Wednesday, April 25, 2012

M is for Map

Behold, the map for Thunder Rift Sagas!

This is my last A to Z post for April. I'll wrap up the alphabet in May. I hope you'll stop by my new campaign's blog and follow that as well, as I move ahead with some new adventures! Thanks as always for reading, and happy gaming!

Monday, April 23, 2012

L is for Labyrinth Lord

As I've mentioned on this blog before, I've never played Basic D&D. I've always been an Advanced D&D guy. I've owned the Rules Cyclopedia forever, but never had the chance to play by those rules.
Well, all that's about to change. Via the awesome retroclone Labyrinth Lord, I'm about to embark on my first Basic D&D experience in my more than two decades of gaming. And I am damned excited!

I've created a new blog for my campaign, Thunder Rift Sagas! Please head on over and feel free to poke around and become a follower if you so wish. Things are a bit sparse over there at the moment, of course, but that will definitely change as the campaign progresses.

I've got a copy of the Labyrinth Lord revised rules softcover, and have a couple copies of the original rules with the purple cover for the players to use (I think the only difference between the original and revised is some typo corrections and the armor table). I've also got the really cool referee screen. I have Stonehell Dungeon, the Dungeon Alphabet, and Barrowmaze, so I'm set in the dungeon department for a while!

I can't wait to introduce a bunch of new players to this particular type of old-school gaming! I feel like I'm truly going to become a part of the OSR, in running this game. I hope to do the movement proud!

Hey out there! If you have any experience running Labyrinth Lord, let me know about your experiences with the game. I would love to get your advice, tips on products you love to use, and so on.

By the way, Labyrinth Lord creator Dan Proctor was a recent guest blogger on the Black Gate magazine blog, where he posted a bit of inside information on the creation of his game. You should also visit his Goblinoid Games blog when you get a moment.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

K is for Kick-Off

As in, the kick-off of my Labyrinth Lord campaign coming up on May 2nd! I have been steadily working away to prep for this launch and I am itching to get this baby started! I've gotten ahold of the revised Labyrinth Lord rules softcover, and more recently obtained the awesome LL referee screen!

I've also got my obligatory GM's binder stuffed to the gills with all sorts of goodies, from adventure hooks and random tables to house rules and NPCs, maps, descriptions of gods, and on and on.

I'm going to talk to the incredibly cool owner of my FLGS to get a Labyrinth  Lord section up on the store's forum, and then start preaching the faith to all willing converts! I can't wait! I'm going to wrap up April with entries for letters L and M. Then I'll do the other half of the alphabet over the course of May.

Forward to adventure, comrades-in-arms!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

J is for Journey

As I mentioned in my post for D, "when I told one of my current players about running an old-school game using Labyrinth Lord, he said it would be cool to do some dungeon crawling again. And I found myself assuring him that it would be more than just about dungeon crawling. There's another OSR sacred cow that I want to send to the butcher: that the focus of a Classic D&D campaign needs to be on dungeons."
I think that, no matter what system you use, the journey can be just as thrilling as the location. A lot of old-school gaming is site-based. There's the dungeon, of course, but it could also be a castle, a city or town, ruins, etc. But it doesn't have to be that way all the time, IMHO. The most basic sort of roleplaying journey is the quest (for a magical artifact, to save a nobleman or woman from bandits, etc.), of course. But not all RPG journeys need be quests. What about traveling between two cities just because they players want to get out of their usual town for a bit? What about the trip to that infamous dungeon or haunted castle? When I think about the journey to such places, I feel the need to at least give some chance of an encounter or a "side quest" or plot development to occur. Not all the time, mind you. There are times when I do the old "time passes, your journey is uneventful, you enjoy a leisurely hike through the mountains, and arrive at your destination" bit. But to "hand wave" every trip across country in order to just get to a place? BORING!

And hell, there are so many cool random event tables out there to use!

I know that I've read some OSR bloggers who outright refuse to leave a city in which they have set their game, for example. That sort of sounds like a dreaded railroad to me. I mean, if the players want to leave the city, aren't you obliged to allow them that ability, in the name of the much-vaunted "player agency"? There's nothing saying that you have to make the experience a  pleasant one. I guess I'm talking about giving them disincentives rather than forbidding them outright. I don't care if players have agency out the wazoo when it comes to that city they are in. If they can't leave the place just because the GM says they can't, that's a big old railroad track that encircles the place.

Perhaps this reluctance to let players sally forth into the wild stems from the common OSR boogeyman of not developing a significant portion of a campaign world before a campaign or particular session starts. As a busy adult, I can sympathize with regard to not having a lot of time to develop world details. But there has to be a balance. You have to put in some work on defining that world, both for the players to get a feeling of a somewhat-living world, and for you (the GM) to hang plot hooks or create on-the-fly situations. Even if that work is a couple sentences for a specific bunch of hexes on a map. 

Anyway, I would love to hear from you out there! What place does the journey have in your campaigns?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Paragons of Waterdeep: Endgame

This post covers sessions 18 and 19, the last two of my Paragons of Waterdeep campaign. I fully intend to have a "sequel" campaign, hopefully with the same great players using the same characters.

Our heroes settled back into the city of Waterdeep. As they sought to sniff out what hidden groups may be pulling the strings of small-time thugs in the city, they eventually made their way to a house bequeathed to a former PC (Vorath, a wizard whose player, Glenn, had to leave the group around session 6). Using the strange pass phrase that Vorath taught them ("Happy half-orcs have halitosis") they were able to pass the powerful wards and enter the house. Within they found a goodly number of scrolls with all manner of spells inscribed on them, as well as chest and crates guarded by protective spells.

While exploring their new base of operations, they chanced to glance outside and see many robed figures prowling the street. As the party watched, the figures incinerated several citizens and left a young girl unconscious on the street. The party decided to not fall into the obvious trap. It was clear the robed figures did not know the exact location of the group, so they were obviously trying to lure the party out.

The next morning, the cleric Oisin went out to investigate. He discovered that the girl had been taken into the nearby home of a wealth merchant. The cleric went to the home and a servant let him in, leading him to an upstairs bedchamber. There, the merchant and his wife were sitting beside a large bed, in which lay the young girl from the street. When Oisin moved to administer healing, the girl sprung out of the bed, and she took on a horrible aspect: her skin became like scales, her features twisted into a horrible fanged face, and her hands grew black talons. The cleric fled from the room and back down the stairs. While nearing the front door of the merchant's house, a robed figure moved toward him from the living room of the house.

Oisin was able to exit the home relatively unscathed, and his fellows in the party saw his hasty movement. As the party rallied to the cleric's side, the two lizard-like beings attacked. The party fought off the beings (who had the ability to breathe gouts of flame), and one of the things sprouted a pair of leathery wings and flew off  over the rooftops. The heroes managed to slay the female, but when they did so she returned to human form. When the other residents of the street came out of their homes to see about the cause of the disturbance, they saw what looked to be a young woman slain by a group of well-armed individuals. The alarm was raised and the city guard quickly came to investigate.

With the guard contingent came Marn, the apprentice of Khelben Blackstaff. He saved the party from being taken into custody. Marn then spoke with them at length about how Khelben knew the nature of their enemies: the lizard-like assailants were devotees of the infamous Cult of the Dragon, who worship dragons as gods and seek to help their "deities" become the rulers of Faerun (if not the entirety of the world of Toril). He also told them that Khelben had decided to form a new secret group of his own called the Paragons of Waterdeep. The party would effectively be the "founding members" of this new group, the purpose of which would be to help protect the city from incursions from groups such as the Cult of the Dragon, the Shadow Thieves, and others.

After this, the party regrouped and gained information from Marn about recent suspicious activities in Waterdeep's City of the Dead, a massive and ancient cemetery. The party set out to investigate. Once there, they followed signs of magic and evil intent to a large mausoleum dedicated to warriors who have died in battle. Not long after entering the burial place, they were ambushed by a horde of kobolds who were hiding within.

As they fought the diminutive lizard folk, a great rush of wings could be heard from outside. A black dragon landed just outside the entrance to the mausoleum, ridden by the lizard-like man who had flown away after their previous battle near the party's hideout. The party fought hard and fought well, and were able to slaughter the kobolds and cause the dragon and its scaly rider to flee.

And that's where the campaign ended. Suffice to say that the characters had uncovered a significant Cult of the Dragon foothold in the city. After their victory, they were praised by Khelben, their reputation for skill and bravery firmly cemented in the estimation of the archmage of Waterdeep.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I do want to someday run a sequel campaign. I love the Castles & Crusades system, and I had a great time running it. The group that I've gamed with for well over a year is composed of great people and I hope to game a lot more with them for a long time to come. This campaign was the first one I'd run in many years, so it definitely helped me knock off some rust from my GMing abilities. I learned a lot about what I like and don't like when it comes to gaming at this point in my life. It was a vital experience for me in my current return to the hobby. In all, a really rewarding experience!

Now, it's on to the next great adventure!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I is for Inspiration

What inspires you? I want to know! Please chime in about what provides you with inspiration for your gaming efforts.

Me? Well, this isn't necessarily an exhaustive list, but here goes:

The art from the 1st and 2nd Edition eras of AD&D!

Artists such as Larry Elmore, Keith Parkinson, Frank Frazetta, Clyde Caldwell, Jeff Easley, Fred Fields, Todd Lockwood, Terry Dykstra (unsung hero of the interior art for the Rules Cyclopedia), Brom, Tim Bradstreet, Michael Whelan...but NOT Tom Baxa (at least not his D&D art...his other stuff is cool I guess)!

Authors such as George RR Martin and his mastery if intrigue, David Gemmell for his brutal heroism, Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkein, Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazney, Raymond Feist, Glen Cook, Steven Erikson, Michael Moorcock, Ursula K. LeGuin, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Richard A. Knaak, and the list could go on and on.

And also my fellow bloggers such as those found in this blog's Scroll of Honor blog roll. I give thanks to you all for your boundless energy, devotion to the game, and seemingly endless contributions to our hobby! This includes Al at Beyond the Black Gate, because I'm going to be making copious use of his compendiums from 2009, 2010, and 2011 (especially for the random tables)!

Ok, I don't want this post to ramble on forever, so that's all for now. Hope to hear from you out there!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Vancian Magic...Without the Wait?

As an addendum to my H is for House Rules post, I want to elaborate a bit on the following house rule for memorizing/recovering spells for magic users, clerics, and elves:

Memorizing/Recovering Spells: Spells usually take 10 minutes per level to memorize. All spells of a level four below the max spell level usable by the wizard only require 1 minute per level to rememorize.

I "borrowed" this from the Myth & Magic Player's Guide (it's on page 30).

I know that the whole Vancian magic thing is a rallying cry for the OSR. It's a pretty polarizing topic, with most of the old-school people saying "Give me Vancian magic or give me death!"

I a point. Sure, let's use the "fire and forget" Vancian system. BUT...would it be so bad to speed up the Vancian spell memorization process?

Why does it have to take a full eight hour rest to get your spells back?

Wouldn't the Myth & Magic method make magic users a bit more flexible, and alleviate a bit of the whole "15 Minute Workday" issue that was swirling around the blogosphere recently?

I say yes! And as you can see I'm using it for my upcoming Labyrinth Lord campaign. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm going to keep the whole "eight-hour-rest" thing for players to have characters recover ALL castable spells. But during a single day, if they want to spend the time, they can take time to rememorize spells, one at a time, using the method above. The key element here is the time usage. If you're in a dungeon, a lot can happen in 10 minutes/1 turn (those orcs you just fought come back with reinforcements, etc). So this doesn't let players off the hook entirely

In the meantime, I'd like to hear your thoughts. What do you think of "speeding up" the Vancian magic spell recovery system?

H is for House Rules

Firstly, let me offer a non-apology for lagging way behind on getting my A to Z done in April. I may strive to wrap things up this month after all, but that will no doubt now entail some doubling up of letters on some of my remaining April days. Ah well, there's nothing for it now!

Anyway, on to the house rules I've worked up for the Labyrinth Lord campaign I'm starting in May. I think these would work fine with any Classic D&D rules or retroclone based on them. Personally, I like to keep house rules to a minimum, but I'm definitely not a total rules-as-written guy. What follows is a mash-up of house rules that have been floating around the blogosphere forever and those I've created myself, along with rules "stolen" from game systems such as Adventurer Conqueror King, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Myth & Magic, and of course Castles & Crusades.

So, without further ado, here they are:


Hit Points: max at first level.
Attribute Checks: (as needed) roll d20 under attribute score; bonuses/penalties can come from DM for perceived difficulty, difference in levels/HD and/or attributes between character and opponent, etc.

Bonus spells for high INT or WIS (see relevant LL Advanced Edition Companion chart for clerics)

Zero HP: at 0 HP or less, save vs. death. Success means 1 hp and unconscious. Failure means...well, death.

Shields and Saves: at GM discretion, shields may give +1 bonus to saving throws such as breath weapons.


Two-Weapon Fighting: gives +1 to hit.
Natural 1 and Natural 20: a natural 1 is always a miss and a “fumble,” the effects of which are up to the GM. Natural 20 is an automatic hit. GM may also allow for some“fantastic effect.”

Hold Action: during combat, a player can hold their action for use later in the round. However, held actions not used in a round are lost at the end of the round.
Combat Maneuvers: from ACK System (most are -4 to attack roll, opponent save vs. paralysis). These include disarming, wrestling, etc.

Firing into Melee: on a roll of 1-3, a character hits a friendly. Roll another to-hit to see if the friendly takes damage. Chance to hit friendlies is eliminated if a player takes time to aim. Aiming and firing in the same round confers a to-hit penalty of -2. Aiming and waiting until the next round eliminates penalty.
Called Shot: performed at a -8 penalty, but a hit usually means automatic critical (double damage). Taking rounds to aim lowers penalty by 1 for each round taken.

Offensive Focus (declared at beginning of round):+2 to hit, +2 AC for round
Fighting Defensively (declare at beginning of round): -2 to hit, -2 AC for round

Full Defense (declare at beginning of round): no attack, -4 AC for round

Counterspell: a magic user can counter another magic user’s spell by casting a spell of the same level. An INT check is made to determine if MU can identify opponent’s spell. The countering is an automatic success, with both spells cancelling each other out.

Memorizing/Recovering Spells: Spells usually take 10 minutes per level to memorize. All spells of a level four below the max spell level usable by the wizard only require 1 minute per level to rememorize. This is borrowed from the Myth & Magic system and used for Clerics and Elves (see below).

Memorizing/Recovering Spells: Spells usually take 10 minutes per level to memorize. All spells of a level four below the max spell level usable by the wizard only require 1 minute per level to rememorize.

Immune to all undead attacks and also hear noise on roll of 1-2 on d6

Memorizing/Recovering Spells: Spells usually take 10 minutes per level to memorize. All spells of a level four below the max spell level usable by the wizard only require 1 minute per level to rememorize.


Fey Luck: Once per encounter, a Halfling can reroll one of his rolls or the roll of another player or the GM.
Hide on roll of 1-5 on d6

Can harm creatures that can only be harmed by magic (even with bare hands).

Can also tell direction underground on roll of 1-2 on d6.

Automatic hit and double damage on natural 20.

Cleave: can attack another opponent immediately after killing/incapacitating an opponent (from ACKS).

All thief skills progress as Hear Noise (all use d6). After 15th level, roll 2d6 and only fail on double six.

Read Language: Level 1=20%, 2=40%, 3=60%, 4=80%
Use Scroll: 10% at level 2, and +10% per level until 10th level (90%)

Friday, April 13, 2012

G is for Geography

I know that the broad sentiment in the OSR, when it comes to the sandbox, is that there is no real need to create an entire world before a campaign starts. That the "defining" of the world grows organically from game session to game session.

This always sort of seemed like a sandbox "paradox" to me (apologies for the rhyming, it really wasn't intentional). Why? Because isn't a sandbox campaign supposed to let the players go anywhere at any time, and the GM is supposed to be ready for that?

I think what OSR pundits mean by sandbox, the true sandbox, is a combination of that organic, per-session creation and some pre-campaign/pre-game session preparation.

I personally always try to be prepared with at least a skeleton of what my campaign world includes. That means even just a couple sentences of what lies in areas across my world map. And I also try to be prepared with some random tables for monsters, landmarks, and events, as well as some plot hooks and scenarios for the players to come across. Whether they choose to follow any of these, and in what order, is up to them.

Player backgrounds, no matter how minimal, can also provide inspiration for hooks. And of course, the permutations of player choice and their subsequent actions (and the consequences of those actions) also provide fertile ground for new threads and patterns to emerge.

You have to do some preparation, you know? When someone says they're a totally "seat of the pants" GM, they usually do have something prepared beforehand, and are not really making every single thing up on the spot all the time. Sure there are some times when you have to do this, because you haven't had time to prepare. But this is the exception, not the norm. Are there GMs out there who do the on-the-fly type of GMing all the time? Sure. But I think they are not as prevalent in a pure sense, as many would have us believe.

OK, I know...I've strayed from just the topic of the campaign world and into the territory of campaign session prep. SORRY! You'll just have to deal. But they sort of go hand in hand, eh?

Ok the inevitable questions: how much of your campaign world do you prepare before a game starts? How do your worlds "grow?" Where do you get your inspiration for features of your world?

Me? I'm a hopeless stealer of ideas from books, movies, published game content, etc. But that's mostly because I don't have the time I used to when I was a kid. And like I said, I also have random tables for landmarks, things found on the road, etc.

That's all I got for now! Hope to hear from you all!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

F is for Friends

I only played with long-time (childhood) friends for most of my gaming career. As time went on, as time is wont to do, those friends left the roleplaying fold for myriad reasons.

A big reason why I stopped playing for years was my fear of trying to reach out to strangers in order to play.

Plus there was a supreme lack of a nearby FLGS in my area in which to congregate. And I was alway loath to invite lots of strangers to wherever I was living at the time...I know that sounds a mite paranoid but there you go.

But the need to return to the table-top was so overwhelming in the last couple of years that I was able to overcome my trepidation and get into some groups of strangers, in the hopes of becoming accepted among them.

I played in a Pathfinder game with a large group of people, but that didn't work out (no harm, no foul). I just didn't fit in with the Pathfinder system that they loved. And yes, there were some personality differences that made things a tad uncomfortable. But I got out of that situation without my drive to roleplay being damaged at all.

Then I lost my old job, and got a job much closer to one of the few great FLGS in the area: All Things Fun!

I saw my chance to get into a game with some new people and I ran with it! I went to TrollCon East in early 2011 and met some great folks. One of those people started a Castles & Crusades game, and I joined up. Since then I've run my own C&C campaign, and now I'm ready to run some Labyrinth Lord starting in May.

I'm glad that I pushed through my wariness about meeting new gamers. My current group has definitely become a group of like-minded friends. I'm doing some great roleplaying now, the kind of roleplaying that is nearly as good as when I was a teenager starting out in the hobby. And all this thanks to some new comrades-in-arms.

So, please, if anyone wants to share about your own experiences with gaming with friends, getting into games with new people, all of that stuff...please, I'd like to hear from you!

Monday, April 9, 2012

E is for Effort

Well of course Easter, another E word, interfered with my E entry. I know I'm a bit behind the "official" A to Z Challenge pace. I know that one is supposed to wrap this up in the month of April. I still plan on doing that, but if something causes me to to slip into May...again, I don't care! I'm making this thing my own!

Anyway, EFFORT! I'm making this into a question for the masses: how much effort do you put into prepping for a session, as it relates to time spent prepping? I'd especially like the hear from the Labyrinth Lord people out there.

Me? Well, I'm planning on one hour of prep time for a three-hour session, roughly. Anything more than that, well...I don't really have the time for that. MAYBE I'll do 1.5 hours now and then.

Hope to hear from you crazy kids on this one!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

D is for Dungeon

Could it be anything else? ;-)

So when I told one of my current players about running an old-school game using Labyrinth Lord, he said it would be cool to do some dungeon crawling again.

And I found myself assuring him that it would be more than just about dungeon crawling. There's another OSR sacred cow that I want to send to the butcher: that the focus of a Classic D&D campaign needs to be on dungeons.

Now granted, I personally do intend to feature some big dungeon crawl opportunities. But to tell the truth, I've never been too focused on getting characters down into the "mythic underworld." I haven't run too many dungeons over the years, and especially not megadungeons. My players have not scoured multiple levels of massive underground complexes on a regular basis. I've been much more fond of wilderness and city-based adventures.

But like I said, I want that to change this time around. Not to spill the beans too much, but I'll be running the awesome Stonehell Dungeon, and I also acquired the more recent Barrowmaze. I'm also brushing up on my resource depletion skills and keeping track thereof. Yes, I need to get better at keeping track of those torches that burn out and those supplies of rations. I can't wait to have some PC go into those dungeons, and see who returns to tell the tail, and who is never seen again...mwahahahaha!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

C is for Campaign

Let me start out by getting something off my chest, something that's been bothering me for a while. I have to say that there are some OSR sacred cows with which I take issue.

Most of these dastardly bovines take the form of "truisms" or "either/or" situations. For instance, I've read opinions such as:

  • 1st level/low-level PCs are "amateurs" (funny, aren't 1st level fighters in B/X called Veterans?)
  • PCs are not heroes, they are "adventurers" (an adventurer can't become a hero, willingly or not?)
  • Story games vs. sandbox games (never the twain shall meet)
I'm here to tell you that I think this is a bunch of crap, and that all of these things are not mutually exclusive, or need not be so. All of this is just people clinging to the way they've always played and propping it up as "the only real way to play."

Anyway, with all that said, onward to the letter of the day:

Blasphemous as it is to many OSR ears, I've always run something of a "story" campaign. By story I mean: players develop backgrounds for characters of varying depth, and these backgrounds help form the foundation for the campaign and have some influence in the potential adventures that lay ahead as the campaign progresses. This means that, as a GM, I can use pieces of character backgrounds as potential options (quests, if you will) for the players to pursue in whatever order/manner they see fit (if they follow them at all). To me, none of this robs players of agency (big buzz word right there) nor does it lend itself more readily to railroading. To me, your average pre-made adventure module is much more likely to lead to the old choo-choo boogeyman.

When I started out as a teenager, my friends used to like to develop elaborate backstories for their characters. To my young self, who was I to deny them that, something they clearly saw as fun? And I was more than happy for the help in fleshing out the world, elaborating on their backstories. To us, that was the source of motivation to sally forth to adventure. It was all in the spirit of "cooperative storytelling." And I find that this type of game makes players more invested in the campaign, usually.

Call "teenage-me" a victim of the dreaded "Hickmanization" of D&D from back in the day. I really don't care. I've had plenty fun gaming this way, and last time I checked fun was one of the big reasons for roleplaying...or any other pastime for that matter.

However, I'm willing to concede that there are also limitations to the story-driven game (and I keep using that term but it really irks me, because I don't want people to think that I accept the standard negative connotation of that phrase).

When I started my C&C campaign in summer 2011 (the first campaign I had run in years) I carried on my old tradition of story-based gaming with the new group of people I met. And they were also very inclined to that sort of game. We had a lot of fun. But, unlike when I was a kid, we adults don't have time to show up to every game session on a consistent basis. Therefore, there were nights when, if a couple specific players didn't show up, I was loathe to run a session without those players being there. There were nights when sessions were cancelled due to this fact of adult life.

Again, I was just as guilty of cancelling as the players. But I felt the need to do things differently with regard to the foundations of a future campaign, i.e. make the next campaign less about the backstory of characters. In other words, play what many consider to be a more "traditional" old-school fantasy RPG game.

The downside of story-based games, to me, is the dependence on players showing up. I don't want to keep a game going without the players (and their characters) that were integral to the formation of the game. It can also make it hard for new players to join the group, as their characters will not have been in existence at the creation of the campaign (and therefore are not part of the campaign's inception). This may lead to a lessened feeling of investment.

That's why I'm looking forward to a more sandbox approach to characters. Not that old-school characters are generic and disposable. But I want to go with little to no backstory for once. I feel like there's a fine line between cardboard PCs and interesting PCs in Classic D&D, and a player's creativity and attitude is what places them on either side of that line. The players will get out of it what they put into it. That's one of the strengths of Classic D&D: your character isn't just a gestalt of feats, powers, equipment, and all the other stuff that goes into what can be called a "character build." Your character is who he/she is thanks to how you play that character, how you describe their appearance, personality, know, how you ROLEPLAY that character.

So, what I'm doing is trying out a different style of play. I'm not rejecting my story-based gaming past for the "true religion" of the idealized/deified sandbox concept. But this Labyrinth Lord campaign will be my first real foray into a different style of play for me, and I'm excited as all get-out!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

B is for Brevity

Ok, I'm not sure this post pertains directly to my theme for my A to Z list, but it has some indirect relationship. You'll see what I mean. I think.

Anyway, I've been told many times in my life that I am a good storyteller. I've also been told that my stories are too long. And I've been told I take forever to make my points when talking.

Oh well, I'm something of a natural storyteller, for good or ill (or more likely both).

Anyway, I've come to a conclusion: I'm going to make a choice to write short blog posts. I feel like the trend is to feel the urge to write long dissertations on our hobby with each blog post. But, this is impractical for me at this time in my life, when I have so little free time. I'd rather spend that time gaming, so blogging has to take a back seat. BUT I still want to blog.

So for my posts going forward, I'm going to try to get my point across as efficiently as possible. I believe this is possible, not just for me but for bloggers in general. This may be a delicate balancing act, of course, but I'm going to make the effort to say what I want to say clearly but without a lot of filler. That's tough for me most of the time.

I'm excited about this experiment, because I have a big backlog of ideas for posts that has been piling up. I'm hoping that I can start getting those ideas out without having to write massive posts, and still get my point across in a manner that feels satisfying.

Future posts will probably be about the length of this post, if not shorter.

How does this tie into my current work on a new Labyrinth Lord campaign? Well, less time blogging means more time for preparation! So, excuse me while I go back to work.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A is for Aspiration

Just a note: I didn't participate in the A to Z Challenge last year, but this year I'm going to try it out as a way to give myself an outlet. An outlet for what? Well, for my current efforts to get a new campaign going in the wake of my last campaign's ending.

I'm not sure if I'm going to adhere to the exact rules of the challenge, and I don't really care. I'm just going to do this damned thing.

Now, onward!

To what am I aspiring? To use the month of April to prepare for a new campaign slated to begin in early May. I am planning on running "Basic D&D" for the first time in my life. As some may know, I've only ever played AD&D and variations (Castles & Crusades). I never played Moldvay / Cook / Marsh or Mentzer.

But I've been feeling that urge (been reading too many blogs that extol the Basic D&D virtues, especially B/X Blackrazor)! So, I want to run Labyrinth Lord at my FLGS on Wednesday nights, now that I've ended the Castles & Crusades campaign that I was running on that night.

So for the next month, I'm going to bring you my trials and tribulations as I prepare for this new roleplaying journey! Here's hoping I don't crash and burn! ;-)

Here's some of what I hope to accomplish over the course of April:
  • Finalize preparation of some house rules
  • Finalize preparation of my campaign setting
  • Create my plan for advertising for new players (to augment my existing group)
  • Set up a second blog dedicated to the new campaign
  • Try to get my hands on the official Labyrinth Lord Screen
Well, that's all for now. Wish me luck, folks!

Monday, April 2, 2012

"April is the cruellest month..."

"Save me, oh mighty druidess, from the Springtime blahs..."

"...breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."
- T.S. Elliot, The Waste Land

No April Fools post for me yesterday, as I was feeling like the fool! Why the fool? Because I feel that life has given me a drubbing of late, and I've had a hard time finding traction for my roleplaying aspirations of the near future. Forgive me, please, this may all be coming from my usual Monday depression! ;-) I have no strength to elaborate at the moment, but hopefully there will be no need for such elaboration, as I may pull out of my nosedive!

Have a great day, all!