Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Adventures on the Oerth

A few months ago, I visited the GreyTalk / CanonFire Chat (a World of Greyhawk-themed chat, hosted at http://www.otherworlders.org/chat/cf/, which I regrettably cannot visit as much as I would like). Folks were talking about their current Greyhawk campaigns. That got me to admitting that I have 6 campaigns going at the moment. Their frequency varies and none of them are what I would call regularly scheduled, because married life, homeownership, and three kids (a teenager and two under five years old) means free time is slim. On the other hand, I am quite fortunate to have so many campaigns going (I do wish I could have them happen more frequently, of course).

In order of chronology [via real Earth time, not via the Flanaess calendar], here are the Greyhawk campaigns I currently have:

1) Pomarj/Blacktooth Ridge (Troll Lord Games A Series, using A0 & A1 with A2-A4 possible, depending on players' choice) mashup campaign with 3 players. This one had two others who have not gamed with us for some time now, but I hold out hope they will rejoin eventually. This campaign started with the C&C system but I've slowly steered it towards Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) as reimagined in Joseph Bloch's Adventures Dark and Deep (ADD, for short) from BRW Games. As one player finds the system too rules-heavy, I might work this towards Basic Fantasy RPG or Swords & Wizardry Complete, instead. I regret that I did not find out more about BFRPG and S&W Complete before this campaign began, as changing systems on players is unfair unless all are on-board with the idea. I will likely keep the changes behind the screen but let the players use the "skill" system C&C has.

2) Keep on the Borderlands Campaign: OSRIC campaign with my older son (my oldest overall). This campaign started when we had trouble getting games going after we had first moved in 2010. At that time, I had owned OSRIC for almost a year but had yet to try it. This one may start up again, but my son is happy playing in other campaigns for now.

3) Lendore Campaign: Another C&C campaign which I have also slowly steered towards AD&D, but have stuck to AD&D this time, as the players are mostly new. This one involves a friend, our sons, and my friend's brother. We don't get together as much as we would like, as they live in our former town of residence, but we hope to get session #4 under way soon; schedules willing.

4) Idee Campaign: I never ran a GH campaign here. This solo campaign for my oldest is slow-going and merely to fill in when a pick-up game is wanted by him or me. I started this one last spring, purely to run AD&D again for the first time "as is" since 1990.
[Oddly, talking about classic games during this session inspired him to want to try Gamma World (I own 2e & 4e), so we rolled up a GW character for him around the same time, but have yet to play.]

5) Welkwood/Gnarley Forest Campaign: Begun in July 2016, my wife finally succumbed to the fun and enjoyment that is found in tabletop role-playing games. 😁 She asked to go shopping for her own set of dice so that she could create a character or two. As my wife daily fights chronic anxiety and depression, I started her off in a solo campaign. There was no pressure for her to play with others, but after just a couple of months, she asked to join the Pomarj Campaign (#1 above). Here, too, I am using the Adventures Dark and Deep rules, but it is so compatible with original AD&D that it feels much the same. I would go so far as to say that it feels like AD&D with both the Unearthed Arcana and Greyhawk Adventures hardbacks involved, with no bloat or sugary-sweet aftertaste.

I gave my wife plenty of leeway. She searched through the Dragon Magazine CD Archive that I own and looked at other issues (old & not-so-old) on my shelves -- searching for classes that fit her ideas for the two PCs she was going to create (I rounded out the party with 2 NPCs to give her PCs a well-rounded group). She chose fighter for one character's class and magic-user for the other. Then, like we kids did in the "olden days," she created a "stable" of other characters so she would have others from which to pick should something untoward happen to her originals. I let her select everything from the archetypical classes to prestige classes from later-era games. I enjoyed breaking down the one prestige class she chose into a class that better fit Original and Advanced D&D.

6) Castle Audubon Campaign: This campaign just might be my proudest. In April of this year [2017, for time-traveling blog readers from the future], my then 3 year-old son (with a whole 2 sessions of Hero Kids RPG under his belt) asked his older brother and I at the dining room table one night if we would play Dungeons & Dragons with him after dinner. My older son was willing, so I quickly ran to the computer and printed out the ruleset for Swords & Wizardry Light. In minutes, the boys rolled up their PCs (3d6, in order). I spontaneously decided to run an old-school dungeon like in the original D&D books where there was an old abandoned castle ruin near a town and the PCs delved the depths of its dungeons. The small village of Audubon and its nearby site, Castle Audubon, were presented to the boys and off they went to plunder its treasures. As I thought about the town/castle relationship inherent in OD&D, I thought of Gary Gygax's article in The Crusader magazine from Troll Lord Games (issue 12, to be exact) and how he recounted his experience exploring the Oak Hill Sanatorium.

My 14 year-old decided on a fighter named Vomport with his ability scores while the 3 year-old chose to be a magic-user named Carvell. They have had several (nine!) short sessions so far, and even recruited their mom to join them at times. Both boys often talk about "playing again soon."

These do not include three possible games I would love to get going with other friends and relatives who have intimated that they would like to play, but schedules have not worked out yet. I have figured out that RPGs are much like their computer MMORPG counterparts: an excuse to get a "chat room" together with the game as the unifying object that brings everyone together. WOW. 😉

Happy gaming,


  1. SIX CAMPAIGNS!!! While married, running a home, and raising three kids? That has to be some kind of record. I'm hard pushed - with no kids in our house - to get my fellow gamers together once a month for a game. Sir, I salute you!

    1. Heh. Thanks, Tim. Only 3 of them would I consider regular and only two of those three happen more than once a month.

      Honestly, if it wasn't for the 4 year-old boy pushing his mom and brother to play, I don't know if it would happen as often as it does. My Charisma score is much lower than his. ;)