I'll just post some of the highlights:
I bought a module first, because I didn't know any better
I was a young boy studying Karate at a friend's house and encountered them playing a game that I would later discover was AD&D (after much wheedling and whining). Since this was the Philippines during the 70s, I faced three obstacles: availability of the source material, occasional "news stories" on the 700 Club telling me and my family how demonic it was, and a lack of understanding about the actual concept of RPGs!
I didn't read it closely enough, and probably wouldn't have understood why you needed to buy another rules set to use this so-called module anyway. All I saw was the "introductory module" bought, and the cool Jeff Dee art, and I was hooked.Yes, that was T1 -- The Village of Hommlet.
You mean Advanced doesn't come after Basic and Expert?
My first attempt at gaming was therefore stymied by a lack of a ruleset, but I set about rectifying that by trying to find the Dungeons & Dragons rules that I could use to play this module --
Don't get me wrong, I loved this ruleset. Even today, I'm impressed by the organization, the layout and the art (though I may be biased by nostalgia) and how it all pulled together to draw me into this other fantasy realm and communicated very clearly how that could be done. And the list of books in the back sent me on a hunting frenzy at the local bookstores.
Unfortunately, I was of the mind that you needed the AD&D ruleset to use an AD&D module, so I was a bit perturbed. Thank goodness for the Keep on the Borderlands and Isle of Dread modules that came in these boxed sets.
A couple of years later, I did eventually pick up the AD&D ruleset and while I was relieved to finally lay my hands on the proper set of rules to use my modules with, I must say that this rulebook did a better job in communicating the 'otherworldliness' and sense of wonder in a more consistent manner. AD&D had too many in-jokes and 'break the fourth wall' humor to sustain that epic feel -- though it did exceed the D&D B/X rulesets in key areas (the "Paladin in Hell" image comes to mind). This was my go-to ruleset for that "sense of wonder" fix.
And that's how I got started. I never actually got to play in a game of D&D until I was in the U.S. of A, however, with regular AD&D group at the Beresford Rec Center in San Mateo. But that's another story.