Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hmmm -- decisions, decisions

So I've been through so much angst lately it's been hard to write. You see, work got so busy that I had to actually cancel the RPG Club. Yeah, it's been heartbreaking. I mean at first I thought it would be worth it, just to get some breathing room. I mean running two campaigns in two different systems four times a week was a bit much for this old grog. So I felt sure that it would be a welcome breather to take an indefinite hiatus. Well, that lasted about four hours. Before the day even ended I was bummed and missing it. I haven't gamed for three weeks now, and I'm not just missing it, I'm seriously depressed. I wake up depressed; and it takes a good hour or two to even get my bearings.

I keep thinking that maybe I'll start again when school is back in session. Once a week should be a lot better. But I need to get my new classes underway, and figure out how my new schedule is going to affect my stress level. Geez -- life is supposed to be more laid back than this. Well, my life is anyway.

Now the holidays are over and tomorrow I start back to work. I've spent my break doing honey-dos mostly, but also catching up on my reading, trying to get a few school files finished, and, you know, Christmassy stuff. But what's been on my mind is gaming. And not just gaming, but game systems.

I think I'm in love with system analysis. I'm not sure why, except it's some part of my twisted personality. You know the wishy-washy can't ever make up his mind part. Anyway I've taken up my old project of completely rewriting the entire AD&D rule set. Yep. Retyping the MM, PHB and DMG incorporating stuff from all the other rulebooks. Sort of a grand codex of rules I use. It had started out as a lost second edition project. But after seeing what James is doing with Adventures Dark and Deep I dropped my efforts. He's in a better place to do that anyway--as his games come closer to that than mine do.

I'm a first-e hack. No matter how you "hack it" as a matter of fact. I always come out the same: pro first edition. So here I am rewriting the entire rule set. I don't know if I'll ever use it let alone finish it, but it has been eye opening for me. I have come to the conclusion that by running a D&D club, I'm sort of limiting my game prospects. I can't ever run a "mature" campaign in the sense of a long developed one with skilled and experienced players. All my players have less than 5 years playing the game, and most are between 14 and 16. That was the time I really played too, but I was also young, immature and inexperienced back then. So my urge to restart the club has been tempered somewhat by reticence to enter the newbie scene again.

Which brings up a really good question. How much has my game environment influenced my system preferences? I mean I like things to keep moving, and there's nothing more certain to bog things down than newbies who don't understand the rules. Even when I played Hackmaster Basic at scout camp I dropped more complex and difficult to grasp rules (like initiative count up, move, shield rules etc.) and basically ran a simplified D&D game using Hackmaster PCs. It was the first time I had used the rules. How was I to expect myself to help them use rules I was still barely learning myself. Perhaps with a steadier and more committed game group we could work through it and add them as we go, but for now it's just me and a bunch of noobs.

So, I sit here trying to work out my own feelings about systems and who to play with and what to play the last day of Christmas Break. To sum it up I think it goes something like this:

1974 Era

  • Original Dungeons & Dragons
  • Swords and Wizardry
  • Lords & Labyrinths
1977 Era

  • First Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
  • OSRIC
  • Lord & Labyrinths Companion
1989 Era

  • Second Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
  • Adventures Dark & Deep
Basic Expert Era

  • Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons
  • Dark Dungeons
  • BFRPG
Commercial Alternatives

  • Castles & Crusades
  • Hackmaster

Next time a system by system rundown and the associated whys and why nots ... for me at least. Stay tuned.

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