Friday, February 27, 2009

Yeah I did it. I Switched the Blog.

Sorry for any inconvenience to the masses of people who visit this blog, which amounts to maybe a grand total of 20. But I decided to be more true to what I'm beginning to do here and write. Which s of course to comment on the nature of gaming as a whole--philosophically as it were, and not just record the goings on of the VJH RPG Club, which I run, or my other gaming endeavors. I will still do the latter of course, but I also need a place to really express my gaming thoughts.

So in order to maintain integrity the Blog is now called The Classic RPG Realms. obviously if you've found yourself here you followed the new web address So enjoy the new site. Hopefully it will have a wider appeal and more frequent posts now as it doesn't have to connect directly to my active gaming endeavors, but rather appeal to pen and paper gamers of all sorts.

Now why the change to _that_ particular name? Well, it has to do with my preference for certain classic RPGs. Namely Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Call of Cthulhu, Boot Hill, Arduin Grimoire, Alternity, GDW Traveller, Dangerous Journeys, Lejendary Adventures, Top Secret, Hero and others of like ilk. In fact one might wonder what exactly gets to be termed a classic game--which will undoubtedly make for an interesting and likely subjective future post. For now let's just all agree that we won't be talking about the latest and greatest version of a game that was already done "right" in the 70's.

So stay tuned and be prepared to perhaps be ruffled a bit, because now I'll be letting loose with some editorial criticism that others are bound to find disagreeable at times. But remember it's all just exactly that--opinion. It might be logical and rationally argued, but when it comes right down to it, well, to each his own.



Where has all the real D&D gone? Beware! *Rant*


Sigh. I'm getting nostalgic.

I miss Gary Gygax.

I miss the old modules: Tomb of Horrors, Keep on the Borderlands, Expedition To Barrier Peaks, and all those oldies but goodies.

I miss the black and white artwork, all the tables, and 3d6 for abilities.

I miss casting percentile dice and actually using a d12!

I miss feeling like the characters were real enough people in a real enough world that I could step into their shoes. Now I game in some sort of mutant-supers-fantasy-video-game-world wherein, not only am I not even sure I would even want to live there, but I would be squashed like a bug by the village drunk if I even visited.

I miss the special thrill I got when I used to pick up a new book or supplement. I recall sitting mesmerized by the Monster Manual after I got my first copy for Christmas when I was 12. Now I see a plastic-looking, slick-covered WoTC book and I just want to vomit.

I don’t know about you guys, but I never thought D&D was missing anything. What's with all this new crap anyway? I'm so sick of prepackaged, freeze dried, pre-processed, preservative laden gaming that I'm ready to puke. You poke games these days and they are so fluffy and cottony that they squish in like mush, slowly melt into a pile of quivering goo and dribble off the table and down into a puddle of useless muck around your boots--yuck.

Advanced D&D was solid, firm, robust and able to withstand about anything players could throw at it. It could not only handle a firm poke, you could swing a two handed sword at it and it came back spit polishing its armor and smiling. It lasted for 3 decades with very little revision. Now we've had 3 editions in 8 years from WoTC. I think they are making me puke 'cause they'll think I'll start hurling money instead of last night's dinner.

What's the deal? Am I just getting old? Are we condemned as we gray to glorify the halcyon periods of our youth when all seemed dreams and golden?

I suppose this is in part due to the fact that the RPG club is back up and going. I'm playing a Wizard in the "new" 4e Forgotten Realms campaign--though why they even call it that is beyond me. I was gonna play a Halfling thief, but old habits and all that. And I'm DMing the sequel to Shadowfell Keep: Thunderspire Labyrinth--4e all the way. Don’t get me wrong the storyline isn’t too bad, but the game sucks.

Like I said I am playing a wizard. I was so ready to die or run for my life for most of my first 3 or 4 levels. But no, I'm like a walking artillery battalion. It was too easy. It was in fact not much fun at all.

So, you say, if realism is what you're after try GURPS. I've tried GURPS, but can't get any takers and I still keep coming back to what I love, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Maybe I'll just say to all these 4e groupies--"You know what, I'm DMing AD&D, and if you don’t like it go puke on the glossy books."

Nostalgic and screaming about it,


Are We Going to Game Next Year?

You bet we are. At least that's my plan. I've always got several schemes going, and presently Graduate School is being placed on the back-burner and Fencing School is awaiting about a $1500.00 initial investment. So long story short, my time will very likely still be available.

And I've had several questions about what to expect next year for gaming at the Junior High. So here're the tentative answers right now to the questions I've had:

1. Are we going to have a club next year?
That's the plan. Unless things change for me; then it will be up to you guys to carry on the torch. But right now I'm planning on the club continuing next year.

2. Are high school students going to be able to come and game?
Yes. So far Mr. Bunderson has given us limited permission to have HS students come back down to game with us. I mean he didn't have a problem when we did it previously and he also allowed 7th graders to game with us. Of course I'll have to make sure again next year, and we'll have to have you sign in. Limited only means that Jr. High kids get preference when it comes to space in the club.

3. How will the club start next year?
We will actually start advertising the club the first week of school and have sign ups the next week. I'm planning on holding a club meet on the second Saturday of School if we can get permission. It will probably be about four or five hours long and give everyone a chance to "try out" different games and gaming styles. We'll have fun stuff, give-aways, and food! Then we will determine what games we are running and who is assigned to which game. Adventuring groups will be kept from 4 to 6--and this will determine the number of games. Games will run by quarter, and we'll have new games start each quarter. More detail can be found in the club constitution, which is being renovated. I'm also considering running 3 tournaments: 1 each at the end of 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarters for which there will be prizes as well.

4. Will I have to sign up again?
Yes. There are a several reasons for this: First the club is changing so we need new data on everybody, second everybody needs to ratify the new constitution, and third we need to keep parental permission fresh and current. No sweat though, just see me at the beginning of next year and I'll have new sign up forms ready to go.

5. Are there going to be sign-up fees this time?
I'm still not sure. They are cutting our budgets next year and I'll just have to see how much it's going to cost to run the club. I'm thinking about this: DM's will have to either have their own books: PHB DMG and MM and at least one set of dice. If they don't they can pay a one time club fee of $15.00 to go towards book purchasing and upkeep. Our books are already getting hammered. Also, I'm thinking about charging a small fee for the opening meet and for the tournaments. This will go towards rewards, give aways and food. We'll just see what happens.

6. Can I play my character from last year?
Well that depends on what games are being run. I'm sure there will be at least one higher level campaign for at least one quarter. But it will largely depend on how many DM's we have and how many games we can run.

7. I want to DM, can I?
This has been the hardest one for me. I want to give everybody a chance to DM who wants to. but we simply can't accommodate everybody at once. Once we see how many people are going to play next year then we can get an idea of how many DM's we might need at one time. Based on current numbers we would be running about 3 games per quarter. And the DM's might change from quarter to quarter as well.

8. I think we should . . .?
This gets to those constant stream of suggestions I get about changing the nature of the club, changing an ongoing game or changing the club structure or rules. Or even enforcing rules more strictly. I mention it now, so that you can appreciate the position I am in. I am dedicated to making the club a long lasting entity. It will be here long after you are gone, graduate and start gaming as an adult. I mean, I'm planning on teaching for another 20-25 years! The club is bigger than you and it's bigger than me. I am very reluctant to make decisions based on someone's personal whim. But I want everyone to know they certainly have a voice in how the club is run and what happens during club time. I am trying to balance the personalities, likes, interests and varying opinions of more than a dozen people at once. This is no small matter. So don't feel bad if your idea gets shelved or discarded--some of mine have. You can't take it personally. Either you like gaming enough to roll with it, or you let your opinions and personal dislikes drive you away. I have been too lenient at times. I'm also this way in my classes. I always feel it's better to give somebody another chance. 'Cause, someone has always given me one. Hopefully you're cool with that. Flexibility goes alot further than rigidity--be the bamboo my friends, be the bamboo.

Peace & Magic,


We're Back in the Saddle Again!

Well, the other truism is that all things change. And with a little bit of maneuvering we have re-started the RPG game club and are off and running.

We have two games running right now. The continuation of Keep on the Shadowfell is Thunderspire Labyrinth. Our Heroes have dwindled in number somewhat and haven't even made it to the adventure proper as of yet. They are currently distracted in Fallcrest while the slavers still run amok throughout the countryside. In fact, the reputation they have garnered holds them to a rather high standard as most of the populace expect heroes to be of good intent. The happenings on the horizon, however, will soon give our heroes no choice bu to act.

The other campaign currently running is The Forgotten Realms. The heroes are currently in the city fighting off a goblin invasion. Evidently the Goblins were seeking to retrieve a magical dagger, but our heroes managed to foil the attempt. I can't give many hints here as I am playing in this one. We'll have to hope Shawn C. (DM) has a few good hints to drop our way.

There continues to be a slight interest in other games and Mr. Jones is still working up several campaign ideas--though they may not be used until next year. Conspiracy X looms eerily up ahead in the distance. Champions continues to be a possibility as does GURPS space, Ymiria (D&D 2e) and an Oriental Adventures game set in the East of Ymiria.

And we bid a fond and sad farewell to Cody Barnett who has had to drop out of the club for family reasons. We will miss him and his inimitable playing style. Draconis was much loved and will be sorely missed around the tavern tables and dark corridors of dungeons yet to be explored.

Shawn C. has also made a motion to cancel Thunderspire and hold Forgotten Realms two days a week. His ostensible excuse is that he isn't "liking" it any more. Regardless of the fact that Thunderspire proper hasn't even begun yet ; ) Wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that his thief caused quite a problem for the whole party at the docks into Fallcrest, eh? Maybe he isn't liking being invisible nonstop? Now that you mention it, anyone who went into the little magic shop seemed to come up tricked in some way. Did you allow him to take your magic item behind those beaded curtains? Better double check it. And Narumata seems to find everything less and less substantial. He's not just invisible anymore. Time to find a high level Wizard and soon. Who was that peculiar little shopkeeper anyway?

At any rate we have taken a poll and the results are as follows:

Should we cancel Thunderspire and play FR both days?

Lenny: NO
Hunter: NO
John: Doesn't care
Greg: Doesn't care
Cory: YES
Mr. Jones: NO
Zach W: NO
Zach G: YES
Shawn C: YES
Shawn K: NO
William: NO
Dalton: NO

So thus far it looks like Thunderspire Labyrinth will continue every Tuesday. We should probably make a general rule that one person can't cause a whole club vote simply because they are displeased with how things are going. This makes it complicated for everyone else and can cause confusion if not downright bad feelings. This issue has already come up when we tried to go to more than one game a week. Cody Barnett helped us by recalling that we had already had a legal vote, and that it shouldn't have been over ruled. This is what allowed Cody to DM Dragons Among Men for a few weeks. But now we are down to two since Cody had to leave.

Keep in mind the club structure is still in a somewhat fluid state. We are still ironing out club rules; especially what it takes to be a DM, and how many games should be played at one time. I have talked this over numerous times with various club members and the whole club. What I have learned is that we have to have structure and somebody has to enforce it. I'll admit I am probably the worst when it comes to being too lenient. The fact is, and Shawn has been big on this, we need to enforce conduct and rules. There have been a lot of suggestions for rule changes and how to start the club next year. I am currently redesigning the club constitution to try and reflect these changes.

But let's face it. While we all may hate abiding by structure of rules when it isn't to our benefit or liking, we all like gaming. And in order for a group as large and diverse as we are rules are a necessity. The fact is that in order to have a steady and reliable game that isn't changing every other week we have to have rules and structure.

For those of you who may be interested in how we are going to do the club next year see the next year post.

So we're all in this together 'cause we love gaming. Let's not bail on a game just because we have a bad stint. Stick with your DM, give it a chance, and it usually end up being pretty cool in the end.

Until the next post or the next die roll, this is Imlyn the Wizard signing off.