Well, the vagaries of life (overwork and illness) caused the cancellation of another game in Freeport. I probably could have forced the issue and played with the 3.5 players there (one had a huge headache which implied he was coming down with something, so he wouldn't have been as focused as he could have been), but I chose to call the game in the hopes that the next one will happen. I'm prepped, almost over-prepped, for the game. This one should present a lot of clues and hints for the main adventure plus several possible side treks. We'll see how well it works when I finally get a chance to run it.
So, this next bit is just me working on some ideas about gaming and gaming stuff and expenses and such. My mind has been percolating on some of these things for over a year now and I think I'm finally at the point to try to get a handle on my gaming wants, needs, and plans for the future (not necessarily in that order).
Wants: I would like to have a system that's easy to run and play. I don't want a lot of fiddly bits and I don't want a rulebook which is too much over 100 pages, total. In fact, the fewer pages it has, the better because I don't want to frighten off potential first time gamers with a huge rule book. Also, it's got to be easy to read because I want to encourage the 5th to 8th grade kids to read it. (I sponsor a gaming club at my school. Since it's an all boys school, getting them interested in fantasy is easy. Getting them to read the rules is hard.) I also want only a few classes so that the character is determined by the player, not the choices of skills, feats, powers, etc. I want the ability scores to mean something, but not be the focus of the character. I want the majority of the game to be based upon the imagination and creativity of the player, not the numbers written on the character sheet.
Needs: I need to stop buying gaming rule books. I looked through my library and I have over 20 variations of D&D or AD&D or its competitors. I have at least a dozen different game worlds. I'm just overloaded with stuff. I have enough things that I can run games daily, from now until I die, and still not repeat a game. So, why should I buy into a new Kickstarter for a ruleset or gameworld or even gaming item? No offense, publishers, but what do you have that I really, honestly, cannot game without?
Plans: I think I'm going to go through all those different game systems and see if I can boil something down that I like. I am going to try to categorize the modules I have so I can find what I'm looking for more easily as well as have a better idea of what all I can throw at a group. I'm also going to go through all the pdf's I've got of all the different tables and such and see if I can organize them better into a DM book that's searchable and useable at the table. This will probably mean selling off some stuff. I think I'm okay with that. Hoarding has gotten a negative connotation of late....
So, what does this all boil down to? Well, I know my gaming background is such that I don't see enough of a difference between any of the versions of D&D from 0e to 2nd ed to warrant being picky about how a character is rolled up or how he/she advances. The monsters are effectively the same. I know hp and attack rolls differ a bit, but not by a huge amount at the earlier levels. I'll probably use most of the original stuff instead of the retro clones because the parts I like to throw into a game are the bits that are copyrighted and can't be put into the retros. However, retros are great because their relatively easy to find. Thus, I guess that unless my groups push for something different, I'm going to pretty much use a version of S&W as my core ruleset and pick up any module that's roughly level equivalent. But this also means that at such events like the NTRPG, unless there's an old module that I don't have, I don't think I'll be buying anything. Not only that, but I'm only thinking of trying out games with systems I've never run (like DCCRPG, T&T, and Runequest). Kinda limits my options there, but that's okay too. I've got two good gaming groups and they keep me busy enough. And that's not counting the two clubs at the school that I run for. I'm good for a while.