Saturday, April 13, 2013


Realms in the Mist

Hello, and welcome!  For starters, this blog is about my gaming experiences in table-top rpg's, and will include such fascinating topics as - stories of my 'good-old days', reviews, thoughts and musings on gaming in general, and how they relate to my current obsession: the Swords & Wizardry rules created by Matt Finch.

A little background on my gaming experience, I've been gaming solidly since about 1993, when I was introduced to AD&D second edition.  I was hooked immediately, having already devoured Tolkein and Brooks and was already moving on towards Leiber and Vance (oddly enough, my favorites are Leiber and Brooks).  My groups immediately took to me as the DM, and for the most part, that has been my lot for the last 20 years.  As will happen, our games ran from gonzo to serious, from hilarious to depressing drama.  I have a distinct memory of a DM who ran a game for us in 2000 describing the wind rushing through our hair as the tarrasque chased us down the road in a Model T, kind of like Ian Malcolm in that scene in Jurassic Park... so, yeah.  A little gonzo.

As 2000 moved into 2001, we made the infamous switch.  My players were hooked.  It was third edition all the way, a whole new day had dawned.  I was... OK with it.  It was not my favorite, but for a while, it seemed a decent release, and I didn't hate it.  On top of that, my players were having fun - what better result is there?  Cut to 2003, and a new round of books to be bought.  Well, we were still having fun, and there was this great little company putting out old-school like modules for third edition, Necromancer Games.  2008?  More books.  Well, needless to say, I've spent way too much money on new books at this point!  Classes get more powerful, monsters get more powerful.  With fourth edition, I see an incredible balancing act.  It's actually rather amazing that they balanced things as well as they did.  It's also very boring to me.  PC's either win the fight handily because they are level equivalent or PC's get destroyed because the encounter is not level appropriate.

All this time I saw things that at the time I thought were weird, but in the heat of a game didn't really acknowledge.  In mid 2008, something else happened that brought this to light.  A local gamer posted on Dragonsfoot.org stating that he was looking for players for an AD&D first edition game.  In a fit on nostalgia, I jumped at the chance (and after a few emails and phone calls to make sure I felt safe) met with him and one other.  It was the start of a once a month game that is still going, beginning with 2 players and a DM, and now includes upwards of 12 players on some days. And this is what I saw.  Things in the newer editions that were resolved with skill checks and feats were so easily resolved with roleplaying.  And there it was.  What I had back in 1994, wrapped up in imagination was drowned in mechanics.

All this said, my interest in old school gaming was once again peaked and I began delving in a little more.  I discovered Swords and Wizardry Core and devoured it. Next was Swords and Wizardry Complete, the Rappan Athuk kickstarter, the Tome of Horrors Complete, Rob Conley's Majestic Wilderlands, old Judges Guild material... the list goes on.  To say that Swords and Wizardry has caught my attention is an understatement.  So say it is liberating is an understatement as well.

So there's my background, whether you wanted it or not (aah, the internet feeds my ego!).  So, what do I have planned for the future?  My first real topic will be balance, when it's good, when it's bad, and how a new-schooler should look at it.

Thanks for reading, and welcome to the Realms in the Mist!

Jim Stanton

No comments:

Post a Comment