First RPG Purchased
Metamorphosis Alpha. I saw an ad for it in the back of Starlog, discovered the near-ish hobby shop had a copy, collected bottles and did chores to raise the five bucks to buy it (being a lower-middle class child of Depression babies, I didn't get an allowance), and it was mine. I remember taking it to school and showing it off to the gaming club, only to find it the subject of a bit of mockery over the cover copy that began,
“Have you ever encountered a moose with quills? Or a teleporting woodpecker with a double brain and a poison beak? How about a nearly invincible jaguar, completed with the ability to change its body density and emit a sonic shriek, but which fears birds?”
OK, it is pretty cheesy. But it didn’t help that in 1978, the MacArthur HS Wargame Club was ground zero of the wargamers vs. RPGers struggle that originally gave us the term “Grognard” (which, by the way, didn’t refer to RPGers back then). I persevered. Played it with my friends. At some point, I even hacked the rules to turn it into a rudimentary superhero game (remarkable, because I wasn’t a comic book reader at that point), something I suspect Jeff Dee and Jack Herman did as well.
A couple of years later, Gamma World came out, which was much more interesting, what with it still being the Cold War and all. My copy of MA, worn and battered from being hauled to school and back all those times, was relegated to the bookshelf. But I’ve still got it. In fact, when I met Jim Ward last year, I got him to sign the beat up old thing. So, I’m kind of glad I held onto it.