For this series, I’m taking another cue from Dungeons and Possums. I’ll be going through a few different games I’ve owned, played, or read and feel had an impact on me and my games going forward from then.
I’ve said before how I got into roleplaying – at lunchtimes during school, we sat down and played D&D.
Very soon afterwards, I decided I wanted to run my own game, and had to pick up the books from Amazon.
(Now, this is twenty years ago. I had to persuade my dad to buy me a book from a weird US bookstore website and have it shipped to the UK. Thankfully we got a decent nearby hobby shop a couple of years later).
So, I bagged myself the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and started looking at how to pull a game together. It quickly became apparent that the game I had picked up was not the same as the one I’d been playing – this had more pages and more rules for a start!
I read through the book, and not long after persuaded my dad to once again get the Monster Manual as well.
Great, now I could build a game.
There was, of course, one book missing…
One of my players managed to pick it up, and we started building characters in lunch breaks, with a plan to play at lunch or on weekends.
Now we just had to get a hang on the rules.
As an entry into the hobby of roleplaying, AD&D 2e was… difficult. I had trouble understanding how to balance everything early on, and had to cope with a lot of metagaming from players (I let them read the DMG, they let me read the PHB).
Memorably, I eventually got around this one Saturday with my first real bit of homebrew, after awarding the group a random treasure pile that had included a Ring of Three Wishes.
I had three players, and they knew what the ring was just by my description – except it had four stones in it! Oh wow! That means a wish each and a group wish!
One wished for a keep, one wished for a unit of raptor-riding knights to command, and I think the other wished for money. Then they wished for ten levels of experience.
And then the curse kicked in…
They got their ten levels, but suddenly the sky turned red and meteors began to fall. They survived a while, but my lesson seemed to get through to them – they’d used their player knowledge and assumed and never looked at the ring in any other way.
We played a handful of games of 2e, but with a little more than a year until 3e launched, we didn’t explore it too much before we moved on.
I fell back to pulling monsters from the 2e Monster Manual for games going through to 4e, because there were some great ones in there.
I’ve recently picked up my DMG again and looked through it for useful adventure and dungeon design advice, something I think can be lacking from more recent official products.
It’s a very pretty book, and I really enjoy the feel of holding it and the nostalgia of it being my first RPG book. Does it have a real, lasting impact on how I run my games? Probably not, unless I’m feeling like playing with old-school rules, and then I have plenty of choice to choose from.