Sunday, 31 January 2016

B1: In Search of WTF.

So as part of getting my Mystara game up and running, I am going through the B-Series, to see which parts can be put to use. I am going to be starting with B-1 In search of the unknown.

An oddity of a teaching tool
In Search of the Unknown presents itself up as something of a teaching tool, using a stock your own dungeon mechanic, but in this area, it really doesn't come close to Zanzer's dungeon.

In Search of the Unknown does very little to break down and slowly introduce the games mechanics, and while the choose your own adventure in basic, with which B1 was packaged,  had covered some of this function, I think the black box does a much better job of teaching the game.

Background and emergent narrative detail
The background of B1 In search of the Unknown can be summed up as:

Two powerful adventurers built a fortress inside a big rock. Before it was finished, 
they disappeared off to fight some barbarians.

To say this is light, is an understatement. Things arn't that much improved either by the legends, or the emergent narrative details of the dungeon. We learn the wizard is doing  research, which is super unsurprising, and that Warrior had a mistress and a favored companion. The Oldenhaller Contract, it is not. If I were going to run it, this would need to change.

Map
There are some cool maps in the early days of DnD. This is not one of them. Any running of this would require a remapping of the adventure site into something more interesting and reasonable..


Descriptions
So far, I have generally been pretty down on this scenario, but don't get the impression that I do not like it per say.  The adventure is full of awesome material, in the form of description and set dressing. While the adventure lacks a story dig your teeth into, it has some cool room descriptions to make use of, such as the entrance way with its magic mouths and hidden sally points. On top of this, the description of the adventure site itself is super cool.

Monsters
The adventures stock your own dungeon monsters and wandering monsters are entirely adequate, but nothing to write home about. However, they arn't especially well thematically linked to the site.

Traps
There are a number of pretty good traps, especially the laughing gas.

Conclusion: 
This adventure has some potential, but it needs work. two possible approaches present themselves.

The first is the easiest. salvage the best material from the adventure and get rid of the rest. I would probably steal the material from the wizards section  of the adventure site and some utilitarian rooms and place them in a small fort. Then add some thematically appropriate monsters.

Alternatively, a complete overhall could be done. A new backstory and emmergent narrative, in which the owners disappeared suddenly some time ago, and the adventurers are sent out to find out what happen could work, especially if, once they arrive, the site shows signs that the wizard and the warrior had fallen out, and turned on one another, resulting in a battle within the  dungeon, which killed both and the majority of their servants. It would require re-mapping the sight, generating a tighter focused set of encounters, and some alterations to room descriptions.

My over all decision? A complete overhaul into a Mega-dungeon!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Basic Design 6: Unicorn Parasite

In the dead of night  they move, crawling along through the wet grass, until they find a suitable host.

Despite the illusions of fae mystery that may come with the term unicorn, unicorn parasite  as things of pure horror. Exo-parasites that hijack  other species, turning them into methodical murderers or frenzied killers, with a range of magical powers and raw strength.

Female Unicorn parasites infect a host and then, drive them to carefully and methodically kill, depositing the dead in secluded covered areas, covering them in a mucus, which prevents the bodies from being eaten or rotting. These bodies are a larder for juveniles.

Males on the other hand drive their hosts to frantically search for a female, killing anything that they come into contact with. In this way, they can ensure that there are fewer people around to  discover the nest. Once the pair mate, the female dies and the male, or males guard the larder.
 
Creatures implanted with a unicorn Parasite add +2 to hit and damage, can see invisible creatures at all times, and can cast game Armour upto 3 times a day and Web once a day. Add *** to their hit dice and adjust their exp accordingly.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Basic Design 5: Pipe of the Trickster

Not all wizards are mighty, not all wizards shake the world with their passing. Many in fact are quite middling, and some in fact, never amount to very much. Such was the case with Talbot Lamp, a wandering wizard, who after having been cast out as useless by his mentor,  made his living with conjuring tricks and scribe work, wherever he went. However, there is one detail of his story that is entirely incongruous. For their are tails of magical workings he performed which no gutter mage should know. The source of these discrepancies was his pipe, an item stolen from his master as a parting shot.
When stuffed with good tobacco and smoked, the pipe allows for a number of effects to be conjured up.

-Once per day the smoker can target a group of of  up to ten 1 hit die monsters and prevent them from finding their way to their destination on this attempt. To be able to successfully find the location they are looking for, the must first give up and them later try again.

-The tobacco smoke can be coaxed into all manner of outlandish but temporyshapes, including such creatures as dragons.

- Cause illusionary flames to spring up. On the first turn, there is a scent of illusionary scent of burning, a sense of heat, and a few puffs of heat, on the second turn the flame bursts into life. the flames are warm and mildly painful to any creature touching them, but the do no damage and can be dowsed almost immediately with a little effort. This illusionary flame cannot under any circumstances ignite secondary fires.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Looking at 'Escape from Zanzer's Dungeon'

Escape from Zanzer's Dungeon was the first adventure I ever played. It makes a kind of sense that it be the adventure that brings my group into a B/X campaign. So lets take a look at it...

Teaching Tool
Escape from Zanzer's Dungeon is at its core, a teaching tool. In each of the four sections of the adventure introduces a small number of rules and lets the players play with for a short while to get the hange of them

Part 1:  Covers basic role-playing, how attributes work, and the basic dice mechanic and basic combat mechanic (roll to hit, hit points, damage and Initiative).

Part 2: Covers classes(excluding the magic user),  Combat (including armour class THAC0, weapons and ranged attacks)

Part 3: Covers the basics of traps, magc, magic users, moral, saving throws and encumbrance.

Part 4: Largely gets the players to put everything they have already learned to use. On the Dms side of the table, this section takes some time to teach about stocking dungeons.

Given that of my players, I know of only one definitely having played B/X ever, and both of use having not played it in years and year, it seems pretty reasonable to start the campaign with this kind of scenario.

What's going on.
Zanzer is a slaver who has kidnapped victims, and stuffed them into his salt mines, where he intend to work them to death. Zanzer employs humanoids to defend his mine and dungeon.

It is a pretty minimalist plot, and yet by the standards of some of the B-series adventures, it is an epic in with regards to the amount of explicit narrative it contains. That said, I want the initial episode to be fairly light on plot. It should exists as a shared challenge, to help bind the party together into one.

That said, I want to tie this adventure into one of the wider plots, so on the corpse of Zanzer Tem, the party will discover a letter connecting Zanzer Tem to the conspiracy from plot 1.


Location.
Strictly, Zanzer's dungeon is set in thunder rift, but I'll be moving it to the Grand Duchy of Karameikos.  In my campaign, the salt mine will be located beneath Stallanford, as a way to open up King's Festival as a possible second adventure, as well as assault on raven's ruin, which I intend to set near stallanford. That will mean I also need to place a Hook, in Stallenford, or the dungeon, to give the PCs reason to travel to Threshold, where I will be setting Castle Caldwell, and to give them access to the Caves of Chaos.

Agency.
The greatest weakness of this scenario is the lack of real agency on the part of the PCs which dominates this scenario. The it a very linier pathway through the first two thirds of the adventure, with very few meaningful choices to be made in the entire adventure. That could easily leave my players a little bored and frustrated. However, it is a pretty short adventure and the rails here play a useful role, in helping to teach the Player the rules. .

Gold
There is a startling large amount of gold availible in Zanzer's dungeon, and very little of it actually comes in a form that is interesting. So, before running this, I am going to need to cut down the amount of  available, while making the remainder more interesting.

Stock your own adventure
Rooms 24 through to 28 are left empty for the DM to practice stocking the dungeon. I am thinking Rooms 25 and 26 seem like strong contenders for barracks rooms for the dungeons guards, while 24 and 27 might makes a good place for an ambush or trap. Room 28  is weird thanks to the ways its doors are setup. I shall have to think about what to do with it.

Conclusions

Zanzer's dungeon might be light on a strong backstory, but the scenario in which the characters find themselves means that there should be a good emergent narrative. It is a really good teaching tool, and should make a cool kick off to the campaign.

.


Basic Design 4: The Terrible Wandering City of Zar

 Atop the cold plateau of Marrax, the wandering city of Zar rests, it has not moved for two hundred years, but the nomads of the lowlands still speak of the days in which the dread city walked across the wastes, on it's great metal tendrils. They speak of how the Wizards of Zar, wiped clean all settled civiliations form their continent. They speak of the cities slaughtered en mass, and at important moments of life, the nomads take their young into the ruined cities, to see the mounds of bone, so that they might fully understand, why it is that staying to long in any one places means death.
For, even now, the Wizards of Zar and their automaton servants range out from the city, taking whatever resources they wish, and hunting the nomad peoples with impunity.

The wandering city of Zar, reaches up toward the skym it is held aloft by thousands of metal tenticles, that act in unison to allow it to crawl across the land. Near the top, dozens of  domed pods and large tanks are carried, and it is here that the wizards of Zar reside. Many of them have become part of the city, huge networks of enslave minds turning them into something truely post human, while other have joined themselves together, becoming gestalts, which terrify even their own kind.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Basic Design 3: The Staff of Dogmor Vax

There are few staffs which bare such close ties to 
Chaos, as the  staff of Dogmor Vax. The staff is 
suffused with the power of chaos. When wielded by 
chaotic magic users, this raw power can be
drawn upon to fuel spell casting, but only at a
terrible price; one that ensure the corruption and slow destruction.

The staff of Dogmor Vax functions as a staff +1 in combat, however, when it strikes a lawful creature, it does an additional 1D3 points of damage that cannot be healed by any means short of a cureall spell.

All Chaotic creatures within 30' receive a +1 to hit in combat, thanks to the aura of chaos that seeps from the staff.
When the wielder casts a spell a spell which causes damage, the wielder may channel it through the staff, dealing 2D6 extra damage with the spell. However, when ever the user does this, they risk being altered by the staffs power. 

When channelling a spell through the staff, a magic user must make a D6 roll on the following table. Lawful and neutral character must add two to their roll

1-2: no ill effect
3: Mutated. The caster suffers some significant but cosmic alteration to their appearance; they grow thick fur or scales for instance
4: A set of Chaotic runes sear themselves into the casters flesh, causing 1D6 damage, and leaving permanent scars.
5: A limb becomes heavily mutated (odds arm, evens leg). If this mutation is to an arm, the caster suffers a -1 to all attempts to hit with that arm. If it is to a leg, their movement is reduced by 5'
6: The caster looses a point constitution, as their body rebels against them in a series of hideous mutation.  
7: Screaming agony, for the next  1D10 round they can do nothing but scream in agony as their body undergoes terrible twisting and writhing.
8: Monstrocity. The caster is turned into a monster of the DMs choice, and driven beyond reason.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Basic Design 2: Slavers of Zar

The Wizards of Zar lived in the shadows for nearly two centuries. Then, as they began to loose what cold and inhuman hope they ever had, that they would ever again rise to power within the city of Zar, they made a new discovery. The learned that they could harvest human brains, elevating them to immortality, and then, provided they subject was a non-magic user, their mental machinery of their brain could be enslaved and used as part of a network of thought. New, inhuman levels of intellect, offer strange new vistas to the wizards of Zar, Slowly, carefully, the began to enslave minds. Soon, the most powerful wizards of Zar amounted to a mind made up of hundreds of brains, thinking in unison. However, to think in this manner, the wizard had to give up much mobility and in essense, all semblance of human thought while engaged in it, so it was that the most powerful of the wizards of Zar tasked the less powerful of their number to go out into the world and enslave more minds. Those were born the Slavers of Zar.  The Slavers are members of cabal who carry with them a network of perhaps a dozen brains. They are terrible and powerful, but still mobile and able to think in a manner that considers issues such as cities, nations and human action. In many ways, the Slavers of Zar are the leaders of the society, for it is they that have the right combination of power and interest in earthly affairs. It was they who rose up to destroy old city of Zar, and they who raisse the new awesome and terrible walking city in its place, with the enslavement of a n entire city.

Slaver of Zar
Armor Class: 0/2/4
Hit Dice: 8***
Move:  10'
     Flying 30'
Attacks: 8 tentacles or 1 spell
Damage: 1D3 each
No. Appearing: 1 -3
Save As: Magic-User 8
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 18
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 2300

Slavers of Zar can cast spells as a magic-user (level equal to its Hit Dice). They take half damage from non-magical weapons. Attacks directed against the Acolyte's of Zar's body are made against AC 4. Attacks against the Slavers primary brain jar, as made against AC 0, however each successful hit has a 1 in Six chance of shattering the Jar, killing the Acolyte outright. In addition to their primary  brain jar (6 HD), a slaver has one brain jar/HD after 6. Attacks against these are made at AC 2, and successful attacks against them have a 1 in 6 chance of destroying the brain jar. Each time a slaver loses an auxillary brain jar, it looses one effective level of magic user.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Basic Design 1: Wizards of Zar

For some wizards,undeath is simply not an acceptable solution to the problem of death.

In the city of Zar, an eon ago, a cabal of wizards found what they considered to be, a better path. Their solution, a magical elixir that ensured the preservation of the brain indefinitely. Moreover, the brain did not die, the spirit did not leave the body and no necromancy was involved. The crowning achievement of the experiment was, that in this state, thought continued uninterrupted. It however, was not a process without issues. The elixir only preserved the brain and spinal cord, and the presence of the rest of the body, slowly decaying in the elixar would eventually poison the brain, the new condition lacked sensory input would be locked into their own minds, but these challenges  were all things which could be over come with time and research. Certainly, to the minds of the Wizards of Zar, the process was superior to death in every way. For, with time and research, surely it would be possible to return the brains to new, truly immortal and perfectly crafted bodies

Over the span of fifty years, the group toiled, growing progressively older, and in many cases coming so close to death that they embraced the process, hoping their brothers would continue the work without them. But slowly but surely progress was made.  Visual senses came most quickly, then simple clumsy manipulators (Many of the early adopters became obsessive readers), hearing and soon afterwards speech followed.

Fifty years after the discovery of the elixar, Voquar  the maker started a new Renaissance in the cabals development, with new forms of locomotion and refinement of sensory inputs, he even started to crack the senses of smell and the finer detail of touch. However, many of the longest elevated members of the cabal were, by this time, quite mad in their isolation from meaningful human contact.
They were led by the individual who would become known as  Xarcan of the void, a the first to embrace elevation, He had spend a long period in deep isolation and had reported having had profound experiences while so deprived. He preached a philosophy of aesthetic purity and pure logic upon the restoration of his voice and had won many followers amongst the early elevated. When the battle was his, he forcibly shut down the senses of all the elevates who had opposed him, and forcibly elevating all the remaining cabal members save Voquar, whom, he set to researching inreasingly inhuman and strange senses and motive technologies.

Slowly, but surely, the wizards became less and less human, their bodies taking on increasingly octopoid forms, more amd more monsterous to the eyes of their fellow citizens, until their order was banned, and a pogrom launched against them, forcing them into hiding ...


Acolyte of Zar
Armor Class: 2/4
Hit Dice: 3
Move:  30'
     Flying 10'
Attacks: 8 tentacles
Damage: 1D3 each
No. Appearing: 1-3
Save As: Magic-User 3
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 14
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 65

Acolytes of Zar can cast spells as a level three magic-user. They take half damage from non-magical weapons. Attacks directed against the Acolyte's of Zar's body are made against AC 4, while attacks against their brain jar are made against AC 2, however each successful hit has a 1 in six chance of shattering the Jar, killing the Acolyte outright.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Fatigue and Stress

While talking about money, I left out one really important subject matter. FOOD!!!

Food, drink, drugs, entertainment and companionship, all play a huge part fantasy fiction, from Tolkien and Howard, through to Martin and Jacques. But they don't, as a rule, play a big part in RPGs. I think this is probably because they don't play much of a role in the games system, not because they are unimportant.

Meanwhile, adventurers live lives no one should envy. Even playing pretend adventurer in a field for a weekend is exhausting. So it shouldn't take a great deal of imagination to suppose that doing it for real, without decent food supplies would be a very unpleasant death sentence. Moreover, the activities which adventurer engage in must be harrowing beyond word, from confronting the risen dead, to being forced to take the lives of other sentient beings.

Fatigue and Stress my way of reflecting the slow depletion of an adventurers effectiveness, thanks to the physical and mental exhaustion of adventuring. As these two condition attributes rise, things get harder from the adventurers.  For every of five points of stress or five points of fatigue, the adventurer suffers a cumulative -1 to hit on attack rolls, and a cumulative 5% chance of their spells failing. So for example: if Starwind the elf has 7 Fatigue and 13 Stress, their player would suffer a -3 to hit on attack rolls and a 15% chance of spell failure.

Gaining Stress and Fatigue

There are a number of ways to gain Stress and Fatigue.

Each day you gain 1 fatigue, however you gain additionalfatigue  by:
  • Travelling a short distance (+1)
  • Travelling a Long distance (+2)
  • If the weather has been unpleasant (+1)
  • If the weather has been bad (+2)
  • If you have engaged in combat. (+2)
  • eating poor rations (+1)
  • going without food for a day (+2)


You gain stress when:
  • you are engaged in combat (+1)
  • when you encounter supernatural monsters (+1)
  • when the party falls pray to a trap (+1)


Dealing with Fatigue
A character removes 1 point of fatigue naturally each day, so long as they get atleast 6 hours undisturbed sleep and at least common rations. This rate can be improved by:

  • Eating good rations for a day removes 1 point of fatigue. 
  • Eating a hearty, cooked meal removes 2 points of fatigue. 
  • Each night slept in a proper bed removes 2 points of fatigue.
  • A rest day, in which no strenous activity takes place removes 1 point of fatigue.  


Dealing with Stress
A person naturally heals one point of stress each week. There are a number of ways to further reduces stress.

  • getting drunk or high removes 1 point of Stress.
  • having sex removes 1 point of Stress. 
  • having sex with someone to whom the character has a meaningful romantic connection removes 2 point of Stress.
  • listening to a great bard or storyteller for an hour removes 1 point of Stress. 
  • A bathing removes 1 point of Stress.
  • games of skill or chance remove 1 point of Stress 


Now to make some Stress, Fatigue and Rations cards.




Friday, 22 January 2016

Gold!!!

I think it is fair to say, that when I was 8 years old, the idea of successfully liberating hundreds of coins of purest gold from a deep dark dungeon, held a great deal of appeal to me.

I'll be honest, these days, when it comes to money in RPGs, I prefer to be scrabbling to get together the food I need for survival, let alone the purchase of better equipment (which is a big part of the reason I am seriously looking forward to +Caleb StokesRed Markets. It is a game about economic horror and zombies.)

The economy of Basic is just plain old weird. In an adventure like Castle Caldwell, the PCs earn thousands of GP, yet a fighter can purchase all they might conceivably need for a few hundred gold pieces. While their are some high priced purchases that will certainly eat up gold, such as fortifications and ships, these are not the stuff that I especially wan
t the early game to be about. Then you have the fact that every dungeon being full of vast amounts of wealth, entirely removes any sense of awe of larger hauls of loot. Or that the lack of scarcity means that copper, and silver coins might as well not exist.

And all that is without taking into account the fact that the GP counts as EXP, with the level of treasure given out being more than enough to push a character up a level

So I am going to need to take a spanner to the economics.

The plan

  1. De-decimalise the currency.
  2. Modify the haul of loot from dungeons.
  3. Make loot interesting.
  4. Alter the EXP to GP relationship.
  5. Give the PCs things to spend money on that matter in the early game.
Pennies, Shillings and Crowns
There comes a moment in many adventures where the PC discover a few thousand copper coins. In reality, all they are actually finding is a small number of gold coins in an cumbersome and time consuming form.

Copper and even silver coins have historically served little to no purpose in DnD. Either they should be made to matter, or they should be gotten rid of.

I happen to value the existence of such coins, so I would rather make them matter than get rid of them.  First step. Give them a little more character. Lets go with  Pennies (Copper), Shillings(Silver), and Crowns(Gold).

20 Pennies to 1 Shilling.
12 shilling to 1 Crown.

With a stronger character applied to each type of coin, it then time to start differentiating between the uses of different types of coin.

Crowns tend to be used to pay for land, trade, ships, magic and training.
Shillings tend to be used to pay for livestock, high value equipment, hireling wages and travel.
Pennies tend to be used to pay for hospitality, food and low value equipment.

A village trader, just can't easily break a gold coin into change, and moneylenders charge for breaking coins. The for, it is always useful to have a supply of pennies and shillings on hand



Modify the haul of loot from dungeons
The second step in making the humble copper piece matter is a general lowering of general wealth level. Scarcity means that the smaller economic interactions matter more.

Make loot interesting.Coin is dull. Trade goods, Art, Jewelry, are all potentially more interesting. The reasons for this greater level of interest can be varied. Trade good might help the PCs work towards some goal, or present a logistical obstacle to being retrieved.  Art and jewelry might have a story to it that the characters can investigate, or have differential values, depending on the circumstances in which it is sold.

Alter the EXP to GP relationship. 
So, rather than just say, no, GP has no effect of level, which was my initial reaction, I think it would be interesting to allow characters to purchase training.

To do this, a PC my spend 1 Gold Crown and two days in training, in return and receive 10 exp. A PC can earn no more than 50 exp in one month by this manner.

Give the PCs things to spend money on that matter in the early game.
Money only matters if it gets spent. The changes I have planned for encumbrance offer one area where the PCs can improve their affairs, by purchasing better backpacks, pouches and other containers, so they are better able to manage loads in the dungeon or on the road. It should also but a greater emphasis on pack animals and hirelings.

I also want to explore ways to encourage characters to live the high life when they aren't adventuring, as well as giving them meaningful choices about what food they take with them on adventures.

Speaking of which...We need to talk about Food...That is what we'll cover next time.


P.S.:

I have mentioned this before, in the past elsewhere, but it needs saying again. If your interested in money in RPG systems and settings; the money is the root of all fun panel from gencon 2014, is well worth a listen

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Campaign outline.

Campaigns need settings, and to my mind there seems to be no more natural a setting choice than Mystara, and specifically , the grand duchy of Karameikos.

If you haven't yet come across the Atlas of Mystara, by +Thorfinn Tait  and the excellent efforts made with regards to mapping Karameikos, it is time to correct that. That map is going to be very useful in the days ahead. While I would prefer a map six mile hexes, it is by far the best map available to me.

Between the newbies guide at Pandius and GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos being available on drive thru RPG, there is a good amount of information of the setting out there. Perhaps, that is the wrong way to put it. What information is out their, while very limited is, very easy to read. While there is not a lot of information on Karameikos, that which there is, is singularly accessible. GAZ 1 may not be a long book, but I have a clearer idea of what Karameikos is like than any area of the forgotten realms I have learned about through the 3.5 campaign setting. The writing is simple and beautifully clear.

Thanks  In search of Adventure, a fair amount of the material from the B- Series is set in the Grand Duchy, which means Keep on the Borderlands and Caldwell Castle and beyond are on the table with some ease  Add to this the fact that King's festival and Queen's Harvest, were written to be set in the grand duchy. It is also a location that could conceivably play host to the three DnD adventures which most shaped my early life, Escape for Zanzer's dungeonAssault on raven's Ruin and Quest for the Silver Sword. All three are adventures I wish to include in my up coming campaign.

What is lacking, is a way to tie this material together, into a wider campaign that amounts to something more than a collection of things that happen one after another. While I wish the campaign to generate its own emergent narrative, as something of a sand box, I have no interest in just seeding the campaign world solely with purely independent and self contained adventures with no connection to one another. Better a mixture. Some adventures that are nothing more than isolated events, some that occur because of trends, and other that are tied to one another.

As a result, I have plans for two plot lines and a general trend. These are still in the earliest stages of development, but I thought you might find them interesting. It is possible that, as I read In search of Adventure, I might steal some connective tissue from there as well.

Plot 1: The conspiracy.
A group(possibly the Veiled society) is attempting to destabilize the duchy to grab a wider share of power in the young nation. Several adventures show some sign of the group being responsibility for the troubles the PCs a thwarting.

Plot 2: A crypt to call home.
One of the grand Duchy's Vampires has set out to establish a new lair. The PCs are one of the tools they are using to achieve it. Initially having them clear out the location of its new lair, and then setting them to various tasks that, without their knowledge, helps to secure the location.  

Trend: Humanoid threat.
Up in the black mountains, all manner of humanoid clans are gathering and swelling into a force that could well sweep down into the grand duchy.

Introductions

Welcome to 'Zanzer's dead, what next?', a blog where I ramble about classic D&D adventures.

I have had a long and varied relationship with roleplaying, but when you get down to it, everything started with the black box for me. My first exposure to the hobby came in the form of birthday,or possibly, a Christmas present. Forgive me please, if the exact details are a little hazy, for I was around 8 years old at the time, and about to enter into a period of life altering turmoil, as my family split apart and my father descended in alcoholism.


For a few years, I escaped into Thunders rift, pretending to be Pike, the fighter, as he took on such challenges as the quest for the silver sword or Assault on raven's ruin. Mystara proper, attracted some of my attention too (though I had no name for it at the time), as my elf Zera delved into Kavorquian's dungeon in queen's harvest. But the honest truth is, that I didn't get to play nearly as much basic as I would have liked. My father and a much older cousin initially GM'ed for me and some friends, but, the only people I knew who roleplayed regularly where a good deal older, and played a homebrew game and setting. So in holiday periods, I played a good deal with them, and in term time, I was a county away, and no one I knew played. Once I got to secondary school, things did not improve. My new school had a strong gaming culture, but it was one that played homebrew games and AD&D.   Then I discovered Call of Cthulhu and the World of Darkness. Basic was forgotten, save as a found memory.

Then the OSR happened, and I watched and was vaguely interested. I didn't get too involved for various reasons, but a year ago, I purchased a copy of the Black Box to replace the material I had had as a child.

Classic D&D is going to be the next campaign I run, so for the first time in more than 20 years, I am going to be delving into that material again in.

That is what this blog is about; taking material for Classic D&D and  prepping it for my home campaign.