Sunday, January 27, 2019

45th Anniversary - International Original Dungeons & Dragons Day (January 26th)

Hard to imagine that today is 45 years since Dungeons & Dragons was originally published. Sadly, I was not to discover D&D in the early months of 1974, I was a late comer in the fall of '75. I grew up playing all kinds of games, but this one was different - it did not have fixed boundaries saying this far and no farther. This was more like our childhood games of make believe - you know the ones - they are all banned now, but bitd we had a ton of fun playing them. 
I played in that first D&D game, died several times and ran through several characters that first night, all of them fighting-men and all of them committed to standing in the gap/fighting the rearguard action. I knew then that if I turned and ran and left the other characters to their own devices,I would have a good chance of surviving, but that (for me) would be no fun, that would have been (for me) the cowards way out. The game (for me) was about team play and sacrificing yourself for each other. It was about (for me) one for all and all for one. It did not bother me that most people never played that way, that was how I played. Now when I refereed my own game, I awarded extra experience for selfless team play. If the character died, well the player still got rewarded in other ways with a future character if that especially if that type of play continued.
Many is the character that lost their Lawful alignment for cowardice, since at best I considered that to be Neutral behavior. Now that was not for a single action, but for a pattern of action. Additionally, the players were not surprised by this, as they had ample warning of the impending change and opportunity to salvage things.
As a referee, the creation of the world, new monsters, new magic items, new spells and the like were huge fun and being able to keep the players guessing and not allowing them to take anything for granted was part of what kept me in the refs chair year after year.
How about you? Do you have memories of the early days, but when it was all fresh and new?

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