Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Still alive and kicking!

Hello my faithful readers. Sorry it has been so horribly long since I posted. I've been busy.

My students had a group recital (which they did most excellent in!), which took up quite a bit of time to prepare for in May.

Then I've been working on getting my Monday Night OD&D Game off the ground, these are recorded on-air using google hangouts and go onto youtube. You can watch them here

The full playlist is at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLI7tya1ntEAn_S4egpjp_RHYN9pL7sECa

I've also ended up preparing for my other game's Mutant Future campaign, and reading up on it.

In the works, through Wild Games Productions I may be hosting (with a round-robin of cohosts) a non-D&D OSR podcast.

Final Fantasy XIV's Beta has been up, and as a linkshell (and now free company) leader, I've been working on getting us off the ground again.

And now I've also been setting up a Creative Minecraft server.

So, I've been keeping myself pretty busy, but I'm still here. I've made myself hard copies of Greyharp's OD&D Compiled .pdfs for my game, and just diving deeper into OD&D all the time.

I hope you have all been well and I promise to make another update soon!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New game preparation

So tomorrow is the character generation session for my new OD&D game I'll be running. This will be the first time outside of a one-shot, and a short lived play-by-post game that I'll be DMing for people that aren't my original group.

I'm expecting this game to be a little different from my normal group, since they're mostly a group of some of my best friends, whom really barely even understand the basics of D&D (or CoC when we play it), who basically just like kicking back with friends, killing some monsters, and creating havoc everywhere they go. Now, I of course expect quite a bit of that too, but I know I am running for people who understand the game, and most who have been in the hobby for quite a while longer than I!

So what do you do to prepare for a new campaign, and especially for new people?

Myself, I'm going to try and get some ideas from them when we're creating characters about what we would prefer, story driven, hex crawling, dungeon delving, and of course, all will be included either way, but what they'd like as the main focus.

I'm also working on typing up my house-rules, which I'm realizing I have never done before, so I'm excited to see myself what all my changes are from the RAW (rules as written).

I'm creating a campaign world. I've never done a lot of world building, but I always have a rough idea. I like to improvise a lot as a DM, partly because I'm a musician, and a jazz musician at that and that is just what we do, and partly because my players have never been predictable (not even in the slightest), so I've just learned to roll with the punches (our current CoC game I've only prepared one monster encounter in the entire campaign so far).

And of course, I'm starting an opening adventure. It will be a simple, short dungeon crawl, just to get things started, let the players get used to each other and my style, let them start building their character personalities, etc...

So that is my prep work. Anything you see missing? How do you prepare for a new game?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

OD&D Brown Box!

So here in Texas, it is state standardized testing week. Due to this, I can't work. So using the guide laid out here: Do-It-Yourself OD&D Woodgrain Box

Mine didn't come out amazingly well, mainly because I didn't have really any good glue to use, so I used some shoddy Elmers Glue, that I haven't used in about 10 years.

I was lucky enough to receive my own 3rd printing (which came in the woodgrain box!) little brown books on Saturday. A few weeks before that I received Supplement 1: Greyhawk, and on the same Saturday I received a 6th printing Monsters & Treasure.

I didn't want these precious booklets to lay around unsafely on my bookshelf, so I set about to make my own box. I have to say that guide really does work well. The hard part is in fact acquiring a 6"x9" box. I used a Munchkin Box, which works perfectly.

I just wanted to share my new gaming prized possessions!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day!

Here it! At long last we get to spend 24 hours sharing our love and appreciation of the wonderful Swords & Wizardry retro-clone!

So I've been rattling my mind with what to do for today for weeks. Honestly I couldn't decide, but ultimately, I decided that I would just share my love of this game, and two of the incarnations specifically with everyone.

First though, lets get the business out of the way! Remember today, and today only! 4/17/13
Go to http://www.talesofthefroggod.com/products.html and enter the discount code SWApprDay for a 25% coupon on all Swords & Wizardry product.

The same deal is being offered at http://shop.d20pfsrd.com/collections/swords-wizardry-appreciation-day with the code SWAD252013

With that out of the way, let me begin with my history of Swords & Wizardry.

I was getting into the OSR for a couple of years before I found S&W. I was honestly completely uninterested in S&W at the time. I couldn't see what people liked about OD&D. The layout didn't appeal to me, and honestly, I just didn't give it a chance. I also wasn't into basic at the time either (despite that I owned Holmes, and helped proof read Holmes 77), so that probably helps explain why. I was really into 1e and 2e, and was pretty happy where I was.

Fast forward to the release of S&W: Complete. I started talking to Chrispy about it, and Save or Die reviewed it right as I received mine. I read just like a 1e lite, ignoring all the rules I didn't use, and lowering the power level how I wanted to. Not to mention, the Monk class works!

Soon after this I went to North Texas RPG Con, ended up buying a copy of B/X and BECM (still don't own Immortals sadly) and began falling for all flavors of classic. When I returned my players ended up retiring their characters in our 1e/2e hybrid so we moved over to S&W: Complete. They really liked the transition, no longer having to worry about the crunchy bits we didn't like, and simplifying the rules, since only one of them owned a PHB.

This leads me to my S&W Complete experience:

I have the most experience running and playing Complete out of the 3 flavors. It is currently my go to system for D&D campaigns. I personally feel it has enough crunch to satisfy me (when I want crunch) and my players (who always do it seems), without bogging down the game. There are plenty of options to choose from. Complete is basically OD&D + Supplements + Strategic Review. Matt Finch does a great job giving alternate rules in the system, and explaining where rules did, or didn't come from. This system has everything I want as an AD&D player, and enough stripped out to fill the classic side of me too. I've played in quite a few Complete games, run by JD Clement (who is a great DM by the way!), and ran a couple of my own, plus a few short adventures, like my current playtesting of R.C. Pinnel's conclusion to the Giants Series. With this version, I honestly don't feel any need to go back to AD&D. Now, I would never turn down playing some AD&D, but I would definitely prefer to run S&W: Complete for that fix!

I can't speak highly enough of my experience as both a DM and a Player with this set of the rules.

With the recent kickstarter, I managed to grab some goodies for it too. The screen is great, but less useful if using Ascending AC, as the left two panels are to-hit charts.

Swords & Wizardry White Box:

My new love affair is OD&D. And by this I mean the little brown books. I recently ran my first Swords & Wizardry: White Box session, as you may have seen earlier on this blog. I had such a blast running it and had never felt so free as a DM. The White Box rules are so lightweight (just barebones D&D), and is really made for you to home brew all your own stuff with it (as OD&D really was too). This mentality has really grown on me, and I have been spending the time to acquire my own set of OD&D books (I've only managed to snag M&T & Greyhawk so far though).

My first time running it, I think my players really liked it. They're the same group where only one player owned a PHB that I discussed earlier. I think the fact that all you really use is a d20 and a d6 helps resolve everything so much faster in the group. I rarely had to explain anything, and any on-the-fly ruling was easy as pie. I have run another session since then, that also went quite well. The players didn't enjoy it quite as much, as I was prepared for everyone to show up, I was going to run the same adventure for the half of the group that missed it the first time, so I pulled out a 'The Old Island Fortress' out of Basic Fantasy's BF1: Morgansfort and converted all the monsters on the fly. I wasn't really prepared at all, so we ran it as a standard dungeon crawl. There was no back story or reason (besides a pitiful one I supplied at the beginning). I learned then that my players do not like randomly generating everything, as there was no real attachment. Most of the blame could be put on me for that session, but the important thing is, is that we all had fun that night.

I haven't been able to sell the OD&D, barebones concept to my group yet. I am trying my hardest to do so though. If all else fails, I'll probably start up another Skype group, as I've received a little bit of interest in playing a game like that from a couple of people.

My whitebox experience is a lot smaller than my Complete, as I haven't been a player yet. Though today I do start my first campaign as a player, using White Box and the Wilderlands, and hopefully we'll get an update on that.

I can say, if I ever sell my current group on it, my plan is to buy a soft cover copy of White Box for everyone in my group to have. I may do that either way, to maybe try and sweeten them over to my side ;) They love their options though!

Swords & Wizardry Core:

Now I know you may be wondering, 'What about the Core Rules Dizzy?', but I have to sadly announce, I have never ran nor played using Core. I've read through it, and it seems great. I think I would use it at a convention where I didn't want whitebox, but didn't want to go all out with Complete. For me though, it is a middle of the road mix of bare bones lbbs and AD&D lite. I think it will be most useful for me to mine ideas out of for White Box, but I don't think I'll be playing it anytime soon. Nothing against it, but the other two versions already encompass the two things I am looking for. I would love to play in a game using it, but just haven't had a chance to do so yet!

Ending thoughts:

With all this said and done, Swords & Wizardry, thank you for everything you have brought to me, and to gaming. You showed me the light to get into Classic D&D and led the torch to lead me to my now love of OD&D. I can't thank you enough. I definitely feel like I will always promote your game, and always try and push it. Thanks to you, 3 of the 5 events I signed up for at North Texas RPG Con are S&W/OD&D with the other two being another two games that I love as well. While I'm there, I'm going to try and run a pick up game using White Box if I can get a group together.

To the entire Swords & Wizardry community, thank you for everything you have done to support this game, and to bring new ideas to the table everyday. You guys brought this game to where it is, and helped make it the success it is. I cannot explain how happy I am to see S&W so highly looked at in the public OSR eye, and to see so many blogs agreeing to post about it today. My blog is just a mish-mash of my thoughts and experiences so far. I really haven't delved into much of what part of my 3.5/PF upbringing has done with my OSR experience, but it does show you, that some of us have been fully immersed into it!

I hope we can do this again next year! and that I'll have more experiences to share, and maybe give some of my own houserules, monsters, etc... for it!

Thanks everyone!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Updates / Still Alive

Hello everyone!

Sorry it has been so long since I have posted. I've been caught up in work, and putting together my game. There won't be a whole lot of info/experience here, more of an update of what is going on.

First, I am participating in Erik Tenkar's: Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day on April 17th. I managed to get on the list early, which has been nice as it has generated a lot of traffic here. Sadly I haven't posted since then, so that may possibly be a bad thing too. I will be posting about my campaigns and experiences with S&W Whitebox and Complete, my review, and some basic overview. Swords & Wizardry WB & Complete have been my game of choice for around a year now, so I feel this is appropriate!

With that in mind, I want everyone to know that http://www.talesofthefroggod.com/ and http://www.d20pfsrd.com/ are offering 25% off all Swords & Wizardry products on the 17th. A pretty good deal, and I have a few ideas of what I want to pick up!

Second, I will be celebrating S&W Appreciation day myself as the new group I'm joining is starting our first session that day! I think that is a coincidence, but a great one! I am definitely looking forward to it.

Third, North Texas RPG Con. Event Registration was midnight this morning. I'd love to know how many of you will be there, who I can meet, and hopefully play in a game with! I'm playing a game everyday, but will be trying to run a pick up game using S&W: WB, so if you're around and free, lets game!

I'm playing in Tim Kask's OD&D game, another OD&D game, Matt Finch's S&W game, Jeff Talanian's AS&SH game (which, if I haven't done a review of AS&SH yet, I will be doing so soon. Jeff Talanian has the best customer service I've ever experienced and his boxed set is gorgeous!) and a DCC game. I know a few people who will be in a couple of those games with me, but I'd love to hear that more of you are! I look forward to meeting some of you and hopefully getting to game!

I promise to post some more soon!


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Light Weight Gaming

So last night I ran a one shot for my group using my boxed set of Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox, and boy did we have a good time! I ran the included, short adventure: The Vile Worm of the Eldritch Oak. I also included the Thief class someone made for it (though I don't have the link currently. Sorry!).

I asked my players ahead of time what characters they would like to play, and I rolled them up for them ahead of time so we could get right into the adventure. Here is where my new love affair started. One of my players wanted to play a Half-Orc. Of course, that isn't available in white box, but making a new race required practically no work on my part. Look over the other demi-humans to see how they're set up, and just wing it. And winging everything is so easy. I rolled up 4 PCs in less than 10 minutes. All my players had to do was give me a name, and what weapon, which really doesn't matter since we stuck with the non-variable weapon damage. Which leads me another love of the system for me. I had never used non-variable weapon damage, and always thought it was rather dumb. How I have changed over the years! It was so nice to hear so man "How much does my short sword do again? oh wait, 1d6 duh...". Combat went really quick too. Very few modifiers to use, and with using Ascending AC (I know, got ahead and grit your teeth. Remember I started with 3.5! and while I have no qualms with Descending, I still prefer Ascending), combat flew by. 5 combat rounds took little to no time to complete. Attributes meaning very little was a nice touch too. Since you need at least a 15 for a positive modifier, and you only get a +1 (if you even use that optional system) fiddling about is real quick. The rules were just nice and lightweight where I didn't have to worry about any on the fly rules calling. And since I have the boxed set, looking up a rule isn't too tough since it is easy to tell which booklet it will be in. If this is at all similar to how lbb OD&D feels to play, I will be on a new quest to buy some of those originals soon!

The players were even lucky enough (Luck truly was the deciding factor here) to survive! The managed to defeat everything, and even save the shepherd in time. The thief however ended up paralyzed, but they saved the day!

The more I think about last nights session, the more and more I realize how much fun I truly had and how much I loved running whitebox. Swords & Wizardry: Complete will probably stay as my go to system for my standard D&D campaigns, but every time I go to my local store and have some extra time, or run a one-shot, or something quick online, whitebox will probably be my go to system for that. Maybe one day I'll even man up and run a campaign of it (which now thinking of it, sounds like a true joy)!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dungeon Crawl Classics

Where has this game been all of my life!?

Let me go ahead an thank +Adam Muszkiewicz for talking this game up so much while playing in +JD Clement's Swords & Wizardry: Complete Game.

Sadly, I've yet to play it (but in a few days, we will be rolling up our 0-level PCs), but I just finished reading through it. First off, this book is thick. It is thicker than any other book on my gaming bookshelf I'm pretty sure. I compared it to my Pathfinder Core Rulebook anyway, and it was certainly thicker. That said, the pages are a nice and thick, and the font is nicely sized and readable, so it is quite a bit less in page count.

The prose is quite nice, and I like that the author is honest with his expectations. 'The open beta process revealed that ability score generation is the first rule to be overridden by many players... We do encourage you to "buck tradition" and try at least one game using the precise method described here..." (18). With that said, I do plan to try it by-the-book in my first game (as much as I can).

The 0-level funnel is a new system incorporated into DCC. Every player makes at least 3 0-level, average joe, people that are most likely just desperate enough to risk their lives for money, to start adventuring. Whoever lives through the adventure, congrats, there are your PCs, then they make it to 1st level, get their class (or race depending on what you rolled for them), equipment and so on. DCC does seem very deadly (which I love, remember my blog about my players needing to run away occasionally? this is the game I actually brought to their attention after our 1st carcossa session ended in that TPK).

DCC's rule system covers everything that I can think about in OD&D, while offering some new systems. Some attributes are changed, like seemingly Charisma and Wisdom were merged into Personality, and gives you a new one, Luck. Each character can burn their points in luck to add to whatever roll they need, and their luck may return, or get worse, depending on their actions. Thieves, and Halflings do manage to regenerate luck. That reminds me as well, Halflings did become more of a fighter/thief variant (and yes, race is class) in DCC.

Wizards can burn other attributes to 'spellburn' to increase their casting. The magic system as a whole is very interesting. You seem to know less spells, but you can cast all the ones you know (I believe, the description of this is the only part of the book I still feel sort of confused about) until you fail a spell check. This also means that you have to roll for spells, and every spell has a chart of what happens determined by your roll, so you will  lose them for the day when you roll low. I love that this gives Wizards a chance to use their spells that aren't sleep and magic missile, it also makes them a little tougher at first level, but since naturally you don't gain as many spells, without questing and going out to find new ones, you won't naturally be stronger as you grow in levels. Spells have critical hits and fumbles as well that look really fun, and may make you think twice about casting sleep again ;)

Clerics are no longer just heal-bots. They take the old Paladin 'lay on hands' technique and can perform it on any PC X amount of times per day based on their level, however, at the cost of upsetting their deity. Your deity, and your relationship to that deity seems far more important as laid out in the rules here. Each time a cleric fails a spell his chance to upset his deity grows, and you can gain his disapproval where he may affect your ability to cast spells. Wizards also have a Patron that they may upset as well. Doing deeds for both of these may take up a lot of questing times for PCs!

Warriors have some boons to combat too. Their mighty deeds at arms give them a bonus chance to perform stunts with good roleplaying from the Players. Just telling your DM, 'I attack that kobold with my axe', is really doing your character a disservice as a Warrior. Adding in some good flavour like, 'As I charge to the kobold coming up the stairs, I hack my sword to his side and try to sweep him off the side' will help give you some extra maneuvers if your action die (that you roll every attack round) comes up as a 3 or better.

Speaking of dice and fighting, the critical hits and fumble charts are wonderful in here. I would definitely take them out and use them with another system if I didn't feel DCC was for me (but I do). There are charts and different die rolls for different classes and of different levels. The range from relatively minor things from missing, to breaking weapons, to decapitating enemies. Wizards can have spell duels in combat (which I couldn't put the book down when I was reading this, luckily I had a few cancellations from students at this time). The system makes pretty good sense, and really, this is what Psionics should have been all along, so if you're planning a psionics system, look at this (even though its not for psionics) or carcosas as well (but I'm not going into that now!). Wizards get to move around their initiative in combat to cast spells and counter-spell each other with die rolls negating their damage, reducing, causing them to fail, etc... There were some really fun looking effects labeled in this.

The dice however, seem a little funky. I ordered myself some Zocchi dice, as DCC does use d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, and d24 dice. Most of them seem fine, but I'm not so sure how the d5, and d7 are going to give truly random results. They just seem awkward and some of the faces are definitely bigger than the others to land on... I suppose I'll see once I get into play with it.

The mechanics are all rather simple as well, without the huge modifier bloat that I remember having in 3.5/PF. However, there is some, it is d20 based after all, but it all seems easily manageable to me. DCC's slight complexity is all in easy to read charts though. If you had a decent DM screen for the game (come on, we need one!) you would be absolutely set. Most of the core game, are as simple as OD&D, but there are a few add-on systems.

My complaints are few, the zocchi dice, the lack of explanation (that I saw anyway, maybe it is there) about spell casting per day, and originally the price of the .pdf. The .pdf was originally $25 (I think, at least) when I bought the hardback, which I thought was ludicrous since it didn't come with the hardback, but the price has dropped to $18.74 and is now on sale for $14.05 at http://www.rpgnow.com/product/101050/Dungeon-Crawl-Classics-Role-Playing-Game-%28DCC-RPG%29. I definitely suggest the .pdf as it will definitely be easier to search through for crits/fumbles and especially spell effects. The artwork in this book is also gorgeous and definitely evocative.

I am just amazed at how well this read (took me 3 days I think? with most of my reading being just when students cancelled or didn't show up at all). DCC and Lamentations of the Flame Princess both completely entranced me as I read them. Long are the days of reading what felt like encyclopedia tomes of when I originally played 3.5 and PF. They both read more like Gary in AD&D, but without the contradicting rules confusion of that ;)

I'm sure I've forgotten something, because there is so much here to discuss and so many ideas I fell in love with, I've already caught myself saying 'How did I forget to discuss this already!' while writing this numerous times. In the end I would definitely suggest checking out DCC.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Story Based Games/ Road Trip Gaming

So this afternoon, while I was supposed to be teaching saxophone lessons, but had a few cancellations, I finished reading through Dungeon World. Personally, I've never played a game so based on story (I try to make my games a good 50/50 mix of roleplay/combat), but found it quite interesting. It definitely had some ideas that I am thinking about stealing, especially on the GM side. It is all stuff that I'm sure any good DM is doing already, but hey, I never said I was a GOOD DM ;)

I think some people will have a problem with Dungeon World, because at times it is basically telling you how to roleplay. My problem was just how often I felt it repeated itself. It was however, a quick and easy read (and quite long too, so that was surprising). The suggested names were a bit silly, but I think may be helpful for those of your friends who have never roleplayed before, or like for my group, where picking a name seems to be the toughest decisions for some of my players. The mechanics are really simple, usually just 2d6 with 6- meaning you usually fail, 7-9 succeed but with complications, 10+ being a good success. Granted this deviates a bit at times. Really lightweight game, all about creating a group story with your players. Sounds like a pretty fun game to me, but I'm not sure I could keep something like that up for an entire campaign.

I don't know if I'll run this anytime soon, but my players and I will be taking a roadtrip up to Maine this summer. I'm thinking in the car, while driving, it may be an easy game to play (especially since I'll be doing most of the driving, and it seems the DM doesn't need to do much rolling). I once ran a short 1e AD&D adventure during a roadtrip (luckily was a passenger) but never while driving. The simplified mechanics and base around story telling may make this a perfect fit.

Has anyone else ever tried this?

Saturday, February 23, 2013


So last night I ran my players through their first adventure in Carcosa using LotFP. I suppose you'd have to use the term adventure loosely, as they didn't get very far. One PC died, within the first 5-10 minutes. 2 hours later, we had an entire TPK.

Most of my players started with me back when we played 3.5, and a few are relative newbies to the game. Running this last night broke me of a habit that carried on from my 3.5 days, and I feel very happy about it. I had still had my DM bones stuck in balancing encounters. Never throwing my party at something they couldn't handle (granted sometimes they needed try some higher level thinking to do so at least).

I suppose, truly, they broke me of the habit themselves (or are starting too, I can't say its completely broken) as the TPK came about due to them angering all the men in the village they were in (first PCs death sort of led to this) and decided instead of running to try and take them on. Luckily, everyone at the table had a blast anyway (even the guy who died at the beginning and was rerolling during the session)! Now they have learned, and I have learned, that they NEED to run (or just try and not piss off the entire village ;) ).

I'm definitely not out to kill my players (as I had been trying to balance it before!), but it feels good to know that when they got themselves into some deep crud, that they still enjoyed it and want to play again. I'm looking forward to loosing that up and seeing what happens :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


With the recent announcement of the OD&D reprints the other day (Here: in case somehow my blog was the first place you heard about it, which I stronly doubt would be the case! they've been everywhere!), I thought I would write about OD&D and my recent studies into it and what I'm finding appealing about it a bit.

First, I'll go ahead and get this out of the way, I have never actually played or ran OD&D (we're going to be shortening this to OE for the rest of this post by the way). I sadly, don't even own any real hard copies. For months I have been trying, and failing. I do however run, and play in a Swords & Wizardry: Complete game, so a little different, but closing in, and own Delving Deeper and the Swords & Wizardry White Box boxed set. I plan on taking the S&W: White Box to my local comic shop and seeing if anyone is up for a one-shot for one of the adventures that was included in my box: The Vile Worm of the Eldritch Oak, written by Jimm Johnson I believe. If a campaign comes out of it, I'll be thrilled.

OE has just been a fascination of mine for the last 6 months. I've really been pining to play it, and just some more rules-lite games in general. I love SW: Complete, as it feels like a 1e lite to me, and it satisfies the old 3.5/PF gamer in me that wants options, but also satisfies the OSR gamer in me that doesn't want to be bogged down by too many options. I used to wonder why people still played OE and what was appealing about it, especially people that played specifically just with the little brown books. I couldn't grasp what people liked about it. Eventually I got the .pdfs and well, that didn't help, as I didn't own chainmail (and I still don't!), but I feel as I've been maturing as a gamer (and I suppose as a person too), I'm finding myself really wanting something so stripped down. The arguments I see people make, like adding house rules they want to something so stripped down, rather than removing rules from books, starts clicking.

Some of the unified systems and simplifications (like d6 hd and attacks for everyone), I'm slowly starting to understand more and more. It is certainly becoming more appealing, and it has actually strengthened my urge to use some mass combat in my campaigns as well. The massive home-brewed nature of what people had to do when playing OE is appealing too. As a jazz musician, and someone who spends a great deal of time improvising, that flows into my DM style too. I don't like doing too much prep work (probably because I am lazy), but such a stripped down game just seems so much easier to make rulings without upsetting anyone, or bothering those rules lawyers, because there isn't the rule to mess up (or just throw rule 0 in their face). It also seems like it would be easier to just roll with the players punches and expand the world as they're playing. No huge stat-blocks (or even more than a line really). Just the improvising seems easier and more appealing. Like trying to play Modal Jazz instead of Bebop (or at least the theory behind those two).

After writing this, I'm slowly realizing, I don't have a writing style. If this bothers you, I apologize. My writing will probably always seem to just be my train of thought. Really I'm just trying to write down my ideas, feelings, thoughts about the game(s) we love to play. Slowly tracing how much finding the OSR has altered my tastes.

All said and done (since I mentioned the reprints) I'll probably end up picking them up. I'd rather have originals, but if I still haven't been able to win over a set of them + the supplements, by the time they're released (or most of anyway) then I'll probably sink in and pick them up myself. Heck, maybe it'll get some of the guys at my comic shop interested in playing with me ;)

Monday, February 18, 2013


Welcome to my dungeon gamers! Many of you may know me from various OSR forums as DizzySaxophone, or just on google+. I'm interested in nearly any game, but my playing and Refereeing usually come to old school D&D. I think I may have some uncommon perspectives on some of the OSR (or I could just be full of it, who knows!).

Myself, I started gaming with D&D 3.5 back in 2007. I was a senior in high school, spring break just started, we went to a game store that one of my best friends, army recruiter's wife owned. He was looking to buy Axis & Allies, but decided it was too expensive for him. I was one of the few with a job back then (working at a musical instrument repair shop), and saw the basic box for D&D. I picked it up as a curiosity and read over the books that night as we planned to try it out the next day. We got hooked. After playing through that, I immediately went out and bought the PHB, DMG, and MM for 3.5 and scoured the rulebooks. It was truly the blind reading the blind (as I didn't know what I was doing either, but at least I had owned and read the books). The store owner, and people playing in store were happy to answer questions and show us the ropes. We played every night during spring break and then weekly until we all split up for college. A few friends went to Baylor with me, so we continued our gaming for a year. We eventually fell out of it until I found a game store there in Waco. I went in and found they had the core books for AD&D 1e. They were in pretty shoddy condition, but these books felt like magical tomes. Clearly well loved by their previous owners, as they were worn out. I found the Roll for Initiative podcast just a day or so later (which was only on episode 7 around that time I believe) and immediately started soaking in all the information DMs Vince and Jayson (and Nick eventually in those early days too!) shared. Feeling inspired, I joined their forums (before osrgaming.org, where you may know me as a lead moderator at) was built. I was invited to play my first AD&D game by Dramaman who helped showed me the ropes. After a few sessions, I grabbed my friends from high school who were at Baylor with me, my girlfriend at the time, one of my other friends at a nearby university and pulled together a gaming group. We were immediately enticed by how the lighter rules worked, how we didn't need maps and miniatures, and how much easier it is to play when only the DM actually owns the rulebooks. Rulings make this game so much easier to introduce to complete newbies. While I understand now that you could do that with 3.5, I never thought too since there were just so many rules bogging down my brain.

Eventually my group started experimenting too, mixing in 2e until our first campaign ended after 18 months and they retired their characters. I had started running B/X for some online friends at the time and had just acquired and fell in love with Swords & Wizardry Complete. We've been playing with S&W:C for awhile now, and I find my interests slowly falling farther back into the origins, with S&W: WB (or OD&D if I could afford it on my teacher salary :P) being what is interesting me now. I've seen my players really grow from when we started gaming. They've bought their own PHBs now, and are more comfortable roleplaying and make decisions that get themselves killed less often. We've even just recently started up a Carcosa game using Lamentations of the Flame Princess rules as well.

Now I realize I got really brief at the end there, and I'll go ahead and be honest, I'm not a great writer. I am a musician by trade, but I try and hope I will continue to grow as a writer as I work on this blog. I want to get into basically why I'm writing this blog in the first place. I think there is a certain interest I can fill in the OSR world, that I haven't seen covered (but, I'm sure someone has) and that is the experience of playing old school games from someone who lived and learned with newer games. I think it may be an interesting perspective. I'll try to post here semi-regularly and see how it goes.

I hope you all got some enjoyment reading how someone worked they way back in time in terms of interest in the gaming world.