Tobie introduced me to the wonderful world of tabletop RPGs when we first started hanging out and it has practically been a key part of our relationship ever since. Through him I've been able to explore many different games and thus many different characters as well. But given Tobie's gaming preferences, I've naturally been weaned on highly narrative game experiences starting with the various White Wolf games and branching out from there.
So I'm not one of those tabletop gamers who "grew up" with D&D. If anything, my exposure to D&D has been a little weird as I first played during a Gary Gygax celebration where we played the Red Box edition, which was pretty old as being a dwarf was a class. Since then I've played a few D&D style games - one where I subbed for another player who left a public Mouse Guard game and various OSR stuff like A Red and Pleasant Land. But most of the games that I've had a chance to play and those that have become closer to my heart have all been more narrative games.
It's not a good or a bad thing in itself - it's just how things turned out for me and how I got into the hobby. But it does leave me in a slightly weird place at times when the vast majority of tabletop players, especially in terms of those most active online on social media, tend to be D&D players.
D&D is still the Colgate of the tabletop RPG world. A lot of times when people first want to try out an RPG, they end up asking if they can "try D&D" without fully know what they may be asking. And it can't be helped - the state of the hobby is what it is and people will end up entering it via the more popular channels.
But it can feel weird when most folks can only seem to talk about D&D and not much else. We keep talking about D&D as their gateway to the hobby but a lot of people never seem to venture beyond it. There are so many games that cover so many different genres and cater to different play styles and it always leaves me feeling disappointed when people stay in that one gaming box. And it's not like I'm saying D&D is a bad game, because it wouldn't have lasted this long if it didn't have its merits. But There are so many other games that it always feels like such a waste to stay with one game alone.
And so I super appreciate how Tobie not only tries to learn new systems all the time (in fact he aims for 12 new systems per year) but also how he tries to host free-to-play opentable games showcasing different systems for people to try. It's a labor of love that doesn't get as recognized really and I have to throw some support his way.
Tobie helped me get into the hobby but my own leanings as a writer helped me fall in love with all these indie games and other systems outside the D&D universe. And I wish there were more people who appreciated those games so I'd also have more people to talk to online and more content to engage with apart from yet another geeky blog only writing occasional articles about D&D and no other RPG systems.