It was 1983? ’84? It was after my very first RPG session, but might’ve been before I bought my own copy of D&D. I was at a sleep-away computer camp: all the usual camp activities (canoeing, sleeping in cabins, hiking, etc.), plus a building full of computers where we spent some time every day learning programming. Anyway, one of the counselors had the camp name of Aztec, and he was a Dungeon Master. I remember how awesome we all thought he was. So, one night he agreed to run a game for us. We didn’t have any books or dice, but he helped us make characters, and then ran the adventure sitting around the campfire. As I said, no dice, so he just adjudicated everything. I vaguely recall a couple short fights—he must’ve just gone off of our descriptions and made it fun and challenging.
I was playing a druid or druid-ranger or something like that. At one point we needed to get across a gorge and I suggested that we chop down a bunch of trees and build a bridge of some sort. At which point a treant or elder druid (at this point I no longer remember which) showed up and began berating my character for going along with this plan. But here’s the thing: he played it for humor while sneaking in a lesson on roleplaying, and possible even sneaking in a lesson for the real world (he was a camp counselor, after all). My vague recollection is that he sounded very much like a cross between Miracle Max and his wife. Partly by using a silly voice, he was able to make a semi-big deal out of this, but in such a way that I didn’t feel like I was being picked on. I was laughing so hard that even responding—in-character or out—was tough. And, as this blog post attests, I’ve never forgotten it. Though, funnily enough, I don’t remember how we eventually dealt with the gorge. Or anything else about the evening roleplaying.
But I’ve never forgotten that encounter. I’m not sure I can say the same about any other specific encounter (as opposed to whole sessions or games) in all my years of roleplaying.