d20 Dark Ages has issued a 28 day blogging challenge to celebrate D&D’s 40th birthday. I’ve taken up the challenge. You can find the image with the questions here.
Today’s questions are:
- Who is the first person who introduced you to D&D? Which edition? Your first character?
I actually introduced myself to D&D. Yeah. Strange, I know. I was 10 years old and in the Cub Scouts. We had the Boys Life magazine at the time, and the back page was an advertisement for selling “Captain O Greeting Cards”. For each unit you sold, you could either collect $1.00 or a point. The points could be used toward “purchasing” various toys, games, bicycles, skateboards, etc.. I wasn’t too interested, but I ordered the seller’s kit anyway. I was curious about the prizes, I guess.
I also thought I could maybe use the prize catalogue as a “Christmas wish list” kind of thing. I flipped through the list of prizes. Some were cool. Most weren’t. Then the Mentzer Red Box caught my eye with Larry Elmore’s artwork on the box. I was enthralled. I was amazed. I didn’t even know what I was staring at, but I knew I had to have it.
There was no way I could talk my grandparents into getting it for me, so I knew I had to earn it. I set out to sell as many greeting card units as I needed to earn that game. I rode my bicycle all over the rural neighborhood, had my grandmother take me into town, so I could go door-to-door making sales. I did a pretty damn good job of it for a 10-year-old. I managed to earn the Mentzer Red Box and about $100 extra.
I remember getting the box set in the late days of the sweltering summer of 1983. My grandmother would spend weekends roaming town while going from garage sale to garage sale. It was kind of her hobby, I guess. I sat way in the back of her Buick station wagon in the third seat (you know, the one that faced backward) while she drove around. I consumed the Player’s Guide as quickly as I could, created a character, and ran the solo adventure. I was hooked. Immediately.
The character I made that day was an Elf named Kinol. He’s evolved over the decades from BECMI to 2nd Edition AD&D to 3rd Edition D&D. I stopped converting him after that point. He was a bit psychopathic and ruthless, but always ended up doing what was best for his people and friends. I had a load of fun playing him and seeing him grow up from a few numbers on a page to a full-fledged character complete with backstory, events, friends, enemies, strongholds, and all that good stuff.
Thinking back on things, I’m incredibly happy that I indulged my curiosity and ordered the seller’s kit from Captain O.