My first roleplaying games were in Internet chat rooms and online games when I was high school-age. I have some vague memories of some Ragnarok Online and Pokemon roleplay that happened, and I’m sure there were others. My formal induction into tabletop roleplaying occurred shortly before I graduated from high school.
Dungeons & Dragons was my first tabletop roleplaying game and has been my go-to game system for ten years now. I had a Third Edition “Orange Box” that was gifted to me in high school, and before that I experimented with a suspiciously “pink” D&D box discovered in my parents’ game cupboard in my childhood.
But the first D&D group I joined, and the first time I “got” what the game was about, was in the Fall of 2003, the year I graduated from high school. First I substituted for another player, and then I was given the opportunity to create my own character, a half-elf bard named Thamian Crowe, inspired by Captain Jack Sparrow.
Later that same year, I started my own Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and shortly after that I was invited to play in a Big Eyes, Small Mouth campaign. My D&D game ran strong for about eighteen months or so before ending abruptly, but I don’t recall how long the BESM campaign ran. There was a little overlap between the two.
Concurrent with my first D&D campaign was a Saturday-evening game started by my friend Don, who got me into the initial gaming group, which he called DEEP SEKH. If the chronology sounds confusing, that’s because it was – we had a lot going on at the same time. I contributed a lot to DEEP SEKH, but it was Don’s brainchild.
Many interesting characters and stories came out of that first couple years we gamed together, and a lot of later games drew inspiration from these first few. You might call the 2003-2004 campaigns some of the best gaming of my life, but I tend to look forward more than back so I would probably disagree with you there.
Anime Expo was the first convention I attended, and I went every year from 2002 to 2010. I began volunteering for convention staff when I ran out of money to attend, and I got my best convention-gaming experience at GenCon SoCal 2005. I still lived in California at the time, and it was one of my earliest “solo” convention runs.
Earlier that year, Don and I had given convention-gaming a try at Anime Expo, we ran an impromptu DEEP SEKH tournament that would become a fixture for the next several years. We ran another tournament at Mikomicon, and I decided I wanted to hit up a bigger gaming convention to test the waters. It was fantastic.
Don and I attended Dundracon a few months later and it was even better. By then we’d had time to establish a “canonical list” of DEEP SEKH combatants, and refined our tournament rules. After attending GenCon Indy 2006, I moved to Salt Lake, but I continued to visit California for a couple conventions a year the following years.
States of Change
I gamed with a lot of different groups after moving to Salt Lake though I had difficulty finding other players with the same kinds of ideas about roleplaying that I did. I taught a lot of new players and discovered a lot of things a gamer must endure when they really want to game. I continued to volunteer at anime and gaming conventions.
During my transition between California and Utah, I started developing a new magic system with the purpose of serving as a replacement to the magic system present in Dungeons & Dragons. I had realized that a lot of its most basic problems existed in how magic interacted with its setting – let’s say “inconsistently” and leave it at that.
I’ve played-by-post on forums like the Brilliant Gameologist boards, Gaia Online, and Naruto Fan, used audio/vidoe chat via Skype, and gamed at the table, though I’ve found a couple regular groups, and even some favorite game stores. I have tons of home- and convention-gaming experience with a variety of different systems.