Archive | January 2012

20 Questions…

1 – What is the deal with my cleric’s religion?

If you’re just starting out, you may be on a spiritual journey and addressing an – as yet – unknown deity. Otherwise, it’s likely that your god and its cult is rooted to a location on the map. Very few deities are at the point where they can extend their range beyond these limited and defined geographical territories.

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Clerics Vs. Magic Users

One of the hardest things people coming to the OSR, or old school, pre-1980 role playing games face is the issue of the “cleric.” These religious figures – who could utilize full armor, some weapons, and their own lists of spells and magic as “spiritual warriors”, confuse and annoy many gamers. The “cleric”, as a player class, bothered people even at D&D’s own start. The game’s unfairly neglected co-creator, David Arneson, did not use them at all in his earliest version.

I, however, feel that clerics have been unfairly maligned and that they can be, and indeed are, essential to OD&D and “old school gaming” in general.

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The Mythic & The New

When I was a kid, I was so wrapped up in Tolkien that I came to judge any other fantasy writer by the bar I felt he had set. This, believe it or not, was hardly an unusual perspective in the 1970s. Prior to Star Wars, Tolkien and Star Trek were really all most of us had.

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OSR Quiz

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?

I think my general ability to fuse the Outdoor Survival map with some of the material from the Judges Guild’s Ready Ref Sheets, while not an “invention” per se, is nonetheless something I am proud of. In the words of Tim Gunn, I “made it work.”

2. When was the last time you Gmed?

On MLK day – last Monday.

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Into The Woods

“Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.”

– Bertrand Russell

After spending about 90 minutes DMing an expedition yesterday – using the original Avalon Hill Outdoor Survival map, Swords & Wizardry: White Box, OD&D, and the Judges Guild Ready Ref Sheets – I saw again just how dangerous the wilderness can be. As the player character and NPCs moved through the woods at the clip provided, I dutifully rolled for random encounters. And, just as dutifully, they were assaulted by rats and centipedes, managed to skirt a tribe of hobgoblins and a sad collection of lost (and miserable) berserkers, just to go a relatively short distance towards their objective. It was, of course, some bad luck, but also instructive.

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Into The Wilderness

My old friend William was up in the Bay Area – visiting relatives over the holidays – and we got together to play some D&D.

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