PDA

View Full Version : What was your "realization moment" in D&D



Trask
2017-01-20, 11:20 AM
We all remember starting to play D&D for the first time, and no doubt we all have different experiences. But I think that a lot of us, especially those that come from video games, have a sort of "awakening" moment where we really understand for the first time something that is purely unique to RPGs. That its really defined by our actions or that enemies have minds of their own. So what was your moment that you truly realized that D&D is so much than you thought?

My moment is undoubtedly in my very first adventure. We were exploring the Sunless Citadel and we were fighting goblins. We got all the way to the goblin king's lair and there was just one door to enter. We thought "hey why dont we just open the door and funnel them in and we'll kill them as they try to get through!" We thought it was a brilliant idea, and if it was a video it would have been a good strategy. So we open the door, see all the goblins and then back up from the doorway. The goblin king walks up and we get ready to strike, he approaches the doorway.

And closes the door.

We were stunned. It doesnt seem like a big deal and in retrospect it kind of isnt. But at that moment I just felt like an understanding I had about D&D finally manifested. In this game, the monsters want to win. They are smart. I still remember that to this day and I think just that moment has a big impact on me as a DM.

So whats your moment?

Blackhawk748
2017-01-20, 11:54 AM
Probably when me and my party caused an avalanche that stopped an army of Orcs. Oh and we snowboarded down the mountain to get out of the way of said avalanche. Yes it was unintentional.

StaleGoat
2017-01-20, 12:38 PM
Probably for me, when my first character had died. Our party decided to go hunting just before a boss battle to reach the next level and when one player almost got downed in one hit by a peryton (yes, lame, I know. Fight me.) we thought we could just run and leave, but they ended up killing two out of three players because they really wanted their hearts.

It made me realise that the enemies are as real as our characters are, in a way that game NPCs aren't, and they have goals and traits (like never giving up on prey). It's made me a little more paranoid as well, but that's probably a good thing.

No-Kill Cleric
2017-01-20, 03:08 PM
It had to be during my first campaign as well. Our resident comic relief guy had some ranks in know(engineering) and somehow we were talking to the Prime Minister about developments in the country. Our plucky comic relief joked that he'd explain the concept of a space station to him. I forget the roll, but the kingdom began constuction on a magical space station. The campaign BBEG manipulated the plans and set it up to be an orbital bombardment system instead of a true research station. We had our final showdown on that space station against the villain and their minions.

It really set in how influential we could be over a setting, and how we, the players, were so much more powerful than book or video game protagonists. We introduced space exploration to a standard fantasy setting, simply because "why not?"

The entire campaign framed my ideal for how games should be run, not as a DM guiding players through his story, but that the story is built and told by the players and DM together, building something grander than what one writer could make alone.

Dr paradox
2017-01-20, 03:20 PM
I'm not sure I ever had that moment, mostly because I was DMing before I knew that role-playing games were a thing. I'd loved drawing fantasy style maps since third grade, and in like fifth grade I started making a bunch of them, and playing what we called "Maps" at recess.

I'd lay out a map, and ask the other player where they wanted to start. They'd point to a spot, and I'd make up what was there, and ask where they wanted to go next. It got pretty popular, too. I printed a bunch of the maps on cloth and sold them in seventh grade, and for a good three years there were always people asking me to run a game for them.

I first made the connection to D&D when I was reading an old issue of "MAKE Magazine" and saw an article about the original "Myst," and it's design roots as a rules-less D&D. I immediately saw the connection with "Maps," and started asking a girl in my math class about the rule books I'd seen her with. I started reading Shamus Young's "DM of the Rings" and, yes, "Order of the Stick" well before I was in any actual campaign.

It was an interesting intermediate step between childhood make-believe and D&D, so when I was invited to play in a 4e game for the first time in seventh grade, it was a natural leap to think of it in terms of make believe rather than video games.

cobaltstarfire
2017-01-20, 03:44 PM
I don't think I've had that "moment" either...I never came into a TTRPG expecting opponents to behave like they do in a video game. They're being controlled by what I would hope is a human GM after all.


Though I had a reverse moment like that, in Fire Emblem I had a knight character sitting in a doorway, and the game proceeded to throw all of its units one at a time onto his lance. Slowly whittling him down until he died at the expense of most of the enemies units. Which always struck me as a weird AI quirk, and not something that should normally happen against a real human. (sometimes I could use this quirk to my advantage as my units got strong enough to not care if the enemy threw themselves to their deaths one at a time for a whole turn)

Max_Killjoy
2017-01-20, 03:55 PM
I don't think I've had that "moment" either...I never came into a TTRPG expecting opponents to behave like they do in a video game. They're being controlled by what I would hope is a human GM after all.


Though I had a reverse moment like that, in Fire Emblem I had a knight character sitting in a doorway, and the game proceeded to throw all of its units one at a time onto his lance. Slowly whittling him down until he died at the expense of most of the enemies units. Which always struck me as a weird AI quirk, and not something that should normally happen against a real human. (sometimes I could use this quirk to my advantage as my units got strong enough to not care if the enemy threw themselves to their deaths one at a time for a whole turn)

I'm old enough that to me, "RPG" will already refer to the pen and paper tabletop games, and CPRGs are a derivative that can't provide the entire experience.

Algeh
2017-01-20, 06:27 PM
I was in a similar situation to one of the other posters, where to me RPGs were more an extension of my childhood make-believe games than video games.

By middle school, I'd spent the last several years building an elaborate setting and story with my Barbie collection in about half of my basement playroom. I had about 30 of them (I'd buy them on clearance and sew or craft them new clothes and accessories since, for SOME reason, Barbie had lots of official options for ballgowns but no priestess robes or archery equipment). There was also an elaborate in-setting explanation for the relative lack of Ken dolls, since it was harder for me to get relatives to buy me those. It was to the point where I'd taped numbers on the back of all of the dolls so I could keep better notes on what was going on.

In 8th grade, I transferred to a new school. My new school had a group of kids who seemed to share my sense of humor and interest in books, and they were all playing something called GURPS. I picked up the Basic Set at Powells and discovered a MUCH better system for pretty much everything I'd been doing with Barbies for the last 5 years or so. I started buying GURPS books instead, and suddenly my worlds, settings, and characters could fit in a bunch of file boxes instead of taking up half a room, I didn't have to hand-sew tiny outfits and make bows from incense sticks and thread, making a new character no longer involved buying another doll, and my settings could get a lot bigger since I didn't have to build Barbie-scale 3-d models of everything. Also, it was much easier to find like-minded people this way, because the pool of "people who want to play elaborate homebrew fantasy-based storytelling games with Barbies" gets smaller as you get older. Financially, it was probably a wash.

(I ended up in a 2nd ed AD&D game a few years later, but my D&D realizations were more about going to a class and race based system with a setting baked in from a generic point-buy system where everyone always made up their setting. I remember being surprised that I was expected to pick a Weapon Proficiency and had to re-work my backstory a bit to have a reason why my bard would know how to fight since I hadn't been thinking of combat when I'd come up with that particular character concept. Also, I remember it took us over two years of real-world time to not get very far in the Temple of Elemental Evil module before I went off to college and had to leave the group. We weren't the most efficient of groups and spent a lot of time on fluff/intraparty social things.)

Darth Ultron
2017-01-20, 10:49 PM
Well, I don't come from video games....

But setting the way back machine to way back when. So I only own one D&D rulebook with a single mini adventure(ah, nostalgia). So I'm the only one around for miles with a D&D book. I start with my friends and they run through the adventure(''you explore some ruins'' ). We go through the adventure several times and more people come to play and it is all fairly repetitive. Everyone follows the adventure path, even if they know the outline(no one metagames, not that we knew what that was).

Then one day, the older brother of one of my good friends wants to play and ''see what the game is all about". So he gets some of his friends to come over to play makes a fighter character. Everyone has fun fantasy names like ''Dorn Bladeswift', but he flips through the rule book and sees that ''one player should be the mapper'' and as he likes maps and drawing he calls is character ''Mapper''. Then when he gets to buying equipment he only gets the minimum items, armor and weapons, and saves most of his gold. As do his friends.

So about the middle of the adventure is a group of goblins to fight, but they have low morale and give up wen their leader is killed (every time in every adventure). The adventure assumes the PC's take the goblins captive and tie them up. Then get some information from the goblins and let them go. But, of course, Mapper and his group....have no rope. So they can't tie up the goblins.

So each PC moves a goblin over to the wall, pulls out a dagger, and puts it to the goblins throat to ''hold'' them. Then they get the information and let the goblins go.

But the ''we dagger the goblins against the wall'' was my moment. Here was a group of PC's with no equipment, yet they still followed the adventure. In a way not written. And they make it through the adventure....with no equipment. Like there was a small cave with a giant spider...barely a foot note in the adventure as it assumes the Pc's have torches. But not Mapper's group...they fight the spider in the dark and blind.

My moment showed me that you really can do ''anything'' in a table top RPG...

Knaight
2017-01-20, 10:56 PM
I didn't have that moment. I think I might technically have played a videogame before GMing a freeform RPG without the knowledge of the term "freeform RPG*", but I started young - I was maybe 8, my brother was maybe 5, and we'd play "the talky game" for hours after our nominal bed times. Meanwhile my mom had played D&D, and I heard just enough of a description of it for it to sound completely amazing. It was those descriptions that I worked off of more than anything.

Plus, let's be honest here - Math Blasters, Jump Start, and Operation Neptune aren't really going to affect RPGs. I suppose they get you used to the idea of occasional math breaks in a game, but it's not something that I'd have added**.

*Which is how "the talky game" and later "Um" became a thing.
**Although it might be why the math in the game seemed like it belonged there.

The Glyphstone
2017-01-20, 11:48 PM
I was in a similar situation to one of the other posters, where to me RPGs were more an extension of my childhood make-believe games than video games.

By middle school, I'd spent the last several years building an elaborate setting and story with my Barbie collection in about half of my basement playroom. I had about 30 of them (I'd buy them on clearance and sew or craft them new clothes and accessories since, for SOME reason, Barbie had lots of official options for ballgowns but no priestess robes or archery equipment). There was also an elaborate in-setting explanation for the relative lack of Ken dolls, since it was harder for me to get relatives to buy me those. It was to the point where I'd taped numbers on the back of all of the dolls so I could keep better notes on what was going on.

In 8th grade, I transferred to a new school. My new school had a group of kids who seemed to share my sense of humor and interest in books, and they were all playing something called GURPS. I picked up the Basic Set at Powells and discovered a MUCH better system for pretty much everything I'd been doing with Barbies for the last 5 years or so. I started buying GURPS books instead, and suddenly my worlds, settings, and characters could fit in a bunch of file boxes instead of taking up half a room, I didn't have to hand-sew tiny outfits and make bows from incense sticks and thread, making a new character no longer involved buying another doll, and my settings could get a lot bigger since I didn't have to build Barbie-scale 3-d models of everything. Also, it was much easier to find like-minded people this way, because the pool of "people who want to play elaborate homebrew fantasy-based storytelling games with Barbies" gets smaller as you get older. Financially, it was probably a wash.

(I ended up in a 2nd ed AD&D game a few years later, but my D&D realizations were more about going to a class and race based system with a setting baked in from a generic point-buy system where everyone always made up their setting. I remember being surprised that I was expected to pick a Weapon Proficiency and had to re-work my backstory a bit to have a reason why my bard would know how to fight since I hadn't been thinking of combat when I'd come up with that particular character concept. Also, I remember it took us over two years of real-world time to not get very far in the Temple of Elemental Evil module before I went off to college and had to leave the group. We weren't the most efficient of groups and spent a lot of time on fluff/intraparty social things.)

This just makes me want to see Cthulhu Cultist Barbie.

cobaltstarfire
2017-01-21, 12:00 AM
I'm old enough that to me, "RPG" will already refer to the pen and paper tabletop games, and CPRGs are a derivative that can't provide the entire experience.

Well sure, if you asked me to split hairs I'd agree, since about the only agency one has in a video game is how they choose to beat down their opponents.


My first real serious exposure to role playing was trading notebooks with drawn/written actions for ones characters between friends in highschool, as well as over messenger with them. Highschool is also when I first got to play a game like Final Fantasy (unless you count pokemon in middle school I guess?) I sort of knew about D&D but not really, not until I was introduced to it my senior year anyway.

One could probably say that my expectations of a role playing game are much more strongly informed by the huge amount of free form I did than anything else, even if I've been playing video games before I even had big enough hands to hold a control by myself. They're definitly different mediums that deserve different expectations.

Hawkstar
2017-01-21, 02:43 AM
Well, I don't come from video games....

But setting the way back machine to way back when. So I only own one D&D rulebook with a single mini adventure(ah, nostalgia). So I'm the only one around for miles with a D&D book. I start with my friends and they run through the adventure(''you explore some ruins'' ). We go through the adventure several times and more people come to play and it is all fairly repetitive. Everyone follows the adventure path, even if they know the outline(no one metagames, not that we knew what that was).

Then one day, the older brother of one of my good friends wants to play and ''see what the game is all about". So he gets some of his friends to come over to play makes a fighter character. Everyone has fun fantasy names like ''Dorn Bladeswift', but he flips through the rule book and sees that ''one player should be the mapper'' and as he likes maps and drawing he calls is character ''Mapper''. Then when he gets to buying equipment he only gets the minimum items, armor and weapons, and saves most of his gold. As do his friends.

So about the middle of the adventure is a group of goblins to fight, but they have low morale and give up wen their leader is killed (every time in every adventure). The adventure assumes the PC's take the goblins captive and tie them up. Then get some information from the goblins and let them go. But, of course, Mapper and his group....have no rope. So they can't tie up the goblins.

So each PC moves a goblin over to the wall, pulls out a dagger, and puts it to the goblins throat to ''hold'' them. Then they get the information and let the goblins go.

But the ''we dagger the goblins against the wall'' was my moment. Here was a group of PC's with no equipment, yet they still followed the adventure. In a way not written. And they make it through the adventure....with no equipment. Like there was a small cave with a giant spider...barely a foot note in the adventure as it assumes the Pc's have torches. But not Mapper's group...they fight the spider in the dark and blind.

My moment showed me that you really can do ''anything'' in a table top RPG...I am endlessly amused that you and your players enjoy games that others would consider "Railroaded" to the point where, if the track seems broken, instead of going off the rails your players actually fix it. :smallamused:

hymer
2017-01-21, 02:55 AM
I was playing RPGs before I owned any sort of computer. So my moment was backwards: I was playing Bard's Tale 3, and for the umpteenth time I was walking the same path to the same town, then down the same streets to the same dungeon... And I thought: This is why I like roleplaying better (aside from it being a social activity). Because the DM would just fast-forward to the dungeon, and we'd skip this whole bit.

Satinavian
2017-01-21, 03:23 AM
I did come to Tabletop-RPG from CRPGs, but it was kind of a detour.

I started with Heroquest, which is, as you know, not really an RPG, even if some trappings of those are present. We did play it in a more make believe way and told stories, but as sy´stem it was fairly limited. There were real RPGs in stores, but i had no clue what they were. It was mostly booklets (modules) and i assumed, those were just fantasy shortstories, not a game. So i didn't buy any.

Then a CRPG, namely "Realms of Arkania: Star Trail" which was fun, had a rich world and had a RPG-rulesystem covering more than combat. So we tried to lay the CRPG rulesystem (as far as we could guess it from the game) over our Heroquest games to get something that would count as real RPG experience, but it didn't really work. But those RPGs in the stores, well, we noticed that they belonged to the same brand TDE as the CRPGs we liked. So we finally bought them... and it was exactly what we wanted. A real RPG.


But no, i didn't have a moment like the OP. This new freedom was the whole point of going to the pen and paper version so no one was really surprised by it.

johnbragg
2017-01-22, 09:43 PM
Well, this story dates back to 2nd Edition, before CRPGs came into their own. But we were in high school, and we played D&D pretty much like a CRPG--kill the things, take their stuff, level up, find something else to kill. We were munchkiny murderhobos, but it was fun.

So, due to some bad rolls of the dice, my 20-somethingth level PAladin has most of his brain eaten by a Mind Flayer. And for some reason, there was only entity that could restore his intelligence; and the entity asked for "one service." Being at an INT of 6 or so, I had my Paladin agree to the obvious trap with no questions asked.

INT restored, the entity names the service--kill the party's fighter. My paladin refused to betray his friend (a chaotic neutral murderhobo played by my best friend, who considered trying to kill my paladin just for kicks) and chose to Fall as a paladin.

That was the first time we roleplayed anything but munchkining and murderhoboing.

Jormengand
2017-01-22, 10:02 PM
Well sure, if you asked me to split hairs I'd agree, since about the only agency one has in a video game is how they choose to beat down their opponents.

This isn't true in a lot of video games (See: The Stanley Parable, Life is Strange, The Walking Dead, etc.)

Tough Butter
2017-01-22, 10:28 PM
I was playing a Star Wars port of GURPS we were rouge Jedi and Sith becoming bounty hunters, when we were intercepted by the empire and brought to the BBEG, a Sith Lord. In retrospect, we were probably supposed to run or submit ourselves, a humbling experience. However, We were way too cocky. We drew our guns and lightsabers and said our opening one liners.

The GM smirks. We're about to get our butts handed to us.

We start rolling well. Like, really well.

The DM is starting to get visibly disgruntled.

We eventually go as far as to roll a Craig at the perfect moment, blowing off the hand of the BBEG as he is death gripping one of us.

"Metallic shards bounce off your face as the Sith's hand explodes."

"Oh lord above is this Darth Vader? This is young darth Vader."

When GMing, remember Murphy's law. If something can go bad, it probably will.

cobaltstarfire
2017-01-22, 10:51 PM
This isn't true in a lot of video games (See: The Stanley Parable, Life is Strange, The Walking Dead, etc.)

It is true in context of me in highschool, which was long before any of those games. It's also still true of many modern games, you might have more choices, and the game might even have some tangible effects like different pathways, skills, or even endings. But it's still more limited than what you can get from other kinds of role playing.

RazorChain
2017-01-23, 05:36 AM
I played my first session in '87 and it was Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. At that moment I owned no computer but my friends had Sinclair Spectrum 48k and Commodore 64k and I really didn't have any prior experience from playing CRPG. Just like Max Killjoy I when I refer to RPG I really don't have to put the double T's in front. For me Computer Roleplaying Games aren't really roleplaying...it's more like a pick a path book like the Sorcerer on Firetop mountain than a RPG....you have limited choices where you can go and what you can do. I roll my eyes when people make backstories for their CRPG character and think they are roleplaying, some even going so for as to go to the inn and try to have meaningful interaction with computer controlled npc's.


So the moment I started playing I knew I was into something fun.....30 years later I'm still playing. Mom has stopped asking if I'm still playing those silly games after I told her how silly it is that she's still playing golf.

Inevitability
2017-01-23, 09:35 AM
"Oh lord above is this Darth Vader? This is young darth Vader."

I must say, I did not see this coming.

daniel_ream
2017-01-23, 01:14 PM
I was in a similar situation to one of the other posters, where to me RPGs were more an extension of my childhood make-believe games than video games.

This. I came to D&D from reading fantasy literature as a child, and D&D was sold to me as a game that let you play out fantasy stories like in the books (cf. Aaron Allston).

It took me about five years to realize that this wasn't the case for D&D, which is why by high school I'd moved on to other RPGs.

runeghost
2017-01-23, 04:33 PM
I'm old enough that to me, "RPG" will already refer to the pen and paper tabletop games, and CPRGs are a derivative that can't provide the entire experience.

Much the same here. I'm dating myself, but I was playing D&D in grade school when the closest thing in a video game was Adventure.

Although I did have a couple "realization moments" for RPGs, both as a player and a DM. As a player, there was one moment I recall in school where I was trying to figure out the "best" thing for my character to do. Then I realized that was irrelevant: I knew what my character would do, whether it was "the best" thing or not wasn't something to worry about.

Later, coming back to running classic D&D as an adult, there was the realization that my old games (as player and DM) had far too much combat. While the roleplaying and combat aspects are certainly part of the fun, Dungeons and Dragons is perhaps best as an exploration game, with exploration, puzzle-solving, and resource management (light, encumbrance and the like) being equally important. Fewer monsters (and many of those can be avoided with clever play), more puzzles, tricks, and traps in an overall larger dungeon really changes the game in some good ways. (Which isn't to say that you can never run combat-heavy scenarios, just that they don't need to be the be-all and end-all.)

Knaight
2017-01-23, 05:13 PM
I'm old enough that to me, "RPG" will already refer to the pen and paper tabletop games, and CPRGs are a derivative that can't provide the entire experience.

It's not just an age thing. The first Final Fantasy came out in 1987, the better part of a decade before I was born. RPG still refers to the pen and paper* tabletop games because I was aware of them younger and like them vastly more.

*Although that term does get on my nerves a bit, given how many of these games work much better if you use a pencil instead of a pen.

SimonMoon6
2017-01-23, 05:23 PM
I'm old enough that to me, "RPG" will already refer to the pen and paper tabletop games, and CPRGs are a derivative that can't provide the entire experience.

And for me, the only video games I "came from" would've been Pong, Space Invaders, or Pac-Man. But let me check some dates. I remember getting the AD&D (1st edition) books when they were new-ish. Let's say around 1980, since that's when my Deities & Demigods (complete with Melnibone and Cthulhu) would've come out. And Pac-Man came out around 1980. Space Invaders came out around 1978 (about the time of the first AD&D books).

So, I can't really say I came from these video games, but was exploring both of them around the same time.

I don't think I ever realized to think just how much more advanced D&D was than a game where you eat dots and avoid ghosts or a game where you shoot invaders from space. I wouldn't have thought to compare these two very different things at all.

ComaVision
2017-01-23, 05:48 PM
I played a lot of video games and then I was given the 3.0 DMG for Christmas one year. I read that YEARS before I ever actually played in a game so I understood the freedom that went with it before I had ever played.

Cluedrew
2017-01-23, 05:56 PM
Barbie -> GURPSI'll admit I had some expectations about the stories I would be reading when I read this thread. This falls outside them beautifully.

Anyways, to me the world of role-playing games never felt more alive than computer RPGs, although I can only suppose it is because my imagination fills in the details. I don't dislike the computer variety, but they have very different strengths. It is however more free. The transition that made me understand that plot stop being what was purposefully created and presented, and started becoming the fallout of the players actions was pretty gradual and seemed to happen over my time running free-forum games.

The one moment I did have definitely did not happen in D&D either. It was when I played (or maybe watched) a game without and random (or predetermined filler) encounters. I was wondering why there were not any monsters when I realized... why should there be that many monsters? You are not going to get rats requiring a sword to kill in the average basement, wolfs rarely attack travelers meters from the town walls and so on.

It was one of the moments where things shifted from a game world to a story world.

vasilidor
2017-01-24, 01:59 AM
I honestly don't remember mine. it happened before my parents let me play, I know that for certain (they started before i was born, I am 31 now about to be 32). was not allowed to play until I was 14, unless it was just me and my immediate family, even then not before ten.

Jarawara
2017-01-24, 07:51 PM
I'm fairly certain I never had such a realization moment. Of course, my story is similar to some of the previous posters - I started D&D before computer games had evolved beyond pacman and pong. But it was more than just that - I just seemed to inherently understand that my character was *me*, and those NPC's were other people, and I was not constrained by the rules and the options and the text of the game. I was a person interacting in a living world.

This of course got me in danger on more than one occasion. Like the time my gnome was looking deeper into a ruined temple, one the other players had given only a precursory glance (the obvious entrance to the dungeon was, well, obvious, and therefore held their attention). I looked over the collapsed wall and toppled pillars, and from the debris rose small humanoid figures, emerging from their hiding spots, eyes reflecting in the darkness, skin scaly, teeth showing, and I recognized them to a tribe of kobolds.

And I said "hi there!"

The other players then had to inform me that kobolds and gnomes apparently have this deep racial hatred thing going on, and that I was now surrounded by my mortal enemies, and the rest of the party did their best to extract me from my folly.

But what I remember is that I was never constrained by the books, by the combat rules, or even by the notes on who hated who. I remember being a small person in a big wide world. I remember the sense of wonder and freedom to act. I remember the magic that even the most mundane things seemed to provide. And the first living thing I saw, I saw as *other people*, with their own concerns and desires, ones that I tried to strike up a conversation with. And then they stabbed me.

*~*~*~*~*

I have seen numerous cases of players who have not yet had that moment of realization.

The original poster cited the example of the goblin king which refused to simply walk forward into the obvious trap, and that reminded me of group that spoke of this great battle they had with orcs. These two players were bragging how they, as a level-1 fighter and a level-2 thief, had killed a total of 48 orcs in a single long slugfest. When I asked how they accomplished this feat, they told me how they had backed into a small room, single entry, and killed each orc in turn as they tried to fight their way in one at a time.

Further detail provided by their DM: It was in a house, they had backed into a small utility room, no windows as it was an interior room.

Hmmm.... Orcs, wooden house with baddies holed up in an interior room. Doesn't that scream "FIRE"? Or, if they don't want the house burnt to the ground, how about axes? It wouldn't take much effort to remodel that particular room to have about four *really wide* entrances.

But the DM was happy to provide the orcs in single file, and the players loved it, so... *shrugs*


Another example, from my own game:

I played with a kid from school named Mike. He taught me much of my early D&D stuff. He was running a game to show me how it works, and had designed his own dungeon. We enter a room and he describes the four giant ants and the treasure chest in the center of the room. We fight the monsters, open the chest, collect the treasure. Success! He said he had taken that encounter from some module, though I don't know which one.

Later, I'm running my game, he's now a player. Dungeon was my design. They open a door and I describe the room. A half collapsed chamber with many small to medium sized tunnels in the walls. Four giant ants are in the room. No treasure chest is visible, but there are all these holes in the wall to hide one. Mike knowingly nods, confident that I had simply copied him.

They attack the giant ants, and are soon winning. Another ant shows up, soon followed by another. Ok, tougher fight. Thief is busy checking holes in the wall. Another ant shows up. Then a warrior ant. Then another two ants. Then another warrior ant. One of the PC's falls. A third warrior ant shows, and two of the standard ants begin to cut up the fallen PC into small chunks and cart the pieces back into the tunnels, even as more ants are showing up. Somewhere around that time the thief suddenly questions the logic of shoving his arm deep into a small hole, looking for treasure, when ants are clearly still streaming out of similar holes. Party finally realizes this is not a "monster and treasure" room... it is an ANT HILL, and there could be thousands of ants.

Mike was obviously surprised, but I never knew - was he surprised that the "world" was not designed to be level appropriate, and that you shouldn't go poking an ant hill for fun? Or was he simply surprised that I had realized this on my own, making a "realistic" world instead of just a series of dungeon rooms like he had shown me to learn the game.

Either way, he treated his opponents with much greater respect from then on. D&D is not a place where you see an ant hill and say "Hey, let's drop our trousers and sit on it, maybe we'll get a treasure!"

hehehe.... I miss those days.

Knaight
2017-01-25, 09:13 AM
Hmmm.... Orcs, wooden house with baddies holed up in an interior room. Doesn't that scream "FIRE"? Or, if they don't want the house burnt to the ground, how about axes? It wouldn't take much effort to remodel that particular room to have about four *really wide* entrances.

But the DM was happy to provide the orcs in single file, and the players loved it, so... *shrugs*

It depends on how stupid they're supposed to be. For orcs I'd probably go with a fire option or similar, but for the likes of zombies? Walking in one at a time makes a lot of sense.

BWR
2017-01-25, 04:33 PM
I had sort of an inverted experience of this sort.
Crappy CRPGs like Pools of Radiance had only been around a few years when I started (I don't think any of us actually played them) and my only experience with CRPGs was those crappy text-based ones where I never got out of the house because I couldn't figure out the correct commands to give.
My very first game, my very first PC, our very first encounter, some skeletons. All of us being new to the game, we had no concept of 'things we don't know about mechanics', and the DM told us the AC, THAC0 and damage of the skeletons. Looking at my pitiful AC and my lousy 2 hp (dead at 0, remember), even my mathematically disinclined brain concluded 'screw fighting, I'm hiding behind the stronger, tougher, better AC'd characters".
"This is a heroic game, no hiding," the DM informed me and the formerly sluggish skeletons displayed remarkable agility in jumping over the other PCs - a feat made even more impressive by the fact that the ceiling was rather too low to allow such acrobatics - landed beside me and killed me on the first blow.
The DM looked a bit surprised and embarrassed, but I was still dead. It took us a while to realize that there was more to the game than killing and looting or being killed and looted.

The Key
2017-02-28, 11:25 PM
I think it was when my friends and I were playing one of our very first dungeons. I was the DM. Things were going fine until the adventurers checked out a cave, and one of the adventurers was attacked and killed but a giant badger. This was the first time one of our characters were killed, and we were kind of in shock, since it seemed like "this game sucks" since it was already over for that player. It was then that I realized that, as DM, my job wasn't to try to kill the characters, it was to entertain my friends, and that what I needed to do going forward was to cut the players some slack--that a DM was not the adversary of the players, but a collaborator. That's when I realized that D&D was not like other games.

Honest Tiefling
2017-03-01, 12:14 AM
I too, came from computer games, but not RPGs. My parents had very odd restrictions on what my sister and I could play. Now we probably annoy the crap out of DMs by trying to use every object on anything remotely interesting in the environment.

I think this moment was when in the first game I got invited to, I realized that griffens had stats, so I could technically play one. Sadly, I did not get to play my griffen, but one day...

Anxe
2017-03-01, 12:39 AM
For me it was when my dad said he and my best friend's dad were organizing a D&D campaign. I said, "Cool, can I play a bat?"
"What? Like Batman?"
"No, like a talking bat that flies around and eats bugs."

Skelechicken
2017-03-01, 02:15 AM
In one of my first sessions of my first game we were being challenged by the Big Bad. It was a fight we were meant to lose, with a Half-Dragon calling down one champion from the fortress he was attempting to destroy. I asked if I could talk to him a bit first, and inflated his ego so much that I was able to convince him we were so pathetic that the only real show of force would be beating two champions at once.

What was supposed to be a crushing defeat at the hands of this warrior turned into a battle that we very nearly won. What was supposed to fill us with fear at a mighty foe turned into an understanding that our enemies were powerful, but flawed. Characters who could be slain, and possibly even slain out of sequence.

We still ultimately lost that fight, but the mood at the table was completely different. I am new to D&D. This first campaign of mine was 5e, and generally speaking my previous introduction to RPGs was entirely CRPGs. Facing one of those classic "the hero fights the big bad at the end of the tutorial to get a sense of scale" scenarios and flipping the script so thoroughly hooked me. I don't think I've felt totally satisfied with a CRPG since.

Inevitability
2017-03-01, 03:37 AM
For me it was when my dad said he and my best friend's dad were organizing a D&D campaign. I said, "Cool, can I play a bat?"
"What? Like Batman?"
"No, like a talking bat that flies around and eats bugs."

Well, could you? :smalltongue:

The Vanishing Hitchhiker
2017-03-01, 01:09 PM
For me, D&D itself was the realization of elements I was already familiar with or enjoyed, finally coming together as one. That's not to say I don't have other epiphanies awaiting me, but so far they've been things like "you can go by yourself if your spouse is sick even though you didn't go to college with the rest of the group".

As a tot, I'd pretend to be characters from a particular book series with my dad before bedtime. Later, I found friends in the online pastime of "these fictional characters who have never met are now meeting, and it's going to be awesome/dramatic/hilarious." (I married one of those friends, years later, and we still screw around with stuff like, say, which characters would have which pets from another work of fiction.) Making up stories by myself is okay, but it's more fun with someone else around to react, to make things unpredictable, to solve problems in a way I can't... and help me move things along to a satisfactory conclusion, rather than wallow in writer's block for months on end. Yeah, I'm not the best writer.

Other than a couple of point-n-click adventure games on the PC, and a couple handheld non-RPGs, I didn't own so much as a game console until my last year of high school. Then I learned the entertainment value of a fun setting, characters, and story, largely dictated by a third party, that I could experience so long as I could fight my way through it. And the fights held other lessons, like resource management, team composition, tactical positioning, and knowing when to avoid that group of monsters over there. I'm still not so great at aiming or platforming; luckily there are games where my character's reflexes are not my own. :smallwink:

In the end, the only thing that kept me from playing D&D for so long was finding people to play it with. I was a quiet kid, checking out GURPS and other splatbooks from the library to read for fun. Overheard a cute boy talking about his game in high school—thought, "I wish I had friends so I could play D&D," and didn't even think of the opportunity to break the ice with a crush. Had a couple exes who used to play (one once lent the other a Mage: the Ascension book)—got as far as rolling up a half-elf bard once, but a GM never materialized. Third time was the charm, though, and here I am now, more or less married into an alumni gaming group.

Squibsallotl
2017-03-01, 06:50 PM
The entire campaign framed my ideal for how games should be run, not as a DM guiding players through his story, but that the story is built and told by the players and DM together, building something grander than what one writer could make alone.

Well said. D&D is collaborative storytelling, which no computer RPG can properly replicate.

Von Zinzer
2017-03-02, 03:56 AM
Plus, let's be honest here - Math Blasters, Jump Start, and Operation Neptune aren't really going to affect RPGs. I suppose they get you used to the idea of occasional math breaks in a game, but it's not something that I'd have added**.
First of all, shout out to The Learning Company games from the early early '90s. Loved me some Challenge of the Ancient Empires.

I didn't get into pencil-and-paper RPGs until after I was done university. Prior to that it was all computer games.
I went straight from edutainment into all the LucasArts games of that era—Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango—so the idea of a narrative adventure was well established. Dabbled in MUDs during high school. Played Planescape: Torment without realizing until much, much later that Planescape was a D&D setting and all that THAC0 nonsense in the game was a port of the dice system.

Anyway, when I was invited to join a game by an old friend it took me a while to get into it. The whole thing was exceedingly dungeon-crawly*, but the DM really knew what he was doing. In fact, a minor character in the module has persisted/evolved as an antagonist for ten years now. So my "realization moment" was this: my character, a brash half-orc scout, got petrified by a basilisk and there was nothing the party could do. I guess it's cliché that my moment was my first character death, but the emotion I felt was astonishing. It's ok, though—the party dragged my stone corpse up many levels and fixed me right up. Sort of.


It was then that I realized that, as DM, my job wasn't to try to kill the characters, it was to entertain my friends, and that what I needed to do going forward was to cut the players some slack--that a DM was not the adversary of the players, but a collaborator.
Nailed it. "A Framework for Collaborative Storytelling" is how I describe RPGs to my father, who loves to constantly mention that he lived in Boston in the '70s when some kid got lost in the sewers "playing Dungeons & Dragons".



*Yeah the first campaign I played in was Rappan Athuk.

jinjitsu
2017-03-02, 04:42 AM
My epiphany was during the first session I ever ran - I'd played several times before, but the DM wasn't very good, so I didn't have my "realization moment."

I was a new DM running for several brand-new players and a couple players with just as little experience as myself. I'd planned for the group to come across a noble fighter losing a fight with some goblins - in return for their help, he offered them food and a place to sleep. Problem was, I had a cold, so the refined accent I was shooting for came out more as a "surfer dude." While I was a bit frustrated by this at first, the group included a used-cart-salesman bard and a geriatric halfling clown wizard; I rolled with the comedy, which (due to some fortuitous rolls) led to all but one of the group members enduring nightmarish trips when they got high on the mushrooms the fighter slipped into the stew.

It didn't just show me that D&D was full of possibility; it also showed me that as a DM, you don't have to (and shouldn't, really) let yourself agonize over whether you'll make a mistake or lose the plot; as long as you can keep the game going and make sure everyone at the table (yourself included) is enjoying their evening, you're doing your job.

Misereor
2017-03-02, 06:51 AM
The first AD&D game I played was Pool of Radiance. A friend got it on Commodore 64, and we played the hell out of it and all the sequels.
Then the friend's older brother told us that it was based on something called a pen and paper roleplaying game and asked us if us if he should run an adventure for us.

I loved the computer games (the turn based ones anyway), but the thing that got me hooked on P&P was that you weren't limited to some predetermined limits inherent to the adventure. You could do anything. Argue with merchants. Punch a goblin in the face. Pickpocket random NPC's. Found a temple. Gather followers. Found a dynasty. Have long discussions about alignment. It was awesome, and still is. 27 years later both the friend and his brother are still part of my regular group. We usually play D&D or Shadowrun.

Anxe
2017-03-02, 08:54 PM
Well, could you? :smalltongue:

Unfortunately, no. I was convinced that it was not the best idea. Ended up playing Anxe the Elven Thief that you see in my avatar.