søndag den 11. oktober 2015

Starting to play RPGs

24 years ago I started playing my first TRPG (Tabletop RolePlaying Game), Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. It is so long ago and I was so young that details are quite vague. Still, I'll do my best to recount how I started playing, my first party, my first world, my first experience.

The first part of my tale begins with a story told by my family. It is not something I remember since I was too young.

At one point, my father broke his leg and ended up at the hospital. I have three older brothers, and being confined to a bed my father had no way to spend some quality time with them. My mother went out and searched for a game they could play without any physical requirements. She found Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. My father was able to spend some quality time with his three sons while being confined to bed. He never really got caught up in the game, but my brothers did.

As time went on, my brothers grew up, and they slowly stopped playing. First my eldest, much later the second, and only a few years ago did my third older brother stopped playing. When I was very little, I had the opportunity to play along with my brothers. I only remember playing with my third oldest brother. There are 6 years between us, and at a young age that makes a big difference. Therefore I took whatever I learned from him and introduced my friends to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 24 years ago.

My First Party
I have a younger brother, whom I'm very close to. There's only 3 years difference between us and, like my older brothers did with me, I taught him how to play D&D. Dungeons and Dragons is a team game and we were therefore players short. I introduced the game to my closest friends, but only one got caught up in it. It was still enough to get things rolling. My first party thus consisted mostly on 1-on-1 games with my brother or my friend, and from time to time we would play adventures with a party of 2. This also meant that in my first real party, I was the Dungeon Master, and I kept being the Dungeon Master for the first few years, only rarely playing with my older brothers, and rarely having my friend run games since me and my younger brother liked to fight a lot.

My First World
As I was the main DM for our games, I created a very simple world. The first thing I learned was that the game, the setting, the world, was not something I created. I simply created the frame while my players were the one creating the world. They thought up characters that were truly fantastic, from intelligent pegasi, to tiny fairies, porcupine midgets, purple elves, feline dwarves, and dragons. At the time I couldn't understand english. My friend was American but I didn't always play with him, and so we usually played without rules and simply relied on our knowledge of Tolkien's world, a story my parents read to us.

The world we created became the basis for the deities of the Second Age of my world of Aspenta. Pegasus became the god of horses, unicorns, and pegasi. Minisien became the god of magic, wizards, and tiny creatures such as fairies. Drake became the god of dragons. My first world was ruled by beings that not only could do impossible things, but by a world without rules, a world that defied the very foundation of AD&D, but it didn't matter since we had fun, until my friend created a gnome.

Using the concept of gnomes as being more on the technological side, my friend used his own knowledge of engineering and electronics to his advantage. He was a few years older than me, and yet I'm still impressed to this day how creative and learned he was. Using a mixture of logic and deduction, he tricked me into letting his character create anything from submarines, to airships, to gunpowder. None of this bothered me, since we didn't play with rules, but the more I learned english, the more I noticed how he bent the rules and used them to his own advantage. In the end, he used his creations to destroy my first world, to destroy the world of my gods.

My First Experience
I never truly forgave my friend for destroying my world through the use of logic, deduction, and gnomes. When I created the world of Aspenta, I took the PCs from my first world and made them gods. I also ensured that gnomes didn't exist and that the physical laws of my world prevented others from creating advanced technologies, such as gunpowder. The easiest explanation was "magic". I drew all of my experience from AD&D and by the time I created my first continent of Espreta, I was good enough at english that I understood the rules and could implement them, thus creating a more realistic fantasy world instead of a divine realm where gods played around as they saw fit. Still, I look back at my first world and my first experience with joy as it formed me as a DM and formed the world I run today, Aspenta's sister world of Aresia.

Next week (week 42 as they call it here in Denmark), I'll be writing about the first level 20 character in my world. I'll cover how I met the player, the party he was part of, how his character evolved, and how the game evolved. Playing everything from low-level to high-level is a unique experience that takes many years, and I'll try to cover it all in a single short blog. If you have ideas on articles that we should write about, let us know on our Facebook page, or leave a comment.

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