Friday, July 2, 2010

Who Is This Guy Anyway? What's This Site For?

So, just who are you anyway?

I'm a relatively young gamer who was introduced to D&D through the Endless Quest gamebooks that TSR put out way back in the day. While my friends and I played versions of D&D throughout elementary and middle school, my first structured, dice-rolling, gameplay began in 1999, when my parents bought me the D&D Basic Set's
19th incarnation, according to The Acaeum. Looked something like this:

(Photo credit The Acaeum)

Now, in retrospect, it isn't a terribly good boxed set - definitely not as compared to some of the earlier ones. Players are given pregenerated characters with no way of making their own, the adventures provided are nothing particularly compelling...but at the time, it was magic.

I soon picked up the 2nd Edition PHB and DMG...just in time for D&D 3e to get released in 2000.

D&D 3e/3.5e is generally the lingua franca game for my generation of gamers. It's only by odd circumstance that I didn't start there, and I'm rather grateful. Now, at the time I was very very righteously angry at D&D 3e - it changed everything and the game was just fine the way it was and double swords were stupid anyway. If I wanted to change to 3e, I'd have to change the entire bookshelf of old AD&D material I had managed to acquire. Who the hell played a dwarven mage or a halfling paladin?

I was also in eighth grade at the time. You're allowed to be whiny and silly in the eighth grade. Thankfully, I managed to grow out of my pique as I grew older; the release of cool d20 products (Babylon 5! The Black Company!) managed to get me to take another look at 3.5e, and I was finally able to try and engage the system on its own merits.

As I mentioned, AD&D 2e was what I started with, but through the delights of used book stores, I started to pick up some 1st edition D&D (and older) materials. They were pretty much directly compatible with 2nd Edition materials, so it made no difference to me; it was all the same game.

Around 2004, I discovered the excellent game PARANOIA. I became a moderator on the primary PARANOIA fansite, Paranoia-live, just in time for the new edition by Mongoose Publishing to come out. Between 2004 and 2008, most of my gaming focused on PARANOIA rather than any version of D&D.

Over the past few years, I've returned to AD&D and similar old-school games. I discovered that there's a very strong old-school gaming community (sometimes called the OSR, or Old-School Renaissance), and that there were some awesome ideas and concepts being bruited about.

I took some of these old-school ideas and worked them into a campaign world I started designing in the summer of 2009, called Legacy of the Bieth. (You can see the abortive Obsidian Portal website I made for the campaign here; this might get updated later.) I'm continuing to develop the campaign, as well as come up with cool and interesting ideas, here.

I hope that you might find these interesting!


  1. you were born around 1986? And the kids your age were generally raised on D20 D&D?

    It would appear you're kind of a 'tweener as far as "RPG generations" go. I'd be interested in reading more of your feelings on the differences between older editions. To me AD&D 2 was a real "down-step" from AD&D...though I generally don't play either of those editions anymore.

    I find there's a real difference in both styles/subject-matter AND game play (based on rules systems) between editions. It's always interesting to read what the young whipper-snappers think anyway...
    ; )

  2. Hi JB!

    Yeah, born in '87. Most of the gamers I know around my age, barring the folks I introduced to gaming (and yelled at if they thought of playing 3e!) were d20 kids, with a few WoD folks mixed in.

    I think that there was certainly a shift in tone and gameplay from 1e to 2e, and in retrospect I prefer the 1e stylings. Stuff like the XP for GP rule getting turned optional, and a poor explanation being put into the DMG ("this avoids hack and slash games!" seems to indicate that the TSR folks at the time didn't understand the intent of the rule!). At the same time, I grew up on 2e, so it's easier for me to think of the game as being 2e-based, with heavy imports from 1e.

    There are a few 2e rules changes which I think were neutral in nature, or tidied up the game (THAC0 as opposed to attack matrices, for instance, or the removal of the monk), but I don't think that those have a significant effect on the way the game itself plays.

    I don't have any thoughts on the BECMI / B/X / OD&D editions of D&D, since I haven't really gotten a chance to play them and I don't have a strong grasp of where exactly things differ. (I've read through the Rules Cyclopedia and the Holmes edition, but those readings were more for general interest and flavor rather than a rules comparision.) I saw someone (James M? Trollsmyth?) going through Holmes in detail recently, and that was really useful in helping me gauge the game's nature. I don't know that I'd want to run stuff in them straightaway (I'm still excited about Legacy of the Bieth, which works best with AD&D, given the houserules I've adopted) but I'd love to play in a game and see how it goes.

    Thank you for commenting! I've been following B/X Blackrazor for a while, and really enjoying it.