I was first introduced to roleplaying games in 4th grade, way back in 1978 or 1979. The game was Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. I had never heard of the game. My friend didn’t know the rules. But we played anyway.
Eric was the Dungeon Master. I was the player. I know Eric had a younger brother, Adam, and I have a vague memory of him being involved… but he may have just been watching. That first scenario was pretty simple, there was a magic sword in a glass case, perhaps it was on a pedestal or altar; if it was I don’t recall. However, I do remember that the glass case was surrounded by lizardmen. Eric told me that my mission was to get the sword. Pretty simple stuff. I was a wizard. I think we may have even rolled some stats. I know that there was no level for my character, but I was told I could use any of the magic-user spells. Any of them. Have you even looked at how many spells that is? Too many for an 11-year-old to wrap their head around in such a short order of time.
I did not get the sword. I don’t remember if I even got to the case. Or maybe I did get there but couldn’t figure out how to get the sword out. Whatever the case, my ‘any spell I want’ magic-user was killed by eight or a dozen lizardmen. End of scenario.
I was hooked.
I ordered my first AD&D books from the Sears Catalog. I introduced the game to my friends and my relatives. Mostly I didn’t know what I was doing, but it was fun faking it. I played and I read. I read and I played. In middle school, we had a D&D club. After school, I played with my friends. I do not think I exaggerate much when I say it became something of an obsession. If I say nothing else, I will confess that roleplaying games became the prism through which I filtered life. Everything was something I could use in my game or my campaign world.
Roleplaying was always there, in the forefront or in the background. When I ‘discovered’ girls… roleplaying was there. Dating, driving, and working… still there. Married, children, career… still gaming. The only thing that cooled the obsession was when I decided that all the energy I was devoting to roleplaying was taking away from my fiction writing. And so I just stopped. That was 2006. Since then, I have pretty much not given thought to RPGs or participated in any games. I’d gone cold turkey. And I think my friends and family were a little surprised, and maybe didn’t know quite what to think.
But recently, with the release of 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, I’ve started thinking about it a little more. That ember of interest has been kindled. And once again I am going to let it burn and see what becomes of this 35+ year interest.