Karen: When I was a kid I used to play Dungeons and Dragons. A lot. For me it started with the boxed Basic set, then quickly turned to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and the Player's Manual, Monster Manual, Dungeon Master's Guide, and all the additional books. Too young to drive, I'd enlist my mother, who was always happy to indulge my odd interests, and she would take me and my friends out to the hobby store in a near-by town, where I would buy Grenadier miniatures or some more poly-sided dice.
I was the DM (dungeon master for the uninitiated) for my little group of friends. I would spend weeknight evenings crafting adventures for them to play, poring over the rule books and populating my scenarios with creatures like Gelatinous Cubes and Beholders. On Saturday afternoons, we'd get together and spend anywhere from 4 to 6 hours caught up in a world of our mutual creation. Monsters would be slain, gold would be taken, and magical treasures would be wagered for, all while we drank Cokes and snacked on Doritos and Zingers.
Each person in the group had a different approach to the game. One friend, who mapped for the players, was a problem solver. She loved figuring out how to get past traps or answer riddles. Another was a role player, acting out everything his character did and speaking like his character. One was all about becoming more powerful and obtaining treasure. Another just seemed to enjoy rolling the colorful dice! But despite the fact that it was all happening in our heads, we'd often spend our lunch breaks at school talking about our past exploits. To this day, I remember a battle with a red dragon where the valiant ranger Diogenes was slain -which of course, lead to another adventure to find a way to resurrect him!
There was a lot of negative press for D&D back in those days. Some people tried to link it to Satanism or teen suicide. Baloney. If anything, it was a great outlet for geeky kids to get together and have fun and to let their creative juices flow. I went on to play other RPGs later on, but D&D was the first and probably the most dear to my heart.
Nowadays I play games like Dragon's Age and Skyrim on my computer, and I enjoy them a lot. The graphics are just incredible. But a part of me still misses the interaction I had with others back when we all sat around a table and had an adventure together. Even multi-player online games can't compare with actually being in the same room together, talking and laughing and having a good time. I did briefly play D&D again as an adult with some friends and we had a great time. But that was many years ago, and I'm not sure where I'd find the time -or the right people - to do it now. I have too many other things I'm interested in. But I still look back on my playing days fondly.
So anybody else want to share their thoughts and experiences on the grand-daddy of all RPGs?