One of my players sent me this really amusing story:
The Innkeeper has a rat problem
It's a fun read, weird grammar aside, and it's a great setup for an otherwise inexplicable encounter area.
At the same time, though, it brought up a question:
Where did this whole "first adventure is killing rats in the basement" thing come from?
The first time I encountered it was playing The Bard's Tale, where it was already being used a joke. And I didn't even get that game until it was a freebie for backing Wasteland 2.
The next time I saw it was in Will Save the World for Gold, and again, joke.
But I'm not sure I ever encountered it for real. Did I miss something during my hiatus from D&D-based games in the very late 80s and into the 2000s? Was it a 3rd edition first adventure? My first adventures were always "go into the dungeon and fight monsters." My first ever game session was in B2 and I fought gnolls. No rats, no basements.
So where is the serious origin of this that lead to it being a joke meme? I'm really curious . . .