I have pointed out, far too frequently I suspect, that I’ve been playing D&D for just a few months shy of 40 years. Obviously, the way I approach the game has gone through many different changes over the years.
In 1978-79 I was learning the game, but I learned it from the DM side of the screen. In the beginning, I ran In Search of the Unknown and Keep on the Borderlands. Those were the only two modules I had. I ran them straight up, but then reused the maps and made up my own adventures after that.
I was a homebrew DM. That much has stayed largely the same. I’ve used a few modules, and even bought into the Forgotten Realms boxsets for a short time, but I never followed any of them to the letter, mainly just utilizing them for the maps and artwork.
This was a byproduct of those earliest days of roleplaying. I had to make due with my imagination and that has held true from then to this day.
The biggest evolution, I suspect, will ring true for most gamers, especially from my generation. The game itself evolved from “Murder Hobo Dungeon Crawls” or Gygaxian DM vs Player Sessions to a more nuanced narrative based on character study and interactive roleplay.
Roleplay is something I always pushed for, from the earliest days of my entry into gaming, but most players approached D&D (and other rpgs) as a game.
I know, crazy, right? Players playing a roleplaying game as a game.
The thing is, I think rpgs work best when you can immerse yourself in the “game” so deeply that, for a few short hours, you find yourself somewhere else all together.
It’s never been me vs them at my table. It’s been about telling a story — together. That philosophy and approach has evolved for me over the years and I’ve gotten better at it, but the great thing about rpgs is, I’m still learning, still growing, still evolving.
And best of all, I’m still having fun…