It always seems like I think and write more about gaming when I am actually gaming less. I guess that makes sense, if I were actually gaming I’d have less time to think about gaming in general. Today I was supposed to GM the new Mophidius Star Trek RPG, but both my wife Mona and my daughter Ember are sick. This should have been the “good” week for Mona, the last weekend before more chemo, we even had an “extra” weekend here because of Thanksgiving delaying a treatment for her. Until her treatments are done it’s looking like we are going to be two weeks off, one week on for gaming, with a pretty good chance of losing the third week too.
Star Trek came as a bit of a surprise this week anyway, we were scheduled to start a new Savage Worlds Fantasy campaign set in my own Garnia setting, but they released the playtest into the wild and they would appreciate getting the results back within a few weeks. It’s not a long adventure, and it seems like it hits all the right rules to test, and teach, the game. In that respect it brings to mind the adventure in the Legend of the Five Rings RPG first edition book.
Working on a new campaign is always handy to distract me from my wife’s illness, so I welcome it. Writing up stuff for Garnia for Savage Worlds is a little weird for me, I easily fall into my AD&D mode there, which makes me want to check out OSR related blogs and such, then lose myself for a while reading about things like the implied setting of OD&D, or Vancian magic, or a myriad of other details about TSR era D&D, especially the early, Gygax era.
I engaged more than usual with the D&D groups on Facebook this week, which made me realize that I have DMed way more than I have played over the years. Made me think about whether Holmes Basic should be counted as OD&D or part of the later Basic line, or should each iteration of Basic D&D be considered it’s own thing? I only recall having two characters of my own for Holmes, an elf I named Elrond- I was a big fan of the Hobbit at the time, and working my way through Lord of the Rings, and a Halfling named Garn- who my campaign world would be named after. Both of those characters were played in my friend Chris’s campaign, which eventually collapsed because of his killer DM/Monty Haul tendencies. Elrond died on his first adventure, killed by a Vampire he encountered on the second level of the dungeon. Garn became a god, after his first successful adventure.
I can only think of four 1st edition AD&D characters I played over the years. Mandark, a Human Fighter that I played in my friend Tim’s campaign from the time I was in 5th or 6th grade until he went in the army when I was a junior in high school. He made 8th level in those years of heavy play. Second, concurrently, was Lodor, and Elf Fighter/Magic-User that I played in non-Tim run campaigns (except for once, and I’m still bitter about that), he maxxed his levels out, 5th/8th I think. The third guy, whose name I don’t remember, I think it was something like “Fredigar”, lost his right hand after his first adventure and I retired him. Lastly, there was another Fighter, named Brennos, who I played in the 2nd edition era in a campaign run by my buddy Steve, who was the OG of old school. Brennos made it to 6th level, then got killed at the end of the last session we played by a critical hit from a goblin’s arrow, when he was at full HP. Still a little bitter about that too, but that campaign my well have been the most sand-box, old school game I ever played in.
2nd edition AD&D had me DMing less often, adult responsibilities and all, but I played in a pretty long-lasting (for the grown-up world anyway) game where I had two different characters, an Elf Magic-User (generalist, no kit) named Celenor, who made it to 6th level before a Drow’s sleep dart killed him with a crit, while at full HP- seeing a pattern here, still bitter about it too; and a Human Fighter whose name I forget. He was a swashbuckler, I made him so he wouldn’t compete with the Dwarf Fighter