From the Beginning


It was suggested that I speak of things that were. We first generation gamers are getting older. I myself had a way too close call last December related to diabetes, septicemia in my right foot, that I cannot feel. I lost two toes, a year of my life healing, and I came way too close to not being here. Enough maudlin musing.

In 1976 I went to a gaming convention called Michicon to play a game called Seapower. A miniatures naval wargame. Michicon was for board and wargamers, not those upstarts.

Well TSR was there and had a booth and did demo games. The thing is I have been doing this with my friends for years. We just had no handle for it, no system. So I bought D&D and the Greyhawke suppliant (Which you really needed to play the thing.) A pack of character sheets, Tegal Manor and I was off.

I’ve never looked back. 46 years of the hobby has seen me gain love, experience loss and teach a whole new generation. Both of my wives came from gaming. I buried the first, the one that gave me a son. I attended the funerals and weddings of gaming friends.

My game, which has woven the whole thing together has stayed in one world and has a continuous history. It transitions from D&D to AD&D 1st then 2nd, finally to a mashup of 2nd and 3rd Edition that is the current game, and I quit the churn. I have my own rulebook, it’s on my website The Olde Phoenix Inn on the Greyhawke Champaign page. ea I need to update the beast, it is currently a mix of 2E and my current game. The website does not get enough love.

Enough for now. I’ll get back to gaming in the wild days.

PS: I’m a terrible typist. If you see obvious errors blame Dyslexia. The bitch messes everything pu.


I was touched by your story of how the hobby touched your life.

Similarly, many of my early friendships came from the hobby.

Thank you for sharing. My RPG lineage is about half yours, I started in the mid 90s with AD&D 2nd Ed and have played countless games since, yet none of my own varied and treasured gaming memories would have ever come to pass if it weren’t for the thousands of 1st gen gamers like you who blazed the trails which 2nd, 3rd and later gens like me and those younger than I are able to tread now. We need to hear from the early days, and we need to know what it was like for those who were there back when. Please keep posting, yours is a voice that needs to be heard.

Started in 1980 (B/X) and have played fairly consistently (once a week) ever since. That led to me running an OOP biz (Darkside Gaming) and later publishing my own line (Epic Age Media) of board/card games and rpgs.

My big brother’s friend brought D&D back from boot camp in 1975(!). I introduced it to my dorm floor in 1977 (2d floor, there was already a group up on 8th floor). Our regular Friday night group includes a couple of people from that long ago. We’ve had our children join the group and leave as they moved away to work or college. Had our first in-group death just this year, a sudden onset of lymphoma (one of the healthier members, too).
What a long, strange trip it’s been…