03 August 2014

#RPGaDay: Day Three - First RPG Purchased

When I was eleven, all I wanted was to be the guy on the left.
I don't remember where I bought it (or, rather, where my mom bought it for me), but I distinctly remember having the Star Frontiers Alpha Dawn boxed set and eagerly reading every bit of it from stem to stern, over and over. I'd learned a little about the setting in the Endless Quest book, Villains of Volturnus, but beyond that I was a complete newbie. Even though I'd never played a real RPG at that time, I was still very interested in them. Not to mention Star Frontiers, as a science fiction RPG, was right up my alley, Star Wars fanboy that I was.

As much as I wanted to play the game, I didn't know anyone else who played RPGs when I was eleven years old. As a result, Star Frontiers joined my copies of Monster Manual and Monster Manual II as a sort of embryonic gaming reference library. It was all fodder for my imagination. I'd read the rules, I'd pour over the maps, and I'd make one character after another in the hopes that someday I'd be able to actually play. My favorite parts were the species write-ups, complete with cut-away pictures of their alien anatomy (including the Sathar that was obviously dead and laying in some kind of dissection tray).

There's no glowing fingers on these guys.
Try as I might, I had some issues with the rules of the game at that age. Being unfamiliar with RPG rules in general, a lot of the concepts were Greek to me. I understood the basics, sure, but without being able to use them in practice, I never had much chance to really learn how they worked and functioned together. I was very much a child who learned by doing. I got the concept, but was never quite able to grok the execution.

At some point I ended up losing my copy of Star Frontiers, and I don't remember why or when. As an adult I found a huge stack of SF material on a used games shelf and I eagerly snatched it up. Going over that stuff for the first time in decades was pretty magical. I remembered everything, and with my years of gamer experience I read the rules and wondered why in the hell I'd been so confused by them as a kid.

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