I don't know if this has been done before, or recently (I'm out of the loop), but wouldn't it be fun to collate a vast collection of anecdotes about people's first time playing RPGs, and especially playing D&D?
I think I've told this story on the blog before, but I've now been doing this so long I can no longer remember specific posts very well, and whenever I put anything in the search bar on my Blogger dashboard I get dozens of results which take a long time to wade through. Anyway, for those of you who are not sufficiently expert in every detail of my biography:
My friend's big brother had got his hands on the classic Basic D&D 'red box' from somewhere, and invited my friend and I and another person (I can't remember who - in my vague memories of the occasion, he sits to one side like a faceless, shadowy ghost) to play a game. I had already read lots of Fighting Fantasy books, and had read all three volumes of Advanced Fighting Fantasy, so I was familiar with the concept - or thought I was - and had spent a lot of time daydreaming about how cool and grown-up a hobby D&D seemed to be. (Bear in mind I was probably about 11 years old.) So I was very keen to give it a try.
I rolled up a halfling; my two colleagues rolled up a magic-user and a dwarf. I think I had in mind a model a little bit like Tas from the Dragonlance book - the main thing I remember was being very pleased my PC had a DEX of 16. Without any prelude (ah, those were the days!) we ventured into a dungeon. In the first room, we encountered and killed what in my memory was a carrion crawler, although that seems like a tough fight for three 1st level PCs. In the second room, we encountered a mature red dragon. We then spent the entire session trying to convince it not to kill and eat us, making a succession of increasingly creative and desperate arguments. In the end, it breathed fire on us all and killed us. The whole thing was, in essence, a contrivance by which the DM could enjoy tormenting a group of younger, impressionable kids.
I bore no resentment towards my friend's big brother - it is the god-given duty of a big brother to piss all over his younger brother and his mates at every opportunity - but I do remember thinking, 'That can't be what the game is all about.' I've been trying to figure out what it is all about ever since.
[I am currently running a Kickstarter for the 2nd edition of Yoon-Suin, the renowned campaign toolbox for fantasy games. You can back it here.]