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What’s your D&D culture code?

Written by Expy - Published on November 26, 2008

The D&D culture code

I was listening to The Culture Code audiobook – fascinating stuff if you’re into non-fiction, social studies, or marketing – and I was wondering what your first memory of D&D is.  In game, or out of the game.

My first D&D memory

Personally the first thing I can remember about D&D is an out-of-game event:

I was at the local municipal library and my sister told me that she registered for the D&D activity they held every Sunday and she suggested I register too.  I did and the rest is history.

I guess from the very beginning Dungeons and Dragons was about meeting people and hanging out with friends – or in this case my sister.  I still keep in touch with most of the members of the 2 D&D groups who showed up at the library every Sunday.

What about you?

What stands out in your early RPG days?

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26 Responses to “What’s your D&D culture code?”
  1. Wyatt says:

    DM: So about playing Dungeons and Dragons…
    Me: Well, I guess if there’s Wizards or something, I’d play a Wizard.
    DM: Yeah. You can burn shit.
    Me: Burning shit DOES appeal to me.
    DM: I thought it would.
    Me: If in the course of burning shit I also get to freeze shit, that’d be okay too.

  2. Epiktetus says:

    My uncle played with his friends and told me about it regularly. I was way too young to play, but I made him take me through an adventure. He got fed up with me pretty quick, but I was hooked. Flash forward 20+ years and he just joined my group… as a player… and I’m the DM. >:) Mwahahaha

  3. Asmor says:

    I know I’d heard of D&D before 7th grade, but my first memories of it were 7th grade. All I remember, though, was 1: thinking it was too complicated and 2: wondering how you were supposed to prevent people from cheating if they used their own character (not understanding the nature of groups and that people tend to play with the same people most of the time).

    The very first thing I remember was when me and some friends used to do free-form role playing during lunch in 7th grade. My first memory specifically of D&D was the same year, when I found the 2nd edition Player’s Handbook in the school library and checked it out. I copied down the spell lists, thinking I’d use them in the previously-mentioned free-form RPing, but I don’t think I ever did…

  4. Fishercatt says:

    I had a couple of friends that were into it, and I really had no idea what it was but I was thirteen and figured it was an excuse to get out of the house and hang out. My friend Jay took me to his friend Martin’s house. This was the first time I had ever met Martin, and my first introduction was to enter his second floor bedroom to see him smoking a cigarette, drinking a beer, and firing his twelve gauge shotgun out the window. He was shooting his Sega. I was shy and figured I would just sit down on the couch. I accidently sat on a loaded pistol.

    Martin ended up becoming one of the best and kindest friends I’ve ever had. The introduction, though, was still bizzare.

  5. AlphaDean says:

    My first memories of D&D go way back to my brother. He was in the Marine Corp. and he brought home the stories of this game that you played all in your imgination with chracters of your own design. I was 8 years old and I wanted this game a few weeks later he sent me my 1st little box with these white pamphlets in it, and these funny dice. That was 31 years ago.

    4 editions later I’m still playing and introducing my children to the world of D&D

  6. Jeremy says:

    My older brothers, playing it around the kitchen table with their high school friends — I had no idea what it was really all about, although considering it was 1979, 1st ed., I know now that it was only all about bashing down doors and slaughtering hapless goblins. My oldest brother agreed to teach me to play, and so he had me make a character, along with my other brother — I made a NE dwarven fighter…because my other brother made a NE elven fighter. We walked down an empty country road, then were found a large hole in the ground (!!)…I descended, since I supposed that was what adventurers were supposed to do, and was met by a hungry ankheg…on which I scored a 20 with my mace. What a great beginning! Then the nasty elf dropped the rope down on my and walked away. That was as far as we got.

    I’d like to think that as a long-time DM, I’ve added a layer of plot complexity that we didn’t have back then.

  7. OneManHorde says:

    Group of kids playing it in the library, this was the basic starter set at the time for 3.5 (the one with the black dragon), I picked up a dice and the sheet for Lidda and on it went… Geekyness and Awesomness unfolded that very day…

  8. Jeff Ivey says:

    I was about 10, and saw the DnD basic set at the book store. This was back in 78. B2 Keep on the Borderland was the first module I ever played, and is still my favorite. Been playing ever since.

  9. Chris says:

    The thing I remember most is that I was starving for anything fantasy after I got the Lord of the Rings for Christmas the year I was 10. I would go to Walden Books every chance I got and my mother would give me $20 a month allowance, my parents were split up. The $20 was enough to cover one of the D&D boxed sets as long as I could manage to scrape together tax. I remember how longingly I watched the sets while I waited for my $20, the day I was actually able to buy one was like Christmas.

    Incidentally it wouldn’t be till much later in the mid to late 80s that I would finally play the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game with friends. As a matter of fact it was late enough in the game that I bought 2nd edition rules.

  10. DIre Bear says:

    I was stationed in Mannheim, Germany. One Saturday afternoon, my girlfriend took me to watch a couple of her friends play a “fantasy role-playing game”. I had no idea what she was talking about, but went along to keep her happy.

    When we walked into the Day Room, three other guys were there. She introduced me to them, and told me that Roger was the Dungeon Master. Yes, folks, it was Roger E. Moore! He wasn’t well-known at that time…

    Roger suggested we roll up characters and join in. We did, and the rest is history, I have been playing and DMing since then (1978).

  11. Nightmare says:

    My earliest DnD memory was probably the fact that i had bought the players handbook before i had realized it was a game at all….i was so ignorant then. it took me years to actually get a game going and i DMed…..i have DMed ever since so i guess i don’t have a memory of playing because i never actually played a character…always DMed. I had to get my player experience from Star Frontiers. (an old Sci-FI RPG made by TSR when TSR was still around.)

  12. Steve-o says:

    In 1980, when I was 15, I heard a bunch of kids playing some game at the lunch table. I asked them about it and they explained to me that it was a game that their older brothers brought home from college called Dungeons and Dragons. They didn’t have any of the rules themselves, but they were playing it from memory. I was intrigued, but never really got a chance to play the game with them since they all lived close together and I lived far away. Eventually I went out and bought the basic and expert set at Kay Bee Toy and Hobby. My best friend and I spent all weekend figuring out for ourselves how to create characters, create dungeons, and run the game.

    Eventually we got more of our friends involved and I met even more people when we went to our first game convention in 1981. We talked my dad into driving up to the local university and he wandered around looking at stuff, watching the games being played, and hung out in the free movies area watching Star Trek, old Scifi movies, and who knows what else for hours while we played everything in sight. I’ve been gaming with whomever was willing ever since then. (Though I think the wife would like it better if I stopped completely- though my group I DM for only plays once every other week.)

    I also remember going to all these game stores that were located in old musty smelling buildings looking for miniatures, dice, adventures, and other supplements. A couple of them were still around until a few years ago.

  13. Steve-o says:

    It kind of felt like you were in secret club that very few people knew about and you were thankful to be let in on this great wonderful game that no one over the age of 21 seemed to know about.

  14. Loki says:

    I was the one who actually picked up the box set, it was one of the ‘old’, OK there not that old, 3e starter sets and my mums boyfriend, she is a single mum, was a DM. I guess he wasn’t too keen on the fact it was 3e but he DMed me and my bro, we roped in a friend and here I am.

    LOL I aways remember having trouble picking a character, my bro was Josan the human cleric and my friend Tordec the dwarf fighter. I wanted to be a spell caster but I hated Melee the elf wis so we created a half elf druid, druid being my favorite class still today.

  15. Pé0 says:

    Started at the same place as Yax and devoted myself to geekness since that day!!! I can still remember my first character being an halfing with 3 naturals eighteen in it’s stats.

  16. Neil says:

    My first experience with the game was SSI’s Pools of Radiance. I was so captivated by the computer game that I went out and bought the D&D Basic ‘Red’ Box Set. From there I’ll always remember starting up a RPG club at school with a few friends so that we could play more often. I still play with the majority of those friends that set that club up.

  17. My first memories of D&D were my mom and dad not letting me play it, and seeing other, older kids play it. Eventually, on vacation my older cousin had it and we played it with him. It almost felt like we were doing something wrong… but it felt so right… (that kind of sounds weird).

  18. Lou in Cincy says:

    Way back in 1980 my brother (one year younger than I) got the Holmes box set, with Keep on the Borderlands, for X-mas. I was sick with the flu, so whilst he was off at church I spent the whole morning reading and re-reading the rules. Haven’t stopped playing since, (in fact me and Tony still play together once a week).

  19. rekres says:

    I remember my very first D&D game. It was 1st edition AD&D. I was in middle school and my sister was in high school. She took me along on one of their week-end gaming frenzies (all-day Sat and part of Sun).

    I made a half-elf wizard… spent about half hour bumbling around by myself. The DM got tired of my antics and my character got eaten by a Bulette. I got kinda bummed out and instead of making a new character, I just sat back and listened in as the rest of the group played out the night. Twenty some-odd years later, I’m still playing… ;)

  20. Dead Orcs says:

    My first memory of D&D was probably in about 1981, sitting next to my best friend in 7th grade geography. He was working on an old Original D&D “Clerics vs. Undead Table”. He was expanding it out beyond the three levels of Cleric that were covered in the manual (this was “light blue” boxed set). I leaned over, and asked him what it was. When he told me, he showed me the game, and I was forever hooked.

  21. kaeosdad says:

    I think I was 9 or 10 and trapped in a 10 by 10 ft. cell with an elf and a thief. Me and the thief(my cousin) spent an hour trying to climb the wall because I had a climb kit before my other cousin(the DM) exclaimed “All of a sudden the cell door opens!”. Then we killed some goblins and looted their bodies.

  22. MageMirin says:

    My family has been in sci-fi/fantasy fandom for eons. At my first sci-fi con I was 11 days old. Growing up my folks and their friends had a bbq and gamed every saturday in the garage till the wee hours of the morning. I finally got to join in a game of 2nd ed when I was 7. That was 21 years ago. I still have the character sheet somewhere in storage.

  23. Durlok says:

    My older Brother used to role-play a lot. I kept trying to get into the game, I had old editions that he had given me, but I could never figure out the ruled by myself. Most of my time was spent trying to decipher the RIFTS ruleset… Finally, some friends and I met a guy in a bookstore who said he would run a Vampire game for us, after that it just took off, we started trying out new games. Now we have settled out playing D&D when we get the chance, taking turns DMing depending on who’s in the mood. Unfortunately, work seems to get in the way of this far too much. We haven’t played in over a month now because we never have the same days off.

  24. Janna says:

    My first memory of D&D? 16 years ago I walked into a book store and saw the DragonLance boxed set. I thought, “Wow, that looks weird. And kinda cool.” So I took it home with me and discovered that it *was* weird and cool. Then I made all my friends learn the rules so they could play with me. :)

  25. CodexofRome says:

    I remember sitting in the very back of the room during 10th grade Geometry class, sometime in late 1979, reading the white box set books which my mother had gotten for me. My friends, John, Chris, Jeff and Craig started creating characters while the class paid attention. Good times!

  26. Dan says:

    Some Idiot: What level Dungeon Master are you?
    Me: High enough to cast detect idiot at will, and you’re registering with an overpowering aura!
    Some Idiot: Huh?

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