My first Dungeon Master
I was first introduced to Dungeons and Dragons as an imaginative 5 (6 maybe?) year old by my ultra cool Uncle Rob. I think he was babysitting my cousin and I and I guess decided it would be fun to take us on an adventure. We were enraptured. We had the attention of a grown-up, fistfuls of dice, and got to use our imaginations. Win! Our games were really just interactive sotrytelling, and complex rules were not a part of it, but that is what made it so amazing for our young little minds. For years after we begged and begged Uncle Rob to play D&D with us at every opportunity, always wanting to "pick up where we left off". As we grew, our experiences deepened. More rules, more devious dungeons, cooler treasures. We got caught in an endless paradox due to a misuse of a Wand of Wishing. We went to "dinner" at Castle Ravenloft and met with Count Straud and his minions. We explored, we mapped out vast dungeons, we fought, we laughed, and we cried. We begged and pleaded and bargained for more more more.
The making of a lifelong gamer
And then came the books! Rob started giving me my own D&D books. "Old" hand-me-downs as new editions came out were amazing and new to me. I would read and read and imagine all the worlds we'd "seen", and all the worlds still out there to explore. I would ponder over the maps and treasures and dream of grand adventures. A few years later, I had the good fortune to find myself living in the same town as my "favortie DM EVER" and he let me read all his books. Even the new ones! We started a little routine where we would walk down to the bookstore together and pick up the new Gazeteers as they came out. Gazeteers were supplements for the world of Greyhawk that were coming out in the late 80's-early 90's, and each one would be dedicated to a specific culture and region of that world. I remember excitedly looking at maps and pictures and talking about the history and culture of the various peoples of the world. The Elves of Alfhiem, The Grand Duchy of Karamekios, The Five Shires, Northern Reaches, Principalities of Glantri, The Dwarves of Rockhome... and many more. I think there were maybe 14 in all? Anyhow, this world came alive on the pages, and each new Gazeteer would bring hours of enjoyment and oodles of inspiration just in the reading of it. The thing I particularly liked about them was the focus on world-building, maps, and culture. Each one attempted to bring to light a unique region and it's people, and this felt like I was peeking into a living, vibrant world. In my opinion, they succeeded in a way in which very few since have.
Bring it back!
This post is part of an ongoing series of shared topics between our blog and Cool Factor 5, so pop on over and see what roleplaying game feature Julian would like to see brought back into games. And as always, feel free to leave a comment, share your experiences, ask questions, or just chat us up. We love you readers, share your thoughts with us!!!