How I Got Into Gaming
I was first introduced to role-playing games by the older brother of a grade school friend. This was back in 1996. We were on a long trip together, going somewhere for a youth retreat of some sort – I honestly do not remember what – and he had brought along a few of his books to read along the way. I remember looking over and seeing the unusual cover and thinking that the book, a soft-cover supplement, was just a large comic book. I asked him if I could see it and he passed me another of his collection. The book was Rifts Mercenaries, and I remember thinking, “What in the world is this?” The book contained amazing pictures of monsters, giant robots, people using magic, and horrid tentacle death-beasts from beyond the stars. In addition, it also had all of these strange numbers that I did not understand. The remainder of the trip was spent explaining to me just what a role-playing game was. I asked if we could play, but unfortunately they didn’t have an ongoing game at the time and were not really interested in starting one.
In 2000, I turned 16 and got my first real job working at a local hog farm. The work was hard, the hours were terrible, but the pay was good. Upon receiving my first check, I cashed it and headed straight for my nearest book store, hoping they might have some of those wondrous books. Up to this point, I had only played the game Rifts and other various Palladium Books titles. Once I got there, I found something else; Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition. Now, of course, I knew of D&D. I grew up in a Christian community in the 90s, so I heard all about the “evils” of D&D that I am sure every gamer has heard at one time or another. There were three books on the shelves; the Players Handbook, the Dungeon Masters Guide, and the Monster Manual. “Why not?” I thought. I had the money, so I grabbed all three.
Within a week, I had the three of them read – multiple times even – and was more eager than I had ever been to start a game. Now, I grew up in a small town. Total population of around 800 (generously) and as far as I knew, there wasn’t a gaming group around. So I made one. I called up a few guys I knew and had them over to try out this “new” game. Having, until then, never even played in a game before, I leaped headlong into the role of the gamemaster. That was my introduction into a world of fantasy and imagination unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Since then, I’ve run and played in many different games with many different groups, some good and some… less so. But this is how the hobby first got its hooks into me, and its’ been quite the ride.
Image Credit: TSR / Wizards of the Coast