I was going to show-off the D&D Starter Set again, but that was bought for me, not by me. No, my most recent game purchase was the updated rules for Kobolds Ate My Baby!, over at Drive-Thru RPG. I’ve owned and played the previous edition for years, but I wanted the latest edition so I could see what was new, look at all the wonderful John Kovalic art, and support 9th Level Games.
If you’ve never heard of KAMB!, I suggest picking up your own copy and taking it out for a spin. It really is one of the finest beer-and-pretzel games I’ve played, and a perfect fit for a silly-fun evening with friends around a gaming table. I mean really, what’s not to love about playing kobolds in search of delicious babies to satisfy the voracious appetite of King Torg (ALL HAIL KING TORG!)? Just remember, if the table is quiet, you’re doing it wrong.
In our current age of internet shopping where gaming material is just a click away, it’s easy to forget things were not always so. In Fort McMurray, where I lived, gaming material was not available anywhere until about two years after I started playing. And then it was whatever the local Cole’s Books felt like bringing in. The local library brought in The Dragon, so that helped scratch my hobby itch. I received the Dungeons & Dragons box set for Christmas the year I started playing only because my Mother mailed away for it. Yes, in 1980 we were savages.
No, in those first formative years, if I wanted to buy a gaming book I had to travel. And that meant hoping we’d get close to a book store when the family went to Edmonton, the nearest large city, about 500 km to the south. It was in one such store in the newly opened West Edmonton Mall that I found a copy of G1-2-3: Against the Giants. That shrink-wrapped little beauty immediately grabbed my attention, and I gladly parted with $12 of my hard-won allowance to take it home with me.
Thus began the season of slaughter. Of course I had no idea what Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was at the time. We just figured that if the module was for characters Level 8-12, we could balance that out by using three 3rd-4th level characters each. That would work, right? The Steading of the Hill Giant Chieftain was littered with our miscalculations.
But hours upon hours of fun ensued. And on later trips to West Edmonton Mall I would find the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual, which expanded my gaming mind and our mayhem potential exponentially.
What was your first RPG purchase?
Since Dungeons & Dragons was my first game played, you might think it was the first game I game mastered. But that ‘honour’ goes to another TSR product, Gamma World. For those not in the know, Gamma World was set in a grim, post-apocalyptic world full of strange technology and irradiated mutant creatures. Some of those last included the player characters, who could be normal humans (rarely), mutants, or anthropomorphic animals and/or plants. You were explorers in a landscape that was familiar and horribly broken.
Now, I say it was grim, but I don’t remember any session being particularly serious. The only real context any of us had for the setting was what we saw in film and TV at the time, so our games were laden with every cliché we could find. One guy played nothing but variations on Mad Max. Another insisted on playing the post-apocalyptic version of Ewoks at every opportunity, making them way more cannibalistic than I remember from Return of the Jedi. We basically did everything that any campaign creation or game mastering resource will tell you not to do. Which was okay because, a) we were in junior high, and b) we had metric butt-loads of fun.
In fact, I sort of feel sorry for the current generation of young minds entering the hobby. There is such a wealth of well-meaning and sophisticated advice and instruction on how to game master and play RPGs, that I think many new young players miss out on the, in my opinion, crucial phase of gaming: the ‘As Long As You’re Having Fun You’re Doing It Right’ phase. It’s the phase where your Big Bad isn’t inspired by Ash, it is Ash down to his S-Mart boomstick. Where you unapologetically play a post-apocalyptic Wolverine, because hey, if anyone was going to survive a nuclear holocaust it would be him, right? I think we sometimes cut that phase of unrestricted play short, and we do young players and GMs a disservice.
What was the first game you GMed? Leave it in the comments!
After a break away from the blog I like to just jump back in. But that break was long enough I felt I should acknowledge it for at least a moment…and the moment’s past, let’s dive in!
I had a clever plan (and a buffer built up) where I was going to start back on Monday, August 4. But strolling around the internet I found this:
Click on the image to go to a larger version.
So everyone can go thank/blame Autocratik (you might know him better as David F. Chapman) for bringing me back three days earlier than I intended. Which I’m okay with, actually. I was going to ease back in, but a 31-day challenge seems like a much better way to get back on the horse.
Day 1: First RPG Played
I’ve mentioned before that Dungeons & Dragons was my first RPG ever. A stylized accounting of my first taste can be found here, but suffice to say said taste was enough to keep me coming back for more. With all the sophisticated, dare I say, complicated rules systems out there today, it’s hard to image a set of rules as simple as early D&D providing much entertainment. But at the same time it was setting me on a future course I could only imagine, this colourful box with its black & white line art and hard to read dice was providing me hours of fun and adventure with my friends.
My regular Thursday night gaming group, guys I’ve gamed with for almost 8 years, got me the newest iteration of the ‘basic’ rules. And I have to admit, I felt that same little tingle as I opened up the new box and looked inside. While other games have become new favourites over the years, there will never be a time my shelf and gaming table won’t have room for Dungeons & Dragons. Say what you will, there is adventure in that box.