So I'm pondering, and meditating upon the situation last night on the drive home. I wrote yesterday that it seemed like the only option was to buy AD&D 1e PHBs for all my players and the club and just charge ahead with 1e. I mean if nothing else really works for me, then why not. It's gotta be 1e right?
Well, does nothing else really work? Could it be said that I really gave everything a try? Of course not. I've hovered around the issue and pecked at it, occasionally making gentle forays into other editions and systems, but nothing really held the old magic. And the idea of buying a bunch of old, used PHBs left me cold.
I was talking to a friend last night and was surprised to heard myself again repeat what I had said on the discussion on the K&K forum just yesterday afternoon. That the real magic of the TRS age, was really that we were a part of something bigger than ourselves. TSR was THE company. No one else really held sway over fantasy gaming like it did. So we were all a part of something big and collective and grand. Even though we were "in" on less than 10% of it, we were a PART of it. Now, to be a part of gaming is like being a part of this big, confused, watery, diluted, mess of a hobby. You say you're into gaming and people don't even know what you mean anymore. Computer gaming, gambling, 4e, or what? There's so much out there as to have become meaningless as a whole.
So, the answer to such a question seemed to be to recreate the magic by begging WoTC to reissue 1e. To rebuild Camelot. To raise King Arthur. ... Or was there another option?
I got home and looked at my gamign library. Pulled out Hackmaster and Frandor's Keep. And I sat down to read. First of, course, one reads the intro by the Kenzerco D-Team. As I re-read their words, it seemed like they were long lost friends talking to my aching gaming heart. "... a game like _we_ would want to play." And then I read Gary Jackson's magical and thrilling words on the next page. Was the call to adventure pounding in my ears again? I continued to read, and I read and read and read. When I set it down, I was speechless, stunned by the realization -- the answer is right here. It was right here all along. Later that night I logged on to the Kenzerco boards again and began reading up on old posts.
The thing about KenzerCo is that they aren't just seeking to reproduce a game. They are recreating, or better said preserving, an experience--a spirit. And that spirit is captured in not only their new game, but in their community. It may very well be the community I was looking for. Through the mists of Avalon a vision was forming. Tall spires bedecked in gleaming silver, and as I drew closer the ancient inscriptions above the door were clear: KenzerCo.