Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Welcome to Fighting Fantasist

I'm on a bit of an OD&D(*) thing at the moment. Why?

Because of this blog and all the myriad of like-minded sympathizers that you'll find linked from within it.

Accordingly today I picked up three books with an eye to getting back into the game and reading up, losing myself within the little imaginary worlds they create, dreaming up new stuff and creating a big dungeon. Highly unlikely to ever play the game again though, but we can all dream...

Firstly two eBay scores - The Fiend Folio and Monster Manual II each for 99p. Neither are essential to play but they will sit alongside my main three books (Players Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual) on the bookcase and no doubt provoke a few ideas themselves. By all accounts both books are a bit patchy as regards their content.

I also ordered a print-on-demand softback of Swords and Wizardry, one of the current retro-clones of OD&D - pretty much the original rules (game rules can't be copyrighted/trademarked) minus any trademarked imagery/names (which can be copyrighted/trademarked) put into a book that is far better organized than the original OD&D books. Been curious about Lulu for a while mainly because I am writing a novel in fits and starts and I suspect that they could provide me with better manuscripts (for distribution amongst interested friends) than sneaking the odd sneaky copy out at work on the office's laser printer could do. I mean, they'd be bound properly and everything. I'm sure that the first time I hold a manuscript that is perfect bound will be the time I regard myself as a "real" writer in training. But I digress...

Also I printed out today the first booklet from the White Box OD&D, the real ur-ruleset from 1974. I've had it as a PDF of dubious legality for a few years but only in the past couple of days have I decided it might be nice to just print a copy out, collate it in plastic sleeves in a ring binder and have it around as a nice nostalgia piece that could be played today without worrying about damaging a rare, valuable and historically important game that is about 6 months older than me. I actually think an one-off game of White Box with the full works - GM screen, miniatures, using a d20 for 1-10 rolls instead of the more modern d10 - could go down quite well with my normal wargaming group.

Gratuitous and nostalgia-inducing picture follows...

Yes, so it's AD&D and not the original. It's not even the original DMG cover. But for me this picture summed up everything the role of the DM was - arbiter of the lore, wizard and evil genie springing surprises upon his players. I really love the symbolism of the great bronze doors being swung back to reveal the figure of the DM and his hosts skulking behind him. It's also the style of artwork that TSR were using when I became aware of the RPG hobby (Red Box era) and so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

(*) - As in Original D&D from the early days before any of this modern rubbish. Where exactly "modern rubbish" starts is up the individual but for me the pre-modern era goes back to the old "Red Box" Basic D&D. I never really took to AD&D it always seemed overly rule-bound.

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