Kicking off the idea started by Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things I present Question #1: How I got Started:
It was late in 1980, and I was nine years old. My parents had a keen interest in keeping myself and my younger sister occupied, for we lived on a ranch and had plenty of mischief we could get up to. My folks first bought some games, which included Dungeon, and later at a Kaybee Toys a brand new copy of the Mentzer red box Basic D&D set. My sister and I tried hard to get our father to learn how to play, but to no avail; we grasped Dungeon easily enough but the D&D Basic set seemed to make a lot of assumptions about how to play the game that were not evident to us.
Cut to October of that year and while on a trip to Santa Fe I find myself in a local toy and hobby shop off the plaza, where a copy of Gamma World is commanding my attention. I buy it, take it back to the fair where my parents are selling art (they have been artists their whole lives) and something "clicked" that night in the hotel room while reading it....don't ask me why, but for some reason Gamma World filled in the missing bits about understanding the concept of a role playing game and how it worked. I put my sister and her friends (we were all between ages 7 and 12) through a gruesome Gamma World TPK scenario involving a missile silo the next day, followed by another adventure based on the ruins of the Hilton Inn we were staying at. When we returned home I dragged out D&D Basic and proceeded to figure it out and then ran The Keep on the Borderlands (with a near-TPK in the Caves of Chaos).
So that was how I got started....indoctrinated at a very, very young age!