming until high school, where my friends ran 3.5. Got my start actually playing with people there, and after a horrific TPK (of which I was sole survivor), started looking up how to git gud. Found gleemax, which led me to the Tomes, which led me here. Along the way I found Fate 2.0 and Dresden Files RPG, ran that a little, tweaked it a lot, and got into the design side of TTRPGs.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was first exposed to D&D when a friend brought his dad's old 1e books to school in elementary school; for a good two weeks or so we did nothing at recess but read through those books, draw dungeons on graph paper, and talk about lore. But when the time came to actually get a game going my parents wouldn't let me play since they grew up during the "D&D is Satanic" scare, and all my protestations to the contrary fell on deaf ears.

That didn't stop me from playing, of course, I just had to be sneaky about it. I turned Lego Castle and Adventurers sets into dungeons, read all the D&D novels I could get my hands without obvious D&D branding on the covers, and played at other friends' houses with borrowed dice and books (though I did check out D&D books from the library and keep them at school when possible).

None of us could be very picky about our books in this situation; after the first year or two we switched to 2e, since that's what was in stores at the time (this was in the mid-90s Player Options era) and that's what asking for D&D books for birthdays and Christmases got you. I only found out 3e was a thing when I went to check out my usual PHB from the library and found the shiny new 3e books there on the shelf. We looked into this newfangled D&D, saw that it fixed all the issues we had with the previous edition, and switched over as soon as we had a critical mass of 3e books.

Once I got to college, I was finally able to start playing in the open and buying my own books, because my parents didn't feel as strongly about the Satanic thing anymore and trusted me to make my own choices about my hobbies. I started picking up all the more obscure books I wasn't able to get my hands on before, I started running one campaign a semester with my college group, and for once I got to play instead of DM since some of them turned out not to suck at DMing.

So that whole situation influenced my games in a couple of ways:

1) I'm the opposite of RobbyPants in that I used and still do use fiends a lot, partly because the 2e toning down of fiends to keep the Christians happy plus my parents' attitude about the game made me run my first few games with fiends as the bad guys as a "stick it to the man" sort of thing and partly because diving deep into all the setting lore made me appreciate them more.

2) I tend to be an "everything goes" DM, because after reading and re-reading all the novels and obscure books and having run eight campaigns in four years that were wildly disparate in setting and theme, I've seen lots of nonstandard characters and am comfortable with pretty much anything players can throw at me.

3) I like to extensively houserule subsystems to customize them for particular games (Game of Thrones-esque campaign? Write up domain management rules. Greek Mythology-inspired campaign? Tweak the magic rules and homebrew a bunch of subclasses.) because I got used to having to write up rules to fill in gaps when I didn't have access to books.

4) I run fairly open games, plot-wise, but don't like to run totally sandbox games because I've tried and tried and it's never worked out; the last group who claimed they wanted a sandbox game actually said after the third session "We're having lots of fun, but when are we going to start the main plot."
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I started playing in November of 1990. I was raised to believe D&D was a tool of Satan, and I was surprised when a guy I went to school with started talking about running a new game. Based on the way my mother described it, I honestly had always pictured a seance, not a bunch of folks sitting around a table having a really dorky conversation and rolling dice.

When mom found out I was no longer allowed to hang out with that friend anymore, so I started my own games, aided by my father getting me the 2E PH & DMG for Christmas that year. Because I couldn't hang out with Lee anymore, I started running my own games, and eventually mom relented somewhat so that I played pretty steadily throughout high school.

We converted to 3E when it came out and then 3.5. In 2006 or so, I started working on my own heartbreaker (that I have no intention of publishing, so is it really a heart breaker?) which is heavily Tome influenced. I had a beta draft good to go by 2010, and it is what we've used ever since, tweaking rules as we playtest them. My friends and I call it Final Edition.

Our campaign world is homebrewed, and we've largely played in the same world since high school. My wife and I have been gaming together since 2001, so sometimes she MCs, sometimes I do, and one of the other players has recently been trying his hand at DMing. He ran some brand new players and I through the SUNLESS CITADEL. I had a lot of fun.

All of the ridiculous names we came up with in junior high and high school we've kept. The elven kingdom, for instance, is called Hyrule, and the king and queen were Lynk and Zelda (they've since died and their daughter is Queen). One of the most influential dwarven noble houses is House Greyskull (wealth and influence of the Lannisters, but not caniving dicks), and their House Sigil is a green skull and their House Words are "By the power of Greyskull!". In our undead campaign, my ghoul cohort was named "Ras Al". That kind of thing.

We've run about a dozen campaigns in this world, and they all influence the other so that events that happen in one effect the other capaigns, for instance. We keep a unified timeline in Excel.

We're still having fun, so we keep playing.

Game On,
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was six in Australia when Ma brought home the red box and The Bargle Incident was inscribed deep in the folds of my little brain. The sample CYOA dungeon inside seemed like a close cousin to the Fighting Fantasy books that were showing up at the same time. I didn't actually play conventional tabletop style for years, but a lot of the Basic set made its way into general make-believe play.

When I was ten we moved to a town with a better library, and I went through the fantasy section like a lawnmower, meeting Gord the Rogue and the Dragonlance chronicles along the way. The library had a used book section and one day they were selling what must have been someone's AD&D collection for a dollar a book, and I got the DMG and the (colored-in) MM2, along with a pile of Dragon magazines. Not the best material to start with, but I eventually found friends at school who filled in the gaps. There was some actual play. I particularly remember bartering some middle-schoolers the right to photocopy some of my Dragon articles in exchange for sitting in on a session of their game, where I learned about miniatures and dynamic mapping and long conga-lines of zombie fodder courtesy of an evil cleric.

Middle school was where I had my first actual campaigns, and I was almost always DM. I never even saw any of the classic modules, except a copy of Tomb of Horrors, which seemed far too sadistic to actually use on people. Epic narrative was more in fashion than amoral mercenary antics. The stories were grand and probably incoherent.

Between freshman and sophomore years of high school, I changed continents to North America. At my new school, I ran an unintentionally campy Vampire game for a bunch of drama club seniors who I was in a play with. (I'd hoarded every RPG thing I'd ever seen: T&T, Warhammer, Rifts, GURPS, the White Wolf suite, Champions; they took up a giant suitcase during the move.) When they graduated, I found the Strategic Games Club and the FLGS, immediately attaching myself to an RPG community I've played with ever since. 2e was in full swing here, but I must have missed the edition change on my flight over. SGC spent a lot of time on new releases and experimental homebrews, but there was always something AD&D going on. Comfort content.

I was in college when 3e came out and Was Awesome; a lot of that was played. I found this board before 4e came out and what was being supported as D&D became something I had no patience for. Something recognizable as D&D still gets played in my circles pretty often, but the official product is a sad corpse being posed for photos as far as I'm concerned.
"Now that we've determined that up to π angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine the specific number (or fraction) of angels dancing?"
"What if angels from another pin engage them in melee combat?"
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I started back in...shit, '87? with the red book box set. That series (BECMI) set will always hold a special place in my heart - I can still remember the excitement I felt when opening those box sets and digging into the books. I read them 10s, 100s of times but probably only actually played D&D once (with my dad and brother). I remember for the Expert set, I had saved up all my birthday money and we pulled into the local bookstore early in the morning to buy it, my whole family in our minivan as we headed out on the yearly trip to see extended family a whole days drive away. That was one of the best trips ever, with such a long period of uninterrupted time for me to pore over that single bulging blue book. (incidentally, I feel similarly about long flights now - love 'em because they give such a large chunk of uninterrupted time).

A part of it was the Elmore art. That art STILL blows me away. I remember the female cleric from the Basic set, the mini intro adventure where your character meets her in a dungeon and you can join together. I remember staring for hours at the covers of the Expert and Companion books, imagining stories to fit what was going on on the cover. What was the guy on the horse doing against the blue dragon, twisting in such a strange way? What was that knight with the extra long sword going to do against a green dragon, all by himself? Such great art...I don't think D&D would have captured so many people's imagination if not for Larry Elmore.

Speaking of the bookstore, that was in a way more influential into getting me into "D&D" than the books themselves. It was a small independent bookstore, run by a great guy (hey Charles Elliot!!), and it had that great "bookstore smell" when you walked in, along with low lighting and racks and racks of books that just begged your imagination to run wild. It was the first place in my small town to carry gaming supplies, a few drawers of lead/pewter miniatures and dice along with the gaming books. I would agonize for what felt like hours (minutes) over which next miniature to spend my hard-earned allowance on...I probably got lead poisoning from handling them so much.

For some reason, I had no idea really about AD&D until 2nd edition. Those first edition AD&D books still seem strange and mysterious to me, I never had them and only got to see them after 2nd edition was a thing. By 2nd edition I had more books and actual friends to game with, so it was off to the races from there. But it all started with BECMI (never had the I set).

ps. I'm 40 now and I barely know anything about the Gith nor do I care about them at all. I never realized that was a Gith of the cover of the Fiend Folio, he was always some weird mummy variant to me (since I didn't own the book and never really read it).
Koumei: and if I wanted that, I'd take some mescaline and run into the park after watching a documentary about wasps.
PhoneLobster: DM : Mr Monkey doesn't like it. Eldritch : Mr Monkey can do what he is god damn told.
Chamomile: Deaddmwalking... was a holy warrior dedicated not to a specific cause, but to doing battle with a single foe. With his nemesis forever banished from our shores, he goes off to become a normal denner who puts irritating people on ignore rather than endlessly engage them.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm 38 now and started gaming when I was pretty young. I had two older brothers - one who had all the 1st edition books and one who shared a room with him and was closer to my age. My older brother was my first DM. He was also a little sadistic and enjoyed setting me up to fail. But even then I had a lot of fun. Imagining these people and their adventurous lives was amazing. Most of my play throughout elementary school was narrative. I would sometimes play at recess but we weren't permitted to sit - we were required to stay moving - so me and a friend would literally pace back and forth on the playground talking through adventures.

I'm not sure when, but all the books that I bought for myself were second edition. I do know I ran a campaign in junior high that was disappointing for a lot of reasons, but even then it was still fun. In high school I started playing with another group with someone else as the DM. I'm going to that guy's wedding in March. In high school my gaming group also played a lot of Magic. That wasn't much fun for me since my friends were all significantly better funded - I made decent decks from their discards, but it was hard when they 'split a box' with their parents the night before.

I will say that I got most of my gaming books from B Dalton and Walden Books in part because in the 80s, going to the mall was a regular thing. On special occasions I went to the 'Game Keeper' near the campus of Cal State Fullerton. Last time I checked they were still around.

I didn't play when I first went to College but about my Junior Year 3rd edition came out and I started playing with some Freshmen. We played D&D but we also played Deadlands and probably a few other games. So I was playing when I picked up everything and moved to Iowa City, Iowa.

Since I didn't know anybody (except my future wife) gaming was a great way to meet people. I ran a bunch of games and we had a fairly steady group - we gained and lost people over time and we moved our play location. Some of the players wanted to run things so I also played some GURPS and RIFTS and basically had fun. Tried to play Shadowrun but even though we made characters the game never really took off.

My wife was in grad school in Iowa and most of the people we played with were students. People moved on when they graduated or got jobs. Eventually that was me, too. When we moved to Knoxville Tennessee technology was advanced enough that the core group stayed together (and I very seldom DM). We put together our own version of the game that we like pretty well and have played with it through about a dozen campaigns (rotating GM periodically).

Ultimately, I feel that I've gotten a lot of enjoyment from gaming and it doesn't bother me that some people just don't understand.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

D&D has lurked around the edges of my life for a very long time, but I never really had a shot at it until I was much older.

I saw the cartoon as a kid. I pored over the manuals for Ultima III - which had some really neat spellbooks - and read fantasy. I probably saw my first actual D&D book - red box, Elmore art - some years later. Must have been 1987 or 88. A kid in my class let me read them, we never played.

My dad was somewhat interested as well, though he and I never played. He told me about observing a session at UCLA wherein the MC described the monsters, and he recognized them as the Groaci from the Retief series by Keith Laumer. I suspect he was disinvited from actually playing for blurting that out - when he tells the story, the MC just hushed him and told him not to spill it. That would have been 1972 or 1973, at a guess.

I never had my own D&D books as a kid. I saved my birthday money and bought a GURPS core book at a B. Dalton. I got a Buck Rogers XXVc box set for Christmas one year, because I enjoyed the SSI game so much. I thought the pseudo-hard science of the whole thing was super neat. (It wasn't until many years later that I learned the sordid back story of that particular license.) Bought a copy of first edition Shadowrun at a comic shop, got a second edition hardcover as a hand-me-down from a cousin. Had a friend who I talked games with and never gamed with - and I'm still upset with him for ruining that hardcover when I loaned it to him. I also haven't talked to him in two decades.

I was in the tenth grade before I actually managed to really play some RPGs. I snuck in about two sessions of AD&D (2nd edition), but that never went anywhere. My group played Rifts. Then the group evolved to Vampire: the Masquerade. That was a complex plot that didn't go anywhere, but the characters were great - bunch of collegiate theater folks who were absolutely fascinating to my then-17 year old self. We were narrative heavy and rules light, which lead to many arguments. But it was also a pretty amazing game, so there's that. That influenced my MCing style quite heavily for many years.

It was after that group imploded that I finally decided that I would run the damn things myself. I started spending a lot of my disposable income - late high school/early college - on gaming books. White Wolf was my particular crack, but I ran Rifts, Mekton, Brave New World - all sorts of nonsense.

It took 20 years from when I first heard of D&D to actually run it. I had a copy of the 3rd edition rulebook - a freebie my brother got at Best Buy when buying an otherwise terrible D&D video game - and bought a PDF of the Temple of Elemental Evil. It was pretty pastiched - I used an online conversion of the module, and Neverwinter Nights manuals were sources for feats and spells - but I finally played D&D seriously in 2004 or so.

It's been my favorite to run for years, though I've never actually played. I joined another group, which used the DM's homebrew system that showed lots of Runequest/BRP DNA, and that's where I met my wife. Then we had to move from sunny Southern California to rural nowhere, and it's taken me many years, but I finally put together a group again. In those intervening years, when I had a lot of time on my hands and no social life to speak of, I found the Den and did quite some reading. It's influenced me back to a more rules-based approach, rather than the narrative magic tea party I had been running. Ran a version of Red Hand of Doom last year - except that the main antagonist was a prophet of Gruumsh who was trying to achieve supreme goblinoid power with the Eye of Vecna. It was relatively successful, I like to think.

This year, I don't yet know where the plot is going - a player swap out meant a new campaign, and this one is set in Greyhawk and has a plague and the Scarlet Brotherhood as the dangling plot hooks I have thrown out so far. I've laid seeds for Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, but we may end up taking a hard left from there.

I have my doubts that I will ever get to play any version of 3.X D&D, but I continue to hold out hope.

Edit - I forgot to mention the Satanic Panic. I asked my dad, who was of the evangelical stripe that would hate on such things, why it was that people hated D&D. He mumbled and muttered something about "there's magic, and it doesn't come from God, so people say it's black magic." I looked at him with my 9 year old wisdom and said "But, dad, that's stupid." He sheepishly agreed and it never came up again.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

SeekritLurker wrote:

Edit - I forgot to mention the Satanic Panic. I asked my dad, who was of the evangelical stripe that would hate on such things, why it was that people hated D&D. He mumbled and muttered something about "there's magic, and it doesn't come from God, so people say it's black magic." I looked at him with my 9 year old wisdom and said "But, dad, that's stupid." He sheepishly agreed and it never came up again.

When I got into D&D, my stepdad (at the time) wouldn't allow it. My dad was fine with it, and would even play, occasionally.

Back in the mid 80s, my step dad had some sort of fundamentalist awakening, and purged everything he thought was satanic. This included him burning all of my He Men and every drawing my mom had made of things like unicorns and fairies back in the 70s. Fucker.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ah, the 80ís. My parents didnít have a beef, but my mom said we had to be hush-hush around one of my aunts who thought D&D was satanic.

I was more worried as a child that I would be punished for being an atheist. It freaked me out for a bit when I realized people really believed the stuff in church.
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Hiram McDaniels

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

erik wrote:
Ah, the 80ís. My parents didnít have a beef, but my mom said we had to be hush-hush around one of my aunts who thought D&D was satanic.

I was more worried as a child that I would be punished for being an atheist. It freaked me out for a bit when I realized people really believed the stuff in church.

I started playing during the AD&D2 days. When my mother found out I was playing Dungeons & Dragons, she said: isn't that satanic or something? This was when she was a mildly conservative divorced barfly.

Now 20 years and change later she bought me a copy of the DMG last Christmas and told me that she wants to play, sometime between smoking pot with my dad and sister and going out for cocktails. Meanwhile, in her everyday life she has become SUPER churchy and reactionary. This is about the time that I figured out that my mother never actually believed in anything deep down; she just latches on to whatever she thinks will make people like her.
The most dangerous game is man. The most entertaining game is Broadway Puppy Ball. The most weird game is Esoteric Bear.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was familiar with *D&D by the time I was 9 or 10, but I knew very little about how book-and-paper RPGs and gaming worked, both regarding mechanics and identifying general subject matter (vernacular, character classes, certainly not polyhedral dice other than d6s, otherwise which I wouldn't see any of for some time). Both of my older brothers were very much into science-fiction and fantasy (they were a couple of years apart in age, and were in their late teens when my cub-self cropped up), and I was plopped in front of Star Trek: TOS reruns on CBC Channel 5 and broadcasts across Lake Ontario from Buffalo of John Pertwee and Tom Baker's Doctor Who on PBS Channel 17 on a regular basis.

I didn't have very many friends growing up, so even though my parents had no issues with I or my brothers being exposed to and interested in fantasy or gaming, neither of them were gamers and having no friends to speak of that were, I had no appreciable exposure to gaming until about 1989, when I would sit in on an AD&D (the four 1980's solid colour boxes with the plastic dice) session every couple of lunchhours when I was in junior high school. The one good friend I had then- more or less the only real one I had through both years of junior high and all the way through high school- was interested in D&D, but reading his Rifts and Palladium Fantasy gaming books when I was over at his place, that was where I got started in my own gaming library.

I frequented a gaming store called Silver Snail here in Toronto (respectfully, both of them, when there were two here, only one of which remains today), and in August of 1992, I saw what looked like a stack of graphic novels (I was very much into comic books) recently unpacked on the counter on the second floor where gaming books, supplies, and magazines were kept and sold. I decided to take a look through it; it was composed and presented nothing like what I'd seen in the books I had by Palladium Books. I honestly thought it was actually a graphic novel, put upstairs by mistake, with the graphic presentation and printing style.

The cover read: "Werewolf: the Apocalypse (sic)". Although I continued to be a Palladium enthusiast (and was until the summer of 2017), I fell in love with Werewolf and the Garou as both a gamer and a roleplayer. I loved the artwork and the backstory and started working on my own, which I've continued to draw and refine in technique to this day. It was a sadness to have the oWoD flushed down the toilet in 2003, and I had no love for the nWoD. When the 20th Anniversary Werewolf: the Apocalypse came out a few years ago, it was a very pleasant surprise.

My library covers a good chunk of 2nd Edition AD&D's output, some AD&D 1st and 3rd (I haven't really gotten into 4th or 5th ed; the original WOTC version of D&D after TSR left be, was the only one I was familiar with), almost every Palladium Fantasy book between 1989 and 2002 and Rifts book from 1990 and 2004, plenty of miscellaneous GDW Traveller and Megatraveller, R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk and FASA's Shadowrun, and a number of more obscure games like T&I's 'Albedo' and Stellar's 'NightLife'. I also have two or three hundred polyhedral dice and a good several hundred miniatures, which, sadly, I've never taken effort to prepare more than physical assembly, when needed (none painted).

Although I didn't play any of them very often, I collected Magic: the Gathering cards, as well as Jyhad (now known as Vampire: the Eternal Struggle) and Rage (Werewolf CCG), as well as the Spawn CCG and a dozen or so various card games I might have a starter deck and/or a few dozen foil packs of cards of. I like the idea of having more than enough cards in a dozen games that I can bring out and play if desired.

That's not the whole story, but that's the bulk of it. I'm still a roleplayer, but mostly on MUDs and MUCKs and not often tabletop gaming, and I enjoy PC gaming as well, games of which I still play regularly.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was part of the 3rd Ed wave, and played my first game around 2001 when I was 18. I was aware of D&D before then as I had played the old SSI computer games but it wasnít until my second year of college that I met and played with my first DM. It was a hilarious one-shot where were stuck in a village that produced nothung but COD, and it was when I learned that a funny DM voice could rectify a lot of issues.

I ended up mostly as an online DM over the next couple of years, sticking purely to 3rd Ed and finishing a number of campaigns. Since then Iíve mostly been playing short campaigns and one-shots - 7th Sea, Black Crusade, Mouseguard, and even a 2e game - as my game groups tend to be of the cult-of-the-new mold or really eclectic.

Funnily I have never played 5e. And donít really see the point now that there are dungeon crawl campaign games; which is probably why I only post here once in a while when I am REALLY bored at work.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Have a mom who believed every pre-internet rumor, so I couldn't really get into D&D too much, and I'm not aware of any gaming store in town. But I did get to read way too much Dragonlance, because it had a different title. Also read all of the Tolkien I could. Played some version of of D&D in the early 90's with a friend who owned a lot of the books. Random wands and different players with inter-related campaigns in the same world working against each other, the whole thing. I also came home from a sleepover spent playing Goldeneye and mario kart over at his place, and my mom told me to stay away from this new James Bond game that was turning kids into murderers. "Yeah, that's the game we played."

I ended up playing a decent amount of Heroquest and reading a few of the Lone Wolf books. I was busy in college when 3rd Ed came out, but I got in a few one-shots. Bauldur's Gate, Planescape Torment, and Shadowrun for Sega on emulator got me through in my down-time.

With online stuff now I have more opportunities, but groups don't form much for bonds so they fall apart quickly. Finally living in a city with a gaming store, I've met people and got into a 5th ed D&D game which lasted long enough to learn the rules then get bored with the lack of options (about 2 sessions), and a 4th ed Shadowrun game I'm GMing.

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