My Introduction to Role Playing
My brothers bodies lay in front of me bloody, beaten, knocked out or potentially worse. My hands ache as they strengthen their grip on my katana. The rain that was a soft whisper earlier in the night has turned into a deafening roar, almost blinding me on the high city roof top. My breath is heavy and deep but steady. My body tense, yet ready to spring into action when the time comes. I know the enemy is around, moving closer and getting ready to attack. He will strike fast. Testing me as he did my brothers, and fade back into the darkness, calculating how to best me. Tonight it will all come to an end. The fate of the city rest with me and me alone. It has been a long war. Many lives cost on both sides, but peace and justice must rise above all else. I can feel the electricity in the air. Lighting strikes! I can see his silhouetted claws in the shadows. I leap into action.
“OK, How do I fight?” I ask my cousin sitting in his basement. I was seven at the time.
He was a little older, thirteen. This was my first time role playing. We were playing a home brew of Palladium's TMNT and Other Strangeness. I was Leonardo, who was not my favorite Turtle, though I really wanted to have a sword. During this session, I had single handedly discovered Shredder's plan to bring Krang and his followers into our reality. This would destroy New York, yet more importantly, kill April O'Neil.
“Here. Roll this d20. Subtract this, this, and add this... What did you get?” I did not really understand a word he said. All I wanted to do was hit Shredder. I wanted to knock him off the roof just like in the movie, then hit the sewers for a pizza party. I rolled this huge, opaque green die. Apparently, it was not good enough. Shredder killed me and won. That was my introduction to role playing. I failed in saving the world while dying in the process. I could not understand how a game based on my favorite cartoon could end with Shredder winning. As most kids do when things don't go the way they want, I threw a huge fit. Needless to say, my cousin was a good game master. He did not change a thing. Shredder still won. The day was lost for sure, but not the war.
“You can make another character if you want and we can keep going. Now you can't be one of the TMNT because they are dead. However, you can make another mutant. Keep trying to stop Shredder as well as push Krang back to Dimension X. Do you want to try that?” my cousin asked.
With that I was hooked. Even though I had lost, I could still win. Unlike the video and board games that I had played in my seven years on this earth, I could keep playing forever. At least that was what I had thought. That idea in which I was not playing a game that had an ending. instead I was part of a world that would change every time we played, blew me away. This was the last time I played that game. I made another character. By the next time we met to role play, X-men had taken over. I no longer wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Now I just wanted to be a mutant with awesome eye beams, that could fly and teleport.
Over the years I fought dragons, flown star ships across the galaxy, plundered pirate's treasure, learned how to hack into a mainframe, battled timeless evil, piloted giant death dealing robots, brought honor to my clan, and saved more than my fair share of cowpokes. I have played in more groups than I care to count. I have made and lost countless friends. I have seen the hobby go from boom to bust and back to a boom again. I have so many fond memories of sitting around a table, rolling fifty cent pieces of plastic and creating stories that would amaze the heavens
I'm currently working on the campaign for our new show Dungeons and Dumbasses. Once again, getting ready for the fight against evil. It brought me back to where my love of role playing began. It all goes back to that cold basement. That damn huge, opaque green d20. Over the next couple of posts, I will dig deeper into my history from the table. You will read stories of me playing as well as tales as a game master from my many years of running games. I hope you enjoy. Please share with me your stories or fond memories from your role playing experiences.