Saturday, 29 October 2011

Greetings and Salutations

I've been following the Old School Revival in the role-playing game hobby for a while and I got it into my head to create my own home-brewed rules based off of the earlier editions of Dungeons & Dragons and run a game for my family and friends.

That was late spring and I'm yet to run anything. So I thought blogging about it may help me organise my thoughts and notes to the point I can get started on actually playing.

I began roleplaying in 1983 at the age of 11. I don't really recall how much gaming I got done for the next few years. I doubt it was much. I was bought the red-box Basic set with the Elmore artwork of the guy lunging for a dragon in a room full of gold for my 11th birthday and I vaguely recall playing it with my father, uncle and cousins. I don't know how well it went down.

In 1984 we moved to a little town in Norfolk called Loddon. There my friends and I gamed almost religiously. That set the pace for the rest of my life I guess. Around this time I got Stormbringer (big Moorcock fan at the time) and Call of Cthulhu (HP who?). In neither case did my friends and I really understand the settings nor could we keep them apart. One of my most memorable weekends had our CoC investigators Gate into the Young Kingdoms just after Elric had blown the horn of whatsit and been slain by Stormbringer. We stole the runesword from his body and headed back home. The next day R'yleh rose and my investigator used Stormbringer to attack Cthulhu. One successful attack later the great old one was defeated (well about the size and POW of a bunny rabbit and scrabbling to escape and victory assured.  We never understood that we were supposed to lose. I also bought WH40K (first edition) and a couple of armies. We played outside on a mound of soil in the garden.

1988-ish we moved again. This time to Stowmarket in Suffolk. There I gamed with some people at school. I vaguely recall being an outsider amongst them. They had their own home-brew rules; "SciFADD" Science Fiction Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. It was my first real interaction with AD&D.

About this time second edition AD&D came out and I bought every single book I could get my hands on. My school friends didn't like 2e but I made other friends and we ran games of every imaginable variety and complexity. Inspiration was everywhere.

Of course it wasn't just D&D; I bought the TMNT rules, GURPS, CarWars ( I got my first CarWars set in '86 while visiting my dad in California.), Champions, Ars Magica... the list goes ever on. At one point I needed something like 20 feet of shelving to hold all my RPG books and magazines.

In the early 90's my mother and stepfather moved to Oxfordshire with my little sister. I moved with them.

In '95 I dabbled with university myself but it got in the way of my gaming. I stayed in Bournemouth long enough to run an epic campaign for a select group of friends. The Te Campaign used BTRC's TimeLords system at it's core. We travelled across the multiverse, fought an epic war for the very fate of reality itself before returning home to Earth as posthuman demi-gods to defeat an alien invasion. Then rebuilding the world into a near utopia while guiding a psychically reborn humanity to the stars. It was the greatest game I had ever run. I thought it must be the greatest game I could ever participate in. I was wrong.

I headed back to Oxford in '97 and joined OURPGSoc as an associate member. That's Oxford University Roleplaying Game Society. I took part in their society games. Something like a regular rpg campaign but on a grand scale with elements of LARPing and well... let me just say: MIND! BLOWN!

I played a smuggler/freedom fighter from a rebellion centuries forgotte in the last block of ICON and was addicted. I also played in Imagister. I also tried to GM in INC, creating much of psionics 'system' and helping to lay out the character generation rules but was found wanting in actual play. The last society game I played in was Vendetta before I the cliquishness of the society got too much for me. I left happy though. My character, a billionaire playboy and two fisted adventurer not only got to punch out Hitler (back before he was anything but a trouble maker) but finished off married to the hottest dame in Silver Harbour and Roosevelt's running mate for the presidency. Destined to become VP.

It was fun.

Instead of doing little more than keep in a passing touch with the people at OURPGSoc I drew together a group of more old school roleplayers and ran my last 2e campaign, basing it off notes from the aborted campaign I tried to run at university. It was a resounding success and since 3e came out just at the end of it we created a campaign for it. I ran it; new system, new world. It was also a success. As the campaign progressed however it became evident that my talents as a GM lessened as the level of the characters increased. As the campaign came to an end at a very early 20th level one of my players, an experieced GM in his own right promised to break my curse. You see as a player I've never actually levelled a character beyond 3rd level.

However it was not to be. I met a woman online. We had a lot in common. We met in real life and fell quite hard for each other. She took me away from Oxford to the frozen wastes of Scotland. Now I'm married with kids. My wife is almost as much a gamer geek as I am and my children are 7 and 8, but smart and precocious with it. I the last few years the wife and I have played Classic Traveller with our friends, playtested the WarpWorld and Verne sourcebooks for Greg Porter's EABA system. We've even dabbled with 3.x a couple of times, with my wife's Pirates of the Dune Seas campaign ending when 4e came out.

I'd been a self professed "Fouron" right up until the actual rulebooks arrived. Then I cried. I'd been lied to by WotC. This wasn't D&D. This was some pretender wearing the clothes of my old friend. A doppelgänger masquerading as someone I grew up with. I was heartbroken. I hung up my dice bag and never gamed again.

Only not. Okay we dabbled with Pathfinder. It'd good but, I don't want to build and optimum character. I want to roleplay like in the good old days. The real problem is that I don't really remember how and I've still not broken that 3rd level curse.

But now it's OSR time.

My kids have had Pathfinder characters, although my son was probably a little too young to really be playing at the time. My daughter has a playtest credit for Verne, although she only really played for a couple of sessions. But now daddy has his own version of D&D.

It's the time for DaD's RPG!

The name was my wife's idea.

No comments:

Post a comment