So roughly 40 years ago today, DnD entered the world, and it's a much better place for it!
I began playing ADnD 2E back in 1991, I was in college...yeah, a late bloomer.
My first character was a fighter (I couldn't qualify for any other class) named Garamond (I majored in Graphic Design and the font was his name sake).
I had played Champions before ADnD and I was...disappointed that so many rules weren't covered and our DM choose to say "no", instead of letting you try something. So, ADnD and I had a rocky relationship.
Then came player's options, which was cool, but after starting a game of it, I quickly regretted not simply using Palladium Fantasy Revised Edition. You see, I didn't have the knowledge of DnD's history of "it's ok to make a rule up" yet and wasn't experienced enough a DM to make things work.
By the time DnD 3.0 was announced I was working at my current job at Comic Book World, but wasn't gaming manager yet. I followed Eric Noah's site religiously and loved that Jonathan Tweet was on the design team.
While I liked 3rd edition, I was still at a point where Vancian magic plagued me and I played very little of it.
By the time 3.5 came out, I was gaming manager ran demoes to reassure fans of the transition. But again, it wasn't for me.
4th Edition was like a breath of fresh air to me. I raved about slaughtering the "sacred cows". We played it straight until the weekend that Player's Handbook 2 came out. And then, as a group, we all were burned out. The fights were taking too long (something a DM can fix), I was tired of the grid and we just walked away.
Essentials looked intriguing, but I just wasn't ready to go back to the grid, plus I'd found the OSR by then and was reading Basic Fantasy, Labyrinth Lord and Swords and Wizardry. SnW, in particular really grabbed me, but I was taking a break from gaming at the time and didn't run it. I even purchased 3 of the first printing of the hardcovers from Frog God Games.
I was lucky enough to get in on the friends and family playtest of DnD Next. So I've been playing it since January of 2012. I've like what I've seen, but the latest rules update left me kind of cold, at first.
Plus, I preordered 13th Age during it's second escalation edition. The first time I read the press release I was excited to see the names of two of my favorite game designers, Jonathan Tweet (Over the Edge, Talislanta 3E) and Rob Heinsoo (Feng Shui, 4E). But I held off because I had Next and I really liked it.
See, Next was a nice mix of the OSR and unified mechanics. And I had reached a point, after over 20 years of gaming where mechanics were secondary and I didn't want to rock the boat.
But, 13th Age kept pulling me in and over time replaced most game systems for me.
It's funny, for years I wanted the economy of bonuses in DnD to match up and unify and they did that in DnD Next and that it what initially turned me off. But it's a good game and I need to start prepping my customers again.
Happy Birthday DnD. I owe you more than either of us realize.