Thursday, 10 August 2017

Back to the Dungeon

So I have been away for rather longer than I had expected.  A combination of my mother-in-law's extended stay in hospital, an upsurge at work and, frankly, losing the habit of game-playing has meant I am a long way behind the curve.

However, every cloud has a silver lining.  My oldest returned from university enthused by role playing games in general and D&D 5e in particular. This has been something of a surprise as she had studiously ignored them - the virtues of education I suppose.  This has rekindled my own interest in dungeon-delving that has lain dormant for more years than I can count (any more!) and has led to a lot of trips down memory lane in the name of research and some modest investment in historical tomes. 5e was no good for me, I need to go all the way back to AD&D 1e.

I had originally planned to use one of the retro-clones as it appeared to be a free and easy way to re-visit my youth - my AD&D books had long since been consigned to the charity shops.  OSRIC looks to be an excellent re-birth of AD&D 1e and very much a labour of love.  However, in the end I decided I "needed" the originals and so a quick foray onto eBay resulted in a quick and reasonably priced purchase of the Players Handbook and Dungeon Masters Guide - a pleasant surprise as some of the prices appeared ridiculously high especially as you can purchase PDF or even hard copies of the originals at Dungeon Masters Guild.  I picked up a PDF version of the Monster Manual in this way as well as one of the "classic" adventure modules, the "Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh".  Delving into the two books reminded me of the excitement of the early days, coupled with the inevitable confusion resulting from the rather disorganised approach of the originals.  Also, thanks to a Google search I was able to pick up some of the classic White Dwarf adventures from the 80s which will provide a simple introduction to my players aka as my children (two of whom are decidedly adult).

In preparation for the game I felt I had to create one of my own characters to remind myself of the rules.  To this I decided I would add some characterisation using one of the role playing aids I have downloaded from the excellent RPGNow.  BOLD or the Book of Legends and Deeds from Conjecture Games provided a really helpful framework for setting out a believable history for my trial character, a cleric who had temporarily joined an heretical sect who later found it to be a cover for an evil power and had returned to the faith, albeit still an outcast.  It was not a background I would  necessarily have made up, at least not so quickly, and it might provide further hooks in the future.

I also took a look at the adventure I intend to run, "The Lichway" from way back when White Dwarf was a gaming magazine.  It was very much a product of its time and I am sure I would not have batted an eye-lid at its idiosyncrasies of monster placement and background.  Now I felt I had to add a little characterisation to some of the NPC to make it a little more interesting.  It was also an excuse to use UNE, Conjecture Games Universal NPC Emulator.  This again proved to be a pretty quick and easy way to add some depth to the NPC, which hopefully the players will leave alive long enough to interact with.

So that brings me to the end of this report.  I think I will make AD&D one of my Six-by-Six Challenge games and I will update my choices accordingly.  And because of the gaming effort expended so far, I think this will count as my first session.


  1. Which game will you drop from your challenge? I need to update my list. Thanks.

    1. DBR and AMW are both ay zero plays, so one of them, I guess?

    2. I'm dropping DBR. AMW just seems to "work out of the box" rather better than DBR - which is probably it's been sitting on the shelf for so many years