Saturday, November 5, 2011

Against the Giants

So here's the thing about being a DM growing up in a small town.  You might not get to play a lot, if there's not a big pool of people who want to run a game.

I didn't start playing until the school year prior to the release of 2E, so I know that I am on the young-ish side of the OSR.  There was a dichotomy in the product; the books were great, the support material sucked. 

At the time I didn't know anything about the politics of Gygax.  All I knew was the PHB and DMG were like steroids for my imagination.  I could sit and read them for hours, and then go off and make a dungeon for the weekend. 

But whenever I bought a module they uniformly sucked.  And I was more than a little disappointed that whoever was writing these modules was getting paid for what I saw as going through the motions, when I compared back to the rulebooks themselves.

This was 1988-89.  Like I said, small town, so small-town bookstore.  Not a FLGS.  They had some D&D stuff, but it was whatever was current product.  At that time, that meant top-notch stuff like Adventure Pack I, Tales of the Outer Planes and The Book of Lairs II.  My first exposure to AD&D was as a player in the U series, so a drop off in quality was evident.  Dragon was not a part of my life yet, so I was not aware of an impending 2nd edition. 

As mentioned, I was more of a drafted DM at first than a natural one; I wanted to play!  I wanted to replicate the fun I had going through the U series with my mighty wizard Whatever-the-Hell-His-Name-Was!  So when I discovered used product in the comic/game shops of bigger towns I hoarded the classic adventures, but didn't run them for my players. 

Fat lot of good that did me.  Twenty+ years later and I still have never played as a PC through any other TSR adventures.  I've never read them, though I own them all now (and most of them then), to preserve my presumed play experience when I came across a group who wanted to run them.  For various reasons, that hasn't happened.  Most times, 1E groups I was able to join later as a player had all "been there, done that".  They weren't interested.

But a few weeks ago, Stuart was nice enough (and mildly shocked enough) upon discovering my predicament to run a game through if we could find enough players.  As K&KA is not a place with a lot of RPG rookies, I didn't know if four or five players could be found.  But the responses to the thread came in fairly quickly, after two of us had admitted never having gone through the giants series, and it turned out that a fair number of us hadn't.  Once again, something I thought everyone else had done, wasn't true at all.

So we got a Google+ game together.  We've had two sessions so far, and it's been fantastic.  Stuart uses pre-gens, as it's not really a campaign, but I really like my Illusionist/Thief.  We're recording it, but I don't think the recordings are up yet so I can't link to it.  I hadn't used Google+ before, but it's so simple and easy it's like falling down after hitting the Guinness. 

Now I'm hoping that this means I won't be stuck wishing I could play AD&D again, without an outlet.  I see the Constant-Con references, and I'm going to check that out more.  I would really prefer a campaign style where I get to start a character from scratch, and keep the same group together through a succession of adventures.  I don't know if there are those types of games amongst the pick-up style that seems to be the majority there. 

But this technology makes me feel like a game-player, as opposed to a game-reader again.  And I like it.

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