Thursday, August 7, 2014

Welcome to the Terrordome!

I started playing D&D in 1983.  My friend Brian had the Moldvay Basic Set.  I was 10 years old, and was instantly hooked.  I got the Mentzer Basic as soon as I was able.  I have many a fond memory of that set, but we quickly moved onto AD&D.  The old original hardbacks.  We spent many a day and night around the kitchen table, not only playing, but creating.  Music blaring on the boom box.  Stacks of graph paper, covered with maps, pages of notes.  We weren't so much into world building as we were dungeon building.  I doubt most of my characters ever saw the light day, spending their entire careers underground.

On occasion we could gather a group together to play, but it was mostly a rotating cast.  Went thru many of the old classic modules.  Some of my most vivid memories of actually playing, though, were just Brian and I, and something Brian called Phases.  Not full dungeons.  2, 3, maybe 5 rooms.  Maybe a trap, maybe a monster.  I had one character, who had to get out alive.  It had the feel not so much as dungeon delving, but of gladiatorial combat.  Not many characters lived to tell the tale of what they encountered.

Brian was 2 years older than me, and when he graduated high school, he had less time for gaming.  That's when I took up the mantle of Dungeon Master, using the new 2nd Edition Rules.  I gathered a group of my classmates and every Saturday we got together and slogged our way thru the Temple of Elemental Evil, and began my affection for the World of Greyhawk.

After high school, I joined the U.S. Army.  3 years stationed in Germany saw a lot of players come and go thru my groups.  It can get tricky when players get re-assigned.  2 distinct groups stick out in my mind.  The first started with Vecna Lives! and saw the group battling the Cult of Vecna thru their entire careers.  Complete Book Kits, a wild mage, and a mish mash of classic modules and Dungeon Magazine adventures that I reskinned.  The second began with the group as prisoners in Iuz's capital of Dorakaa, set after the Greyhawk Wars.  This was probably the most liberal I ever was at character creation.  A drow, a kender, and a half orc that eventually became infected with lycanthropy.  This group eventually united Perrenland under a new king and succeeded in holding back invading forces of both Iuz and Ket.

After that, I drifted away from D&D for way too long.  I kept my subscriptions to Dragon and Dungeon, though, and continued to buy new books.  3rd Edition came out, and while I loved the d20 mechanic and the tons of material that came out with the OGL, I soon got buried under the pile of crap that the OGL released, and soon completely lost interest.  Years later, 4th Edition piqued my interest enough to buy the core books, but the rules never grabbed me, so I drifted away again.

Not too long ago, Brian and I got to reminiscing about those teenage gaming days.  While life has us several states away, we ended up starting a play by post game, him as the DM, and me as the entire group, using the AD&D rules.  It didn't take long for my kids to see us playing.  My dice out on the coffee table as I typed away on my laptop.  They started asking questions and wanted to play!  I started looking around online, and to my surprise, the 5th Edition was in the final stages of it's playtest.  I found a copy of the playtest packet and we rolled up a group!  My 13 year old daughter and 8 year old twin boys soon found themselves facing goblins in the Caves of Chaos.  They are hooked.  The Starter Set came out and my daughter was ready to try her hand behind the DM's screen, and she led us into the Lost Mines of Phandelver.

So that's part of what you'll see here.  Some session recaps from these various games I have going on, as both DM and player.  But deep down I'm a collector of D&D.  The new issue of Dragon was always poured over for new spells, magic items and monsters to use in my games.  So that will be the core of what I'll bring you here.  I'll be going thru old issues of Dragon, and updating things to fit in with the 5th Edition of D&D.


At August 7, 2014 at 1:34 PM , Blogger Brian said...

I miss those days a lot. It's been 30 years now and we're still going strong. Still found a way to play even though we're a couple states away. I suppose we will play until we're both gone but even then I think we'll still find a way!

At August 11, 2014 at 7:25 AM , Blogger The Malum said...

This is the classic tale of gaming for those of us who got into the hobby in the 80s, played out in hundreds or thousands of lives. What a great tale! I can't wait to see what develops!

At August 17, 2014 at 7:20 PM , Blogger Brian said...

Jon and I have great memories of D&D including the time we recorded a session with some other friends while a tornado ripped through town.


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