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My D&D History

Written by Alex - Published on November 15, 2013

Who is this Blue Lightning guy? Why should I listen to him?
Hopefully you’ve never asked that. But if you have, I just wanted to offer ya’ll a bit of my D&D past, my nerd credentials (nerdentials?), if you will.

The cold air whipped outside the window, blowing ice crystals against the panes as it tried to get in. Three men sat huddled inside the tiny room. One was rail thin, standing over 6 feet in height. The next of average build, with a scruffy, brown beard hanging from his chin. And the last man, the shortest and squattest of them all, with thick spectacles resting on his nose, a mop of thick, black hair atop his head.
“Roll your spot check,” the Gnomish man said, looking over a little cardboard wall.
With a tentative flick of my wrist, I rolled my first d20.

It was that fateful night in February of 2006 that I first played Dungeons & Dragons. And I’ve not looked back since. And have actually become a firm advocate for the game.

To be completely honest, I was spoiled. I was introduced to the game, and played for two years, with a group of writers and actors. I may never be so lucky to have that degree of role-playing or plot-twisting go on again. We committed, with reckless abandon, at 4 in the morning. While the halls outside our dorm were filled with screaming, drunken frat boys, we were screaming our battle cries as we swept into battle.

We had a D20 Modern game known as Gang Land, where each semester, a new person would DM, taking over with their own plots and ideas. It was role-played television. I was the Russian demolitions expert, Dimitry “Boomer” Babashav (complete with life-like accent!).

We had a Star Wars game, that I died in so many times. I played every bizarre, edge of the galaxies race available in that game. That one was DMed by a guy whom we refer to as Death Star, because his talent was so good it could blow up a planet. No joke.

And then we had countless high fantasy games. All in 3.5, mind you. All of my original D&D nerd buddies are staunch supporters of 3.5.

It wasn’t until I graduated, and didn’t have those guys for an outlet, that I made the jump to 4th edition. I got the core books, my first set of D&D rulebooks, and read them like novels. I learned the rules, I listened to the Wizards of the Coast podcasts, I played pickup games at my local game shop. I was proud of my encyclopedic knowledge.

I ran a game based in the post-apocalyptic setting of Gamma World. I ran one set in an alternate universe, circa 1930s New York City, where no one looked askance at the Tiefling wizard.

And my mind is always thinking of more. Everything I see is an idea to turn into a game. There is nothing that cannot be used, it is only the limit of your imagination, as the DM, that hinders the creative extent of the game. Some of you may have been lucky enough to have a start into D&D like mine. Others, maybe not. But every game, every group, can be something new. Every character can open up a whole new world of excitement and possibility. Just because one game biffs it, doesn’t mean they all will. Keep Calm and Roll That d20 On.

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Written by Alex

Currently working with dungeonmastering.com on… secret projects…

Scattering random musings on game design theory gathered over 12+ years of roleplaying.

Philosopher, Psychologist, Fencing Coach, Nerd.

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