RIP Gary Gygax
I was probably about eleven or twelve. I was on summer vacation. I was a half-elf cleric and I'd just helped my companions dispatch a group of goblin scouts. I was on the top of the world.
Coming from other games I wrestled with the rules. Character creation must be like science, because there's so many damn pages about it. I didn't want to get it wrong. I wanted to play the game correctly.
I don't even remember who the master of our little dungeon was. He saw the fun in it though. He made us think and react, he made us play the role. At first I saw my actions as silly, I couldn't fit them into the context of the game. I needed a piece to represent me, a map to orient me. It embarrassed me to think like my character could be a real person.
The DM laid the plot, we spent time in a rural hamlet acquiring supplies. Chatting to the locals. My mind began to change. We set off for the cave, unsure of what we'd find. Treasure. Goblins. Glory?
Then it happened. By a cave in the woods. Goblins ambushed us from all sides. We fought valiantly, bravely. I used my holy spells to alleviate the wounds of my comrades, who, so green, perched perilously close to death with each blow exchanged. I let go of the rules. I let my mind take over.
I was there. I was there on that day and I fought the goblins. I didn't talk about it, I didn't work it out on graph paper or roll any dice. I was there in the sweat and sting of battle, concerned that my first flighty adventure may well be my last.
The dust cleared. We had been victorious, if only barely. It taught us to be careful. To think before we acted. Of course the goblins would be expecting us on the path to the cave...it seemed so clear now. No fool would have done what we did in the real world.
I steeled my resolve and pressed on. This was my world. And, besides, they now knew we were coming...