28 April 2018

D&D Story 1: Introduction to the Game

So this is an inter view I did with my Dad on April 4th; I've been sitting on this completed transcript for a week now because I was going to edit it, get rid of repetitive parts and add punctuation, but since I keep putting it off I'm going to post it as is. I may come back and edit later. 

My questions/comments are in standard color while my Dad's answers are in blue.

If you want to listen to the audio you can download it here.

UPDATE: I have uploaded all of our interviews as a podcast on Anchor called Dungeons and Dragons and Duncanites. This episode can be found at https://anchor.fm/lance-duncan/episodes/DD-Story-1-Introduction-to-the-Game-e3n491

We are recording okay umm so just start with telling me about how you got into D&D the whole your whole story however you want to tell it
Okay well the very first time to it at all role-playing games was in 1973 at tech school for dog handling law enforcement school in the air force two of my roommates were playing a game they called allies and axis which we now find out has absolutely nothing to do with the ones that’s on the market and I watched them and they tried to encourage me to play and I said no I’m having much more fun watching you two guys beat your heads together
Can you describe that game in detail?
Well most of the game the guy that was playing the allies was losing until the guy that was playing the axis invaded Australia and the united states at that point both the Americans and the Australians went guerilla warfare
Guerilla warfare was accounted for in the rules of the game
Yup and the
That’s definitely not axis and allies lol
Yeah, I know but it wasn’t called guerrilla warfare it was just called you want my guns come take them
You know and which is the essence of guerrilla warfare and the guy who had the axis said I’ve won you don’t have an army you don’t have the government you don’t have this you don’t have this you don’t have that so I’ve won and he said no not until you get all of to say that you have and it was just so funny watching them play and also reason why I did not want to play that was the very first experience I had and that game took a week
Lol yeah that sounds like axis and allies though but there’s lots of other games like that too
Ok and then the 2nd time I was exposed to it my brother was getting married and needed some time with his future wife and asked that I would go with her brother to a party to get me to leave my brother alone this was right after I got home from my mission which would have been 1980 and I got the drift so I went to the party the party was a D&D game and it was actually dungeons and dragons 3rd edition and well it was
What was the color of the book
It was dark brown
It was the big thick one advanced dungeons and dragons
Ok so it was the first ok yeah Which you could count as third its first edition but technically you could say its 3rd because there’s original and there was the Holmes book and there’s AD&D which called itself 1st edition
Yeah which it wasn’t
But yeah technically you could say it was the third game
Yeah it was the third game
And um rather than roll a character up for he just handed me a char sheet prerolled and I was not the highest level character but I had I was a knight who had really good plate mail armor really really good sword horseback style sword he called it a he didn’t call it a bastard sword but he called it something else and it had a really long blade almost the length of a two handed sword and then I and that all I had I didn’t have arrows or anything else so I was the upfront fighter and I was at 4th level and everybody else stood back while I went up front and just slaughtered everything and if something was gonna get me from behind the entire party would then focus in on that one entity and usually cleaned out that one while I cleaned out 4-5 five at a time between my horse kicking biting jumping and all that other stuff and me with my sword or my lance either way anything I came up close to was down for some reason I was definitely even though they were
You were rolling good
I was rolling good very good and it was really exciting because everybody’s telling me oh that was a great roll oh that was good oh that was this that was that and just really getting me excited about it and finally it was time to go to bed for him because he was like 15 the dungeon master
And so he decided rather than just cut it everybody count up your experience points and go home he decided to kill everybody off and so these entities whatever they were I don’t remember all of what was in it but I know they started killing people off starting with the thief and the magic user and then working their way up and then last area there were only three of us I think it was the cleric me and a berserker and we stumbled into an area that was prehistoric so tyrannosaurus rex brontosaurus all of them were there and at that point a tyrannosaurus peaked around a corner and swiftly took out the berserker and was headed for the cleric just in time to get lanced by me and I rolled a natural 20 and with my horse in full charge and me with an 1825 strength we skewered him very soundly and he was dead and then a brontosaurus came around the corner and stepped on my cleric
Ok lol
She was walking so you know it was easy she wasn’t paying attention I on the other hand saw that and flew into a berserk rage of a knight thus losing my knighthood in the process and oh because I was not just a knight I was a
A paladin yes and so losing my paladin stuff I went into a full berserk rage and went and tried to skewer the brontosaurs and yes, the lance did go in but have you ever seen the size of a brontosaurus
Yeah it was a pinprick and he swung around and
Wait when did Jurassic park come out that was the 90s right
Yeah ok
He swung around and hit me with his tail knocked me off my horse killing the horse and so I got up and got my 2-handed sword and started whacking at his toenails off and he came down with other foot and squished me and I thought that might be a fun game never touched it again though until I got married and found out that all of my wife’s best friends husbands loved D&D and they played the boxed sets the originals
The original red box
Red and blue boxes
That’s called the magenta box now
It’s not red box that we have it’s the earlier red box
The 1981 red box right
Ok just making sure
Yeah so anyway they got they rolled up a character for me his name was gurgen don’t ask me why I just picked something weird on purpose he was an elf who was a thief which means he had some magic abilities but he was able to steal now I’ve looked over that book since and there’s no way that you can have an elf thief with magical abilities
Either you’re a thief or a mage the fact that you’re an elf doesn’t make you have option of both unless you go with the dual class which they did not tell me about otherwise I would not have gone with the dual class so anyway I was mag thief and I was getting beat up all the time while they were laughing and there guys were doing good I was more of a distraction for the other people so that  my guy my team could go kill them all it was fun for them very fun for them and I got kinda discouraged that my because he would get so close to dying and faint he did not get any experience points for killing because at that time whoever dealt the killing blow got the experience points
And I wanted to get experience points so they convinced me that if you don’t like the way the game is played maybe you should become a dungeon master tis was
Of course they would do that
This was their way of making sure none of them had to be the DM and I did so I took about 6 months reading up learning all about it then we finally had our first game which was the one with all the mushrooms in it
Search of the unknown
Search of the unknown
The module
Yeah, we did that one they cleared it out I put some extra little tidbits in there and that weren’t in the book because it says that there’s
It tells you to
Yeah that too and they all survived they all loved the game and so they wanted to do another adventure so I said ok and I got up the nerve to start reading some more modules and stuff let’s see the 2nd one before I got done with the project I was working on they handed me the elf that stole the sword of truth
Yeah, the yeah ok the sword of justice
Sword of justice
It’s in dragon magazine
Right and because that I thought because that was such a short one it would be an easy one to do
And so, I got all that and then as we went down into the ones underneath where there you roll up what turns in there before hand it seems that my rolling of the monster was much higher grade than their level of characters because eventually they all died
And they thought it was good game but they didn’t like their characters dying because those were some of their favorite characters
And so, we’d take another one and so we did the not the keep on the borderlands but the one where the carrion crawler is just outside to the left underneath
Oh, that’s the 83 red box
That’s the adventure in the module I mean in the rules in the dungeon masters guide whatever
Yeah so, I did that one and I built that one from scratch all the way out to the end and had a secret passage that led out the back on the bottom
Into a river that was kinda infestigated infested with crocodiles Nile crocodiles
Of course
Yes, well they didn’t know that until one them fell in and the Nile crocodile caught hold of his foot and they were able to grab him in time and they only had to do major healing to make it where he could continue to walk and they continued looking for the wizard of that game and found him and brought him back to justice so they were happy with that game and that started my dungeon mastering
Ok. wait, never mind
Anyway, I played with them for a couple years and then we had children and Linda and I moved down to Clairmont ca and no longer were able to play but while at work some coworkers mentioned that they lived pretty close to us in their opinion they lived about 15 miles away from where we lived
Yeah people will go pretty far to play D&D
Yes, they will
Wait so mom was playing in your earlier games
No she didn’t really like it but when I had these other friends come then she wanted to play and she played for a while she was a magic user and did not do well but the other 3 people did quite well with or without her and we played for about a year and half and then I got let  go of the job that I was at again and had to leave went up to Sacramento didn’t play again until my kids were older I think Cassie was maybe 7 maybe 8 Heidi would’ve been then 6 Bridget would’ve been like 3
Bridget obviously wasn’t playing at the time
She thought she was
And then we just kept playing adding new characters for new members of the family like lance and Jared
Yeah but you forgot about me later remember
Yeah ok so when you ran that castle from the boxed set you know the room with the harpies
So, in the book it says that you shouldn’t allow them into that room until they’re 2nd level so how did you handle that
Oh, that was easy
They were 2nd level already
Yeah, they were usually 2nd level I kind of directed them as to which way they should go
By giving them options or not giving them options
This door is locked you don’t have the ability to unlock it
Well see last time I ran that dungeon back when I was in college I had forgotten about part oh they have to be 2nd level and so I was like ok well you can’t open it but then they took basically they had a battering ram and burst the door open
Because because I’m like well ok yeah, your gonna open it that way
Yes evidently
With enough force you will open it lol and so they went in and all of them were charmed except for one and basically the harpies made the ones that were charmed kill the one that wasn’t charmed
Ok and the harpies ate all the rest
Yep that’s how it works
There’s a reason your supposed to be 2nd level
Lol ok so ok so something you kinda mentioned earlier kinda touched on was so when you played right after you got married that was like 84
No, it was still 83 when we started playing
Ok that was 83 so was it all guys
What was your experience what was the group when you played with your brother or your?
My brother never played he thought it was silly
Ok but when you played the first time you played
Oh, with my bothers girlfriend’s brother
Ok complicated
Ok that was totally mixed and it was about equal
Ok did how was the treatment of the guys towards the girls in those games
Rather suggestive I mean there was propositions going on left and right and these were all shall I say minors and because they were roleplaying they could do anything they want and since their characters were adults guess what they did
Yeah ok that leads into the next question ok were you older than most of the other people you played with because you got in the game at what 23
1980 you were 23 right
Ok so
No no 1980 I was 26
Cause that’s the first time you played right 1980
Yeah you were 26 ok so
And yes, I was older than all of that group and when Linda and I got married yes, I was older than all of those people
Ok cause there’s a lot of people who are online or I meet at other places and there’s a lot of them that started in the early 80s or the late 70s but they started when they were like ten or their early teens you know like the latest usually is like 17
So, in comparison you’re really old
I understand this concept
I don’t know how was that for you did you feel the age difference
Logically oh yeah there were things that I would never have done but they did which is why oh and some of them especially in my quote in quote brother in laws group they really got to the point to where I started worrying about them because they couldn’t tell and then I had read stuff when I was working in the university about people who had gotten down into the service tunnels and were playing games in those service tunnels and one person actually came up dead in the service tunnels
Yeah, the Pulsipher case
Which half of it basically a private eye was hired and then he wrote a book and half of the stuff in the book was made up
I believe it
But anyway, that got me to thinking that this is an enjoyable game and there are going to be people that are really stupid playing the game that will lose their minds and can’t tell the difference that when I took level of dungeon master a lot more seriously and I decided that my children will probably want to play and id better make sure they understand the difference between fantasy and reality
Yeah did you see the movie mazes and monsters with tom hanks
Did you hear about it when it came out cause?
I just now heard it for the first time
I think it was in the late 80s it was but yeah it was a movie about people who played dungeons and they didn’t call it dungeons and dragons they called it mazes and monsters because copyright
But you didn’t hear about it when it first came out
Ok cause a lot of people in gaming hate that movie
Why is that
Well because it portrays roleplaying games and they think it portrays them in a bad light because the main character tom hanks he obviously has mental issues but in my opinion, I watched that movie a few years ago and that movie really is not if anything has a good view of D&D because it shows how he copes with D&D that’s my view of it
But most people just they like you know but they were alive when the movie came out too so whatever
Ok so so you got the sword of justice from the dragon magazine but that was given to you
Did you have any more encounters with dragon or dungeon magazine
They would occasionally give me their latest purchase to read and peruse and I found that most of the stuff that was in dragon magazine bored me
To the point to where I could probably get through 3 or 4 paragraphs of each article and then just go ok I don’t care
What about dungeon magazine that was only adventures
Same thing I just you know these people that their nitpicking or they were fantasing beyond logic it was just I had the feeling that these people had the mentality of an 8-year-old playing dungeons and dragons as a dungeon master
Yeah well that’s cause a lot of them were 8-year olds
Lol 12 more likely but you know so when you first started out you started with modules
What do you think about their quality of adventure writing well B1 is to teach you
How well did that teach you
Pretty good pretty good the red book going through the adventure for yourself taught me very well and all the modules all the games that were in the red and the blue books were very interesting I created some of my own dungeons with them as the background and they were fun but I find that where I had the most fun was when I started having my children play and their friends coming over
That would’ve been when we moved to citrus heights
Right but when you were DMing with other people before you were playing with us it was all you were only doing modules
And only what was in the module I did not
You didn’t tinker with it
I didn’t tinker with the module
Except for like B1 because you had to
Yes I had to roll up monsters and encounters and all kinds of things that’s as much tinkering as I go at that stage but what did happen was because of that I learned that I had to write down not only the characters abilities each one of them but I also had to write down each and every room and what was in that room and if they came to that room at a certain time did the thing that was in that room stay if they missed it or did it come out of the room cause it heard noises down the hall and that was a very enlightening thing because if they have a treasure in reality they’re less likely to leave the room unless they bring the treasure with them if the treasure too big to bring with them they aren’t leaving that room they might call for backup which couple of times they did and they may be dead but then backup came and it made for interesting game but more interesting learning experience for the dungeon master
So, did you so you did modules so is that did you play mostly in dungeons or wilderness or what was the mix
It was mostly dungeons but you had to do some wilderness to get from one dungeon to another so that amount of wilderness yes
 It was more of a journey type thing
Yeah and you know things happen on journeys you know you stick your hand in a plant and it eats your arm off
Or there’s dinosaurs
What was I gonna say more about rules so we used a lot of house rules when you were playing with us
Boy did we ever
Yeah, I didn’t know how many until I really started studying but once I went through and read more of the stuff from dragon magazine or the gazetteer series based on the known world a lot of the house rules we used were in those other products so did you take rules from those products or did you develop you own house rules
I mostly when I read dungeon magazine and dragon magazine and all those things I would see these rules and I would say yeah that’s a good idea but I don’t like the way they’re doing it so let’s do it with a little tweak and it would be almost the same so that everybody who read dungeon or dragon magazine or all the others they would remember something about that rule and would accept it
But it wouldn’t be what was in the magazine
So, you would get inspiration from other sources
Was there any specific rule you made up on your own just because
Yeah when I started playing with Cassie’s friends definitely the rules were coming down faster than I could keep track of them all and that’s when it started losing interest for me cause you know situations would come up and I don’t know I can do this or not example a human being then being cursed to be half human half dragon and wants to be full dragon and how do they then continue to play and I just had problems with that and I don’t know I’m glad that that person quit playing soon after
Right we won’t name her
So also, you said your first character was an elf magic user thief
So that may have been except you were playing AD&D it makes sense for AD&D but in the Holmes book you know the blue book the basic blue book not the expert I have it you’ve seen it right
So, with that book there’s a little paragraph in there that mentions you can have any character type or class like there it says oh elves and dwarves and halflings can also be thieves and those will be in future rule books
Then it also says relating to the half dragon character you could be any creature as long as you start at low level and reach high level as long as there’s a slow progression you start weak
So that’s been in there since the beginning
Yes, it has
But it’s kind of frowned on these days
And for good reason having a half human half dragon really should not be
Hint hint 5th edition hint hint
Yeas I mean half orcs is bad enough
Can you imagine a half kobold half halfling?
No, my favorite thing is you’re a halfling half of what
Lol yes exactly you definitely aren’t a short human
This is why I don’t when I let people be halflings in my games I don’t tell them they’re halflings I tell them they’re Hin h-i-n which is what they’re called in the known world
It’s in later products not the original
Oh ok
Because who’s gonna call themselves a halfling
You know who calls themselves a halfling that’s stupid
It’s like in the movie willow everybody calls him a pick but he says he’s not a pick
He’s a
He’s an Elwyn
Yeah and Elwyn and then the Daiquinis
And the regular sized people are Daiquinis
And they’re looked down they’re looked downward upon by the Elwyn
Yeah ok so ok so can you describe the people you first played with who they were if you remember
No one was over 17 there was a cheerleader type girl in the group most of the other guys most of the guys were jocks but not jock stars I think my future brother in law was the only one who wasn’t a jock and the other 2 girls that were there I think were just groupies of those jocks and I think the whole get together was a way for my future brother in law to actually curry favor with this in crowd
Ok he was your first DM right
 And you said he was 15
Yeah, he was 15
And he was it appeared that he had some experience in doing this evidently maybe he brought the crew up from 1st level to whatever levels they were I know one the magic user was 8th level how he got killed off so easily I still don’t recall or understand
Ok yeah so as a 15-year-old dungeon master how did he DM like what was his style
Hack and slash
There was just a bunch of monsters and you were supposed to kill them all
Did he roleplay any of the monster or what did he do?
No, they were all insignificants that would just all of a sudden turn up and you had to fight or die or flee
Ok what about the 2nd group you played with
The 2nd group I played with they were a little bit more informative about how the game actually worked
Were they closer to your age
Yes, the oldest one I was 26 the oldest one was maybe no I was not 26 I was 29
This is when you were playing with mom’s friends
This when I was playing with your moms friends the oldest one was maybe 28 the others were 25 or so so like those who had been on missions had been home for a while and there was a couple that did not go on missions but they enjoyed and they were part of our home teaching or not home teach family home evening group
In the singles ward
Yeah well it wasn’t the singles ward it was the young marrieds group at the church
Yeah yeah yeah whatever the same thing
Yeah really lol I mean there were 8 young marrieds in this one ward and all 8 couples met for family home evening
Cause out of the 8 there was only 1 that had family ties in Escondido so we all kinda grouped together and one of the things they like to go out and do was go out and have pizza and watch star trek and play dungeons and dragons oh till Battlestar Galactica came out
Oh yeah what was I going to say how long were your game sessions and how often did you play
Most of the time the session were about 4 hours and we played when we were at our peak we played every other week
Ok so that’s ok so when you first started playing did you guys use miniatures
Or battle mats
Nope that was later
Later as in
When I got my own group going there from coworkers and that was only to give them a sense of direction so they could figure out where they wanted to throw their next strike how they wanted to move their characters and where the enemy was sitting
But you didn’t like buy any miniatures and paint them
No just you know drew out little pictures of their characters and put down on the table and then I had pictures of monsters that they might encounter and the size of the room possibly
Ok oh when you first started DMing did you fudge the dice and how often
When I first stated DMing no I did not fudge the dice and I would roll it in front of them and they would always be upset because when I rolled dice at that time in life 20 was common
Lol you ever think maybe you had a loaded die
Yes, several times and we wound up switching dice to prove it
This was with the first group who couldn’t believe that someone this new could roll 20s that often
Like being new has to do with what your rolling
so, you know that blue set of dice I have
that’s from the original 1983 basic set did you buy that yourself
I did I bought that set
Was that the first set you bought
Yes, it was
Ok so the expert book the green expert book well its green now it used to be more blue
Did someone give that to you or did you buy that one
Yes, that would be Dwayne Hansen gave that to me
Ok so you had the original isle of dread and the original expert book but then you also had the new the later the revised expert and revised isle of dread
That is correct
You bought those ones
I did
So, you bought all the boxed sets that we have
Besides the original
The complete box sets
Cause its actually very rare for other people who play the same edition as us to have the immortal box set
Yeah, I know I got that because I thought it was going to be merely a continuation of everything when it got to the point where it’s actually
It’s a complete set of new rules
Yeah, the new rules are god worship
Just be glad you didn’t get into the newer so they did a so you know they did the rules cyclopedia which was all the boxed sets together except for immortals
And then they did immortals as a separate box set with a special adventure
I did not know about that but yeah
Just be glad you didn’t use those rules because those rules are worse
 I believe it
Cause those rules are more in line with AD&D rules with actual gods they make the immortals more godlike and less less you know like the immortals
So, when you got the box sets and there was the immortals how did you view the immortals in the game
Yeah ok cause a lot of people in D&D they have some strange idea that the immortals aren’t gods
Uh they are like Greek roman
Yeah exactly
Hindu and Pakistani which is now considered a part of the Sumer
Yeah cause you know anyone who’s remotely acquainted with classical literature you know Greek roman whatever literature
You’ll notice that they interchangeably call the gods immortals and gods
That’s correct
You know and how people don’t see it is it really frustrates me so I guess that’s all my questions
My thing is with the gods as a latter-day saint you know those are nice fantasies but you’d really better stay away from that all together because I have seen people go off on the deep end on other things and that’s really one thing you don’t want to go off on the deep end in
Yeah ok that it

1 comment:

  1. From the Google+ group B/X D&D Rollplayers

    Lance Duncan:
    An interview with my dad about his early D&D games. He first DMed with the BX rules

    Jarrett Perdue:
    Thanks for sharing this.