Since I’m late to blogging, I’m late to chiming on my place among the D&D Generations. According to Cyclopeatron, I am solidly a "4th Generation" D&D player, although I did start with the 3rd generation box sets, especially the famous Red Box.
My mom bought me the Red Box, I’m guessing for my 12th birthday, which would have made it 1990 - a bit later than most, but I suppose some surplus materials were still kicking around South Jersey's gaming stores. I had only been a solo “player” before that, building armies conscripted from a friend’s Monstrous Manual (1988). So getting the Red Box was my first chance to actually play for real… but who would I play with?
Fortunately, our family had an awesome tradition: every Sunday night was Family Night. The kids would take turns choosing a game for the whole family to play, and then we would watch the Sunday night Disney movie. So one evening in early 1990, I became Dungeon Master for the first time and made my whole family play Dungeons & Dragons. It was great.
I don’t remember many details, but I do remember the coolness of my parents breaking out of jail and slaying orcs. Also, at some point my brother decided he was bored and didn’t want to play any more. He announced that his character was charging ahead while everyone else snuck about, and then he went off to do something else. A couple minutes later he came back wanting to play again. I said he couldn’t because he had run off into the gnolls’ lair and gotten eaten. This upset him, which upset my mom. Fortunately it was about time for Michael Eisner to come on and we had to wrap up. But my first session of D&D ended with my mother yelling at me for allowing my little brother to be eaten by gnolls.
Whatever. It was his own fault.
Over the next few years my brothers and I took turns creating terrible dungeon crawls and amassing untold fortune. Eventually, we conquered the world using said fortune and the aforementioned Monstrous Manual Army. I remember reading through the various boxed sets, but never had the chance to actually play them. When I got to high school, I found that my friends were into D&D, and we played AD&D 2e pretty regularly, which is what makes me solidly 4th generation. I never got my parents to play again, but my mom would ask after our adventures, and laugh as the same guy had to roll up a new character every session (“How’d you kill Taylor this time?”).
But anyway, I guess I fall into that “small number” that was introduced by the boxed sets, but invested heavily in the 2e merchandise – just as TSR had hoped!