I was first introduced to Dungeons and Dragons in the late 1980's, when a schoolmate brought back a mysterious Red Box from his holidays in the big smoke. I was just discovering fantasy books at the time, so the chance to play out our own fantasy stories was incredible for 10 year old me!
Luckily, we lived in a fairly remote part of Australia, so we missed the Satanic Panic that was occuring in the United States at the time. It was a great way to spend weekends when it was too hot to go outside, and once we got a few more friends involved we had many an adventure, and I only got a little bit annoyed at the DM that time my cleric was killed by a vampire. (Seriously? Setting a level 3 cleric against a level 12 vampire and taking his enchanted war hammer away? Dick move, arsehole.)
That ended when I moved to another city a year or two later, and I didn't find another gaming group for about 15 years. I spent my time discovering computer based RPG's (the Wizardry series still holds a special place in my heart) and eventually Warhammer and Warhammer 40K, although again without a gaming group I pretty much just enjoyed painting the miniatures. It didn't help that high school in the 90's
wasn't a great time for geeks to be too visible, you needed a pack to travel with or risk the derision of the rest of your peers.
Fast forward a bit and I found a few friends who shared my love of tabletop roleplaying, and introduced me to what I'd missed in the last decade. D&D was old hat, there were more than 2 systems out there, and it was a lot more involved than the hack and slash dungeon crawls we used to indulge in! What a revelation! Shadowrun, Gurps, Heroes Unlimited and Palladium games, Call of Cthulhu, and the final mindblowing discovery that you could make your own game system!
It's been a few years since then, and I've been in a few different gaming groups in that time, both as player and GM. Finally got to live out my fantasy of running a TMNT game from the Palladium sourcebook I'd held onto since I was 16 years old (and thanks to the crew for putting up with a badly thought out 25 year old battle system). Had adventures in ancient Babylon, been a Noir style detective chasing eldritch horrors in the 1930's, and piloted armed drones through the British Museum in a dystopian future.
I guess I'm writing this to say thanks to all the GMs out there who take the time to run games and put up with PCs destroying their carefully laid out scenarios. And for all the PCs like me who want to
bribe thank their GMs for all the good times with a personalised gift, you could do a lot worse than Enstaved's DM Staff of Natural 20, modelled here by the lovely @radiantmaddy:
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pay my respects to a dead cleric.