This is a very neat topic!
How did I get to this to this hobby? It all started back in my middle school days between a friend and I on AIM. Often in our looooong after-school chats, we’d randomly break into stints where we were trying to verbally one up each other like B-grade super villains. We quickly realized that these were becoming personas, and started calling them the Pink Bunny of Doom and the Master of Shadows, respectively. It wasn’t long before they evolved and we started narrating their adventures in Generic Unnamed Fantasyland #24601. That evolution was accompanied by the characters receiving actual names. Meaning that my Master of Shadows was suddenly going by the name of Ellas Aramond. Yes, my SN is that of a character I made up 15 years ago.
When all this was going down, “roleplaying” was a term I had yet to hear. We were simply telling ongoing stories with these characters. That all changed when I found a book in the school library talking about the hobby as a whole, and specifically D&D. I must have read that thing 10 times, and then slowly bought the three “core” books for 3.5. Not that I had much of a chance to really put them to use.
High school is when things really kicked off. The aforementioned friend and I found more people interested in this odd tabletop thing, and we learned 3.5 together. Our early games even saw the birth of characters we still break out occasionally nowadays. Hell, if you ever hear me speak with a vaguely Russian accent, I’m channeling one of these characters.
On the real life side, 3.5 turned into Shadowrun (the first time I even GM’d) and then Exalted and Pathfinder, Deadlands and Rogue Trader, Mutants & Masterminds, Star Wars Saga, and countless other smaller games. I’m glad PDFs are a thing, otherwise I’d have a ton more rule-filled tomes.
Not to mention all the games I’ve done online, either through Play-by-Post or some form of video chat. The most notable (and actually recorded) of these would be a four year long Exalted game, The God-Kings of Lotus; and The Aeon of Strife, a Dark Heresy game that would see me playing three separate characters due to the system’s lethality. I don’t actually recommend reading/watching either of these, as they are long, and contain the kind of had-to-be-there silliness that can only be found in a tabletop game. I do believe I’ve found the first character journal I’ve ever written though.
Nowadays, I’ve got the weekly shenanigans of the TSN, and the Star Wars Saga game I GM on Sunday evenings. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.