So the big question has to be, where did it all begin?
To find that starting point, I need to take you all to a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away!
Back in the ’80s
When did my first encounter occur? I remember being taken into town at about 17:00 to the local games store to buy the Basic Dungeons and Dragons set.
It was £8.50, and my mum warned me that Christmas was coming and that I should save my money to buy presents for other people. I didn’t and bought the box set. It was probably the best £8.50 I ever spent because it opened another world for me!
What came next?
Dungeons and Dragons opened up the world of RPGs for me. I enjoyed creating characters that I would never play or several levels of dungeons that had no logic to them. Five goblins would be in one room and a carrion crawler in the next. No one left the rooms, reacted to the sound of battle, or even fought each other. But we were young and enjoyed playing the power game, which eventually became Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, First Edition.
As you can imagine, there was another wave of character creation that I still never played. Paladins on white chargers, gnome illusionists and shape-changing druids entered the game. The number of character classes increased to include cavaliers and acrobats when Unearthed Arcana hit the shelves.
But with AD&D being the main game, other games started to be bought and tried, and I began to buy some games that came in a box!!
Boxed Games Galore
It was the fashion in the 1990s to put games in a box.
These boxed games were how I first bought Call of Cthulhu, Judge Dredd and Golden Heroes. Middle Earth also came in a box, but I liked the system so much that I invested in RoleMaster. Rolemaster was the first d100 game that I became besotted with. I never made up a campaign or played RoleMaster, but I was intrigued by the complexity of the game, the number of classes and spells and even the ‘to hit’ and crit tables.
I did play Judge Dredd once. I was visiting a friend from university, and he arranged to play a game with his usual DnD group. I was desperate to play a psychic judge, but the dice rolls were against me, and I ended up playing a standard judge, complete with ricochet and armour-piercing rounds.
And then everything just stopped.
Several Years Later!
I missed out on the reincarnation or rebirth of RPGs. Or perhaps they never went away. I got busy with work and started to play MMOs to satisfy that itch, and I just put all my books and games into the garage and forgot about them.
Those early years were full of wonder and enjoyment of mythical lands and monsters. I would paint miniature figures for myself and others, charging 50p per figure. It was the time when I would lose myself in the Castle of Wizardry book as we camped in a farmer’s orchard. Although playing games now has a different feel to them, I still enjoy the creativity they bring. Campaigns will continue to be created for a long time yet!