I've always felt lucky when it's come to roleplaying. I'm a second generation gamer, and my father taught me when I was six. I think he wanted to teach me earlier but my mom wouldn't let him (something about separating fiction from reality). So from the ages of six till ten, my father and I played first AD&D, and then AD&D 2nd ed. I still have my first character sheet laying around somewhere. It was typed up on our MacPlus. I was an Elf Ranger/Wizard.
When my sister turned six, my father went and taught her D&D as well. My mom felt kind of excluded but had no interested in it, and as long as it didn't take away from our school work or anything, she was kind of happy about it (kept us busy and all that). My sister rolled up a Halfing Paladin. Yes, I know *NOW* these were illegal builds, but my dad was the DM and wanted us to have fun. For years it was a Ranger/Mage, a Paladin, a thief (my dad) and a few NPCs. When the Psionic Handbook came out, I decided to drop the Ranger/Mage that I had been playing for a very long time and made a Psionist. About a year after that, my dad allowed me to play both.
In 8th grade, for about three weeks, I DMed my first game for two of my good friends, and one of my friend's little brothers. We played in the Library, sometimes during class. Other days they came over to my house. It was only three or four games, but it was alot of fun.
When I was 12, I was suppose to go to this Con in Oak Park that was held at the High School, but I got strep throat and no amount of "but mom and dad, I feel fine. REALLY!" was going to convince either of my parents that I could go. So later that year, feeling sorry because I had missed it and was really looking forward to going to a con (for my first time), my father packed me up and we went to IllniCon at University of Illinois - Champaign/Urbana. My dad and I shared a dorm room, and I had a lot of fun. It was also my first experience with miniature games and Call of Cthulu. It also made me realize how out of place I was with the gaming world. I was by far the youngest person there. And I was one of the few girls present as well. I enjoyed the con, but looking back it was a definite learning experience. Plus I wish I had the confidence of that 12 year old trying to outshine the boys (I still try and do that, but I'm more aware of it, and I still feel out of place someday, but more on that when it's relevant).
The next year I finally got to go to the High School Con (which is a slight misnomer, since it was held in the multipurpose room and couldn't have had more then 50 people, and was just Saturday). But, much to my annoyance, my little sister came along. It was annoying because I had to wait until I was 12 before I was even given the chance, but now my 9 year old sister was getting to go as well. The only real important reason that I mention this con is because it is where I was first introduced to the World of Darkness. It was a mixed nuts game, and my sister and I were the only two girls at the table. There was a Vampire and a Werewolf left when we showed up. I took the Vamp, and my sister the Werewolf. I don't recall if I was a Tremere or a Ventrue, only that I thought the character was neat. But I do recall being very board because so much of the game was taking place during the day. I bought a second hand set of 1st edition Vampire books, my sister bought the main Werewolf book, and we went home. We'd go to that con twice more. It's funny, I have a friend who went to the high school, and who was involved in the club. I don't know if he was ever at the Con, though I don't remember him, but he gets freaked out every time I wear the shirt. "I didn't know you went to that Con! Cause I went to that school and was in the Sci Fi club." I think we've had that conversation three times now.
Then High School Rolled around. I started to get into AOL Online Roleplaying. I started out in an X-Men sim. We had weekly 'sims' but could also sim whenever we felt like it. So I started to go to the weekly chats. However, it started to impact the family D&D game, since I was spending a lot of time on there. Later I joined a Starship Troopers sim, which was surprisingly a lot of fun. The last AOL sim I did was completely freeform, and it involved a bunch of houses (IIRC furry houses non-the-less, though I wasn't playing a furry) trying to kill each other.
Looking back at that part, I realize I was playing at least one complete Mary Sue, but I'll admit I didn't know any better, and no longer play that character anyway (or play on AOL).
My Sophomore year of High School I met a Gamer Boy and started to date him. It was actually a terrible experience. We often went to Pizza Hut (by often I mean we might go somewhere else once every six weeks) for Lunch. It was also this boy who taught me how to cut class. We'd sit in the Pizza Hut with his best friend and play Magic. Once a week one of us would run something. Either Battletech, AD&D or Vampire. I was running the Vampire game. These guys liked Malkavians, my boyfriend's character's derangement? He like to leave flaming bags of poo everywhere. Eventually I got annoyed, railroaded them and kill their characters. I still smile when I think of that. Plot meant nothing to them. This carried over into the D&D game, where despite it being a premade adventure, we got no where fast (and not cause of cool downtime stuff either). I still won't play Battletech. It was just the RPG game, no minis or anything else. All we did was run around in mechs and kill things. That's it. My friends (and my husband) insist that Battletech is actually really cool and that I'd like the game, but no. Too many bad memories.
After I broke up with him, there really wasn't much for gaming except online. My father was dating a woman by that point who wasn't a gamer, and frowned on it (more on that later). So we didn't game when we were over at his place, and I started to focus more and more on the online stuff.
Eventually we convinced my dad’s girlfriend to give it shot. She was never really into it but played along because she saw how important it was to all of us.
Then the next evolution for me happened, one could make a good argument that it was probably the most important, or at least had the most impact. They wouldn't be wrong. For my sister's birthday, my dad found out that there was this weekend long con running in Bloomington. So my dad arranged to take us there. While there I participated in my first LARP. It was a Fading Suns/Dr. Who crossover. While I only played for two nights, and most of it I don't recall, except remembering being confused, I met a group of player. These players ran their own LARP only about 30 minutes from where I lived. Because it was an unsafe area, and I didn't drive (still don't), my parents wouldn't let me take public transportation. Instead, my dad would drop me off, and I'd call him when things were rapping up.
When I started playing, there were maybe 20 other people. We played on the first floor of the STs house. It had it's own bar (though no alcohol was allowed to be served during game), and seating area. I became friends with the people, and eventually my dad allowed me to just catch a ride home with someone. There was lots of plot and lots of socializing. I was, by two years, the youngest person playing.
The person who was two years older then me, well, he was really awesome. He came and picked me up a few times, and drove me home. When we went to afters we'd sit together, and eventually people started to ask if we were going out. We said "No." And they just gave us thatlook. You know thatlook, the one that says "Sure, whatever you say. We know better."
I invited him to a concert that I had tickets for, shortly after he invited me to come to GenCon with him. But before either rolled around, we had gone out on a date, and fell deeply in love. Eventually we got married, and well, we still are. The game though? That just went down hill.
The first GenCon was an experience, and this was when it was still in Milwaukee. It was totally worth it, and we’ve gone every year since. But it really hit home the fact that not only did I start this young but I was a girl. Yes, there were many more girls there then I expected, but there were still (and still are) way more boys. In fact, I played in a bunch of games, and only one had another girl (and I didn’t do any LARPs that first year). Now I see many more girls, but still not nearly as many at the actual tables. I ran a Farscape game a few years ago, and this year we are running a D&D game, plus I’m assisting on my friend’s Werewolf LARP.
We moved out to where we are now, and started to go to the local LARP here (and stopped going to the one in the city, it was just too expensive). Our first game was terrible. I thought the ST was an idiot. Now he is one of my good friends. We had a D&D group, and a good group of friends.
The D&D game eventually fell apart, and my husband ran Aberrant for most of them. Then we went back to D&D, once the Aberrant game fell apart, though with the same people. Then he ran a simulations evil game. Though it's been over a year for playing either of them.
One of our friends, my husband, and myself ran a Werewolf LARP three years ago, and we still play in the Local LARP.
Two years ago, well in September, I started playing at the Camarilla game. Many people here have seen my frustration with the Local LARP, but less so on the Camarilla. That is because a lot of my friends, who really made up a core of not just Great players at the Local game, but also a deterrent. You didn't do too many stupid things because we'd Pwn you. Alas, the quality of the players at the game have gone very down hill.
My husband came and played in teh Awakening game, for a few months, but now his job prevents it. He is sad, but we play in a D&D game with a new group of friends, and he is still an ST for another seven weeks at the local game even though it's lucky if he is there for an hour. He is actually fairly fed up about a number of situaions there and is considering just not coming for the next seven weeks. In seven weeks the ST staff changes.
We'll have to see how it goes. But that's my history of roleplaying.
To sum up:
If it wasn't for my dad, I wouldn't have started.
If I hadn't gotten into Cons, because my dad took me, I wouldn't have played Vampire.
If I hadn't played Vampire, I probably never would have heard of LARP.
If I hadn't heard of LARP, I probably wouldn't have played it at that con.
If I hadn't played it, I wouldn't have met the group of people who run a LARP.
If I hadn't met those people, I wouldn't have played in their game.
If I hadn't played in their game, I wouldn't have met James.
If I hadn't met James, I wouldn't have gotten married to him, moved out here and met a good core of my friends.
So Gaming has always been a very important part of my life, and I don't see that changing any time soon.