Because It Is Trendy

The English Major in me says that now is the time to be aloof and above it all. I should sit in a leather chair with my snifter and while looking on with disdain at all the fifth edition chatter.

Mind you, a snifter filled with a good Russian Imperial Stout would be quite tasty.

I am just not that person anymore. I like D&D in all its forms, clones, and houserules.

Truth is, that I will probably play the new version of D&D because it will be easier to find an in-person game. I will also look to get the stuff created by Kobold Press because it will be that darn good.

If (and that's a big if) I get the new edition, I know that I will houserule the heck out of it. I will also come up with Spelljammer rules for it including the giant space hamsters. I will gleefully hand over a house rule ebook for other peoples' tablets or kindles while digging out my notes from a three ring binder.

I don't think about how WOTC will make it encompass all the editions, I will make it do that. Give me the PHB so I know what others expect and I'm good. Heck, give me the starter set and I'll get by somehow. I say this knowing perfectly well that if I can afford the Monster Manual, that I'll buy it and any other creature book they publish.

For what it is worth, I'm not a fan of the 5e covers. Then again, I'm particular with RPG art. I like the DCC art style, I like Erol Otus, I like Matt Lichtenwalner, I like Jeff Dee, and I like Emily Vitori. Weird as it sounds, I wouldn't like them all together in one book, but I would be thrilled with each one illustrating an entire book including full color cover. If I ever win the lottery, I will do just that.

Maybe the final product will not make the executives at WOTC happy. I can imagine that if D&D doesn't dominate Pathfinder and fill up a couple rooms at convetions, that the RPG part of the brand will disappear. I don't know how D&D will do, but I hope it does not go away.

I know that I simply cannot afford it. Heck, I don't have five dollars to support all the OSR folks and zine makers I wish I could. (Then again, I wish I could make a zine and just give it away.) Still, I can dream, right? I can hold out for the winning lottery ticket numbers.

I believe that if Monte Cook had stuck around, it may have felt more old edition than new. Then again, I'm thrilled that he and Bruce Cordell have found success with Numenera.

The last playtest I saw, D&D felt like 3e and left me a bit cold. Then again, Dungeon World felt like 3e to me at first, and I love playing it. Go figure, there's no accounting for taste with me, I guess. 🙂

Since I enjoy older editions, I have Swords & Wizardry and For Gold & Glory to fit my needs. Practically, I don't need a new edition. Yet, I find an excitement in it all. Maybe it is my inner 12 year old that wants to see Yet Another Boxed Set. (After all, the beginner box comes with dice. Based on the mass production, those dice will probably be the most old school thing about the whole production.) Maybe this will be the box that comes after the Immortals set and starts off your second run at level 1 to 36. Maybe I'll win D&D with the new edition if I stick with it. Again, my inner 12 year old is yelling that I might still have a chance to finish what I started so long ago.

Good luck D&D. Seems like you'll need it.

The Magic Item I Didn’t Submit

I wanted to submit this to the OSR Superstar contest, so I wrote it down on an index card to be posted later.

Then I lost the index card.

Despite all the effort in the world, I couldn't remember it, so I came up with something else on the fly. I was happy with it, but I was bothered that I just couldn't remember one of my original ideas.

Two days after the deadline, I found the index card in my pocket, right where I left it.

Without further adieu, the idea behind what would have been one of the Magic Items in the Contest:

Gauntlets of Ghost Grappling

These gauntlets allow the wearer to physically touch and harm incorporeal creatures. The gauntlets do not allow the wearer to use non-magical weapons to affect incorporeal creatures. The wearer can, however, punch ghosts and/or grapple with them.

And that was it. I was going to expand on it a bit before submission, but instead, I leave it here for anyone to use if they would like to.

How I Got Started in the OSR

In 1991, I stopped playing RPGs completely. At the time, I thought it was necessary for religious reasons. For what it is worth, I also gave up a piano career as I believed that I could never play the piano for a worship service and didn't believe I could do well in a band. These restrictions were self-imposed - I wish I had mentioned these things to someone at the time. In the end, it worked out as far as RPGs are concerned as I had little to no time to play anymore.

In 2002, I moved halfway across the country to start a new life. I had been unemployed for about 18 months and had just accepted a good job. I didn't know anyone here, so I had a lot of time to myself after work. About November of 2002, I discovered the d20 SRD. In some ways, it felt like games I played in high school - it was D&D, but there were these things called feats that were essentially class abilities to me. There were only three saves, all based on ability scores. I figured that was okay enough. I thought that maybe I'd have six saves based on all six ability scores.

I read through the combat section and pretty much threw it out. I wanted something close to the B/X I began gaming with or the weird amalgam ruleset (B/X with touches of AD&D, The C part of BECMI, 2e, and house rules) I played until college. Still, this seemed to be the popular thing, so I began buying books and attempting to work through D20.

In March 2003, another, more personal, catastrophe occurred. In some ways, I am still recovering from it. This inserted yet another gaming hiatus into my life. Once things calmed down years later, I discovered Microlite20 and I was very happy. This was a simple, modular system that could be used to make anything. I started working on a Psionics module, a monster spreadsheet to convert d20 monsters to M20 standards, and Spelljammer. Oh yes, Spelljammer...

Where was I? The last thing I remember, I was saying something about flying in wooden boats in space...

Oh yeah, M20. The community was awesome and new modules were created almost daily. I still enjoy M20 for its simplicity, adaptability and modularity.

In an old box, though, I kept returning to my rulebooks from days gone by. I played Ars Magica, Champions, Marvel FASERIP and a few other games in college, but it was the fantasy genre that I wanted to play. M20 was great, but I wanted the baroque rulebooks that are simply fun to read. I kept re-reading the Arduin books and thinking, "there's just no way to put any of this into M20 without losing the feeling you get from playing with any of Hargrave's ideas."

Naively, I wondered where would I find a B/X group that would let me run some of my unusual house rules?

A short time later, I discovered Basic Fantasy while surfing aroudn the internet, and that was when I discovered the OSR. From there, I began doing some writing and editing. This lead to a job at NeverMetPress where I wrote for Pathfinder and 4e, of all things. After NeverMetPress, I found Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, ACKS, and ultimately Swords & Wizardry.

Along the way, I've gotten any kind of OSR rules I can find. I have converted my house rules into Swords & Wizardry, complete with some of the weirdness I had all the way in high school. I have rules for mechs and hovertanks (Thanks Centurion, the best hovertank game evah!), the replacements for the Elemental planes, ritual spells, mass battles, and creating Spelljammer helms. Ah, Spelljammer...

Huh? what? Oh yeah, rules. I still have quite a bit to convert over - since I borrowed from other games outside D&D, some thing don't convert as easily as I'd like. Back in 1980ish, I just went with it, but nowadays I want the rules to make sense and be able to share with others. After all, the community of sharing, discussion and even the "get off my lawn crowd" is what makes the OSR special to me.