One day, when I was a game master...
There’s a bit of my history I want to share with you.
15 years ago, when I was a teenager, I designed and ran my first table-top role-playing game. When I think about it, there were even more than one.
Back in this time I read Tolkien, played ADoM and learned Pascal. The internet access was slow and expensive. Three of my friends and also neighbors supported the initiative. We barely had video games, there was really nothing interesting on tv, and we hadn’t than any success with girls.
The first run was similar to the before-mentioned ADoM, some hack and slash.
We had only some regular d6 dices, paper, pens and imagination. I wrote down the tables in some special notebook - character generation, weapon damage, chances to get items, baseline for prices, artifacts. Paper database. There were character sheets for all the players. I drew maps on math notebooks. To see position of a person on a map the cards pictures were drawn.
If I remember it right characters had 6 characteristics. And almost everything were in sixes, due to dices. I quickly learned to make d2, d3 throws, got the Gaussian curves for 2d6 and 3d6. 3 ones were for something especially bad, sixes were lucky. The fact I passed Probability course at the university later shows that I was good at multiplying and adding fractions.
I’ve tried couple of worlds. One of the games was about some village that one day became surrounded by magic barrier, and the adventurers’ goal was to get out. They accidentally cleared out the village of all townsfolk. Next setting was some big city, rebels, and friends were aware that if they’ll try genocide approach again, some powerful guards will kick their asses. After this we’ve played scenarios where players were stuck between Nazis training camp and UFO crash site(inspired by wolfenstein and x-com, accordingly), zombie survival(yes, 15 years ago), and even some day we’ve tried strategy games, more like Starcraft, but turn based.
Usually I had not some strict scenario of the adventure and altered the play on the fly, while trying to push players towards special locations and events.
I was looking into official D&D rules, 2nd or 3rd edition. I was stunned by complexity of the books. The games I wrote were more simple and fast. Later I figured out that system we’ve played was similar to GURPS.
After leaving the neighborhood of my childhood I stopped playing TRPGs. Some time later I participated in LRPGs and one or two relatively small table top adventures, but this is the subject for another story. Now, once in while my friends and me are playing more board and less role playing games, and I hope, one day I’ll grab dices, pen and paper, and we’ll try to restore that atmosphere of fun, imagination, story and a dream.