Note: As the summary already states, I thought we may as well have such a submission. It's counterpart, My First Character already exists. So I thought this would make a nice addition.
I remember when..
I developed an interest in roleplaying at an early age. I must have been around 9, maybe 10 at the time. I'd always read a lot, my parents taking great pride in the fact that I could and did(maybe it was a little too much, yet I still love them for it).
One day whilst secretly "raiding" the attic, on the prowl for newer "more grown up"/intellectual material. I discovered an old cardboard box, inside it was packed with small paperbacks. Taking one out I wiped the dust from the cover and looked at it. The first thing I noticed was the artwork, it somehow apaled to me.
"The Warlock of Firetop Mountain" by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.
I loved "playing" through the books, the whole concept of rolling to create a character, turn to page X etc, it was brilliant!
Of course my father found out and was a little angry with me (understandable) for not asking or saying anything. But eventually after a few days of sulking he came round and we started to talk about the books. About roleplaying.
A few years later, when I turned 12 he then got out his copy of AD&D 2nd Edition. Promising me that at weekends we could play together. The rules were complicated so we decided to simplify things a bit. Needless to say I was hooked.
Almost a year later after forgetting to hand in an assignment to my science teacher, I made my way to his classroom to hand it in. When I got there he was sat around one of the tables with 4 or 5 students.
They were in the middle of a roleplay, so after handing in my assignment I asked if I was allowed to stay and listen in. He agreed.
After a few months of attending the lunchtime sessions, held every Wednesday, and good grades/behaviour on my part I was finally allowed to partake. In my first group RPG.
This was also my first time playing Call of Cthulu. I'd read the books by H.P.Lovecradt before that, so I knew roughly what to expect.
And there you have it..
Rather a long winded speech, with more history than I meant to include. I thought, why not include the whole backstory.
Feel free to add your own histories of what/how you got into roleplaying!
Additional Ideas (5)
I asked them if I could play too and they just stopped and looked at me for about a minute in silence before the DM nodded, and then they both tried to explain these strange rules to me in a rush which I completely got lost on. (THACO anyone?)
After that I was confused but hooked, and it just went from there. (although I never did get a chance to play with those two boys, I did manage to get my hands on a few rpg books and play with a some other kids during study hall and after school.)
I remember playing an online RPG. (one of those MMORPGs) at my library on a weekend. When I was leaving the building after getting some books I walked past a group of people roughly my own age sat at one of thee larger tables towards the back of the library, an area generally used by students to study.
They where talking quietly, rolling dice, one of them had a bunch of notes, and it looked interesting. So I asked if they would mind me sitting there; they didn't and so I joined them.
I attended for a few of their sesions before I was asked if I wanted to join in. They said not to worry about rules and the like, that it would all come with time, and indeed it has.
Although I mainly consider myself a writer, I do enjoy our weekly gaming sessions.
Roleplaying has also been an influence on how I think when I write.
My first game was in the dark ages - junior high school, 1984. I lasted all of perhaps 10 minutes, but I was hooked. They gave me a prexisting character - an orc or simulator bash & smash fighter. I opened one door. Flock of spikes later I'm dead.
Apparently I "forgot" to put on my armor.
Still was hooked and got into a real campaign 2 years later.
My middle school days were filled with Diablo, Warcraft II, and a Roman fantasy MUD called The Eternal City.. I hung out with the "odd crowd" most of the time, and one day in 7th grade gym class my friends suggested we play "D&D," an abbreviation I was heretofore unfamiliar with. I was handed a blank character sheet, told not to worry about stats. I made a half-ogre mage just off the top of my head (probably the Warcraft influence). Our "play" consisted of my friends going on about how large their palaces were, how much wealth and women they had, and the variety of depraved things they could do (middle school, amirite?). We never did any rolling, fighting, or storytelling, really.
A couple years later, as I got more into fantasy fiction with the Shannara series, I stumbled on an RP forum called the Red Dragon Inn (long since defunct). There I discovered freeform fantasy roleplaying, and was hooked on creating characters and stories. Unencumbered by any rules or books, we wrote high adventure stories with a bent towards Mary Janeism.
Shortly after that, a friend invited me to join an online Dragonball RP site. It was goofy as hell, and poorly managed by an overly dramatic teenager but, it led me to more writing and another gaming community. After that site fell, my friend and I spun off our own RP site (God in Heaven, it still exists! http://www.angelfire.com/dbz/goldenaura/ ) that was equally short-lived. Even when no one showed up, I kept writing more setting and stories for it.
Then in college, while looking for a name generator or something, I came across a little website called "Strolen's Citadel". It really wasn't until here that I got my first taste of rule-based, P&P roleplaying - even if the P&P was entirely ASCII. The rest is history, I suppose.
That early experience with freeform roleplay really shaped my writing and my thoughts towards gaming: more a storytelling medium than anything else.