Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tim Kask's 2nd Game of D&D - "I'm a lord! Wow, this is too cool!"

Gen Con XII, 1979. From left to right: Tim Kask and the Holmes family - Chris, Sig-Linda and John Eric

It's so easy to forget how - before anyone knew what a "roleplaying" game was, before video games, before Star Wars or modern fantasy or science fiction movies - one's first experience playing Dungeons & Dragons could be so mind blowing.

Here's Tim Kask describing his second game of D&D, played just a few minutes after his first. (This was on the last evening - I think - of the 1974 Gen Con.) Recall that in his first game, the entire party, including a sort of clueless Kask, had been carved up by a laser machine into paperweights.

Joseph Bloch reminds us that this was probably the infamous Machine Level of Gary Gygax's Castle Greyhawk. Bloch's excellent homage to that megadungeon, Castle of the Mad Archmage, can be found hereThe entire Grognard Games interview with Kask may be viewed on YouTube.

Note the end of the interview, where Kask describes how, after his first experience with D&D, he then decided to buy the game and infect his friends with it. I always thought of the early game as being spread by what I like to call, evangelization. But perhaps infection is at least as appropriate a metaphor . . . 

Grognard: Did you enjoy that first game or was it just a case of . . .

Tim Kask: I really didn't have any idea what had happened because I couldn't hear half the time. You know, we're in a large hall, and there's games going on all over, and there's movies going on, out in the in the garden area in the center, and I just kept missing snatches of the conversation. So, all right, what the heck . . .

Grognard: Your very next game was with Ron Kuntz who was shouting for volunteers . . .

Tim Kask: I think it was. I believe it was. I'm still sitting there scratching my head, and I'm not ready to leave yet. So a young man comes through, getting players together again. And I said, well, okay. I looked at my watch. I got time - that last one didn't take very long. So I, okay, I signed up.

And this time, I was a dwarf. And I liked that idea. And I had an axe, and I was wearing chain mail. and I had a shield and a helmet. And I'm I'm getting into it now, and I'm up in the front - all right let's do it! you know? So, I'm just telling him what I do. And, of course, none of us had dice so he's doing all the dice rolling and everything. And I'm just, "I'm chopping at em!" And in the course of about, I don't know, maybe two hours that adventure lasted, we rescued a dying dwarven duke or something. And, as I was the only dwarf in the party, he gave me this, like, medallion of office. Now, all I had to do is go find his duchy or dukedom. And I had a hundred fighting men at my disposal. And I had a castle underground (you know, of course, he's a dwarf). And this was the . . . this was like hitting the jackpot, because the whole point of D&D was to adventure up to get enough money to build yourself a keep, go out and carve yourself a kingdom out of the wilderness, build yourself a keep and rule it as a lord. Ha! Second game, I'm a lord! Wow, this is too cool!

So I went back and I bought the game. I bought a box - I bought the box, the little brown box. And I bought a set of dice. And I took them back, and I infected my game group at college, several weeks later. So that's how I started.

1 comment:

  1. That is cool. Stage one: death. Stage two: power. Stage three: you buy the game!