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Default How many people came from PnP RPGs?

August 26th, 2014, 14:36
After some of the recent discussion on what makes an RPG, I thought I'd ask how many people here have ever played a real RPG, as in pen-and-paper, and whether it came before or after you got into CRPGs?

I started with traditional RPGs back in the 80s with a mix of Basic and Advanced D&D (we were about 11, so the rules were pretty muddled up as different people had different books) and got to know that before ever playing a video game version. Naturally, back then CRPGs just mimicked the mechanics, so they didn't really compete. They still don't, since nothing can match the combined imagination of a group and a DM who can improvise an entire world.

I think it's interesting looking at RPG forums, subreddits, whathaveyou and seeing people who have come the other direction, from CRPG to RPG. It's a bit weird seeing them struggle with things like not using a grid and miniatures, improvising a story or NPC, and generally running a sandbox game. Rather than coming from complete freedom and learning to live with the constraints of a video game, they've started from that limited scope and feel lost when they suddenly leave the railroad tracks and find out that they can do anything.
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August 26th, 2014, 15:06
I still have my Basic and AD&D books and all kinds of other stuff.

Back then my favorite was Gamma World but we also played Top Secret and Boot Hill a bit also.

In college, it was Rifts.

I don't know anyone who plays pen and paper where I live now sadly. I wouldn't mind checking out the new D&D with a good group.
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August 26th, 2014, 15:13
Yes, but it was a long time ago, during school. Never found another group to play with later. Played D&D, AD&D, Das Schwarze Auge, Midgrad, Call of Cuthulluh, GURPS, MERP, Rolemaster, Paranoia, Vampire and Werwolf, Shadowrun. Lots of fond memories
I long struggled with traditional Party-Based CRPGs, partly because I found it silly that I should play a whole party - when in P&P you always play one character. So I gravitated to single player CRPGs like UU, Daggerfall, Gothic… Party based games are an acquired taste, for me.
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August 26th, 2014, 15:21
I started computer gaming when I was about 6, but the kind of games I played were extremely primitive and I didn't play CRPGs until years later. I think the first CRPG I got really into was probably Bard's Tale - and I think it was right around that time I started playing PnP RPGs as well.

I clearly remember becoming a major fan of CRPGs BECAUSE of PnP, and I also remember that Pool of Radiance was the game that changed everything for me. It was essentially the best game I'd ever played up until that time, and it remained so for many years. It was probably System Shock that finally took the throne from PoR.

So, I actually experienced both at roughly the same time - and I believe I was about 10 years old.

While a good PnP RPG session can represent some of the best entertainment I've experienced, I'd have to say mediocre sessions are, by far, the norm for me. Which means I was never THAT invested in PnP, beyond the first few years of being very fascinated by this new and strange shared fantasy world full of possibilities.

I do remember the first years as a very happy time - and I also started reading fantasy literature right around that age - with The Hobbit being the first I can remember finishing. Reading Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends represent some of the finest moments of my early teens
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August 26th, 2014, 15:22
I only tried "Das schwarze Auge" during school.

I played a lot of adventure & tactical board games before coming to computers and CRPGs.
I remember long nights playing Talisman… with friends.

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August 26th, 2014, 15:43
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I clearly remember becoming a major fan of CRPGs BECAUSE of PnP, and I also remember that Pool of Radiance was the game that changed everything for me. It was essentially the best game I'd ever played up until that time, and it remained so for many years. It was probably System Shock that finally took the throne from PoR.
I think PoR was the first CRPG that felt like a real RPG to me. Lots to explore, loads of quests, NPCs to interact with, the sense of accomplishment as you slowly cleared the city, and the slow reveal of the final quest. It was so different from the usual "eh, go kill the big Wazzle to free the Whoozles, or whatever. Here's a dungeon and a dagger." that you normally got.
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August 26th, 2014, 16:04
My real start to CRPGs were the original Bard's Tale series and Dungeon Master.

Before that I played some Dungeon Crawlers like Temple of Apshai , early Wizardries and Ultimas (some text adventures, too). But in these days I played a lot of games of other genres on the C64 as well.

After Bard's Tale 2 (1986) at the age of 17 I began to concentrate on the CRPG genre.

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August 26th, 2014, 16:27
I started playing Chain Mail in 1978, but only a session or two. We had gotten the books from a shop in Champaign/Urbana which is where the University of Illinois sits. This is the game that morphed into D&D and so I switched the next year when I was up that way again. Around that same time, I moved to a C64 and started playing text adventures. I had dabbled with Rogue on the school's mainframe and also Colossal Caves. The first bigger jump was to Infocom's games and then the early Ultimas/Phantasie/Wizard's Crown etc. I don't remember years at this point. Early 80's for crpgs.

I remember the first year there were no dice for any of the games. You cut out paper chits that you basically shook up in your hands The only dice were the 6-sided ones from Yahtzee.

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August 26th, 2014, 16:34
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
I think PoR was the first CRPG that felt like a real RPG to me. Lots to explore, loads of quests, NPCs to interact with, the sense of accomplishment as you slowly cleared the city, and the slow reveal of the final quest. It was so different from the usual "eh, go kill the big Wazzle to free the Whoozles, or whatever. Here's a dungeon and a dagger." that you normally got.
Well, I hadn't played that many CRPGs before that time, so I don't really know how the earlier examples compare.

But PoR truly reflected the PnP experience in most important ways - at least from what you could expect of a game. I really loved the journal entries as well.

Baldur's Gate was the "modern" version of PoR to me, but it never quite managed to impress me on the same level. Probably just because I was older and already somewhat jaded by then.
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August 26th, 2014, 16:46
I didn't play much in the way of pen-and-paper RPGs growing up, but me and my friends would often live-action roleplay. Sometimes I would create my own RPGs, drawing upon inspiration from the console RPGs I was playing at the time. I would make up characters with different stats, skills, items, etc., and just write them all on paper. I didn't know pen-and-paper games actually existed back then, my only form of RPG entertainment was various consoles that I played them on.
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August 26th, 2014, 17:04
Live-Action roleplay - yeah!

As kids we loved to play Cowboy & Indians or Knights with self made swords, bows and slingshots. We founded gangs with "founding certificates" (signed with real blood !)
Fighting other gangs in the neighborhood in a childish way, armed with apples, pea shooters, water bombs and willow sticks - great fun

We also played a lot of fantasy scenarios with Timpo toys.
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August 26th, 2014, 17:31
Started playing AD&D when I stated high school ~ 1984. We had a crazy DM who really made playing an incredible experience. I played some adventure games on C64 then later PC, but was never really into cRPG's (or PC games really) until I played Baldur's Gate, which was a revelation. The rest is history. Still play table top RPGs, currently Pathfinder, W40K, Call of Cthulhu…but its hard to find playing time, what with family, spouses, Life…damn, I miss being a teenager with seemingly limitless time!
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August 26th, 2014, 17:40
Never played a PnP RPG before starting with CRPGs, but was familiarized a bit with AD&D when I bought Baldur's Gate because of a magazine. And my only experience with PnP after that was a D&D 3.5 campaign with 2 friends through internet using Fantasy Grounds
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August 26th, 2014, 17:50
There were no major computer games around my sphere of presence when I was young, aside from catching snippets of action from other people's equipment (hmm, that sounded ruder than it should have done :/ ) from Donkey Kong on the hand-held (the swinging from the trees one) and maybe annoying my brother for some ZX81 gaming action (!!!??action??!!!) etc etc, but we (via annoying friends) did have the occasional bought of D&D. Never really long and engrossed games though, just one-offs here and there of no real adventure.

On my own and occasionally with one or two friends, I'd play Fighting Fantasy, a spin-off from the Fighting Fantasy 'Choose Your Own Adventure' series of books. All I had was the monster manual (entitled Out Of The Pit) and I invented all kinds of adventures, mainly for myself and mostly making up the rules as I went along (sneaky, huh).

When I got to computer RPGs I preferred the group dynamic because I always had too big an imagination for just one character and it was a good way to play a full adventure without people stopping to do other things
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August 26th, 2014, 17:54
I started playing Chainmail in 1976, a bunch of us hung out and did that after football practice at school. About a year after that, we moved to basic D&D, then the advanced version about 6 months later. My favourite fantasy RPG was, by far, Chivalry and Sorcery, which I found far superior to the dungeons and dragons model. I played pen and paper games till 1988, I think when I stopped GURPS was what I was playing at the time.
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August 26th, 2014, 18:10
Actually for me it was a circle — I played D&D as a kid and a teen, then decided I was ~much ~too ~sophisticated for that sort of thing in my desperately would-be intellectual college days, and put the fantasy genre out of my mind until I ran across the Baldur's Gate series and remembered how much fun it was — so I went on Craigslist and found the PnP gaming group I've been playing with weekly ever since.

So I went PnP -> pixels -> PnP.

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August 26th, 2014, 19:11
I started off in school playing basic D&D, then a bunch of us discovered Marc Miller's Traveller and we wound up playing a two year campaign about three or four nights a week after school for a couple of hours each session.

After that, when I went away to Uni, I fell in with a bunch of LARPers so tabletop role playing sort of went by-the-by, although a few of us did sit down to the occasional one-off game of AD&D or RuneQuest. We did however end up playing much more in the way of tabletop wargames (Axis & Allies, Supremacy and the like)

I'd been playing computer games since the dawn of the early 8-bit home computers (circa 1980) but didn't really start to get into CRPGs until around 1987/1988 ish.

Ever since leaving Uni, I've never really found anyone around me who also shares my passions, so the tabletop gaming has kind of died off … I tried play-by-mail games for a while, but never really managed to find the spark that made me keep up with them, so I'm now relegated to CRPGs only …

… shame that there's been such a dearth of good games recently. (A situation that I'm hoping is about to change over the next 12 months)
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August 26th, 2014, 20:30
Originally Posted by Stumpy View Post
shame that there's been such a dearth of good games recently. (A situation that I'm hoping is about to change over the next 12 months)
Wizards of the Coast (who own the D&D concept) suddenly started being 'difficult' with the big game producers (or they were to them etc) in the mid-2000s, and, combine with that, D&D is more suited to PCs than consoles.

Look on the bright side, it's allowed such things as Divinity, King's Bounty, Witcher, Elder Scrolls etc to come more easily to our attention! (if you like that kind of thing…)
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August 26th, 2014, 21:10
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Baldur's Gate was the "modern" version of PoR to me, but it never quite managed to impress me on the same level. Probably just because I was older and already somewhat jaded by then.
That's a pretty apt description of the game, and I can definitely see it as I replay it now. It's a shame the sequel was more of a Final Fantasy game.

Like others here, I've drifted away from playing over the years due more to lack of others who are interested than any lack of desire. I still read quite a few gaming books for flavor and because I just enjoy looking at game systems. I keep thinking of finding an online game, but I've never had much luck with those in the past.
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August 26th, 2014, 21:40
I started playing DnD in around 1976-1977 timeframe. This was the original graybox edition plus the Greyhawk supplement. By the time ADD came around, I had stopped playing and dungeonmastering. Still have a huge unexplored world I created, and not very much explored. I got a lot of joy out of making it.

A friend wrote a Fortran program to run on a minicomputer to do dice rolls and populate PnP dungeons. I think we wrote our own random number generators. We had huge stacks of line printer paper printouts to consult when DMing. I think I still have one. It was quite advanced for the time, pre-dating Colossal Cave and Rogue.
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