Saturday, August 15, 2009


Well I saw that at least one person read about my attempt to start playing again, so I felt I should update what has happened since my first post long ago. I did get a chance to dm during the summer. I was visiting Nova Scotia, and had a chance to start running B10 Night's dark terror.
I started everyone at 3rd level, b/c even though it's a basic game, it is a "higher level" basic game. Now let's see if I rememberwho played what; my brother played a thief who's name I can't remember, but he decided to personalize him a little with a very distinct accent, his girlfriend played an elf (she was actually more of an Ad&d elf as a multiclass elf/fighter), having been used to 4ed, I think she found the whole limited spells thing somewhat annoying, but she pulled off some amazing stat rolls that if I hadn't have seen them, I wouldn't have believed them. Their neighbor upstairs played a cleric dwarf; I don't even remember if they were allowed, but my #1 rule of the night was to have fun, and he really seemed to get into the concept. Lastly was the new convert, my brother-in-law John who had never played before, he decided on a fighter (good choice); Sorry that I can't remember their names, but this was back in July.
I rolled 2 random magic items each ( one to be a weapon), a piece of advice I took from Grognardia's blog was to give the weapons a name as opposed to just stats, so although they were only +1 weapons (except 1 which actually rolled a +3 yikes) it gave the weapons an air of mystery to them.
Well without going through a play by play, the group really seemed to get into the game, even trying to get more information on the horse trading before heading out. They had two main battles, an ambush on the ferry , as well as the major seige of the small settlement of Suksikyn. as well as a couple of smaller encounters along the way. My only regret was not having more time to go further with them, but we were already way past our bedtimes by the end.

Here are a few observations on my part after the game:

1) Although I've never had a need for miniatures, I've a take'em or leave'em attitude, I was glad that I had made a large table sized map for the seige, and it makes me wonder that if I do get a chance to play regularly, if I shouldn't invest in some sort of writable table map.

2) Playing on the fly has some challenges that I had forgotten about, like the need for excellent record keeping. I got by that night but future dming would need more organizing and better use of space. AND WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN

3) A dm screen would have been helpful to have all the info I needed in easy reach. (I know some would probably say they have all their info memorized, but again not having played in almost 15 yrs these are all new to me again.

4) Memorize the module, or at least have all major info rewritten. We were lucky that we ended were we had, because although I had read the whole thing before, I didn't have it memorized much past where we had stopped. I don't want to have to stop the action by reading ahead during play, so I'm going to have to try to make some sort of index notes for these things.

Even barring these hiccups I'd have to say the the night was a great success, There was real anxious tension during the seige; in fact I wasn't sure they'd make it through, but a lucky moral roll after defeating one of the goblin kings cut down the enemies numbers, and allowed them to make it through the night. Everybody enjoyed themselves, which is of course the most important thing, and I'm pretty sure I made a new convert out of John who's anxious to play again. My brother who's more of a 4ed player had a blast, and really enjoyed the free flow of the combatand rules. I made a special rule that night where very high rolls, and very low rolls (18+ and 3-) carried with them some effect either positive or negative which led to some pretty humours and annoying moments...I couldn't count the number of times John would curse over fumbling with his sword. It was an experiment which I'm not sure if I'd repeat only because a large number of low rolls slowed down the combat ( I tried to offset this by making the fumbles very colorful).

Now a question for anyone who may be reading this:
I was somewhat soft on character creation, allowing 4D6 with the lowest die dropped now I know many would groan at this, and I too wasn't sure but I went ahead anyway, don't ask me why because I'm not sure myself. What i want to ask, are there others out there who have been soft on character creation, what did you do, and what affect do you think it had? I think if I had been doing a campaign maybe I would have been stricter but for a one shot ...oh well... I didn't find it made any super characters...just no below average ones. Give me your thoughts on this.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

First Blog

Okay so here it is, my very first blog. I'm probably one of the most computer unsavy people I know, but I wanted to try and give it a shot. I'm hoping to share a few thoughts on roleplaying, books, movies, Martial Arts, and hey anything else that strikes my fancy.
I guess part of the reason for starting this goes back to last May. I was living in Nova Scotia, trying to make a living as a substitute teacher. My budget was limited, I mean very limited, I was barely making ends meet working two jobs. Before leaving I had been a pretty regular gym rat, and trained alot at my local dojo, but with my new reduced finances I just didn't have the extra money to keep doing these things that I loved. I guess after a few months, I must have really seemed pretty depressed, because my brother, probably sensing my low mood invited my to join his gaming group. He and his friends were just starting with 4e D&D, and since I used to DM for him LOOONG ago he figured that I'd enjoy it.
Well sure enough, something in the game must have rekindled a real old interest, because soon I was looking into all things D&D again. Now even though I have to thank 4ed for being able to bring back that old spark, I must say that when reading the books something left me feeling a little cold; this just wasn't the Dungeons and Dragons that I knew.
Don't get me wrong, I did have fun, the camaraderie with other gamers, the joy in fighting creatures of the dark again; all of it was great. It's just that after the initial euphoria of being part of imaginative gameplay again wore off, I felt that this just wasn't my D&D. The more I read the 4ed books, and looked at the rules the more I missed my good ole Ad&d. I have to say it wasn't just the new intimidating jargon, and the new classes, and races; no this was something less tangible.
I found it came across a little cold and I guess power-gamey (if thats a word). Seeing the way that WoTC had created these new mechanics, I couldn't see these characters out of a combat situation, or placed in a low magic more realist type campaign. Now that's not to say I didn't continue with it, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't have some fun, but it made my crave good old AD&D more and more.
So as I continued to play, I also searched the net for info on OD&D, D&D Basic and AD&D. This lead to finding some free modules (yaayy), and more importantly the retro-D&D community which I've been reading about for about six months now.
Since then I've moved to Sherbrooke Quebec, and the itch to play good old fashion Dungeons& Dragons is getting bigger and bigger. The obstacles in the way are great though:

1) I need to find old school players (how many can there be out here?)

2) I'll be honest I'd be hestitant to play with a very young crowd. I'm in my thirties and would want to play with people my own age.

3) It would be hard to introduce it to others I know, I fished a little at work, and felt silly asking (I'm too self-conscience I guess)

4) A biggie .... the language barrier: I'm an Anglophone in a primarily Francophone area, so this is going to be a toughie

Now I'm not going to be defeatist, but I am a realist, I don't want to say this is impossible, but it will be hard, and the chances of successfully starting a gaming group seem slim. I've decided to take the plunge though, and create a small notice explaining clearly the style of D&D game I'd like to create, and then post it at the local gaming shop and see if I get any takers. It will be weird playing with strangers, but it seems like the only way to get something on the go.
Thanks for listening, even if no-one reads this, I found that letting my thoughts out like this has been pretty cathartic so it definitely has not been a waste of time.