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An Experienced Gamer Looking In as Though An Outsider to the Gaming Community

by Hawke Robinson published Jun 20, 2015 05:05 PM, last modified Feb 05, 2023 12:22 PM
As has been the case for me in a number of fields, even though I have been involved with RPGs since 1979, so consider myself an "insider" to the RPG experience compared to people that do not game, and yet as someone increasingly professionally involved with RPGs, the more I meet the "mainstream gaming community" the more I realize I feel more like an outsider looking into the the gaming community...

I was first introduced to role-playing gaming through a cousin somewhere around '77 to '79 (I was 7 to 9 years old). I can't quite pin down the year, so I err on the side of '79 & 9 years old. I recall using Orange colored character sheets. He might have been using a mix of the original books plus the beginnings of the AD&D rules (I don't think the AD&D DMG had come out yet, but not certain). 

I played intermittently over the years until around '82/'83 I became more engrossed and began forming my own groups by leaving 3"x5" index cards or 8"x10" photocopied flyers at libraries and the only local gaming story in Salt Lake City, Utah (that I knew of at the time) Hammond's Toys & Hobbies that carried D&D.

By the time I was 14, I was running 3 regular weekly groups, 2 on Saturdays, and 1 on sundays, each about 6 to 8 hours per session! At one point I merged all three groups in intertwining campaigns (was using World of Greyhawk), and ran around 20 people at once for about a month or so, until the climactic finish, then the PC's in groups when their own separate ways again, and I resumed the previous schedule.

By the time I was 15, I was an RPGA member, and I hosted my first D&D "convention" with about 12 people at the library for a weekend of gaming. The following year we had around 50 people.

Also, while I was in High School at Realms of Inquiry "A School for Gifted & Talented Children" (, I had the change to teach RPGs 5 days a week for around a month. See this posting for more details on that experience: