What was the first non-DnD RPG you played?
We hit the fresh shit quickly; by the time I started playing with the friends I made in 8th grade, many of them had been gaming for a fistful of years with elder siblings and relatives. That meant they’d cut their teeth on DnD and quickly moved into other systems, and thus so did I. The first new system I hit up was Palladium–I rolled a Warlock/Elementalist character and lit stuff on fire.
We never really returned to Palladium, but we spent a fair amount of time in Rifts (my cyber-samurai had so, so many palm-mounted plasma cannons). We tried GURPS and Alternity as well, and later in high school got into the White Wolf family and did Vampire and Hunter as well. We’d buy just about any game system we could get our hands on, even if we never played them. I think that’s probably been something that helps me keep a generally disengaged and optimistic perspective towards various iterations of any given system, because I’m into whatever story I ultimately get to tell and the tools that let me do it.