A bit of Old, a bit of New.

Last couple weeks have been rough.

Had a freaking sore throat and cough for the past couple weeks that is finally getting near the end of its course. On top of that, this past week has been my first week back in college classes. I feel kinda crappy being 28 and still doing Freshman courses, but that’s what I get for going out and rambling around for the decade I’ve had after High School. Anyways, things seem to be kicking back in order, and routines are being put into place. I’m taking a light load this semester, and the fact I don’t have a game shop to run out of a local marketplace during the rest of the week is kinda nice this time around.

Anyways, September should see some interesting gaming highlights:

DM’ing for the Old Schoolers

I’ve mentioned a bit here and there about our monthly AD&D 1E group. I’ve been having a great time getting to play with these guys, and have even brought in one of my older buds who apparently used to game with these guys when he was in High School. There’s been some hiccups getting things rolling, but the communication between everyone and the DM has been great and things seem to be really picking up with that group. Right now, our characters are around ~Level 3, and it’s been a great experience for me to get back into the roots of the game. I will admit we use some 2E, but almost just for settings/adventures. Almost all items and characters have been developed strictly by core 1E rules and Unearthed Arcana. I’m actually quite proud of my Ulfgar Silverforge, my Fighter/Cleric Dwarf.

Coming up on the 5th, I get to take it to the next level by sitting down in the DM’s chair and actually getting to run a couple sessions for them. This is definitely going to be an experience for me, considering AD&D 1st edition was one of those games growing up that we “winged” a lot of stuff, and even ripped off rules from later editions (or completely tossed out or re-wrote ourselves.) It’s crazy how things like THAC0, group initiatives and Weapon Specializations haven’t been hard to get back into, but the simple fact that the skills I rely on so much in later editions (stuff like Perception in 4E, or Spot/Search/Listen in d20) being absent throws me for a loop.

I’ve managed to at least practice with Shel and Josh (aka my “Late Night Crew”), giving them a taste of old school while learning to run it myself. I gotta say, it definitely has its merits, and there’s still lots to love about the old rules. Coming from 4E and going back, where it feels limited at times in the character creation or complicated in the XP calculations, the speed and pace of combat moves soo much quicker. And, oddly, despite being a bit “deadlier” it still has kind of an epic feeling like 4th edition is known for. I mean, I was able to dispense 20+ Kobolds in a single encounter and the combat didn’t take nearly as long as it would have in 4E, even using Minions.

So, getting some experience in running under my belt and getting re-familiar with the DM arsenal has been a hoot. Since I’m taking over the same campaign/characters and just giving the DM a chance to run his PC on his own (we both have characters that get to become GMPC’s and hang back a little when we run), I’ve decided to stick with the format of using published Modules for the group to work through. A while back I had won an eBay auction on a collection of old first edition books, and it came bundled together with modules UK1 & UK2, “The Sentinel” and “The Gauntlet.” I had an old copy of The Gauntlet growing up handed down from my brother, so now to have the prequel adventure has made me excited. I’m hoping these play out alright for the group, since they offer a good mix of wilderness travel and lair crawling.

Returning to The Empire

It’s something I’ve promised for a long time, and I think it’s time we finish it. I’m wanting to return to the PC’s in my 4E D&D Campaign in “The Dragonsbane Empire” home brew setting. While my friends have been enjoying trying out new games or new settings, it seems everyone wants to at least head back for one more adventure, and to check out Epic Tier. Considering a good chunk of my Heroic Tier adventures came out of Keep on the Shadowfell, I decided tonight to go ahead and pick up Death’s Reach for them. The plot of it sounds too perfect for where we left things off, and a few tweaks to the storyline would make it the perfect way for their heroes to come together one more time. I left the players off in late Paragon tier, and have promised when we come back it’ll be about 20+ years later, with them just beginning their Epic Destinies. As much as I bitch about 4E, it’s still that game that we all know and love, and that particular campaign world has pretty much been our home away from home. And while I may get bent out of shape about errata and trends with the marketing of it, I’m still the lone nerd in the group who actually follows and cares about that bullshit. Sometimes, as a DM, ya gotta learn to just let go and realize that things that are called broken on the internet aren’t always broken to the group. Our games still play.

High Valor in Ptolus

An interesting mix….my “Late Night Crew”, who has been willing test dummies for many of my gaming interests the past few weeks, will probably be seeing more of our High Valor campaign. Which, I ended up taking to Ptolus. Despite High Valor being more of a “dark ages” setting, I somehow managed to transplant Monte Cook’s “City by the Spire” fantasy Mega-Sprawl to fit nicely and snug into Tim Kirk’s fantasy world of Aeia. Josh and Shel seem to really enjoy their characters, and want to continue exploring my transplanted crossover. It’s been a lot of fun taking the setting and NPC’s of Ptolus but reworking them into the lore, races and cultures of High Valor. Also, being able to run the adventures and story hooks with minimal paper work has been a blast.  I’ve decided to keep this game going on our late nights, and keeping it with my small group of two. I really enjoy running them, it’s a nice break from the complexity of getting everyone together for a game night.

I’m also still running a Warrior, Rogue & Mage play by post game going. Although, due to RL issues and Josh’s lappy crashing, that game appears to be a bit stalled atm. Oh well.

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