Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Developmental Years

Where to begin....

The Early influences of Brad, Jeff, Mark, Jim and Jim's brother Adam slowly broke away as a few years went by... Jeff in the Navy, Brad off traveling and and simple falling out with Brad, Jim and Adam.

So after High School  there were still games to play but for a couple of years I kinda got away from playing and worked 2 jobs, one during the day and another at night, I was working full time during the day at a factory, store, or delivery and at night waiting tables at banquets and later working in a Palmer Video in Somerville... my focus shifted to working and women and the occasional game

In 1989 Bridgewater Commons Mall opened and soon after a Gaming store opened there.

This led me to connect with the biggest influence on my gaming  - Mark C and the most creative person I know  - Steve K

Mark C, Steve K, Greg B and myself would form the core of our group we added other players over the years such as Scott C, Steve L, Chris and Linda and others that joined us like Vince A

We were not only gamers, we all truly enjoyed each other's company and did many thing together as a group
We liked to go out and have fun aside from the game.. in fact it was unusual for us not to be together when time permitted it.  I know that I was creatively stimulated more by Mark, Steve and Scott both as a player and a DM /GM than ever before or since. They literally pushed me to create and expand my skills

This was a dynamic time as all of us were very into making the game as good as it could be.. The role playing was getting explored and expanded, the quests, challenges and puzzles were getting higher billing than the fighting.

Many of us were running the game, as once campaign ended, another DM would take over and run a new one for the group. During the time when you were playing, you had time to create new adventures

I was churning out material for my world Pak-Zaroth and starting to develop my new "Monster" whom I call The Cuhre  - bad ass invaders from another continent.. I never developed the continent where they rule because I had no intention of anyone from Pak Zaroth actually venturing there.  I did complete the culture and the hierarchy for the creature

The players started out as having grown up in Port Greybar... When you want a stating location, make it a port simply for the possibilities it presents.. Then I went with Towns.. Northport, Southport, Royt, Faralmar

I created the map, placed the towns, then created the rulers and notable people for each town. Then created some political intrigue to run for a good long time in this world. Then placed other races in regions of the continent, Keeping humans to about 1/15 the scope of the known land and islands. I then did some rough natural resources and trading lines for the towns... I felt it best if there was not a huge deal of trading and most towns were self sufficient. There are 4 geographical  "Kingdoms" and 3 of the 4 have a Lord, the fourth is a Barony and is the newest ruler.

The guilds for Thieves and assassins and a few other secret societies were completed after that.

Then I set about filling in the Legends of the lands that would become adventures or remain legends that were not explored

Unfortunately, the large map of Pak Zaroth does not seem to want to be found or has been discarded... I found a small copy but it only has some of the features on it.. here is the map of Port Greybar

The shape of the world was quickly coming into shape and the first adventure in the new world was protecting a Farm from a Wolf on the outskirts of Greybar

Many of our older and higher level characters were being retired or turned into NPCs (Non player characters) for the most part and only brought out for special games

We started getting into other games systems at this time to break up some of AD&D and because some our players were interested in running these games

Call Of Cthulhu

Dream Park
DC Heroes
James Bond
Top Secret
Killer, the Assassination game
and many others

During this time, I met my wife, who, God Bless her, puts up with my insane gaming.

At one point I have had 3 game nights, Tuesday(AD&D), Friday(Vampire)  and Sunday(AD&D)... always crazy

We also started doing conventions in 1992

Friday, April 11, 2014

A little rough around the edges Early gaming years

A Little bit about me...

I have been gaming since Middle school (roughly 1979) I started with Dungeons and Dragons and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons...

I am an voracious reader, sometimes reading 2-3 books a weeks when I was in High school... most of them SciFi or Fantasy

I retain approximately 90% of what I have ever read or watched in my lifetime...I worked in a few video stores and people liked to test me on that... feel free to question me.

We were your typical kid gamers more interested in what we could create in true Monty Haul style than anything else... Our early characters were gods... with castles and spells galore at their disposal... I won't tell you how bad were were (but we created chariots that could bring us anywhere and had spells that made us indestructible... then we hit High school (9th Grade was part of our Middle School) and that stopped as we developed persona and less Monty haul but still power gaming

On Our 8th grade trip to Williamsburg VA, a group of us played D&D the entire way down there and most of the way back... there was very few times we did not have our dice with us. In HS we continued to play and had a school club at one time that met once a week... we also had a 4H club that met every week and we did the Somerset county 4H fair every year for a few years... we had a booth and gamed and socialized and informed people that we were not satanist or cultist (even though religious groups came by and left us pamphlets)

I had friends in the apartment complex that I got into AD&D, we played on the steps outside our apartments for hours and hours.

I also did many other things in school, like the All School musical and running Track for 3 years each spring. So all this in addition to gaming and reading

This also started my addiction to collecting dice.. not 6 siders as most games use, but the Polyhedric dice that has 4 / 6 / 8 / 10 / 12 / 20 and percentile dice (2 10 sided, one marked in 10s,   00 - 0 was 100 - or you used 2 different color dice and called which color was the 10s)

                                                 These are my Original dice used for D&D

I have to admit my early gaming years were not all that great as far as role playing and creating dungeons. It was more about what creatures they want to fight than any rational pattern to the encounters... but I did lay down a foundation for honing my skills and evolving my understanding of creating worlds. Plus, during this time I memorized all the information needed to run a game and what I needed to have my disposal to do so efficiently.

                                                               Another set of Dice

What I did learn in those years was that I can self teach myself anything that I wanted to learn.

By the time I hit HS, I had a good understanding of math and history and several other interests because of the complexity of the games I was into... this is not a board game, it a game where the Dungeon Master has to have the plan and be able to execute the plan... I was great at remembering detail and improvising on the spot.  I was reading tons of material, sci-fi, fantasy, historical... it did not matter.

Music influenced the games.. I had older brothers(4) and older sisters (2)... My brothers probably influenced my taste the most... Queen, Jethro Tull and ZZ Top were the first music I really was into as a Teen.  There were songs that inspired me and some that truly fit what I was working on.

Then, when "Broadsword and the Beast" came out in 1982... wow.. it was simply amazing

From early days of infancy, through trembling years
of youth, long murky middle-age and final hours
long in the tooth, he is the hundred names of terror ---
creature you love the least. Picture his name before
you and exorcise the beast.

He roved up and down through history --- spectre
with tales to tell. In the darkness when the
campfire's dead --- to each his private hell. If you look
behind your shoulder as you feel his eyes to feast, you
can witness now the everchanging nature of the beast.

I see a dark sail on the horizon
Set under a black cloud that hides the sun
So bring me my broadsword and clear understanding
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman

Bless with a hard hearth and those who surround me
Bless the women and children, who firm our hands
Put our backs to the north wind, hold fast by the river
Sweet memories to drive us on for the motherland

Terms I have used

monty haulA derogatory term for a tabletop RPG that is far too easy and therefore poses no challenge to its players, usually a 'Monty Haul' game quickly becomes boring once it's players become the most powerful things in the game world.
Named for the host of "the Price is Right" a TV quiz show.
Power Gaming
Creating the best possible character within the confines of the rules... taking on difficult challenges... acquiring magic items in the game to enhance your character abilities to overcome