One of my stated goals for 2014 was to begin playing Dungeons and Dragons again. Actually, my goal was a bit more lofty than just playing D&D. I set the bar high by tasking myself with playing games in several different formats: Moldvay, Mentzer, AD&D, and even 5th Edition. Since I live on an island I'm fairly isolated from the gaming community. So as an additional goal, playing in a virtual environment was also included (a necessary inclusion, I might add).
Well I'm happy to say that I've been able to knock out not one, but two goals over the last several weeks. That's right! This guy has game! Now bring on them kobolds!
I responded to a Google+ post seeking players for a Moldvay Basic campaign set in the World of Greyhawk. At first I was a bit worried. There were a few house rules being added that I felt could possibly change the character of the game. After speaking with the organizer/DM and being assured that the new rules would not change the overall flavor of the Moldvay set, I agreed to take part. I'm so glad that I did. We have been playing every Thursday night over Google Hangouts and the experience has been everything that I had hoped for. We've had taverns, goblin battles, intrigue, roleplaying, character death, and magic. I can't even begin to explain the rush of nostalgia I feel when we get together for our sessions.
I'm playing an elf. I actually dislike playing elves (for reasons that I may explain in another post) but I chose to create one for this campaign for two reasons. The first reason was based upon my desire to recreate that magic I experienced on that first night back in 1982. I played an elf that night and I thought it would provide perfect historical symmetry to play one again upon my return to D&D. The second reason was more of a logistical choice though. At the time I joined the group, we still did not have a magic-user and were low on fighter types. Due to the high mortality rate of Moldvay Basic D&D, I did not want to play a regular squishy magic-user. I thought that by choosing an elf I could provide some much needed magic while still adding some brute force and fire power. We did gain a true wizard shortly thereafter but by then my decision (and my character) was made.
The campaign is taking place west of Woolly Bay in the foothills of the Abbor Alz. The DM has heavily modified a commercial adventure and set it in Greyhawk. I must say that he has done well with his conversion. His setting fits organically with the original and had I not known otherwise, I would swear that the town of Skogenby had always existed in that location. It has been fun to have Greyhawk as the background setting. Though we have not ventured away from our starting area, elements of Greyhawk proper have crept into our game. For instance, our party recently stumbled upon several ancient texts written in Old Oeridian. It may sound simple, but for me the inclusion of a Greyhawk language in our session last Thursday opened a floodgate of memories for me. I can't wait to see what else the world has to offer after my long absence. Did I mention that I love this game?
The DM's house rules also fit well. At first I was worried that having multiple house rules would detract from the Moldvay set. I wanted as pure an experience as I could get for my return. But after the first session I quickly realized that the rules added by the DM only enhanced Moldvay instead of tainting it. I'm happy with the additions and may actually steal a few of the new rules when I begin DMing again. I will list them in a future post if anyone is interested.
Fortunately my character hasn't died yet. After six game sessions I'm still only first level though (damn that 4,000 XP mark for elves) so my longevity could easily change on any given night. I'm trying to play intelligently to keep him alive but I can't control fate or the dice. My elf has been in some sticky situations but so far has come out relatively unscathed. Wish me luck for tomorrow night's expedition.
I hope readers will forgive me for posting more about this campaign from time to time. I'm having such a blast that I can't help but want to share my experiences with others. I wish you could all be there and take part (especially my frequent commenters).
So....two more goals down! Now I need to find other games so that I can return to the other systems.
I'll close for now, but as always I'd like to leave you with a few questions:
* Do you prefer "pure" D&D or are house rules the norm?
* What is the best/favorite house rule you've encountered in your games?
* How about the worst?
* Are you aware of any Mentzer, AD&D, or 5th Edition games that are seeking players?
Thanks for you participation and comments. Most of all, thanks for reading!