A few years ago, I stumbled on Keith Baker’s Stories and Dice blog post. Keith got a gumball machine from his wife which he would like to fill with dice. But rather than just buy a bunch of dice, he was asking people to send him dice along with a story. The story doesn’t have to be about the die. I sent him one, but it never did end up posted on his blog. I’ve actually had this post pretty much ready to go since 2014. Rather than just delete it, I decided I’d finally just post it here.
There were many stories I could have shared with Keith. But I knew exactly which story I would tell him: the very first time my brother and I roleplayed. After talking it over with my brother a couple of times, rehashing the details (this happened a very long time ago), here’s the story I sent to Keith:
Years ago, my brother, Alex, used to take piano lessons at my friend Dennis’s house. One day a week the two of us would get a ride there after school. I would hang out with Dennis for the full two hours; Alex would come and hang out once his piano lesson was done.
One day, Dennis was flipping through the Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Game (PFRPG). He had recently enjoyed playing it with some friends, and so talked Alex and I into giving it a try.
Now, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the PFRPG, but it is a rather complex system, especially for people who are brand new to role-playing. It took Alex and I weeks to build our characters (remember, we only had two hours every week), but finally we were done and Dennis was ready to GM for the first time. Our very first quest was to deliver a package somewhere. I don’t remember most of the quest’s details except that we were told we couldn’t open the package or it would explode. Alex wanted to try anyway, but Dennis wouldn’t let him. And so our characters set off to deliver the package to a nearby town. After travelling down the road for awhile, it was time for a random encounter. Dennis’s choice was truly random: he ended up sending some sort of ogre-like creature after us. The ogre was far too powerful for our level one characters; predictably it killed both of us. And thus ended our first foray into role-playing games. It was several years later before we attempted to role-play again (with a different system!)
Unfortunately, the die I chose to give Keith has nothing to do with my story. Several years after this disaster with the PFRPG, a different friend invited me to play the Middle Earth Role Playing Game (MERP). I had a lot of fun, and tried to find the book for myself. I went into a local store and the guy working suggested I give Vampire: the Masquerade a try, saying it was similar to MERP. He didn’t actually have the Masquerade, but did have a copy of Vampire: the Dark Ages instead. So I bought that. While Vampire is NOTHING like MERP, it was still a lot of fun; Vampire: the Dark Ages ended up the game that actually got me and my brother roleplaying.
Vampire and the other White Wolf games use D10’s. I ended up buying a lot of D10’s, and so it was one of those that I chose to send to Keith for Stories and Dice.