Hey guys, what's this game you two are playing?
It was this sentence, uttered in front of the silver seats at my old primary school, that had the biggest positive influence on the person I was to become. I suppose this is an origins tale of sorts, and one I don't think most people are aware of (save, perhaps, for Paulo).
Prior to the afore mentioned point in time, I was no stranger to the genre. At the age of six, my mother suggested I read a book called The Hobbit
. Being able to read well before starting school, it is no surprise that I was able to handle a book over 200 pages long at an age when some children are just beginning to develop literacy skills. Of course, having a dictionary present whilst reading helped some. Of most interest to me were the words that did not appear in my dictionary - their meanings were up to me to decide, drawing some influence from their context. Perhaps this is why I love Jabberwocky
Whilst exploring the genre, spending plenty of time in the local libraries, I came across a type of book that was new to me. Although I forget the specific title of the book, it had the words Fighting Fantasy
written on the top of the cover.* An interactive book where you
are the central character to the story? Awesome. In hindsight, the simplistic combat system had absolutely no tactical input by the reader and hence the result of a battle was left entirely to the dice, but that never mattered to me at the time. I still love them, and intend on eventually owning all of them (I estimate that I own about half of all that were made, but looking through my book shelf I seem to have lost some).
In year 4 I started at a new primary school, Ingleburn North, a small school mostly for the children of those serving at the military base in that area. One day, during lunch, I noticed two kids playing some game that used some strange dice and two red books. It is here where I uttered the sentence in question. Their names were Ashley Thompson and Paul somethingsomething, and the game they were playing was Dungeons and Dragons
**. Although the use of dice and the interactive element weren't new to me, the multiple players, presence of total freedom of action for the players, and the creativity required for one player in particular appealed to me immensely. I borrowed the Player's Handbook
volume that very day, and managed to find a copy of that very edition a few years ago at a second-hand book store. I still read it to this day.
Although I can not remember any of the characters Paul or myself would play, Ashley would always play a female elf called Silverglade. If Ashley still games to this day, I imagine that character is still in use. In year 5, a new kid arrived at our school, Kris Litson***. He was the first person I brought into the game, and would be the only player I knew come high school (Ashley went to Hurlstone, and Paul moved away because of his fathers transfer to another base - he still has some of my FF books!). It was up to the two of us to convert a whole new generation. Here's some of the people from that generation (please add comment on people you yourself have brought into the game).Paulo
- Made an enormous amount of very powerful characters, abusing rules found in the Player's Option
series and The Complete Wizard's Handbook
. Paulo's use of the system was creative, unlike a certain someone else mentioned in this list.Michael
- I'm not sure whether it was Kris or myself who introduced Michael, but I do remember us having a mutual interest in a CRPG called Dragon Wars, so I imagine that was the starting point. Michael still likes Paladins even today.Sunny
- Sorry. I can't remember anything regarding you and D&D from back then. Enlighten me.Harpreet
- I believe Harpreet had an interest in fantasy novels at the time, so I think this was the gateway drug
in his case.Bo
- This was a mistake. Bo, like Paulo, enjoyed taking advantage of the rules to make over-powered characters. However, unlike Paulo, Bo's abuse of the system wasn't very elegant, and made largely of him begging to use the optional rule of awarding XP for spell usage, and then him spending down time casting magic missile at trees. He got upset very easily, ripped one of my books, and made off with another of my books when he left the school. If anyone has a good memory of that fateful day in one of the science labs, I beg of you to do a write-up of it in all of it's chair throwing glory.Johnny
- No interest in the pen and paper version of the game, but he did get into CRPGs. He still needs to return my Icewind Dale
- The most recent of the lot. I'd like it if tim himself discussed his way into D&D. In fact, you are all welcome to do so if you like. tim also introduced two others into the game. Our numbers are growing.
It is the process of creation that D&D encourages that has ultimately made me the somewhat half-decent person I am now. Making stuff is fun.
*Yes, I didn't come across Choose Your Own Adventure
books until after starting FF. I imagine for most people it is the other way around.
**This wasn't my introduction to D&D, since I had spent time playing Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds on my Amiga before this. However, even the most advanced modern computer RPGs pale in comparison to what can be done with the table top versions. For me, this was my real
***Obviously you guys know him from high school, but did any of you know him from primary? I think he went to MFPS, but I'm not sure.