Monday, June 7, 2010

Contest: Win The Elfish Gene

I have a copy of The Elfish Gene by Mark Barrowcliffe that has only been read once, and it can be yours for free!!

Ok, it will require a little something.  Since The Elfish Gene is about the authors childhood introduction to D&D and how it impacted his life, I want you to leave a comment and tell me about how you were introduced to D&D (or whatever your first RPG was), and why you kept playing. 

The winner will be chosen by my wife, and the book will be mailed to them anywhere in the world.  I'm afraid, as interplanetary and interdimensional postage is prohibitively expensive, I must limit this to terrestrial addresses only.

This contest will be open from the time of the posting until 6/18/10 11:59pm EST.


  1. Always happy to enter a contest.

    Well, back in the mists of time, I was very much a history, especially military history, geek and found wargaming. My mother noticed that there was a wargaming club that met at the local library and so I went. Several of the people there were playing D&D, this was back in the white box and supplements era, and I was fascinated. It was at least a week before I had a chance to play.

    And this is the odd thing, my first character was a LG elf named Lon who was handed off to me by his player, a young woman whose name I did not catch and whom I never saw again despite attending that club for years afterward. Lon, I continued to play for ages, throughout my early gaming career.

  2. I first played D&D with my wife, actually, when we were in college. She had played a little D&D with her stepdad when she was younger, and she correctly thought it was the kind of thing that would interest me. We got together with some of her friends from work - and had a miserable time, because they actually CHEATED! Fudging dice rolls, that sort of thing. Not fun.

    We put the game down for nearly ten years. Then late last year I made a friend while playing Magic: the Gathering who used to work for Wizards of the Coast and who liked D&D but who didn't have a game yet here in Colorado. We decided to start one for the two of us and our wives and another friend.

    We've had so much fun that I ended up inadvertently starting a new campaign when my wife and I were in Florida for a friend's wedding. The bride and groom and two of our other friends were interested in playing, so we started an impromptu game that we've continued online. That campaign has led me to my blog - and to yours!

  3. Why do I keep playing? I am a Gamer.

    You want more? Well, I was introduced to RPGs in the late 70s by a friend. At that time, the game was essentially moving the minis about in mock battles with little regard to rules or dice. Stats meant very little. These were essentially small, hard action figures. We used up A LOT of Testor's enamel paints painting up these little guys, and painting them up BADLY.

    I was one of those saps that would hit up family and neighbors twice annually selling gift wrap & cards. The school program gave you a catalog of all the cool stuff to "buy" with your sales points. Of course, they don't tell you that you have to sell the equivalent of Oregon's annual paper output to get enough points to earn the really cool stuff.

    But then came one year: 1981.

    In the catalog was The Basic Set. Erol Otus' adventurers worked their magic on me, even through the long distance of the catalog page. I was hooked: I ran my tail off selling cards and paper that year. My parents at the time had no idea what it was--they thought it was just another board game. I didn't know much more than they did about it, but I knew that I had to have it.

    I can still remember where I was when I first opened up the box: in the basement, sitting on the floor in front of the couch. Blue and green shag carpeting in front of the enormous Magnavox console television. I peeled the cellophane off and proceeded to remove every last item in the box, almost reverentially.

    First thing I did? I colored the dice with a white crayon.

    Then I rolled up characters for the rest of the night.

    I think that was where my parents first started to worry. The worry quickly turned into a near-Jack Chick-like obsession against gaming. I played on the sly, going through reams of graph paper creating dungeon after dungeon, world map after world map. Then I added Star Frontiers, Doctor Who, and Star Trek to my list of games. I still have a binder full of starship drawings I made in High School when I should have been listening in class.

    Yup. Hook, line, and sinker.

    I put them aside for a while through undergrad and grad school. Got married, enjoyed my first six years of marriage...then broached the subject one day on a long road trip for a job interview.

    And I found out I'd married a past gamer myself.

    And shortly thereafter I got reacquainted with my inner dwarf.

    Since then, I've been a steady player. Not frequent, just as often as our group can get together. We started out a decade ago playing so-called AD&D 2E. We dragged ourselves (late) to the 3E changeover...just before the changeover to 3.5E. Most of the group has investigated or played 4E and decided it's not for us. We're sticking with 3.5E (with houserules, of course) for the time being. (I brook no edition wars, however. I've played 4E and enjoyed my time; it's not my game of choice, but gives an OK play.) here -- stat-wise, mostly -- will I prefer 3.x, but there's enough Old School in me that I adopt pre-3.x stuff readily into my game.

    I've played with more than one group over the past few years and even introduced my kids and their friends to the game. I've painted hundreds of miniatures, both for myself and others.

    And now, after 30 years of gaming, I've finally taken the seat at the head of the table. Y'know, the one behind the printed screen of tables? The seat from which all rulings descend?

    But that's where I am now. In my first session behind the screen, I killed my first PC.

    In short, I play because it's in my blood. I play to get away from the cares of everyday life, if only for 6 short hours per month. I play because I am a gamer.

  4. My dad bought it for me. He took me to see Conan the Barbarian at the local movie theater. He would read me The Adventures of Robin Hood to put me to sleep at night. He would bring my gaming group huge sacks of McDonalds on the weekends then leave us alone. He had a silver tie clip in the shape of a sword. I love to roleplay and every time I do I think of him.

  5. Growing up in Idaho, with tons of allergies to the outside world, few friends around and no siblings, there wasn't much to do.

    A new kid moved to town and he had these weird books his dad had given him. A Monster Manual, a Player's Handbook and a smattering of modules for D&D and AD&D.

    We were twelve and ran into a couple of other guys who wanted to play and we whiled away many happy summers after that. Lazy afternoons and starry evenings of adventuring in forgotten tombs, dark forests and ancient crypts that created a lot of priceless memories.

    Somewhere along the line my grandmother saw one of those televangilists knocking Dungeons & Dragons and I had to go underground around her (and still do, out of respect), but we still maintained a game.

    Now I have a happy little Labyrinth Lord group and we carry on the tradition and will be running games in a comic book shop when it opens and hopefully bringing more and more people into the fold.

  6. Anonymous was me, there was an OpenID error.

  7. I never chose to be a gamer. I rolled it as a random trait.

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  9. It was 1977. I was 11.
    My parents had taken my sister and I to a Farmer's/Flea Market. There was a small comic vendor inside the main building that I often went to, in order to spend the two dollars my parents gave me for comics.

    Inside the shop, I was gathering a handful of my favorite comics when I saw a magazine on a shelf. It had a "cool looking" green dragon with yellow horns, smoke rising from its nostrils. I loved that picture. I looked through the magazine, which didn't have many pictures. There were a few monster ones and one "Conan" looking one, but it was mostly articles. The first one to catch my eye was "The Battle of Five Armies in Miniature".

    I had just discovered Tolkien's Hobbit, so I was intrigued. I played toy soldiers with my cousins all of the time, and I thought this would be really neat to have...well...FIVE ARMIES!! All at war with each other, like in the book! There were even "miniature battle rules" by some guy named Lakofka.

    I put my comic books back and spent the $1.50 for the first issue of "The Dragon" magazine.

    When reading it later, I found mention of Dungeons & Dragons, which sounded like a cool game. I tried making my own version at first and played it with a few friends. Later that year, my mom had me Christmas shopping with her and I spotted the Basic D&D box set at a local mall shop. After going inside and drooling over the box, I suppose my mother felt she had to buy it for me. I had that and clothes for my holiday gifts that year. Guess which I played with more? ;)


  10. I met my soon to be best friends, they were brothers, the summer before jr. high at the local library at the local library, no kidding (nerds of a feather, I guess, albeit proudly). We found common interests quickly and found the "Red Box" basic set at the local bookstore (we did not have a game or comic store in my small town).

    (Hey, in those days we used our spare time to create our own Character sheets and Character databases on the TRS-80!!)

    One by one each of us got a set for birthdays and Christmas, and joyed in the ritual coloring in the numbers on the dice with the included white crayon.

    Crazily, we met our DMs (also brothers) at the same library at that same time. (no one was even playing d&d at the library at that time either so how do ya figure...?) They were quite a few years older than us but had a wealth of gaming and life experiences under their belt which they would use to entertain us for hours on end with stories!

    Our DM invested in a new set of all the Ad&D Hardbacks and we slowly paid him back. He was a great great mentor! Many sessions ended with my friends mother picking them up and me staying behind to be tutored in such things as history, chess, taekwondo, and writing.

    We met formally about 1 time per week for many years, and snuck in other groups and games when we could. And that's how it all began!!

    I think I'll head to the local library to mentor some new blood-- I'd love to take a NEW book (read only 1 time) with me!