Monday, February 24, 2014

Days 14 to 24 : A whole lot of answers [D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop]

I'm back, eager to answer the rest of the questions and happy to see that I'm still a part of this (as it is not entirely on me to decide such a thing ...). So without further ado, the next 10 (sorry!) answers.

Day 14: Did you meet your significant other while playing D&D? Does he or she still play? (Or just post a randomly generated monster in protest of Valentine's Day)

No, I didn't meet my significant other while playing D&D, but I believe it helped (a bit at least). At the time we met, I still had a regular group and she was living in the neighbourhood. Now, when we played, it had been a rather loud affair, with a lot of laughing involved (as it should be, I believe) and that had garnered some interest.

Me writing stuff about the hobby on a blog did collect some points, too. To be perfectly clear about it, those weren't the reasons for us to be together right now. But it showed some compassion and creativity and those are (for some, at least) valuable character traits. Lucky me :)

She's still interested to try the game, which, sadly enough, only means that we as of yet didn't get around to play the game. But it will happen and I'm looking forward to the occasion ...

Day 15: What was the first edition you didn't enjoy. Why?

3E, hands down. The "why" is spread all over my blog like breadcrumbs. In short, it's a hard game for the DM to be the authority in. Thousands of unreflected splat books, five-foot-steps (as a stand-in for all the board game elements of that edition), the hours of preparation needed on higher levels and all the small unfortunate rules that make it a power gamers wet dream took, for me at least, the fun out of the game really fast.

This is, of course, to some degree a matter of taste.

Day 16: Do you remember your first edition war? Did you win? ;)

I know I had those discussions at some time or another, but do I remember the first one? No. Anyhow, it ain't about winning, either, because seeing it like this already implies an unmovable stance on the subject (any subject, really), which renders a discussion completely useless from the start, in my experience. Worthwhile discussions usually involve people open enough to positions they don't agree with to get to a satisfying conclusion for all involved.

Any topic should be considered a free agent and opinions aren't more than a status of your own knowledge, which I believe to be not set in stone, but subject to change. In the end, defending an issue isn't more than rhetorics, but it involves to be able to see the arguments presented to you in relation to your own.  So a "win" would at least mean you got something out of the discussion worth thinking about ...

Day 17: First time you heard D&D was somehow "evil."

"Funny" story right there. The first time I realised this is something "they" are serious about, was in the late nineties. I shared the way home with a classmate. He and his family had recently moved from Bavaria (south Germany, traditionally a bit more conservative then the rest of Germany, I might add) to the neighbourhood and he hadn't befriended that many people yet. Well, we got into talking and role playing games were a subject close to my heart, so some of that talk was about playing the game. He was interested enough and thought about joining our small group of nerds.

The thing is, he was a pastor's son and when he'd told at home what he was about to do, his parents wouldn't allow him to do so. I was, of course, shunned after that, too. When confronting him about it, he'd told me (and I kid you not) that his parent's had a book at home with advice about what activities would be unsafe (even dangerous) for their children to participate in. Their son starting to play role playing games was for them like he was about to join a satanic sect.

There was nothing to do about it but feeling sorry for him.

Day 18: First gaming convention you ever attended.

The first convention I attended had been the MaRT (Mannheimer Rollenspiel Tage). Not much to tell you about it, because this was a really long time ago (almost 20 years) and I barely remember the event.

Five things stayed with me, though. The convention had been held in a park (which had been quite idyllic), a friend of mine had brought his (very strange) girlfriend, it was the first time I encountered Cyberpunk (and fell in love with the system) and Deadlands (not so much, but a nice enough game) and there had been no option to stay over night. But the fifth and most important thing that had happened was that they gave out flyers for yet another con in the area. But this one was over the course of 3 days with an option to stay over night. A convention we would visit for years to come from then on.

Day 19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.

The stereotypes illustrated in Knights of the Dinner Table are no strangers to me. I've known guys like that and even played with them occasionally or had them in my group.

A classic: the first KotDT comic strip (full story here).
So over the years I have had my share of strange and adverse gamers with all the struggles, discussions and drama one might expect with such people. I tend to forget about those things and don't think they are worth remembering so it took some time to think of one. Here I go ...

One of the first, if not the first, that "annoyed the hell out of me" had been a guy in our Vampire: The Masquerade game in the late Nineties. While everyone else at the table was playing the game, he had been drawing some stupid picture. After an hour of trying to get everyone at the table immersed into the story, I had enough of him being so dismissive and told him to either go somewhere else to do his thing or give the game at least a chance.

It's something that still bothers me every now and then. Basically I believe if I took the time to prepare and DM the game, I at least want to share it with people that take it as serious as I am. If that's too much, those people could as well do something else instead of wasting my time.

Day 20: First non-D&D RPG you played.

Midgard was my first non-D&D RPG. There is no English source page I could link you to, but I wrote a bit about it here.

Day 21: First time you sold some of your D&D books--for whatever reason.

I have never done that, but, being a bookseller by trade (well, at least it's the job I have learned), I always had a hard time parting with the books I own ...

Day 22: First D&D-based novel you ever read (Dragonlance Trilogy, Realms novels, etc.)

That had happened long before I started to play D&D and I read it because I had been told it was good fantasy. And indeed, I had a great time with the book just for the story and world it presented.

So my first D&D-based book (without me realizing what I was reading about, but enjoying it nonetheless) had been The Verdant Passage by Troy Denning:

Great books (as far as I remember, anyway) and a great setting I always wanted to check out further ...

Day 23: First song that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

This seems like a strange question at first, but I believe every gamer has a song just like that. Mine is connected to a time were we still had been enthusiastic enough to play (or make characters or draw maps or daydream about campaigns ...) at every given opportunity.

So it was nothing special that we (me and a friend of mine) were sitting in a garden, enjoying the summer sun, slinging dice. But the neighbours daughter, on the other hand, sunbathing topless and barely veiled by the shrubbery dividing the properties had been a welcome change of pace the day I'm talking about (and maybe this is why I remember it so well?) ...

Anyway, I digress. So we were sitting there with some cold lemonade on the table and the radio playing in the background, giving some barbarian a run for his xp. He had just entered a tomb and was about to confront a few skeletons when the radio started playing an old classic:

So we cranked up the volume, went with the flow and started rolling initiative. But most of the time we were too busy laughing.

Day 24: First movie that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

Easy, but I guess it seems to be a strange choice at first (or not - I mean, it is kind of obvious, isn't it?). Behold:

One of the coolest movies ever made ...
Big Trouble in Little China is, in my opinion, more D&D without being D&D than most that try. A group of heroes (led by a wizard, no less) enter a big dungeon (with beautiful and mystical underground passages, full of traps and monsters) to defeat what might as well be called a Lich and rescue a few damsels in distress! It even has potions and a beholder:

All that and Kung Fu. What's not to love?
That were a lot of questions. The rest will be easier and I have the time to write them all (and a bit more, I hope).

This is a Blog Hop - So get hopping!

Stelios V. Perdios is hosting.

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