Melee Ah, Dungeons & Dragons. Who amongst us does not look back fondly at the late nights spent gathered around a table with your good friends, eating pizza and trying to figure out which hallway to take in the latest dungeon you are exporing? I know I do. However, at least for me, there was something before D&D.

They came in zip lock bags and you could by them for a few dollars. My very first experience in this microgames world was a game called Melee.

The first character I ever created was named “Yagery”. I’ll never forget that sword slinging brute. I virtually destroyed my friend’s character in every fight and he was supposed to be the one teaching me.

If you aren’t familiar with “Melee”, it was a rather simple game that was focused on combat in an arena. The creator of Melee, eventually went on to create GURPS.

So, what was your first RPG game and what about it brings back the memories for you?

Now I’m off to order a copy of “Melee” and teach my son how to play it.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

8 thoughts on “Flashback”

  1. I remember getting the D&D Basic Rules box set. It was just a couple thin books, and some dice.

    One of the very strong memories I have of it was I was still in school (yrs ago) and my parents had threatened to take the books away from me if my grades were not over a certain level…

    Well, here it was a week before report cards came out (back then, they actually were on card stock) and I know my grades are going to be bad. So I spend most of that week hand-copying all the rules, tables, matrixes, item descriptions, etc from the books onto notebook paper with the thought having myself an emergency back-up copy I could hide easier.

    As it turns out, my parents had forgotten the threat regarding witholding the game from me. SO I ended up with an extra copy, and a raging case of writers’ cramp.

    Everytime my hand aches, I think back on that one. Heh

  2. My first RPG experience was 1st edition D&D with a friend from school. That got me looking at a catalogue for games, and being a huge Marvel comics fan, I bought the Marvel Comics RPG. We played that damn game for years. I bought it when I was 12 and still have the original books and all of my characters (heroes and villains). It was such a fun game and really messed with my sense of justice and what sorts of behavior to reward in a game.

    Basically, if you killed anyone in the game, it penalized your character so hard that you would become a villain. If that happened, then the Gamemaster was encouraged to have the heroes, like Spidey, track you down and send you to jail. The idea was that everyone tried to play a hero and that you tried to keep the streets safe and take the bad guys to jail.

    Years later, when playing and running games, I still have that sense of not wanting to kill my opponents or the other players and instead, my gameplay tends to focus on thinking first, action second. Weird how one game can influence the way you play other games.

  3. I know it is a bit off topic, but in the lobby of the hotel I’m staying at there is a small library of books you can read. One of the books? Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game Manual.


  4. My mom had a ridiculous collection of books, so many that most were kept in “storage barrels” that were stacked up in an empty room in our house. My pops eventually put together enough shelves to hold the collection and my mom began unpacking her books and organizing them on the shelves. Most of the books, as I would find in the years to come, were from the fantasy/sci-fi genre. As I helped her unpack her books, one in particular caught my eye, it was one of the editions of the Basic D&D ruleset. I asked her “Mom, what’s this?” and I remember her saying something along the lines of “It’s a game people used to play in the 70’s, I didn’t really care much for it.” For some reason I was facinated by the book, and tried to learn as much of the game as I could piece together from that one book. At nearly t he same time I found that the game also had a saturday morning cartoon which became one of my favorite shows. A short time later my mom bought me the first Dragonlance novel and rom that point it was pretty much a done deal…..I was an RPG nerd for life.

  5. I’ve gone back to my online gaming roots. I am still mucking around a bit in Eve probably because I haven’t been playing it seriously much lately just AFK mining for crumbs while I play GemStone IV. I started playing GemStone back in (I think) 1992 on AOL when it was $3/hr. and 80 people online was a crowd. Back then the game was tiny, only 2 towns that I knew of and that was enough considering how few people played. The crowd was a mature bunch of roleplayers (how many children can afford $3/hour?) and the playerbase was so small there was a real sense of community. There was a lot of freedom as you could attack anyone you wanted any time you wanted, but this only really happened if there was a roleplayed reason for it, so it was all consentual. When you died, your hand-held items dropped to the ground, and if nobody came to save you within a certain timeframe your body decayed, dropping ALL of your items on the ground.

    Well once the game moved to the internet it had some competition and moved to a pay per month basis. Suddenly the lands got very flooded with a lot of strange people and there were a lot of people scamming and taking advantage of every weakness the game had. A lot of people would grab you and drag you to somewhere dangerous if you were afk so you would die and drop your items, or if you were already dead they’d drag you away from help right in the middle of everyone that was trying to help you. They had to change it so you could decide if you wanted to be dragged or not, but with all the new people there were 100s of more exploits and scams going on. The game had to be changed in so many ways it was completely different within two years on the web.

    Then came the problem with the people who had been playing the game for years and felt it was “their place” and all the new people who were suddenly getting stronger, and vastly outnumbered the “old crowd”. More and more the older players left in disgust as the lands became overcrowded with seeming lunatics. New lands were added to make room for the large amounts of people, and now there are around 7 main towns and a lot of smaller ones close to them. The place is huge now, but to me, it’s a much smaller place. The magic that was once there is all but gone, and people’s attitudes are still “You shouldn’t speak OOC outloud” but they’re mean about it, only using it as a reason to abuse a fellow player.

    So why did I go back? I don’t know. I think it’s part pure tired-ness of the graphic MMOs that have all become a different flavor of bland over the years, and the fact that GemStone had and still has an enormous amount of depth. It’s not as fun and mysterious as it once was, but it’s now far preferrable to the newer games for me. It’s still a more social game, and people connect a lot more than in most games. Planning on staying this time.

  6. Melee rocked. My buddy down the street and I played many of those games.

    Wasn’t there a sequel that featured wizards?


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