Hey, folks! I'm back!
I joined here several years ago shortly after the creation of the Piazza, invited here by Havard from Dragonsfoot, IIRC.
I started with the Holmes Basic D&D set in 1980 (a Christmas 1979 present from a cousin living in California) at the ripe old age of 13. I couldn't make heads or tales of it, although at this age, I & my friends were huge fans of fantasy & science fiction novels - none of us had ever heard of role-playing games, and I was only dimly aware of wargames like Tractics & the Strategy & Tactics magazine from ads in some Mechanics Illustrated mags.
I gave the set to a friend of mine to ponder over for a few days, and he & his older brother figured out how to play D&D, and they in turn taught me and another friend how to play. It wasn't long before I heard of a toy store in a mall some 100 miles from where I lived that actually carried D&D games, miniatures and Dragon magazine, but it was still a year or two before I'd earned enough money from my paper route and other chores before I started picking up modules, minis, AD&D Monster Manual, PHB, Dragon magazines & eventually the DMG.
By 1985, I and a few friends had taken turns DMing the other two of us (5 of us altogether - but only 3 of ever played together at any one time) through Holmes Basic D&D, B/X D&D, AD&D, Tunnels & Trolls, Traveller, Star Frontiers, Top Secret and Gamma World. By the time I graduated high school, there were no more players left, but I finally expanded some early AD&D modules into full-blown campaign settings, and began exploring the western side of the Hellfurnaces in the World of Greyhawk.
I ran a mixed game of B/X and AD&D rules, combining the simple combat rules of B/X with the added "race is not your class!" options from AD&D. Not to mention all the additional monsters, spells, magic items really added depth to my B/X game. I ran AD&D modules with B/X rules, and when I ran across something I didn't understand, I'd sub a rule from AD&D until it worked.
I bought the small black boxed set of Traveller LBBs in 1981. I ordered them from a Dungeon catalogue, sight unseen, with no more detail available to me via the short catalogue description. It didn't even come with a pre-made adventure, so I ordered the Shadows/Annic Nova Double Adventure. I was a little overwhelmed with the thought of designing my own planets, space ships and aliens, but I made a right mess out of it all. My friends & I were dying to use our Kenner Star Wars figures for something besides Star Wars, so we had the original Star Wars universe to choose aliens, ships & planets from in 1981.
Kevin moved away in 1981, and we picked up a younger player - Matt, who was Chaotic Neutral/Chaotic Evil/Neutral Evil in Real Life. Matt ran us through a weird little game called Tunnels & Trolls a few times. It was very D&D-like, but we preferred to stick to what we knew - which was D&D. My long-time friend "Silly Savage" bought & ran Gamma World (2e), and Top Secret (1e) in 1982. Silly also started collecting the Known World Gazetteers, and most of my D&D PCs were based in that campaign world. I bought Star Frontiers about the same time, and ran my friends through the Volturnus module series. This was possibly the best SF campaign I've ran, if only because we managed to finish it all the way through, with a LOT of ad-libbing, subbing and downright nerfing of the "war" at the end of SF-2.
Matt finally got into trouble at home & moved away, but in 1983, silly savage & I picked up a new friend who moved to town and was from out of state (Bryan) who had heard of D&D, but thought it childish. He preferred Top Secret, so silly savage started running a TS campaign. We wound up robbing a lot of banks, dealing a lot of drugs & guns, and if I had to sit down & remember some of our misadventures now, I assume it would read a lot like Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas".
I really hadn't been exposed to other groups of D&D until late 1985 after I graduated Navy Basic training in Orlando Florida, and met some long-time USN sailors & D&D players. One guy had the backseat of his car completely filled with nothing but Judges' Guild products! There was a lot to D&D I didn't know, but I insisted on keeping with it. Around this time, I bought the D&D Supplements - Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry and Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes, and these products blew my mind
. Up til then, I was ignorant that there was any D&D game published before the Holmes rules in 1978. I'd always thought THAT book started it all!
I picked up Paranoia (2e) in 1987 - 1988, and managed to coerce some shipmates into playing "Me and My Shadow, Mark IV" - a Code Seven adventure while we were underway. They all died like flies, which was the point of a code 7.
By 1989, I was back home in BFE ("Nowhere", if you need a forum-friendly translation of BFE), and without players or a game. I unfortunately married in 1994, and talked my older wife, her daughter & son-in-law into playing AD&D (2e) and Gamma World (4e). By this time, I'd finished the Western Half of the Oerik Continent hinted at in the 1981 Folio, and ran my new family through a few years' worth of a WWoG campaign. We also played marathon games of Talisman (2e) and The Greyhawk Wars boardgame. We separated in 1998, and again I was without a group until I moved to Colorado in 2002. I made friends online with Katkin Kalvin in 1999, and we met on of my many trips to Colorado around this time.
I ran a Gamma World PBEM for a few years from 1999 to 2003 or 4. I ran a RC D&D PBEM game from 2004 to 2009. Both ended when my ability to commit to a PBEM became negligible. I was invited to play with Katkin Kalvin's long-standing group who had played off-and-on since the early 80's. With Captain Shirk at the helm, we played a LOT of Star Fleet Battles and Babylon 5 Wars, a little AD&D2e, Space Opera, and Villains & Vigilantes, and a nice, short Gamma World (1 & 2e) version of "Famine In Fargo" that ended with a spectacular TPK.
From 2009 to 2010, the group allowed me to run "Gamma Dawn" - Gamma World using Star Frontiers rules and an 0D&D game. Both of my campaign settings were cobbled together from scratch. The Gamma Dawn world was set in the Star Frontiers' Universe on an unexplored planet. My 0e game was a section of "The Borderlands" - a place between the Real World and the Realm of Faerie.
So now, I'm back in BFE, and again without a group, a game or any players, but at least - for a few months anyhow - I have the internet, and I'm trying to rediscover the Piazza and the delightful bunch of multidimensional gamers here. I didn't leave on purpose, however. There was a snafu with the porting of the Piazza from one server/site/whatever to the new one. Actually, whatever the snafu was, it wasn't really with the move
, it was something to do with my ability to log in under my username & password that kept getting ganked. Of course, Ashtagon & Big Mac tried tierelessly to fix the problem, but unfortunately, by the time they'd fixed it, I'd gone through (yet another) Windoze Crash and lost all my browser saved info & passwords.
I had to sift through a lot of chaff (email, mostly) and look up & bookmark a lot of sites before I was finally able to get here at the click of an email link, but I did it. And now I'm able to sit down for a few hours (and after dealing with all the Facebook notifications I get), I can compose dreadfully long monologues (like this one) and take a bit of time to sift through topics that I've long neglected.
All Hail, Hypnotoad!