Since I decided to make a blog where I discuss D&D(and maybe other stuff), I figured it'd be best to start with my introduction to the game! When I was in middle school, I frequented a game shop called The Game Depot that was about 15 minutes away from my house. I frequently saw this big rectangular yellow box sitting on a shelf where I couldn't reach it. (Seen Here)
Child-me was very excited by this bright yellow box with the picture of a dragon seemingly reaching out to the viewer and I was determined to purchase it! It was 20 or 25 bucks, I can't quite recall, but such a sum was a king's ransom for my younger self, and it took me some time to accumulate the sum. Eventually, I was able to purchase the giant box and took it home excitedly, but when I got home, I gathered two of my friends and my sister to play with me. I figured that I might as well DM the game, since I had bought the set. I wasn't entirely sure how the DM was different from the players just yet, but I read the boxes and ran our small group through "The Tomb of Demara", a really easy to run module that I've used quite a few times over the years to introduce new players to the game. My sister grew bored with the game, and didn't make it out of the starting town and to the tomb-proper, but 2 people seemed more than enough to handle things. We butchered the rules, but had a great time of it, and afterwards, one of the guys and I decided to further pursue D&D as a hobby.
We told his mom of our intentions and she introduced us to some of her friends from the SCA who played AD&D. Fortunately for us, one of her friends was interested in running a game for us! She brought over these strange books with red demons on the covers that were at least as intriguing as the big yellow box, and we proceeded to make characters from the "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" books. I made a Grey Elf Fighter/Magic-User, and regrettably, I don't remember what my friend was playing. I wasn't entirely sure why her books called the class a Magic User and my books called it a Wizard, but I didn't think much of it. While we only got a session or two, it went a long way towards showing us how the game was ACTUALLY played. In fact, the DM herself was particularly into immersion and roleplaying rather than standard dungeon crawling, and she was easily the biggest influence on my own style of DMing to this day!
I still had my Starter Set rules, which were ridiculously amazing compared to some of the later boxed starter sets(I've collected the 3rd and 4th ones since.) Whereas the later boxed sets can take you to level 2, the "yellow box" went up to level 5, and was full of monsters and treasure not in the 3 sample modules. In addition, the product also came with the TSR#9465 Forgotten Realms Book of Lairs, which I could never figure out how to use as a kid. It was mostly just a page or two of description per adventure, sometimes with these "terrifying" hex grid maps that I had no idea how to represent or explain to the players. Instead, I ran made up adventures that tended to involve very little combat and lots of exploration and talking around the city that was presented in the starter set. My friend would run some for me, and I would run some for him, and we'd learn more about what we were doing. I tended to prefer DMing, so over time, I would DM more frequently than anyone else, and eventually we reached a point where I was generally doing it exclusively.
Eventually, at some point I bought the DM's Screen of the time, which had a vast amount of information not covered in the Starter Set. Then, that Christmas, our first DM gifted her AD&D 1st edition books to my friend. By then, our group's numbers had grown to include two more people from school, and some guy in the neighborhood's little brother off and on. It was safe to say that we were hooked!