Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Little About Little Old Me

This is not the beginning, although it should have been.  I have been reading a great deal of Old School Renaissance blogs for a long time now, and decided to get into the mix.  I have had the name for this blog in my head for a while; I knew I needed something distinctive that also said what it was.  I feel the name serves two purposes:  1) I've been working on losing weight for some time now, so the title is literal and 2) I am most interested in re-skinning ideas for role-playing game, specifically OSR, usage.

So, my blog will be about taking ideas (i.e. books, stories, movies, music, etc.) and molding that into something playable.  Obligatory history lesson:  I started playing Dungeons & Dragons at a young age (probably right around 10).  At this point in my life, a lot of my early experiences blend together.  I was probably exposed to Basic D&D and AD&D at about the same time.  I know the orange spine AD&D Player's Handbook, DMG, and original Fiend Folio were my first D&D purchases.  My first RPG was the Marvel Superheroes RPG Advanced Box I bought in a Kay-Bee Toys in the mall.  As far as DMing is concerned, using the beginning dungeon in the back of the DMG(?) was my first experience "behind the screen".  As a player, my longest D&D experience was with 2nd edition when I was in high school.  Often, I have been the DM (or referee, or whatever you want to call it) because I wanted to be involved in a specific type of game or had a specific idea I wanted to explore.  I think this is why the OSR has appealed to me so much.

I played Basic, 1st Ed, 2nd Ed, 3rd Ed, and ran 1st Ed, 2nd Ed, and 4th Ed.  (I did own the three core 3.5 books and some supplements, but never could overcome what follows enough to run or play it.)  In the Basic through 3.5 Eds, my biggest "disappointment" was the relative "weakness" of 1st level characters.  I also observed a general trend of monster bloat, or a great big pile of hit points staring down your 1st level character.  I think when I saw this in a 3rd Ed game, I basically said, enough.  Then, 4th Ed came out.  I checked out the hardcovers in the stores, and said to myself, "Gee, this doesn't look like D&D."

It wasn't until I saw the Essentials line hit the stores and saw a Red Box in Wal-Mart (!) that my interest really got revived.  I started doing some research online and discovered  Mr. Shea's website helped direct me how to get back into the hobby.  Around the same time, my son began to reach the age I felt he was ready to at least be exposed to role-playing.  So, I took the plunge and got him the new Red Box and I started picking up some of the Essentials lines around Christmas of 2010.  During 2011, I began to learn the rules and started formulating some campaign ideas.  Finally, my work schedule allowed me to set up a D&D game for my son and one of his friends.  We played the adventure in the Red Box, they made it through a few rooms before a TPK, and we had fun.

Then the 5th Ed announcement happened.  Okay, I thought to myself, I've been down this road of constant new editions, but let me see what it’s all about.  I got in on the first playtest document.  Let me explain a little more about myself:  I am a philosopher and counselor by training.  The first thing I did was read the playtest document as a text.  I remember reading the section about light and darkness.  I’m not for sure about the specifics, but I remember the sentence included “also known as night, shadow, etc.”  Basically, they were naming a thing and then saying it was also named other things.  I found this confusing and a really bad move for rules.  I informed Wizards of my opinion.  The second playtest document came out.  What I had pointed out was still there.  Furthermore, when the PHB came out, I looked the section up and IT’S STILL THERE.  

So I stepped back and began to survey the scene.  I have no idea now exactly how I got where; I think I discovered Grognardia from something on  Regardless, I went down the rabbit's hole and here I am now.  I'll try to post more later regarding what I'm using rules wise and why.

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