At this time, a man named Gary Gygax and his friends had created a medieval warfare system called Chainmail published by Gygax’s own fledgling company called Tactical Studies Rules (or more famously, TSR). It was early in the 70’s when both these men got together and started combine their ideas.
Sometime in 1970 or 1971, Arneson took the Chainmail system and played what was to the the first role playing game. That game later became the Blackmoor dungeon campaign which was then followed an adventure by Gygax. That adventure was the seed to the Greyhawk Campaign World.
After the next few years, after lots of play-testing the first commercially available role-playing game called Dungeons and Dragons was born.
During the early 80’s, which was pretty much the decade in which I grew up, I distinctly remember the commercial for Dungeons and Dragons. A family sitting around the table introduced the characters they were playing. The father (who was the Dungeon Master) held a flashlight up to his face in the dark and narrated some kind of encounter.
I remember thinking how cool it was and convinced my mom to buy me the basic rules box set. I never did use it when she first bought it because it was just a yellow book. I remember thinking that it wasn’t a game, it was a book and pretty much stuck it on my shelf and forgotten about it.
Then my real first experience with role playing came when I was in 6th grade when a friend introduced me to the Marvel Super Heroes Role Playing system. After some explaining I started to grasp the concept of what role playing really was even though we were playing on a map with cardboard markers.
It wasn’t until I was in 7th grade when I had my experience with actually playing Dungeons and Dragons. Some of my friends were in the fields hanging out during lunch talking about something. I sat down and asked what they were doing. After the told me I looked at my friends red basic box set which he was using as a dungeon master screen. I instantly recognized the title.
I told them I have this game and their eyes lit up. They asked me if I would take them through an adventure. I had NO idea what they were talking about. I asked them to explain what it was and that I’ve never actually read the book and that the book I actually had was yellow and it was called Dungeons and Dragons.
After explaining it to me and instantly proclaimed that it sounded like the Marvel Super Heroes game and their eyes lit up even more. I didn’t understand why they got so excited over this but what I found out was that none of them were really good “Dungeon Masters” and were looking for some who can lead them to the promise land of fortunes, glorious battles and engrossing storylines. Well... something to that effect. ;)
I told them I’ll give it a try tomorrow at lunch after I go through my book if I can find it. My friend gave me his red box set to borrow just in case I couldn’t find my yellow book.
When I got home, my life changed. I have to say changed because role playing had a huge effect in my life and I can honestly say that my life would be completely different if it wasn’t for that day.