In the beginning…..
I have spent some time considering this post, an origin story of how I got started in gaming and rather than stew on it for much longer thought it about time I put pen to paper.
My first ever RPG was 1st edition AD&D, I spent a weekend poring over the players handbook which I purchased from my local games store; the long since closed Games World in Hammersmith for the sum of £11.95. After much deliberation and some consultation with the DM I created a cleric. We played one session as the group sort of broke up after that.
At that point I was hooked.
I played with several different games systems from the heavy simulationist Phoenix Command and the sci-fi version Living Steel to other systems.
Phoenix Command Combat System (PCCS) was a real revelation to me, I had never imagined such a detailed game could exist and I devoured it, charts and all. Of course some people claimed it was cumbersome and somewhat unwieldy in play and I agree that they were right, but if you wanted to know the effect of a bullet on the body you could certainly do so. I still have the books and supplements but haven’t played it in a very long time indeed. In fact I don’t think you could play it, rather experience it would be a more apt description.
Living Steel was the futuristic equivalent of PCCS and had everything I wanted in a game; power armour, teleportation, strange aliens, a lifepath based character creation package which threw you into various periods of the climatic battles before your character was frozen and shipped off for revival at a later date. The problem was that it was rather deadly and also a sandbox environment.
I still played AD&D then but I seemed to prefer the modern day or futuristic games. I remember one of my friends getting Traveller and playing through the character creation process; the idea that your perfect character could die during the process lent a note of caution when rolling for survival. The idea that one more term could potentially kill you left the galaxy full of 36 year-old ex-servicemen or that’s how it appeared to me 🙂
I lusted after more strange worlds to plumb the depths of my imagination during which period I stumbled across Call of Cthulhu the game of Lovecraftian horror where your poor character could go mad rather than die. I have a lot of fun with CoC, even if I do make the occasional blunders as the GM and trying to maintain an atmosphere is very tricky but it is a game of the Jazz age and who doesn’t like the idea of standing on the running boards of someone’s roadster while blazing away with a tommy gun?
So there we are, a brief if somewhat rambling introduction.