Forgotten Firsts

I’ve been trying to think back and remember my first time as a GM and, nope… I am drawing a blank. Isn’t that weird?

I know that I was gaming very young and played in all manner of RPGs from around the time we were in middle-school. It started with Traveller and some D&D. I got into RuneQuest in the very early 1980s when my Dad bought the boxed set. From there on out, I was an aspiring GM.

There are four games I was playing at home in-between the group sessions – for want of a better phrase, I was playing these games solo: RuneQuest, Star Frontiers, Rolemaster, and Palladium Fantasy.

I think it’s most likely that I ran some games of Rolemaster first… and that’s simply because I remember being the loudest champion of that system. That said, I know that in the later 1980s, the Rolemaster campaign was being run by two other friends.

I made the almost permanent shift to GMing at the tail end of the 1990s. Once I began to host the Friday Night Roleplayers, being the GM was my default. But it’s the most curious thing that I don’t remember my first sessions behind the GM’s Screen. Perhaps they were so bad that I expunged them from my memory.

Game on!


  1. You are not alone Che. I can’t remember my first GMing sessions either. I’m fairly certain it was Keep on the Borderlands as I got that module when I bought the B/X boxed set. I can remember prepping for running it but not actually running the module itself.

    I have a memory of the first RPG session I played and that was DragonQuest. I can remember reading through the booklets my friend Alan brought round and together we figured out how to play it although I seem to remember, or maybe misremember us both playing as PCs. Maybe it took us a while to figure out exactly what the GM was!?

    I actually have much more vivid memories of playing my first sessions, The Lichway and The Halls of Tizun Thane specifically.

    Thinking back my first memory of GMing was for Gamma World and I’m pretty certain that was maybe 12 months after I must have GMed D&D. The Gamma World scenario was one I’d written (possibly the first scenario I wrote and run) and most my early memories of GMing were for scenarios I’d written rather than the TSR modules I’d run (the exception being The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh).

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  2. Che
    I can’t remember much of anything from that long ago. I started playing in 1976 or 1977 with a friend from the neighborhood. We bought the Holmes boxed set, no intro module included, but it had geomorphs and random monster/treasure pages. We had been going to the local historical miniatures store on Friday evenings for a few weeks to play D&D when we bought the set to play more at home.

    I think my first session GMing has to be a mash up of both myself and my friend making characters and both trying to go through the rules and figure out what we were doing. No actual memory of the session, just a vague impression that it was clumsy, stumbling, blind poking at playing.

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  3. I actually remember the first game I ran: Traveller in college. It was not any adventure but our own homebrew universe back in 1983 or 1984 (I had Traveller for a few years at that time but only when I went to college and found the college game group did I actually play any RPG). I’ve updated that universe when I re-discovered Traveller after a long hiatus. I had all my notes, maps and things, and with the magic of the TravellerMap APIs could make the maps look like published maps. What was nice was that we alternated referees, but it was in the same universe mostly.

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