Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In Praise of Castles & Crusades

As I've mentioned in some recent posts, I've been dabbling in some Classic/Basic D&D (to use the terms interchangeably) and retroclones, with the idea that I may want to someday run a Classic D&D game. I have been feeling an urge to play Basic D&D, which I never really did back in my formative years. I've been yearning to do it up, with race-as-class and the rest of it.

But I have to say, as I've read through the original rules sets and their clones, I've found myself doing a lot of house ruling in my head. I've been trying to fight that impulse, and taking the advice of Philotomy to "play it for what it is." I've found that a lot of this mental house ruling stems from my good experiences playing Castles & Crusades.

It should be no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I love C&C. It is elegant. It is modular. I've been thinking that if, say, I want the race-as-class experience, I can use C&C for that. I can just restrict the races and classes that players are allowed to play (and not have to worry about pesky level limits to boot, something I'm not quite sure if I like). Ultimately, I have no fear that I can use C&C to emulate any era of D&D play. And frankly, I don't think it's harder to teach someone to play C&C than teaching them to play Classic D&D. In fact (at least for me at this point in time), it might even be easier to teach C&C to new players.

But still, there seems to just be something about the thought of actually using, say, the Moldvay Basic rules. But what is that something, exactly? Is it just the "bad" type of nostalgia that makes me want to play Basic D&D? Is it just the appeal of the "street cred" or gravitas that seems to come from playing the actual, original editions? Or is it something else?

I assume others out there have experienced this pattern of thought, this questioning of systems, this wondering if one is motivated by a dark form of nostalgia. If so, how have you dealt with this affliction? Please, let me know how you have fought with this questioning, this Gamer ADD, the rose-colored glasses.

In the end, I return to my old adage that any gaming is good gaming. I try to remember that I have a good bit of gaming going on almost every week, and I should be thankful for that. Because there are a lot of gamers out there who do not have the current luxury of being able to game even once a week, such as I do.

Again, I'm not anywhere near giving up on C&C and the current campaign I am running using those rules. But there's still something lurking in me that is thinking about running one-shots using Classic D&D rules. What is the impetus of this impulse, I ask you? The questioning continues...

Behold Cardhunter!

Another day, another lazy blog post. Has anyone heard about Card Hunter? If so, is anyone else intrigued? I'm not really a video game player anymore, as I don't have the time to devote to it. And I much prefer table-top gaming, of course. But I might be able to get into this, as long as it supports casual play.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Another reason why Daffy is the best Looney Tune

Come on, admit it. We all know Daffy is the best. He's the perfect foil for Bugs Bunny, and the far more interesting character. If you needed another reason why he dominates, check out the following. Simply awesome.

Thanks Daffy (and the powers-that-be behind this great bit of animation) for the mainstream nod to our little hobby. Yeah, I'm claiming this video for roleplaying. You got a problem with that?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Love the DCC Art, But Still Conflicted

A little while ago, Al over at Beyond the Black Gate posted a link to a Goodman Games forum thread regarding their upcoming modules for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. And I have to say, I think they look awesome just from a pure art perspective. They definitely capture the old-school feel, and they make me excited to play. Check out the following (the first one is my favorite...what is that thing?!):

Now, that being said, pretty pictures aren't changing my mostly skeptical opinions of the game. In fact, pretty much the only thing I completely like about DCC so far is the art. The rest of the game, well...there's some interesting concepts in there. But it's still just another fantasy heartbreaker.

UPDATE: I just found this link that finally gives more details on the modules associated with these covers. I also checked out the Goodman Games forums to read through the DCC topics. I have to say that I do find myself impressed with how Goodman Games seems to be taking the gamer playtest input they are getting quite seriously. It seems that they will actually make some significant changes to the game based on the feedback.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Paragons of Waterdeep: Session 6

Apologies for the long time between session posts. On a good note, this session was more than a full house! We had Player Wes back from a long stint at a summer gig that kept him away from the table. And GM Rich, the founder of the group, was in town and sat in on my game as a player (he took on the role of one of the NPCs). In addition, Jamie Albrecht of For a Fistful of Coppers fame stopped by to get in on the action! As you can read on his blog, he recently moved into the South Jersey area. I invited him to join our gaming goodness and sure enough he jumped right in with gusto!

I don’t have much time to do a huge recap, but I’ll try to hit all the major points. So, when last we left our merry band, they had found the secret location of the tower of an ancient elven wizard named Kurthrad the Artificer. Not long after their discovery, a being with the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle, and the face of a bearded man stepped out onto the tower’s lowest balcony to confront them.

The wizard Vorath (an NPC, but once the character of a player named Glenn, who unfortunately has had to leave the group) had the temerity to start complaining to the creature, accusing it of trying to intimidate the party. The creature promptly caused the mouthy wizard to vanish. As quickly as Vorath vanished, another man appeared not far from where the wizard once stood. This newcomer was Milo, the rogue created by Jamie from For a Fistful of Coppers. Milo had once been a part of a group of adventurers who had found the tower. All he remembers is that he and his former group had climbed down from the sheer cliffs above the tower to reach it. He has no memory of what occurred after that. So he has no idea what happened to his former companions, and he has no idea how long he’s been in “limbo.”

It turned out that the strange being had been responsible for Milo’s predicament. As the group spoke with the being (which Player Wes’ wizard Keseim identified as a lammasu), they learned that the creature had taken up residence in the tower in order to keep what the lammasu called “the horrors” within the tower. Apparently, Kurthrad the Artificer wasn’t so benevolent, and had created all manner of diabolical constructs. So, the lammasu had made a mission of keeping the contents of the tower from escaping. It has also kept intruders from entering.

After some discussion with the being, during which the lammasu repeatedly told the group that they would not be allowed to enter the tower (for their own safety and, more importantly, sanity), the being agreed to protect the group as best it could until they could leave the small chasm in which the tower stood. As it turns out, the stone portal tablet the group had used to enter the chasm could only be used once a day. The lammasu told them that the evil power inside the tower was so great that it would take all of the enigmatic being’s power to keep the malevolent constructs in the tower overnight. With that, the lammasu returned to the depths of the tower.

Not long after, the massive iron door to the tower began to open with a screech. It was apparent that the lammasu had been unsuccessful in keeping the tower’s evil totally at bay! A metallic, bull-like creature emerged from the darkness within the tower, its hide gleaming gold. During the fight that followed, the rogue Milo attempted to entangle the thing’s legs with a grappling hook connected to a length of chain. He only succeeded in getting the hook stuck in one of the thing’s front legs. But Milo made the best of things, driving a spike through the chain and then into the ground. The group then decided to maneuver the bull construct (which Keseim the wizard identified as an abraxus) around the chasm until there was enough slack in the chain to allow them to finally entangle the thing.

During the battle, the abraxus began to emit a noxious green gas. The group did a decent job of resisting the effects, but one of their centaur NPCs, Quiron, succumbed to the gas and fell to the ground choking (the abraxus also gored the centaur pretty badly).

After a protracted combat that found the group struggling to penetrate the creature’s metallic hide, the group finally managed to trip up the abraxus and cause it to fall over. Once that happened, they made short work of it. Smashing open the thing’s skull, they plundered two large rubies and an even larger diamond from the head. The gems were obviously used in the making of the abraxus, and were apparently part of what focused the magical energies that brought it to life.

After that, the party had no choice but to trust in the promise of the lammasu to protect them overnight. The night was indeed uneventful. In the morning, however, it became apparent that the lammasu could no longer protect them, as the door to the tower once again opened, and out came five animated suits of armor.

Keseim the wizard began chanting the runes on the portal stone while the rest of the group, including their welcome new addition Milo, fought off the latest wave of constructs. The portal opened after three rounds of chanting by Keseim, and the group beat a hasty retreat (they had to drag the still-unconscious body of Quiron the centaur through).

The session ended with the party gratefully once again in the hidden crevasse from which they had teleported the day before. All in all, a good session that was sort of combat-intensive, as opposed to the session before it, which had been very heavy with regard to roleplaying. Most importantly, I was running a table full of the best players I’ve had the pleasure to game with in a long time! The next session is this Wednesday! Can’t wait!

To be continued...

EDIT: I forgot to mention that at one point during the session, Milo the rogue and Kale the ranger climbed up to the balcony on which the lammasu had appeared. Once there, they were struck by a wave of supernatural dread against which they had to fight mentally, lest they go mad! They vacated the balcony not long after that experience, suffice to say...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"...let me whisper it to you..."

The Management apologizes for the recent lack of posting. In the meantime, we interrupt our normal programming to offer the following for your consideration (which we consider to be quite thrilling and cannot wait to view for ourselves):

The Whisperer in Darkness - Trailers

Friday, September 9, 2011

And the NON-Stick in the Mud of the Week Award goes to...

Chris at Classic RPG Realms. In this post he laments not being able to continue to run a local school gaming club for kids. Now here's a person who's not sitting in some ivory tower, simply spouting tired and mean-spirited rhetoric (do I have to mention names of usual suspects at this point?). Here's a person who has been fighting the good fight, getting out and making an effort to game. And not only actually gaming, but spreading the gaming goodness to a new generation! That's more than commendable in my book. By doing what he's been doing, he is accomplishing so much more than any pontificating loud-mouth could ever hope to achieve when it comes to advancing the hobby.

So all of the above is the reason why I've given Chris the first-ever NON-Stick in the Mud of the Week Award (I know, I haven't actually been doing this award thing every week. Mea culpa). Keep up the good work, Chris, and get some well-deserved rest!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Paragons of Waterdeep: Sessions 4 & 5

(This post contains the events of two sessions. I’ve done this because I have limited time to write this recap, but I don’t want too much more time to go by before getting this recap done.)

The party left the encampment of the high elf wizard Tanara, in order to return to the elven ranger Kale’s clan with news of what the group had discovered in the ruined temple of Myrkul, former God of Death. They were escorted by the White Owl tribe centaurs that had been helping Tanara, some of whom had accompanied the party to the ruined temple.

Once they were out of the mountains, they were met by another contingent of White Owls, led by a rather confrontational centaur named Oriseus. After some heated words with the two centaurs that had insisted on accompanied the party into the depths of the temple (Narcoth and Quiron), Oriseus banished them from the White Owl tribe. At that point, the party negotiated with the centaurs and managed to retain possession of the centaur-provided elk mounts they were using, for as long as it took for the party to return to Kale’s people. Once that was settled, the centaurs left the group to their own devices. Now tribeless, Narcoth and Quiron pledged themselves to the service of the party.

The party pressed on west, skirting the northern edge of the Star Mounts, between the mountains and the southern edge of the High Forest. At one point, they saw smoke from the trees and heard raucous voices. While they debated over whether or not to investigate, they heard screaming and sounds of combat. The ranger investigated and found a camp of dwarves fighting with a giant insect-like creature. Kale, seeing that three of the dwarves had already been killed by the creature, decided to take a chance and fired an arrow at the thing. This only served to make it angry at Kale, and it promptly chased her.

As Kale ran from the creature, she called to her party to warn them. The group prepared for battle. During the fighting that followed, the Cleric of Lathander named Leela (an NPC) was sprayed by a caustic substance spewed by the creature. The rest of the group watched in horror as her armor, clothes, and skin began to be eaten away by the fluid.

Also during the melee, one of the dwarves came out of the forest raving about how he didn’t want the party to “steal his prize,” and used a strange steel rod to fire a projectile (with a loud crashing sound the likes of which the group had never heard) at Quiron the centaur. The dwarf, of course, was using an arquebus, a very rare weapon in the Realms. The projectile took off half of Quiron’s ear, and the dwarf was reloading when his fellow dwarves wrestled him to the ground.

The party managed to kill the insectile creature, which turned out to be an ankheg. The dwarves had come from the dwarven city Mithral Hall to the High Forest to hunt big game, and had managed to capture the ankheg. But it had escaped its bonds when it was in their camp, killing three of the ten dwarves before Kale fired her arrow. The leader of the dwarven hunting party, Kalek, was bound by his fellows for firing upon the centaur. His second in command, Murzod, stated that his leader had gone too far. The dwarves intended to escort Kalek back to Mithral Hall for reprimand.

Leela was stabilized and saved from death by Oisin the cleric, but she was badly scarred by the acidic breath of the ankheg. The party rested overnight with the dwarves, and then moved out the next day with the promise of reuniting with the dwarves again if possible.
The going was not easy with the injured Leela. They stopped for a rest the next day, and she showed signs of a deep sadness born not only of her near-death experience and disfigurement, but also of the loss of her friend Nestor in Myrkul’s temple. During the rest, Kale and Leela heard a melodic piping noise that had a strange influence on them. Kale was able to easily shake off this influence, but Leela rose and began to walk toward the forest in a dream-like state. The party was forced to restrain her, and she fought them weakly as the group hurriedly moved on to the west. The group surmised that the strange music was that of a satyr somewhere in the nearby woods.

Finally, the group reached the vo’an of the Spring Dawn clan. Kale was very happy to be back among her people. She and her compatriots were welcomed warmly, especially by Kale’s fellow Daughters of Mielikki, the elite corps of rangers of which she is a member. The leader of the Daughters, Breonna, asked the party to join her in a private tent in order to discuss their journey. Rel and Karis, two other Daughters, also accompanied them. There, the party relayed all of the events that had befallen them since Kale went to Waterdeep.

Breonna, Rel, and Karis were concerned about the events at the ruined temple, but praised the group for their efforts. There had been more attacks by undead humanoids since Kale left, but they had been repulsed. But, not without a heavy cost. The leader of the clan, the voantir Elaya, had been injured during the attack and was near death. She was being ravaged by the plague that the undead seemed to carry. This lent a somber edge to the reunion.

Breonna feared the ultimate demise of the voantir, revealing that there was some dissension in the clan. There were three individuals in the clan that were making known their dissatisfaction with the voantir’s leadership. It was the voantir’s decision, for instance, to send Kale to Waterdeep to seek aid from human clerics. This did not sit well with many in the clan, as seeking help from outlanders is considered a sign of weakness.
The Daughters of Mielikki are traditionally aloof from political matters of the vo’an. But while Breonna was struggling to retain that detachment, others in the ranger sisterhood (including Rel and Karis) were pushing for unprecedented action: they believe it is a time for the Daughters to intervene and keep the clan from fracturing.

The Daughters suspect foul play was involved in the voantir’s injuries. They noticed elven tracks outside the vo’an that seem to indicate what would normally be considered unthinkable: an elf leading infected humanoids toward the vo’an. Even in the face of this evidence, Breonna was still reluctant to take a direct role in the growing political rifts in the clan.
After this grim discussion, Breonna left the group in order to inform the voantir that the party had arrived. There was limited access to the voantir at the request of her family, and Breonna was going to petition to have the party given permission to see the ailing leader.

It was then that Rel and Karis told the party that the Daughters of Mielikki had captured a human wizard who had wandered into the vo’an two weeks prior. The group was taken to the tent where the prisoner was being held, and they were introduced to Keseim (Player Wesley’s character). Keseim hails from Calimport, decadent capital of the southern nation of Calimshan. After some verbal sparring, in which Keseim seemed to excel, the group convinced the wizard to help them in their efforts (his other alternatives could have included indefinite captivity, or worse…)

Keseim and the wizard Vorath compared spellbooks, and Keseim learned a comprehend languages spell from Vorath. It was then that Kale remembered the rubbing of Tanara’s key stone tablet, which would supposedly open a doorway to the hidden tower of an ancient elven wizard called Kurthrad the Artificer. She showed Keseim the rubbing, and he was almost able to read the two remaining runes that Tanara was unable to decipher. He felt confident that once he had mastered the ability to cast the comprehend languages spell, he would be able to translate the last of the runes.

The group got much needed rest that night, with Leela being handed over to the care of the clan’s druids. The next morning, Breonna told the group that they were to be allowed to see the voantir. But when they arrived at the leader’s tent, they heard the sounds of weeping from within. They went in to discover the voantir had died suddenly. Breonna moved quickly to try and convince the family to keep the voantir’s death a secret for as long as possible, so as to prevent an immediate coup. Breonna told Kale and her group that before she died the voantir expressed gratitude for the party’s efforts, and had wanted to talk to them about the next steps on their quest to rid the High Forest of the undead humanoid plague. Now, the decision was left up to them.
While Breonna worked to decide how best to hold the clan together, the party deliberated their next move. They decided to head back east toward the ruined temple of Myrkul, but first they would have Keseim decode the key stone tablet’s runes and bring the information to Tanara.

Breonna returned to the group to tell them she had reluctantly decided to act as temporary leader of the vo’an, while telling the clan’s people that Voantir Elaya was still alive and giving orders through Breonna. The leader of the rangers had decided to lead the vo’an west, toward the very fringes of the High Forest and further away from danger. It was understood that this would make the safety of the vo’an further away from the party should they survive, but the safety of the clan needed to be preserved.

The party prepared to travel once again. They were able to enlist the aid of an elven wizard named Eanor and elven fighter Otiver (NPCs). So, provisioned and rested (and with elven-bred horses to ride, since the centaur-bred elk were released to return to the White Owls of their own accord), the group headed east once more, after farewells were said.

Oisin the cleric, Kale the elven ranger, the wizards Keseim and Vorath, the centaurs Narcoth and Quiron, and Eanor and Otiver made an uneventful journey back into the heights of the Star Mounts to the hidden crevasse in which Tanara was making her search for the hidden wizard’s tower. The party arrived to find nothing but the cold remains of a camp fire. There was no sign of any of the White Owl centaurs or Tanara. The party began to investigate the crevasse. Keseim cast a detect magic spell and spotted signs of an enchantment in a small stand of trees. Investigation revealed that the key stone tablet was hanging in a sack from a tree limb. As they cut the sack from the tree and retrieved the tablet, a strange rhythmic clicking could be heard approaching. The group prepared themselves for trouble.
They were shocked to see what looked like five halflings come charging from the trees. Except these halflings seemed to be made of some golden metal. The clicking was coming from them, but otherwise they made no sound as they approached.  A fight ensued, and the party was able to destroy the strange constructs with minimal injuries to themselves. The constructs proved to be very nimble but fairly delicate, so blows focused on their flexible joints did well to immobilize them.

During the fight, Keseim (who had finally deciphered the runes) read the key stone tablet and began to chant the runes in a precise pattern that would open the doorway to the hidden tower. Upon completion, a portal opened and the party hurried through. The centaurs, suspicious of magic, had to be convinced to go through, but they eventually did so.

The group found themselves standing before a 100-foot-tall tower in a small depression somewhere in the mountains. They faced a huge iron door, and a balcony 30 feet above them (with four more balconies at 10-foot intervals above that).

They were considering what to do next when a loud roaring filled the depression, echoing around them in an ear-splitting din. The group looked up to see a large creature with the body of a lion, the wings of a bird, and the face of a bearded man step out onto the lowest balcony. The beast said in a loud, booming voice, “Who dares enter my realm?”
To be continued…

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thoughts after reading Moldvay’s Basic Set

So, as part of my desire to read up on Classic or "Basic" D&D, I’ve read through Moldvay’s Basic Set. Here’s how I sum up my thoughts after reading it:

The nostalgia that I felt was heavy duty (again, I never played it when I was young, but it still reminded me in some ways of reading through the AD&D 1E books).

The only real difference that I could see between Moldvay Basic and Labyrinth Lord was the rules for attribute adjustment. It might be clearer to state that the only rules difference that matters to me is attribute adjustment, which I think is absent from Labyrinth Lord (then again, I haven’t read Labyrinth Lord from cover to cover, so I could be wrong). But really, I don't think that there are any other differences of any considerable size.

If I wanted to play by these rules or something like them, I’d rather play Labyrinth Lord.

This last statement is how I felt after finishing my read-through. I feel like Labyrinth Lord has a much better organization, appearance, and some small changes in the rules that make it much more accessible, at least to me at my current stage of life.

The big factors that appeal to me when thinking of running a Classic D&D game are:

Limited class options make it easier for the GM to remember class abilities and faster for players to create characters (even faster than Castles & Crusades/C&C, which is pretty quick when it comes to character creation).

Saving throw progression and other similar mechanics don’t require the thought process that goes into systems that require the GM to create target numbers for attribute checks (an issue I had with D&D 3E, but C&C mitigates much of the thought process with the SIEGE Engine system). If I ever thought there was a need for attribute checks in a Classic D&D game, I like the thought of making players roll under the appropriate attribute score. I’ve always felt that D&D attribute numbers were sort of useless, and their modifiers or lack thereof had more effect on the game (perhaps that was just my style of play back in the day…)

The four human races and the demihuman race-as-class options lend a certain archetypal/mythic aspect to the game that appeals to me. I have ideas for developing my own setting for use with Classic D&D rules, and using that in a future campaign.

How Classic D&D lends itself to a certain style of play that is appealing to me (i.e. simpler, faster, rules-light, archetypal/”mythic”). I truly believe that system influences style of play.

Actually, there’s one other big thought on my mind, as you can probably tell from all my references to C&C above: I still prefer C&C for my number-one go-to game. I love that system and its combination of AD&D and d20 D&D concepts. It’s the rules set that makes me want to do the least amount of house ruling. To me, at this point in my life, I find that “limited need for house ruling” is a big factor for me when it comes to a game system. This is mostly due, I think, to my limited free time for gaming. I would prefer to spend my time prepping for game time and actual play rather than rules tinkering. And less house rules means that players can depend mostly on published rules and not have to worry about tons of house rules that I might foist upon them.

While I was reading Labyrinth Lord, I found myself doing a lot of house ruling in my head. There were a lot of tweaks I found myself wanting to make. And in considering the changes, they were mostly efforts on my part to put C&C functionality into Classic D&D. Such as thinking about how to do attribute checks in Classic D&D in a manner that was satisfying to me.

I KNOW that this is a big heresy when it comes to Classic D&D play. I know there’s a rabid contingent of people, many many people out there, who would balk at my attribute check fixation. Trust me, I do so myself. In our C&C games, I try to minimize attribute checks when possible, resorting to asking my players to roleplay out the actions they want to accomplish as much as possible. Even if they are asked to make an attribute check, I still ask them to roleplay things out (and depending on how convincing they are, I will often give them bonuses to the associated rolls).

And come to think of it, instead of resorting to Classic D&D rules to get the Classic D&D “style” of gameplay (archetypal), I could very well just run C&C but restrict races and classes to what would be close to what is available in Classic D&D.

I am thinking of potentially asking my group if we could sometimes run Classic D&D one-shot sessions. Just so I can get a fix. One other aspect of Classic D&D that I like, funnily enough, is how deadly it can be. I would like to run a game that is more deadly and less about epic adventure. Again, this is just my own perception of game systems, but I find that AD&D/C&C (at least for me) lend themselves to more epic adventure style of play, where characters are more hardy at lower levels and therefore have a much greater chance of living to reach high levels and forging great destinies.

Anyway, there you have it, folks. For good or ill. Please give me your thoughts. I guess I’m on to read Moldvay Expert, and then on to Labyrinth Lord (for a more through read than I’ve ever given it).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Readin' Up on Basic/Classic/Just Plain D&D

I was recently chastized for referring to Moldvay and Mentzer's sets as OD&D, and perhaps rightly so. Mea culpa. Again, I never actually played OD&D or Moldvay/Mentzer in my gaming career. I started out with AD&D from the get-go. I may have collected things such as the Rules Cyclopedia and the Big Black Box, but never played those versions.

[Just as an aside, I would personally like to call Moldvay / Mentzer's versions D&D, rather than Basic or Classic D&D. Basic doesn't seem to fit to me, since Moldvay had an Expert set, and Mentzer had the Expert / Companion / Master / Immortal sets to follow up his Basic. I would prefer to call the iterations Original D&D, D&D, and AD&D...but I suppose that might not be clear enough. Ah heck, I guess I'll stick to Classic D&D, then.]

It's only now that I'm dabbling in Original and Classic D&D. I purchased Lamentations of the Flame Princess as well as Labyrinth Lord and Swords & Wizardry. As stated above, I have a copy of the Rules Cyclopedia at home, and even managed to snag some PDFs of the books in Moldvay and Mentzer's sets. So now I have piles of original versions as well as clones...and I need to start studying up!

I know in the past I declared Mentzer's version of Classic D&D to be my go-to once I was ready to run some plain-old D&D, either using the RC or the books from the sets. Well, now I'm not so sure.

So, I've decided to start really reading up on the old Classic material. I'm picking a starting point as of now, and that is Moldvay/Cook/Marsh B/X. I'm not really sure where I will go from there. Any advice would be very welcome!

And BTW, where's Holmes fit in with all this? I frankly have no real interest in considering Holmes. I've glanced at his version, and seemed like just a jumble.

Anyway, I'm off to start studying. If I have time, I'll post some impressions. Wish me luck on my journey of discovery...

EDIT: I suppose I should have included a status update of where my head is at currently with regard to "preferred" editions, eh? At this point, Labyrinth Lord seems to have risen above the rest of the pack, both original editions and clones, in my estimation. But I would like to read Moldvay to see how things were originally published. Mentzer and the RC call out to me, perhaps just from nostalgia. But from my prior superficial scans of the contents of LL, the Mentzer-era stuff doesn't seem as "shiny" anymore...at least at the moment.

As for Swords & Wizardry, it's sort of slipping further down on the rungs of my affection. I like some aspects of it, but these aspects (spells, some class options) may be things that I steal for use with a game founded on LL. And I have no interest in gaining access to the original books that S&W is based upon. Is that heresy?

When it comes to Lamentations of the Flame Princess, it too is probably something from which I will steal ideas. For instance, I may use Raggi's d6-based thief skills instead of percentiles. That would probably be the major borrowing.

See how this can all be quite maddening?! Curse you once again, Gamer ADD!