Sunday, 31 October 2010

My Stuff

So what’s in My Stuff?

So far I have two goodies that I declare as OGL material. A B/X style DM screen and B/X style character sheets.

If I am going to DM KotB, after a long absence from DM duties, to a bunch of oldie-won kenoobies (AKA my friends) I figured I needed these two things as a start.

Dragon Master SCREEN
The B/X DM screen is inspired / drawn from a few key sources but in the end is my own interpretation of the rules and house ruled.

Rules: Moldvay Basic, Cook Expert and B/X Blackrazor’s Companion.

Design: Classic DM screens from my collection (I actually never owned one when I played), Classic D&D website, and Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game (Game Master’s screen by Scott Abraham and the Game Charts and Tables by Simone Felli)

I have provided my DM screen as a pdf with images I have bought from istockphoto (see Image License) and as a docx file with no images (avoiding copyright issues and allowing others to modify the screen as they wish).

The underlying philosophy was to include most of the rules for players in session (ie not character creation or level advancement) on 1 sheet of A4. That’s why it gives find secret doors, weapon damage on the character sheet. I want noobies to be able to see all the rule based actions they can attempt.  Naturally they can make many other suggestions in B/X play not covered by the rules, which will fall on me to adjudicate. It is a testimony to the rules light nature of B/X that this can even be attempted.

I don’t think I have created anything pretty here but hopefully I have achieved something serviceable. Additionally each character sheet is in docx format to allow easy modification by others.

My plan in the blog is to go through in detail both the DM screen and the character sheets over the next few weeks, as well as hopefully provide some other goodies as I plan my KotB DM attempt.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

What's this blog about?

My first D&D experience was with a magical little red box – Mentzer Basic D&D in 1983. Magical because, like Star Wars six years earlier, it defined my youth and young adult hood. Holmes and Moldvay, they are more recent discoveries, ones I never knew existed as a child.

Through secondary school I played a mismatch of Mentzer Basic D&D / Cook Expert D&D (dreamed of reaching Mentzer Companion Set) and lots of 1e AD&D. Unearthed Arcana – I scrimped and saved for you baby.

In my early 20s, toward the end of my D&D experience, I played sporadic AD&D and started to write that fantasy novel we all seem to have started but never finished. The only difference is I am still writing (and rewriting) the same novel 20 years later. Luckily writing is an old man’s sport; all my other dreams – astronaut, sporting captain (as if), saving the world- have past me by.  

Moving to the United Kingdom started a revival in my 2nd love. What else do you do in a nation of obsessive collectors? Finally a chance to read the D&D modules / books I could never afford as a child. Thank you eBay.

Sure I dabbled with Warhammer, collected some miniatures, tried to entice a few reluctant friends to play but D&D is where my imaginative heart lives.

My first awareness of the Old School RenaissanceRevival (OSR) was stumbling across Richard Tongue’s Fanzine OD&Dities. Wow – he published some good stuff. I even submitted an article to him – The Resurrection Society – just as he went into slumber after Issue 12. When OD&Dities awoke this year I resubmitted the article and Richard published it in Issue 15 and even paid me for my words! My first paid piece as a writer.

See my dream of being a fantasy writer isn’t totally unrewarded – just won’t be giving up the day job anytime soon.

OD&Dities went sadly back to sleep after Issue 15 – sorry Richard, I hope you don’t regret buying my submission.

More recent inspirations are well known to the OSR community.

And my daily bread - JB's B/X Blackrazor.

My copy of B/X Companion is now a proud part of my D&D canon. JB has been kind enough to respond to a few of my emails over the last few months when I showed him some of the stuff I have made following his inspiration. He asked if I have a blog or something to share my work. And so – here it is.

Blog Purpose Number 1: Share my stuff

In my own small way I hope I can offer something back to the OSR, which has rekindled my 2nd love. I have provided download links to ‘My Stuff’ and I hope to explain over the coming weeks my design notes.

But it’s playing the game that really inspires the creative impulse.

I want to play again. Not necessarily a long campaign (though one can dream) but just once more unto the breach dear friends.

But where to find the friends… and what to play? I have settled on the B/X classic: B2 The Keep on the Borderlands.

Hence the title of my blog – the infamous priest in Keep location 7b.

I have never played / dungeon mastered B2 before but hope to DM it this winter.

Gathering friends won’t be easy. Most of my friends have never played. These are some of the comments I have received to date.

“There was a reason I never played Dungeons and Dragons as a teenager. That reason hasn’t changed.”

“There are some lines I won’t cross.”

“Science fiction yes, fantasy never.”

“Ok, anything for a night out.”

“Alright we’ll do it for you.”

Hardly overwhelming.

But that’s the plan.

Blog Purpose Number 2: Blog my attempt to DM KotB

So no plan to change the world; no plan to blog forever.
When it’s over it will be over.

We’ll see how far we get…