Friday, August 31, 2012

Current Interests

So in my first entry I detailed a general outline of my RPG history. That entry was getting pretty long so I thought I'd talk about where some of my interests are right now for a follow up entry.
Here it is!

I've certainly developed a bit of a "wandering eye" for games in the last few years. Whereas for a long time I'd only played a few games in the last five or six years I've played lots and lots of different games, and I've been introduced to even more that I haven't had a chance to play yet!

I'm pretty open to different kinds of gaming. I love every version of D&D I've played (for different reasons, but I honestly enjoy all of them). I've enjoyed playing a lot of smaller "indie" games and story games, and bigger more complicated tactical games. I'm open to all sorts of genre's and settings. I've enjoyed games that were high fantasy, games set in Manhattan in 1890, games set in space, post-apocalyptic games, super hero games, and all sorts of other games. I'm interested in just about anything else you can think of that might lead to Adventure!; if someone wants to run a game I'm probably interested in trying it out!

That being said a number of games have been particularly grabbing my eye lately and I hope to have a chance to try them out soon.
A lot of my interest has been in more "old-school" style gaming lately. I haven't actually been playing anything terribly old school, other than a short session of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, but I've been reading about such games for a while and have picked up a few to read through.

I think part of it is the history major in me, just wanting to learn a bit more about the roots of the hobby, and the other part is just wanting to try out some styles of gaming I haven't really had much experience with.

I started with 2nd Edition and while that is I think a reasonably old school system (or can be played that way) I don't think we really played it in what most would call an old school style. The game was basically us following a (mostly improvised if I remember correctly) story that our DM was telling. There's nothing wrong with this way of playing at all of course! I had a great time! But it wasn't exactly a sand-box sort of game where the story emerged from our actions more than from the story our DM wanted to tell.

I've been reading through Adventurer Conqueror King, and reading reviews of the system and I have to say I'd love to give it a try some time. I also backed the Dwimmermount Kickstarter and I'm eagerly awaiting the final product (I've been enjoying the previews so far!). I grabbed the 1st Edition reprints when they came out and I've been enjoying reading through them as well. I also have the previously mentioned Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG and I'm very excited to keep trying that out. I like the simpler more rules lite approach most old school games have, it's a bit of a breath of fresh air after playing a lot of 3rd and 4th Edition D&D (not that I don't still enjoy both of those games!).

I think what I'm most intrigued by is the idea of adventures and games that are simply locations or situations, rather than a part of an ongoing pre-scripted story. I like the idea of stories that emerge from what the players do. A world that simply exists and reacts to the player characters rather than the other way around. I've really come to appreciate what old school gaming was and is about, and I'd like to give it more of a try.
This isn't to say that I'm not _also_ interested in plenty of other games or other kinds of games! I'm loving our Apocalypse World / Traveller hack, and there are plenty of very different kinds of games I hope to try out soon as well!

What has grabbed your interest lately? Any particular games you're itching to try? Any new games you're playing now? Let me know!

- Good gaming!
The Duke of Brandonshire

Thursday, August 30, 2012

We'll be right back!

I was going to try to get a new post out today, and I still may, but we had a staff meeting today and then lunch together, so I'm not really going to get my usual lunch break to work on things. It may not get finished and ready to post until tomorrow.  But I'm still here and I'm still thinking about all of this stuff! Thanks for sticking with me!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New URL

It is likely still propagating through the internet, but the new URL for the blog is duke.brandonshire.org. The original url for the blog should redirect anyway, but if you need to update your feeds and/or bookmarks or what have you, there it is.

As a note, I got my domain through hover.com (who I'd heard about because they're a sponsor of the Hypercritical podcast which I listen somewhat regularly). and I've been really happy with them as a registar so far. Much more pleasant to deal with than other registrars I've dealt with in the past (admittedly my experience with registrars has been limited but this is still the best one I've used). Their site is pretty clean and reasonably easy to navigate, and they aren't annoying about trying to upsell you on all sorts of stuff you don't want or need. (They do offer other services, but they don't shove them in your face or try to trick you into buying them when all you really want is a domain). It's only been about a day since I made the purchase but I'm very happy so far. I don't have any skin in the game as far as they go, I just like to occasionally point out companies that seem to be doing things I like, and so far hover is one of those companies.

Anyway I'll get to more gaming content soon. I've got a follow up entry almost done, hopefully it'll be ready to publish tomorrow.

In a state of flux

Just a quick note that as things are still pretty new I'll likely be messing around with the formatting, the look and feel, and possibly even the URL for the blog quite a bit in the coming days and weeks. Hopefully I'll learn how stuff works and settle on a basic design quickly and it won't be too annoying while I'm doing so!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Welcome to the Duchy of Brandonshire!

Hello there! Welcome to my first real entry in my newly formed gaming blog.
I've been doing some form of blogging for a while now but other than a period in college when I was using Livejournal a lot never very regularly. I've been kind of hoping to try to get myself to do it somewhat often though and I think maybe having a focus would help. As my friends can tell you most of recreational headspace has been devoted to tabletop role playing games for a while now so that seems like a good focus to use. Hopefully this'll be interesting to other people, but even if it's not it'll help me to focus down my thoughts on a number of gaming related topics, and improve my writing at the same time.
Anyway, I thought a good way to start might be to recount my history as a gamer. What sorts of games I've played and enjoyed and the like. Let's get to it.


So I started playing RPG's formally some time around 20 years ago when I
was around 10 or 11. I say formally because I was one of those kids who always loved to play "pretend" games where you'd pretend to be a character (often from some movie I'd just seen or book I'd just read or whatever) and then try to play out different scenarios with friends. Every kid did this but I think I may have continued to do it a bit longer than most kids (heck, I'm still doing it!). Anyway, some of my friends and I had sort of been moving toward formalizing this stuff a bit anyway as we got older, with somewhat more focused play. Eventually, after I bought a copy of the Complete Thief's Handbook just because it looked cool (I knew very little of D&D then), one of my friends said we should start playing Dungeons & Dragons. He was the youngest of five, so his older siblings had been playing for a long time and he'd been around it for his whole life. He got together four of us and his older brother (to "assistant DM" while he learned the ropes) and started up a game of AD&D 2nd Edition with us. I rolled up a thief.
My Thief's Handbook went missing sometime over the years!

We played in that campaign with our original characters for years, pretty often throughout middle school, and a lot less frequently in High School. Most of the time we had no idea really what we were doing, and looking back on it I know we were doing some stuff "wrong" (at least as far as the rules are concerned) but we had a lot of fun. I think when we finally stopped (not really a formal thing it just happened at some point) my character was 13th level.
During much of that time we also flirted with a few other games but never really got them going. I had a lot of Rifts books for example, but for the most part we just read the books and made characters. We only played a few times and those sessions were usually not really followed up with anything. The system just didn't really work for us. Still, I love the over-the-top world of Rifts, and I wish I could find all of my books from that time.

As I said, when we got to High School our role playing kind of slowed to a trickle and eventually stopped. This wasn't really a conscious decision on any of our parts, I think other things like clubs, sports, and dating and the like simply took up more of our time and pulled our interest in other directions.

I do think we may have had a few brief sessions of 3rd Edition D&D when that came out, enough that I understood the gist of the system and could grok it pretty well when I played the Knights of the Old Republic Star Wars video games which used the basic d20 system, but I don't really have much in the way of memories of playing much of 3.0, and I can't fully place when exactly those sessions happened.

Sadly, despite my interest, I never really played much in college. Again, other things go in the way and finding someone who wanted to GM was tough, especially with the generally fairly heavy workload that I and most of my friends had in college.

After college though, a friend and her (then) boyfriend (now husband) wanted to start playing and were kind enough to invite me to play with them in a 3.5 D&D game. We had a great time in that game, playing the same campaign reasonably regularly for roughly 3 or so years. I made a number of good friends that way, some of whom I still play on a regular basis.

As that campaign was winding down 4th Edition D&D came out and I decided to try my hand at DMing. I have one or two entries on my old blog about that that I'll probably import over here, but the summary is this: I really enjoyed DMing, and 4E made it easy for a first time DM to jump in and get going. I have plenty of issues with 4E, but overall I still enjoy it as a system and still enjoy it as a player (I'm an occasional guest player in a friends 4E campaign).


As you can see in this picture of (the majority of) my RPG stuff, I went a little crazy buying 4e books. It was the first time I really had enough disposable income to buy a lot of RPG books. Though most of them were purchased for a pretty substantial discount thanks to Borders coupons and then Borders closing sales. I've bought a fair number of other games and books too in the last few years, but I've been cutting back of late.

During that time I also got to try out a lot of other systems in short adventures that were a lot of fun. We played a few sessions using True20, Savage Worlds, Mutants & Masterminds, Gamma World (latest edition) and a number of other systems and games I'm sure I'm not thinking of at the moment.

After the two friends who invited me to play in the 3.5 game moved away, the remaining members of our group merged with another friend's group and we've been playing together ever since. We've done a lot of system hopping since then but it's been a lot of fun. We played a reasonably long Savage Worlds campaign set in Ancient Greece, and a stint playing the Grand Pendragon Campaign in King Arthur Pendragon. We've also had some brief sessions playing things like ICONS (which I GM'd!), the DCC RPG (hope to play a lot more of that soon), and Dungeon World.

Most recently we played a bit of Traveller, but found parts of the system didn't quite work for us, so we blew up the whole thing and restarted the campaign using a hack of Apocalypse World that my friend is continuing to refine. It's is a lot of fun and the system is working really well for the sort of space stories we want to tell.
And I think that about brings us up to present! This entry has gotten quite a bit longer than I planned it to be so I'm going to cut it short and I'll pick up later with a bit about what sorts of games I've been interested in lately.

Once again, welcome, and I hope you'll stick around through my self-exploratory rambling until I can get on to some real content!