I am in my mid-thirties and have been gaming since I was in the 6th grade. In Middle school, I began gaming with DnD 2nd Edition. I gamed with friends on weekends and after school. I also gamed with the Boy Scouts on many weekend trips. I remember going backpacking (where every pound counts!) and taking a Player's Handbook, dice, pencils, and character sheets with me. I was also fortunate enough to have a teacher, Mrs. Lloyd (the Latin teacher), who ran an after-school Role playing club. Mrs. Lloyd had EVERY DnD book ever published and she really mentored us as role players. During this time, I learned just how annoying some gamers can be (I met my first arch nemesis at this time who I absolutely hated).
It was around the 9th grade when I started spreading my wings as a gamer and played different gaming systems. I have fond memories of TMNT, Marvel D100, Star Wars, Battletech, Gurps, and others. I also found myself gaming with several stable ongoing gaming groups. I ran a Marvel game for several years that grew until it had about a dozen people playing. I also spent quite a bit of time in the DnD world of Ravenloft. I still have a strong affinity for that world today. Toward the end of high school I also started experimenting with other forms of gaming such as collectible card games. I had quite a Magic: The Gathering collection from early on that I sold in college. Argh!
When I went to Harrisburg Area Community College, my gaming friends all moved away to college or joined the military. I worked in my first comic book store at this time (Wolfhead Comics). I played Magic still and gamed occasionally but nothing steady.
After HACC, I worked at Comix Connection, the second comic book store to employee me. While working there, I rebuilt my Magic collection and fell into a weekly 5 or 6 player Magic game. We had quite the time, playing for hours on end. I even went to some Magic tourneys. DnD 3rd edition was released which sparked our Magic group to morph into a role playing group. We started a long standing campaign. When I moved to Millersville to attend college, I still gamed with this group, driving an hour one way to get to the game each week.
Alas, it wasn't to last. I flamed out on the group when group tensions were brought to a boil due to a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship between two gaming group members. I quickly fell into another group but it was odd because the group had been gaming together for 20 years and I was the "replacement" for a group member that had moved away. I found myself constantly unknowingly breaking previously-established group protocol. I quit this group when I moved to North Carolina.
In NC, it took me awhile to find a gaming group. During this "down time," I got hooked on strategy board games including Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, Ticket to Ride, and Colosseum. Eventually, through the internet, I found CharlotteRPG. At CRPG, I was exposed to a host of games that I had never played before, such as Shadowrun, World of Darkness: Vampire, Werewolf, and Mage, Seven Seas, Sengoku, Star Wars D20, and Macho Women With Guns. We pretty much played it all. I also met my second arch nemesis, Doris the Austrian Au Pair. We would routinely lock horns both in and out of the game. As a group, we would throw in some card games, video games, and board games for variety. The Vampire board game was cool, as was the collectible GI JOE card game and Cosmic Encounter. We also had an ongoing DnD campaign. Unfortunately, I moved back to PA and away from this gaming group.
Upon arrival back in PA, I randomly met an old gaming buddy in Walmart and we formed a new gaming group with some folks we used to game with back in high school. We had an ongoing Ptolus DnD campaign that took us from 1st to 12th level (a rare treat to truly develop a character). I was very sad when the GM just gave up the campaign and let us all hang. I left the group shortly thereafter.
And that is how I found myself available when Brett Stoner, owner of Comic Store West, asked me to join his gaming group on Wednesday nights. We started with DnD 3rd edition but didn't get very far when Brett had to leave the group. The group continued, however, and we have continued to play a variety of games including Aces and Eights, Atomic Highway, Traveler, and Warhammer Fantasy.
In the future, I look forward to playing a variety of new RPG games but I also look forward to getting into another long standing campaign where I can develop and advance a character through the levels.