To sit down an play D&D for the first time is an awesome experience, as many can attest. I was lucky enough to be exposed to the game for few years prior to actually playing it. My brother DMed for his friends and wouldn’t let me play.

Good for him. I believe he did me right by holding off until I was 11 years old before he let me play my first game, a one-on-one adventure. I had time to develop and grow as a kid, to read some of the books which inspired the game in the first place like The Hobbit, along with a healthy dose of childrens/young adult fiction.

The first games I ran made little logical sense and would be considered munchkin.

They featured a yuanti villain and his siege tower, a character discovering a giant slaying sword in cavern so he could kill a giant guarding a mountain pass, and when he reached a port town he was rewarded with a galley to cross the ocean. The character was only first level.

Later D&D games had a character meet his future self for no apparent reason, dark elves attacking from a floating castle ruin, an alternate version of the Temple of Elemental Evil (because I didn’t have the module, but I loved the sound of the name).

It didn’t make sense, but I wanted cool stuff to happen.

Something (creativity, perhaps?) I fear, was lost when I grew a little older and started relying on official material, notions of game balance, and the rules.

I love that scene in Stranger Things, where Mike Wheeler throws Demogorgon into the game, just because. That’s how I and my friends rolled in our early days of the hobby. I had character once flew on the back of the god Paladine in Dragonlance, for cryin’ out loud. It didn’t make sense, but it was cool.

When did official rules, campaign settings, and game balance become more important than having cool stuff happen in the game?

If your players don’t like it, they’ll let you know.