Well, one of the kids is now in college so I've had to pick up some extra work to help pay for the out-of-state tuition. This means fewer moments of reflection about gaming and even less time for posting here. But I'll try to do better.
Last night, enough of the group gathered together that we could have a quorum. One was missing due to flu. Another was finishing up a final exam. While it would be nice to have one or two more who would be interested in playing so we could always have a full contingent, there would not be enough physical room around the table if everyone were to show up then. Right now, if everyone showed up for a game, the table is full (6 players). Maybe if I can find a good-sized boardroom/conference table, I can then up the number of players with less fear of everyone being here at once. Another item for possible future purchase....
Anyway, back to the story....
Short synopsis: A year and a half ago, Dad passed on. At that time, I was alternately gaming in a Pathfinder campaign and trying to get a group of Old School grognards together for some OD&D or B/X or AD&D gaming. As each game night approached, I discovered certain levels of reluctance to game. I dreaded each PF game as I knew that the campaign world was interesting but had taken a turn toward more combat and less exploration and roleplay. While the other group had hit a low note because some just didn't want to really play but just wanted to blow off steam and talk. I missed gaming, especially the games I remembered as I got involved in this hobby. I blame no one for the direction the game nights took nor do I think poorly of anyone at the table each session, in either group. It was all internal. I was dissatisfied and it was pretty much my own fault. So, I did the only logical thing I could do. I took a hiatus from gaming until I could figure out what my problem was.
The Journey: As of August, Dad had been gone a year and I had sorted through most of his effects. In the year he was gone, the most gaming I had done was at the NTRPG con. I played in 5 games over that weekend. I left an open invitation for the gaming guys to come by and kibitz or maybe play a board game, but no serious gaming took place. I started going through my collection of stuff and culling out the things I had no interest in playing anymore. I sold a lot of my 3.0 and 3.5 stuff to Noble Knight Games, and I'm sure they made a pretty penny off of it. I didn't care. I was done with heavy rulesets and I wanted the fun I had when I ran games back in college. That's when I came across my thick folder of notes and such from the game I ran during my last year of college and then restarted and ran through my time in graduate school. It was like a ray of sunshine on a cold dark day. My spirits lifted and all the wonderful memories came flooding back. This was fun. This was challenging. This was what I wanted back.
The Decision: For the next few weeks, I looked through it all and tried to sort it into a more organized mess than it was. Along the way, I decided that this is what I wanted to play and run. And I didn't care if no one else in either group wanted to play, I was going to run this. House-ruled 1e AD&D. Basically a mix of OD&D, Judges Guild, and 1e. Stuff I didn't like got tossed. Stuff that I thought was broken was "fixed" to my contentment. And to those that argued that something "wasn't logical"...hello!...fantasy world! It's not logical, but it's self consistent as I view it. And as it's my world, I created it, it's consistent in my view. Deal with it.
The Game: Now a few months went by before we got a quorum for gaming. Last night, we started. I ran them through the Training Area of Tandok. A simple 1st level dungeon I developed to teach people how to play the 1e game. It's silly and fun, full of tricks and traps and strange monsters. The premise is that the group are apprentices who are undergoing their "final exam" of dungeoneering before graduating. Of course, if you die, you didn't deserve to graduate. While it is not a "killer dungeon", it can be deadly to those who do not practice resource management or thoughtful exploration. The group made it through about 15 rooms, picking up 6 goblin torchbearers/pack carriers. An encounter with 2 bugbears dropped one of the fighters and almost dropped the ranger. An exploding gas trap almost took out the mage, but then the thief put it to use to kill 4 large spiders. They managed to kill 4 hobgoblins, 6 centipedes, 2 bugbears, 3 stirges, and overcome about 8 different traps. They've found plenty of equipment to replenish and expand their stock, as well as some gold and a spellbook. About half of the 1st level is explored but one hobgoblin got away and might be lurking further in, or gathering a strike force to come back. We'll see what happens next time!
Due to the holidays, the next game probably won't be until the first Friday of January. I'll write up more then!