Friday, April 1, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge: A is for Advanced D&D

I decided to do this blogging challenge because I find I sometimes need a kick in the butt to get going. When I do post on my blog, it seems to be in fits and spurts, so hopefully this will lead to me regularly posting some thoughts, or maybe even getting me motivated to finally get a campaign off the ground.

Most of my posts for this challenge will focus on the prospective campaign in my world of Haume, that I am planning on creating. Some of the posts will be a little more general, simply having to do with role-playing games. Since this blog was created primarily as a gaming blog, I will stick to that for my posts. I already have a list of what I’m going to cover, but since I like to change my mind a lot, I’m not going to warn you in advance (it’s a SURPRISE!).

For my first post, I’m going to talk about the game that I have invested the most time in my gaming life on – Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I was first introduced to the game when I was in grade 4. I was a bit of a social outcast at school, so I fell in with the other social outcast. My friend had an EXTREMELY active imagination – he had a HUGE collection of Micronauts toys, but he had convoluted storylines for all of them, which meant the entire time I knew him, I never got to play with Force Commander and Oberon, because Baron Karza had trapped them in a “prison”, so they stayed locked in a little box, out of the storyline. I would go to my friend’s place on the weekend, we would listen to the radio adaptation of Tolkien’s LORD OF THE RINGS on CBC Radio, and play RPGs. My first version of AD&D was heavily house-ruled – the characters were created to correspond to various action figures he owned, and it was less of a game, and more of a story-telling tool.
Eventually, we finally started to actually play the game, more or less the way it was intended. The first campaign was mostly the Player’s Handbook, DMG and Monster Manual, with us running through modules. My friend DM’d, and I was the only player… I would run one or two of my own characters, and my friend allowed me to run a couple of his characters (while reserving the right to veto anything I did if he didn’t like it…. It’s a LONG story). One of the characters I created back then, the mage Lekon (who will be described in a later post) is still alive today. We pushed through most of the big modules… I clearly remember our adventures in The Expedition To The Barrier Peaks, as a vegepygmy almost killed Lekon, and a later foray through Descent into the Depths of the Earth, where a kuo-toan’s spear thrust criticalled Lekon, leaving him with a permanent limp. I seem to recall us going through the G series as well – actually, I think we did G1-2-3, D1/2-3, and stared Q1 before becoming bored and leaving Lolth behind. I also remember going through the Ghost Tower of Inverness and the Secret of Bone Hill.
Even though, my first rule set was Basic D&D, because my parents figured I should probably start with something a little more “Basic”. While my first few years of playing in elementary school were exclusively Basic and Expert (including running a D&D Club at lunchhours at school), by Grade 6, I had received the DMG and PHB as Christmas presents. Then, when I went into grade 7 in a new middle school, I met Scott, who would prove to be one of my best friends. Scott and I were part of a core group of about 6-10 (depending on the day and game) gamers, plus his older brother Dave had a group of about 5-7 gamers he gamed with.
Over the next 6 years, I played in an awful lot of memorable campaigns (which I will talk about next post), with an awful lot of different systems, but the one we played most often was AD&D. Scott and I would bounce back and forth between DMing campaigns, and often we would both play in his brother’s games as well. AD&D was the systems we always defaulted to. There was a time when we probably had most of the three core rulebooks memorized, and could make an entire party and run adventures without even having to consult a book. Scott and Dave also had a large collection of Dragon magazines, which we used to expand our games as often as possible (Winged Folk were a favourite Dragon idea we ran with often… that, and the Archer class).
As we continued through high school and into university, our game group waxed and waned. I went to different high school than Scott, and managed to find a new group of gamers to fall in with, but our core group still played regularly. After a couple years though, people started to move away, and other interests (sometimes, even school!) took over. Our core group waned down to me, Scott, and our friend Jon. We caught on with another gaming group, but our exploits became fewer and farther between. Eventually, as everyone moved away (myself included), I stopped gaming altogether.
Through it all though, I always kept my AD&D books. I have every 1st edition AD&D book, and I have almost all the first edition modules. It is my “go to” edition if I am playing with other gamers. I have a some of the AD&D 2nd Edition stuff, but I never really felt it was “different” or “better” than 1st edition. Maybe I never played it enough to see the differences. When 3rd Edition came around, I was out of gamin, but I still got ahold of the 3 core books. I liked parts of it, I HATED parts of it (don’t get me started on how needlessly complicated monsters and combat became with this edition), but it didn’t really mean much to me. I have no desire to pick up 4th Edition, especially after perusing the D&D Essentials box set. For me, if I say “Let’s play D&D”, chance are I mean 1st edition AD&D.


  1. I love hearing about peoples first D&D experiences - I'll be following you in the A to Z challenge. I'm not sure how old you are but I'm getting old (40+), do you think you could have some paragraphs in your posting for us old timers... pretty please.

  2. Hmmmm.... it had paragraph breaks when I viewed it before posting it. I apologize. As I'm as old as you, and an English teacher to boot, there should be no excuse for that. 8)