That’s a thing now, I guess? Kind of like the A-Z blog challenge that largely launched this blog in its current iteration (as opposed to the indie-music musings of a new grad student, which occupied the first chunk of posts), the hot business at the moment is acknowledging DnD’s 40th anniversary with a series of posts about, well, DnD.
Obviously, I’m getting a jump a few days late, so there’ll be an influx of postery here at first. Day One’s prompt is The person who first introduced you to D&D. Which Edition? Your First character?
So, you know, three prompts, really. In order!
A) The person who introduced me to D&D was me. I could kind of credit my parents, who put the old school Dungeons and Dragons board game in my hands when I was very young.
But really, the person who brought me into DnD was me. I think I basically osmosed the concept of it, and had been exposed to HeroQuest (as I’ve previously mentioned) already. The existence of DnD was just something that naturally needed to be a part of my life, the logical extension of the hobbies and games (and DnD-related Choose Your Own Adventure books, and fairly filthy DnD novels) that had filled my life since first or second grade…again, entirely of my own volition. I’ve been into the concept of dragons and swords for so long that my family still just reflexively sends me picture books of dragons on my birthday; I’ve gone to colleges and gotten married and so forth, but the one foundational concept they feel that they can rely on is lizards with wings. So one day, at the Green River Wyoming Public Library, I found a Monstrous Manual and Player’s Handbook on a shelf, and they became things that I checked on more or less continually for the next year or so.
B) The edition I started with was…complicated. Like I said, I picked the books up at the public library; if you’ll notice, I only mentioned two of the three traditional core books. The PHB was an early 2nd edition model–in stores they were already selling an edition revised at least once from then. It had been well-worn, and at some point someone took a razorblade to the page that explained the Dexterity score’s qualities, because the backside of it had a picture of a pretty lady in leather armor. Understand this meant I had no idea what reaction adjustment meant (or even that the second word was “adjustment”) for the first four or so months I played the game.
I said it was complicated, though, because the Monstrous Manual I had was actually from first edition ADnD. Which I did not know. Or even realize would be a thing. Later, when I finally got a 2nd-ed MM, my life was dramatically improved because I suddenly had xp values for monsters right there, next to the monster, without any weird code. Prior to that I had to use the chart in the Dungeon Master’s Guide to reverse-engineer each monster’s value.
But! Cash was never plentiful in my household or personal pockets, so the first book I bought (after a month or two of playing) was the PHB, so I didn’t have a DMG for months! Until then, xp was just raiiining down. Goblins were worth 100, easy. I knew no better. It not only took me still longer to get an MM, but my first one mysteriously walked away a couple weeks after I bought it. I was probably in the hobby for a year before I actually had 3 books from the same, current edition.
C) My first character was a halfling thief whose name I forget. However, he was followed within seconds by my next five or six characters, because when I started playing DnD I didn’t have a gaming group. That meant I was getting solitaire on that business–much as I’m currently doing with Warhammer to get more games in despite the grip of Wyoming winters and all the illnesses you get when you and your spouse both work in education. I was rolling up parties in the car as we took weekend family trips, running the party through entire adventures I crafted myself and combat-testing encounters for balance. I started DnD in 5th grade, and launched my first official adventure with other human beings about three months into 6th; the space in between is littered with the corpses of meticulously-assembled webs of stats and carefully-selected equipment, all of whom had first names, last names, and backstories.