Saturday, February 13, 2010

Back in School...Old School that is...

    Since I last updated Dorks w/ Dice, I have begun an immersion into the ODnD world.  The rulesets I am working with currently are even older than the AD&D 1st edition that I played as a kid.  My first recollections of Dungeons & Dragons came about from a news story on tv.  It showed people college aged and older grouped around tables.  They were moving painted metal figures and rolling dice.  The newscaster said something about roleplaying and Lord of the Rings.  Before this, I had taken interest in the Hobbit and LOTR and the Conan stories by Robert E. Howard.  I knew that this was something I wanted to get into, but how?  I grew up in a small town in rural southern Illinois.  We had no gaming stores or comic book shops nearby.  My comic collection consisted of used comics bought for a nickel each at garage sales.  Many of the books were in bad shape and missing the covers.
    I happened upon the red box of Basic Dungeons and Dragons (Moldvay) at a bookstore or maybe Sears.  Anyhow, I brought the game to my friend's house and it was the start of a three decade love affair with all things D&D.  I bought the Expert editions (blue box) and then picked up the Monster Manual (AD&D 1st Edition).  It wasn't long before I had the 1st ed. DMG and PHB as well.  I didn't have the opportunity to purchase any of the previous D&D books.  I'd heard of Chainmail, but had never seen it on the shelves.  I did have some early issue Dragon magazines, picked Greyhawk and then went on to purchase Fiend Folio, MM2, Deities&Demigods (Cthulhu edition!), Unearthed Arcana, Oriental Adventures, Dungeoneering Guide and so on.  Like a loyal fan of TSR I bought into the revisions...2nd edition (the big Monster Manual binder really was a lousy idea in my opinion), 3rd, 3.5, and even started investing in 4e.  I never did buy any other campaign settings besides Greyhawk.  I always wanted to make my own settings.

    As time went on, I began to be bothered by the abundance of rules for everything.  Often our game sessions would bog down dramatically due to having to research this rule or that.  At times I felt jaded about the game.  I put it aside for awhile, but always had the desire to get back into it.  I looked around for other rpgs and found GURPS.  I had played some other games such as Dawn Patrol, Boothill, Marvel Superheroes, Chill (monster hunters), 007, Twilight 2000, DC Heroes, Car Wars and also dabbled in Traveller and Call of Cthulhu.  But D&D was the grandaddy of them all.  I discovered FUDGE and loved the rules and the simple yet elegant system.  Yet I've never really played it much with other folks.

    Now I am back with an interest in the original Dungeons & Dragons retroclones.  I love the Osric rules.  I've read many of the other retro rules sets and decided that Swords & Wizardry core rules was the game I wanted to play.  The great thing about all the fine retroclones is that you can find a rules set that matches any of the dnd versions you may have played in the past.

    Anyhow, I purchased the hardcover Swords & Wizardry, the Oe Monsters Reloaded, 1st issue of Knockspell, and have many free resources from the web.  I've started as a player in a play by post internet game, and I begun a new campaign world using the SW core rules.  I'm glad to have found the d20 Microlite Rules as well.  It was my springboard into the retro rules on the web.  I really feel that my gaming hobby can withstand any revisions and new editions now.  The shackles are on!