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RPG» Forums » General Discussion » General Role-Playing

Subject: QOTD MAR 26: How did you first get into RPGs? rss

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Patrick Zoch
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How did you first get into RPGs?


Do you have a question you want asked as QOTD? Post here!

And if you want to find an old QOTD: The big QOTD Summary and Subscription Thread Volume 3
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Oh, it was a stormy night almost 5 years ago... I spontaneously stayed over at a a friends place (wich I normally never did at that time) and we were playing Magic the Gathering using d20s to keep track of our life scores when kind of randomly his older brother walks in (it really was a coincidence - he didn't even life at the place anymore), sees the d20s and casually asks "Do you guys know of this thing called Pen and Paper RPGs?"
The next day I ran my first game as a GM ^-^"
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Guy in math class had the AD&D PHB. I borrowed it. And found some of my drama club friends played.
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I was already a gamer - mostly sports board games - and loved fantasy lit. I just needed someone to connect the dots.

That's when things get weird.

I dislocated my thumb on a class field trip to a beginner ski slope. The only other student in the "lodge" was transfer-student Mike who was very open about his gaming and unfortunately ostracized for it. Also, he was already an accomplished skier, so he was bored. We started talking about fantasy lit...then RPGs...and the dots connected.

I still wasn't quite there. While Mike and I became friends, I only remember talking about RPGs with him. Weird. I did play solo games (Tunnels & Trolls (5th - 5.5 Edition), The Fantasy Trip) for a couple of years and had one T&T session with my older brother that doesn't really count.

The final piece of the puzzle came from - of all places - my high school girlfriend. While talking to one of her friends, she found out her boyfriend - Steve - also played "weird" games. They introduced us, and I found out that he had started a game club at our high school.

Steve and I still game today (36 years later). I often wonder if I'd be gaming today if one of the things above hadn't happened.
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I mentioned this before in a vaguely-related question, I think.

A mutual contact in my freshman year of college asked if I wanted to play in a game his friend was starting. Went to one session. Either the game fizzled and no one told me, or I was not invited back and no one told me.

But that was enough to get me to, once I transferred to a college a bit closer to home, put up flyers in my FLGS and around campus. I call the result of that my first real group. We played pretty much constantly for two or three years.
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Mark Wilson
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My older brother bought me The New Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons in like 1992, and GM'd for me when I was about 8. It went...ok. We only played a couple times. But he had some 1e manuals, and between the new stuff he bought me and the old manuals, I started to fall in love with the setting and complexity of it, even if the gameplay itself didn't quite capture my attention at the time.

Fast forward to actually getting into RPGs, and it was about three years ago for a monthly Adventurer's League gathering in a brewery that a friend helped to coordinate. She eventually tapped me to GM when the initial, more experienced GMing crew flaked. That snowballed into regular GMing/playing.
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I got bought HeroQuest when I was about 9 or 10, absolutely loved it and sought after more.
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It was 1978, I believe, so I was seven. I was over at a school-friend's house; his older step-brother and friends were playing, using the blue-book D&D Basic Set, and roped us in as extra players. I played the cleric, and my only firm memories of the session are being told to heal people and being told what to roll.

That experience, limited as it was, set the hook in me. I asked my parents to get me the Basic Set as a birthday or Christmas present (can't remember which one now) and it was off to the races from there; I've been an RPG player ever since.
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Was into all sorts of board games at the time. Purchased a copy of Dungeons & Dragons (Original Edition), thinking it was a board game. Read the rules. Couldn't understand the rules let alone find a board in the box. Went back to the hobby shop where I purchased it. They linked me up with a group who played D&D. Drove an hour each fortnight to play.
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I was introduced to D&D around 01', when 3rd edition came out and I was in high school.
Having read and reread Tolkien multiple times, I was stoked to discover that I could actually play an elf.
I returned to RPGs with 5e a couple of years ago, thanks to RPGGeek. Getting into modern board games, I discovered BGG, and a month after I created my account I stumbled across the RPG side of the 'Geek. The rest, as they say, is history.
Have joined (and eventually left) a FtF group, and have been playing by forum here. Am now DMing my first ever game, also here on RPGGeek. This community rocks.
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Ron Price
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I've honestly been trying to figure it out lately.

I started playing D&D (Blue Box/Red Box--simultaneously, somehow) with middle school friends in 1979, but I can't remember our first game, or how we figured out how to play, who DMed, or anything. I remember the kid who first described D&D to us. We didn't listen to him at first, but he turned out to be right about D&D, Tolkien, and a lot of other stuff...
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Paul Unwin
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The son of the assistant librarian at my middle school played and he was looking for players. I think she knew me just well enough to sense that it might be up my alley, so she introduced us. I was probably in 7th grade so I was 13 or 14 and this was 1988 or 1989. I think he was a grade ahead of me, or maybe in high school. He was to be the DM.

We started with the Mentzer Red Box with the misleading Larry Elmore art on it. I took a cleric and he gave us all 18 stats for some reason. Soon followed elven girlfriends and +3 weapons, though I don't even remember ever leveling up. This DM really liked to houserule stuff, and import things from other games, using any common reference point he could find. If a modern game had a bow or knife in it, he'd compare its damage to the equivalent D&D weapon and then use the same proportion on the guns to port those over. It was nuts. Edit: and not in a good way.
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Rebus Carnival
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I was an avid model builder starting around eight years old, and excursions to the hobby shop exposed me to Warhammer 40K and by extension all the lead miniatures from Ral Partha, etc. These were much cooler than the military models (and affordable on my weekly stipend) so I started collecting and painting the figures (mostly orcs). I knew people played games with miniatures but hadn't figured out there were books (or maybe just where to get books). I bought some dice anyway and made my brothers play a very rudimentary skirmish game that I invented (roll high on d20 was the principle mechanic).

About a year later I discovered the RPG section at the local comic book store and bought the DMG. We played with just this for a long time, not understanding we actually needed the set. Eventually I met other kids who knew the game and got a more thorough education.

My first for reals campaign was probably WEG d6 Star Wars 2e, a game for which I own an obscene amount of supplementary material. The Dark Horse Comics extended universe was at its peak in the early 90s with Dark Empire, et al, and we played every day at lunch.
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Robb Minneman
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In first grade I got tracked into the once a week gifted program in my school district. Early on, one of the guys spotted the Basic D&D rules on the shelf. "I've heard of this game!" He roped us in and I got my first exposure to D&D.

I still game with that guy.
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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I had been an avid board gamer (Avalon Hill and others) before my marriage in the early '70s. However my wife did not like me playing games without her - and she liked very few games. So I essentially quit gaming for five years, except for Cribbage with her, and Jotto as we waited for our food in restaurants.

While divorcing five years later, I moved to a city (Portland OR) where I knew no one at all. In my pain and loneliness I visited a game store for the first time in many years - this would have been ~1978, I think, or maybe early 1979. I bought an Avalon Hill wargame to play left hand vs right to reconnect me with who I was in my youth, but also saw in the game store what I now suspect was AD&D 1st. ed. It fascinated me, longtime gamer, longtime fantasy reader that I was. I browsed the books in the game store once a week for over a month.

But I couldn't understand the game at all, and it seemed there were endless supplements. How did you play? Were the supplements all required to play the game? There was no way to tell from the books - they were absolutely unintelligible to me.

Then I saw a slim volume called Bunnies & Burrows. It was based on Watership Down, a book I loved almost as much as I loved Tolkien and Vance. There was no endless stream of supplements - just this one book was all I needed - hooray! So I took a chance and bought it.

I never played it in Portland, but took it with me, moving around the country, until I finally found a group of people with whom I felt comfortable enough to try it. That must have been 1983 or '84.
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I can remember some of the people I played with, but I can't remember why or how I got introduced to the game. I had read/played Fighting Fantasy books before then.
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Marshall Miller
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I went on a hike with some other families. One of my peer's older brother started running a D&D-inspired freeform game for us to pass the time as we walked. I was a guy who could turn into a dragon. It was so much fun!
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Geoffrey Burrell
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About 30 years ago one of the kids in my neighborhood started playing and I joined in. It was Shadowrun.
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Brian M
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Taught D&D by a babysitter when I was a kid after I badgered him into letting me try it. My first adventure consisted of encountering a variety of monsters (which he would just show me the picture from the Monster Manual for and not tell me what they are) and trying to come up with clever ways of evading/dealing with them, like luring a giant snail into a narrow hallway where it got stuck or tying a rope to a door handle to evade an onrushing umber hulk and have it fall into the pit on the other side of the door. Love it.

Of course, I suppose that really wasn't D&D at all. That was playing make believe with the D&D books sitting around for decoration.
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Chuck Dee
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Walked into a store because of the diorama in the window. Started collecting the miniatures to play with (I was about 9 or so), and eventually got into the game.

I ended up working in that store 10 years later until it closed up shop in 2005.
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In the late 90's while flipping through some Marvel comic. I often saw ads for Rifts and really like the art. It was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles version that really sold me and I went on an adventure to get it.
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My parents had a crate of 1st or 2nd edition DND materials given to them when I was little, but they never played after that and the books got lost.

I was in 7th grade, 1999?, and a friend started telling me about this website deadEarth (1st & 2nd Eds.). He was super cool and hung out with older kids. I wanted to be cool.I was super into hanging out in their chatroom/message board tavern. I never actually played the RPG, but being a stupid kid, I talked the talk online.

I was in awe of the DND artwork I saw in comic books. I actually bought The Art of the Dragonlance Saga at some point. I never knew anyone who played. In late 2017, a buddy let me snag his 5e pdf's after I found out he played. The PbF newbie initiative last spring was the first time I got to play an RPG. I started DMing immediately after.

I think I'm involved in a mixture of 8 simultaneous games right now, not including solo.
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Chris Tannhauser
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A friend in elementary school spoke in hushed tones of a mysterious game his older brother played with his older friends—they sat in a circle, invoking the names of demons while casting lots with misshapen dice...
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Jamie Tang
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The origins have faded into legend and then into myth...

I think a friend on the "It's Academic" trivia team in high school invited me over.
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It was 1979. The local and national news were filled with stories of this missing kid in East Lansing. There were vague mentions of this game he played. The rest of the story didn't really interest me, but the idea of the game did.

I worked for my dad most summers and so had cash; I found a local store with a copy (Walt's Hobbies [RIP]), but my parents wouldn't take me. I got a friend with a driver's license to take me.

My brother and I played in the basement in secret for about 2 weeks before we got caught. My dad read it, decided it was kind of stupid but harmless, and we were okay to play with larger groups. We recruited some friends from scouting to play then eventually found others when most of those guys grew bored with it.
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