Tuesday, August 05, 2014

#RPGaDAY #1: First RPG Played -- Dungeons & ... Boarding Parties?

I'm a couple of days behind schedule with my first #RPGaDAY post, but work and vacation took priority. It's my hope that I'll be able to do one of these a day for the next month and answer all of the questions posted by @autocratik. I don't often participate in list-memes, but this one has more of a blog carnival feel to it.

I've been playing role playing games for a long time and most of the friends I have today are connected one way or another with game play. Mirroring that sentiment, I was first introduced to gaming by one of my dearest lifelong friends Sean McPhail -- or rather he and I were introduced to gaming by one of his older brothers. I have discussed my first gaming session on this blog before when writing about "Pants Issues." In that post, I use the image of the Moldvay edited Basic Set to represent the version of Dungeons & Dragons that Sean and I "played" on that occasion.

Thinking back about that first gaming session though, I don't think that is correct. My parents did purchase me a copy of the Moldvay set for Christmas after I came home and conveyed how exciting my introduction to D&D had been, but I didn't own the boxed set at the time. My friend Sean owned some of the AD&D books and had rolled up 1st level characters named Gandalf and Aragorn. When the friend of one of Sean's brothers said he knew how to run a D&D game, Sean loaned me Gandalf and the adventure was on. BTW, the fate of Gandalf is discussed in the Pants Issues post.

The "game" that Sean and I experienced had very little relation - as far as I can remember - to Sean's description of the AD&D rules, but it was definitely some form of D&D. It was D&D that was highly adversarial in its player to DM relationship and it was so free form and abstract in its description of combat that I think I can claim that my first gaming experience wasn't Moldvay Basic. Though Moldvay Basic with its rich introduction is the reason I continued playing. It most certainly wasn't AD&D. There was no talk of segments, modifiers against armor type, or any of the particularities of that rules set. I think that Sean and I were introduced to White Box OD&D...though as the Pants Issues post makes clear I wouldn't say that I actually got much of a chance to play it. 

And if I didn't get much of a chance to play it, then what was my actual first RPG played?

That would be something that my friend Sean and I put together ourselves. We had been playing a bunch of Broadsides & Boarding Parties and we loved everything about the game...except the hand-to-hand combat and campaign rules.

So we decided to use the rules from Moldvay Basic as our combat system. Thus began a couple of weeks worth of piratical adventures with Fighter, Thief, and Wizard ship captains, and thus began the first of many house rule adaptations in my role playing game career.

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