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Archive for the ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ Category

First, a bit of background:  I am a second generation gamer.  By which I mean that my dad, his brothers, and my mom all played D&D when I was a kid (I was born in ’74…same as D&D, or so the story goes).  I remember sitting up at night leaning up against my bedroom door which opened onto the living room, listening in on their adventures.  It was therefore no big surprise when I took an interest in it myself.  I always borrowed my dad’s books and loved nothing more than to flip through the Monster Manual and Fiend Folio.

Once I got to the point I could buy things on my own, I started buying any RPG that caught my attention.  GURPS (second edition) was my first.  Cyberpunk2020.  Rifts, Palladium Fantasy, D&D (of course), and on down the line through a who’s who of RPG gaming goodness.  I played Star Frontiers, Gamma World, three different versions of Star Trek, and even took a peek at the old FASA version of the Doctor Who RPG.

If this were High School, and I was a cheerleader, you might call me a slut.  And it continues to this day.  I’m always looking over the next big thing.  I contemplated trying to put together a group for the latest round of Warhammer 40K games.  I found a copy of Victoriana when I heard that Abney Park (an awesome band, if you like steampunk) was using those rules to do an RPG based on their songs.  I’ve made my share of Shadowrunnners, usually either a street sam or a rigger.  I played first edition Earthdawn.

You could say I’ve forgotten more about role-playing than most of the latest crop of players has learned.

And RPG’s weren’t the extent of it either.  I have a (mostly) complete set of Star Fleet Battles, and have no problems with the tax code rulebook.  I can allocate energy for an entire fleet in the time it takes most players to do so for one ship.  I was a member of BLADES, the local game store’s Car Wars club.  We never made it to the regionals, but we had a hell of a time trying.

Then of course, there’s all the different editions of Battletech.  When I wasn’t playing, I was building.  Either I was creating terrain pieces, or arena maps, or just building characters I might never get to use.

My “Book of the Dead” would be a sight to see.  In it you’d find my elven Ranger, who faced Tiamat, and survived (saving the rest of the party at the same time).  Then there’s Valentine Victor Vargas, gnomish thief extraordinaire, and expert at the expeditious retreat.  Sir Eglemore, the undead skeleton knight determined to find the dragon that cursed him into undeath (and roasted the flesh of his bones at the same time).  Captain Crunch, the custom built pick-up designed for tournament Car Wars play, which could take a 150 mile per hour collision and allow the driver to survive.  Or how about his cousin, flambe?  He was a tournament legal, survivable car bomb.  Most memorable are Toog, Padaras, and Lady Charity.

Toog was a half ogre.  He adventured to prove his worth to the goddess of beauty.  He thought that if he earned her favor, she would make him handsome.  She never did, but he learned to overcome his handicap.  Now he runs an inter-dimensional fighting pit.

Padaras was from Monte Cook’s Arcana Evolved.  She was a Sibbecai who had grown up among a street gang, and then fought her way out of that gang to earn her self respect and redeem the crimes of her youth.  With her bow, Bloodharp, she could shoot anything almost from any distance.

Lady Charity was the daughter of nobility.  She ran away from home to become a pirate, and would have made a name for herself as ‘Queen of the Seas’ had she not been bitten by a ghoul, and turned undead herself.

Latest is Jonah.  A gunslinger on a desert world.  The game is like steampunk, but with a lot of cowboys and indians for set decoration (the indians are actually aliens), and with demons for bad guys.  He died in a gunfight, just exactly the way he wanted to go.

So if we ever meet one day, after the introductions (and please, forgive me if I act like a hyper child when I find out you read my blog, I’m not really like that in real life…it would just be cool to meet one or all of you), don’t be surprised if I act the part of the grizzled veteran with a whole lifetime of war stories.  Because on paper at least, that’s exactly what I am.

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Yesterday, in our Hero 6th edition game, my gunslinger was shot to death.

Too many gunfights, too close together.  As a result, my son’s character (the pilot) is now captured and being experimented on.  We failed to get the masks out of the laboratory, so the bad guys can still go ahead with their plots, and we’ll very quickly find out what the bad guys are up to.  They claim they are wanting to just ‘help humanity become better.’

Via experiments and mutations.

Still, I’m not concerned.  We’ll play that game again in three weeks, and I have time to create a new character.  Not sure what I’m going to do now, but I’ll think of something.  The funny part is, I felt it was a good character death, but my son was almost in tears over it.  I guess I played Jonah just a little too well.

We also got in a bit of DnD, in Planescape.  In that game, my son is playing a sorcerer.  He’s finally branching out and learning what other classes can do.  I don’t think he’s impressed much, but that is one of the risks of playing a 2nd level Aasimar Sorcerer.  I, on the other hand, have a Githzerai Monk.  Yeah, I got conned into a d20 game, despite how much I’ve burned out on it.  But I had fun, especially when the bar brawl broke out, and I jumped from chair to tabletop to the shoulder of a bad guy and from there jump kicked the boss in the teeth.

It was so cool.  Of course, I didn’t KO the boss.  It could have been cooler.

I was knocked out twice in that game, and reduced to 0 the third time.  That third battle, I didn’t do too badly at despite it all.  I maxed damage with a concussive blast that killed one of the attackers in one shot; and I didn’t flee from the phantasmal force spell (unlike my partner, the sorcerer, who fled for his life leaving me outnumbered).

Once I fully figure out all of the details of the monk, I just might have enough fun to stick with it.  Next week, we pick up the adventure from the library of last week.  We are converting the PC’s from Palladium Fantasy to Basic Role-Playing by Chaosium.  I now remember why I sold my Palladium books back in High School.  Too many wonky and missing rules.  I expect the conversion to be pretty simple.  In other words, I’m not going to do to much (both systems are d% systems with a 3-18 ability score spread).

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I never really thought I’d say this.  After all the point of any RPG is that you get to escape reality for a while.  The rules are immaterial, so long as you can get into your character and vanish for a while slaying dragons or zombies, or what have you.

Been there, done that sums up my feelings pretty well.  Never mind it’s been the 800 pound gorilla for the last 10 years, there’s just nothing new about it.  Last night, at our latest game session, we decided that as a backup game (should we really not want to play in the Gasoline Punk game I described last time; or if we should run out of plotted adventure, and the GM needs time to plan…) we’d play other games.  We have two now, on tap for when we want to do something different.  The first is going to be Palladium Fantasy RPG.  I’ll run that on occasion, and I’ve already got some good ideas for a plot.  I just need to get my prep work out of the way.    The second is going to be D&D, in Planescape.

This is how I came to realize that I’d done it all.  The GM said that anything goes.  We can use anything out of any of the books we want.  Of course, we have to stick to first level, but otherwise.  I spent the last several hours of last night and several more this morning trying to decide what I wanted to play.  Affter all, anything goes.  That doesn’t happen too often.  The problem is, I’ve played all of those character types.  I’ve learned how they work, what their limitations are.  None of them do exactly what I want them to do, especially in light of a limited number of sessions remaining.

As I flipped from book to book (both from WoTC and third party sources), I just couldn’t get involved in the process.  I mean I still remember the rules, I still could build a character from scratch, blindfolded.  But I just don’t care.  This is why I was getting out of d20 before D&D 4th came around.  This is the first time I’ve looked back, and it just doesn’t do it for me.  I’ll build something, especially since it’s just a back-up plan, but I really don’t see me getting much enjoyment out of it.

And no, I didn’t adopt 4th edition.  In fact, I went sideways, and adopted Pathfinder.  But even that isn’t right for me.  I could go down the list of reasons why I dislike 4E, but the last thing I want is an edition war here in my private little corner of the web.  (Though have you heard about the newest twist on 4E rules?  Collectible trading cards to give your characters one-time boosts in-game…Can you tell which company is in charge of the system now?)

In the end, Dungeons and Dragons isn’t working for me.  I prefer something more old-school.  That’s why I sank so much money into Rolemaster Standard System.  It’s why my main game is Hackmaster (4th edition, not 5th).  I’d play 2nd edition, if there were anyone around willing to do so.

At least with those other systems, I haven’t explored all of the possibilities.

Feel free to comment on this post.  I’d love to hear from you.  Even if it’s so you can gush about all of the uber-leet cool fun you are having with D&D these days.  I’m not saying any one edition is bad, just that I don’t want to play.  But a story is a story, and if you’ve had fun, share it with us!

Maybe within the next week, I’ll post about my favorite RPG moments.  It could be fun!  See ya around!

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