Category Archives: D&D 40th Anniversary Blogging Challenge

One question a day for February, 2014 on your firsts with D&D.

Day 19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.

I have had little brothers of friends who played in high school who were whiny and had to have their way.

I have had know-it-alls who thought they had the best ideas and would argue rules, specifics of a scenario, or get off topic all the time.

There have also been those who chewed up pencils and leaned back in chairs and broke them.

It runs the whole spectrum. I have had different individuals in my experience who each have had a couple of the traits and thankfully none with all of them.

Game Masters of any RPG who do not explain the scenario and proceed as if everyone gets what the point of the play period is.

I remember we took turns having different people in Science Fiction Club in high school show us their favorite game. The guy who showed us Traveler with all of its different rule books did not have a well balanced scenario and people were dying without any understanding of why. The GM had read the rules and quickly explained them. We got the idea behind RPGs, but we did not understand key points about how Traveler was different. That was over 30 years ago, and I don’t remember specifics other than we were not happy with the experience and only tried Traveler a couple of times. My brother, Robert and I came up with our own science fiction RPG with simple rules and we played that until Star Frontiers came out with all it’s detail and simple mechanics.

Day 17: First time you heard D&D was somehow “evil.”

Sometime in high school. I remember sitting around the TV watching “Mazes & Monsters” with Tom Hanks with the whole family, like we did back when there was only one TV in the house.
My parents gave me the Players Handbook for Christmas the year it came out. We spent Christmas at my aunt’s house, and she asked my parents if it was really a good idea to get that for me. My mom stood up to my Dad’s sister and I believe Dad did too. She said something along the lines that if it was so bad, she wouldn’t have bought it. They new it was just a game and not a source of evil.


Day 16: Do you remember your first edition war? Did you win? ;)

I never really had an edition war. My brother, Robert, bought the ADD 2nd Edition books and we incorporated some things from that into play, but overall, we have always been 1st edition ADD.

My whole take on the edition wars is based only what I have read online in the last few years.

Some of the flair ups and controversies in the RPG blogging community and the old school in particular have been my wars. Thin skin and long toes leads to a lot of hurt feelings in anything that is public.

Day 15: What was the first edition you didn’t enjoy. Why?

Our group stayed away from original D&D. Partly because once all the books for advanced was out, who needed basic. We saw basic as less than advanced.

I then had an extended break with play and missed all the different versions. From what I have read, I would not like to try and play a 3, 3.5 or 4th edition game. It sounds like they made it harder to get started and required the rules to be followed in a way that I think is counter to it. I like enough rules to give you a fairly simple framework that can be adjusted to suit one’s taste.

I like what little I have dug into 5th edition, what is the name of that now?

I have all the materials for AD&D and I have an extra Player’s Handbook and have it in PDF so I can accommodate players for a game. I don’t get the need for all the books, etc., except that is how a company makes money.

I would play a retro clone, and did the Kickstarter for ACKS. I like the domain play concepts. I have PDFs of many different retro clones and modules. It gives a lot of ideas for things to try as a DM.

Day 14: Did you meet your significant other while playing D&D? Does he or she still play? (Or just post a randomly generated monster in protest of Valentine’s Day).

My ex would not go near an RPG, she does not get it. She considers D&D to be evil. Oddly enough, she bought “Magic The Gathering” cards for our sons.

I have known very few female gamers. There were none in my high school and in college they were girlfriends of other players.

It would be awesome to meet a woman who does not think you are odd to be playing D&D.

Day 13: First miniature(s) you used for D&D.

We could not afford a lot of miniatures. We often used the redcoats and continentals you could order from the back of comic books, since they were small. We we lucky if every player had a miniature of their character.

We used Ral Partha mostly. I know there were a lot of companies doing them back then. You would pick up a package of goblin archers, some orcs. Slowly those who DM’d the most built up a collection.

Miniatures were not needed most of the time. Usually we only used them for the party to show marching/riding order or where we were relative to each other. A big piece of paper or wet erase mat would then have marks for the enemies, or a unique die, Lego, small Lincoln Log, etc.

We have played with nothing more than X’s and O’s or initials on the mat or paper to distinguish players from monsters.

Not all miniatures were painted, and not all that were painted were painted well.

[EDIT] – Here are pictures of my entire miniature collection. All but one is from Ral Partha, 1979. The skeleton, I am not sure of, and I can’t read what is on the bottom of the three-pack minis. They all have lead, and the warning on the back of the box mentions it. the cool thing about the three stage minis is that you could change your character’s pose mid-game, or you had three minis for whatever you needed.

I have also participated in the Hero Forge Kickstarter at the level to get my own mini. This will be fun! It has four days to go as of February 13, 2014.

Skeleton and Goblin
Skeleton and Goblin
Dwarves With Mattocks.
Dwarves With Mattocks.
Ral Partha Three Stage Character - Half-Elf
Ral Partha Three Stage Character – Half-Elf
Ral Partha Three Stage back of box.
Ral Partha Three Stage back of box.
Closeup of Ral Partha Three Stage Character.
Closeup of Ral Partha Three Stage Character.

Day 12: First store where you bought your gaming supplies. Does it still exist?

The hobby shop in Independence Center in Independence, MO. It had trains of various gauges, plastic model kits, and games. We bugged our parents all the time to drive there so we could see if they had anything new. Hoping we had the cash to get the items we desired. I think it went out of business in the late 80’s, that would have been when I was in college. But I’m not sure it stayed in business that long.

One guy two years behind me in high school said that he planned to start a game store and he did and is still in business. Some people from the same group still play with him.

Day 11: First splatbook you begged your DM to approve.

I assume this means supplemental rules for critical hits. There were all kinds of things from Judges Guild booklets and tables in Dragon Magazine, etc. We developed our own systems for critical hits. Some of our systems were complex and specific as to what body part got injured to instant death. This worked for both critical hits and critical fumbles 1 on d20. No matter what a 1 always missed.

If we rolled a 20 or a 1 on a 20 sided die, we would roll again and second 20 or a second 1 would result in a critical hit for a 20 or a fumble for a 1. There were many awesome hits and fumbles. People shot themselves with their own bow and arrow, or bow strings broke, or people cut off body parts, etc.

The simplest of these was just rolling double damage to keep things moving.

A few of those who DMd would go all out with these materials. Others decided it slowed things down too much for the intricately detailed tables.

I do remember one time that someone wrote to the small town paper complaining about a Judges Guild booklet that had a picture of a woman on an altar and said that proved D&d was evil. The guy from our club who now owns his own game shop, Phil, wrote back and I will never forget this line. “Calling Judges Guild D&D is like calling football Spaulding.” Of course that was back when the D&D was evil was very powerful.

Day 10: First gaming magazine you ever bought (Dragon, Dungeon, White Dwarf, etc.).

Dragon Magazine. I had a subscription starting around #70 and past #200. I was a poor college student and couldn’t afford to keep up the subscription. I traded my box of magazines to my brother, Robert, still with their original envelope to protect the covers. I think it got destroyed when my parents water heater went out or maybe it was the washing machine. I wish I still had them.