Thursday, May 18, 2017

Welcome to Dungeons & Detectives

A few years ago, I was getting burnt out with board games. Originally, I had started out with thematic games, like those from Fantasy Flight Games, and eventually got into board-based war games, like those from GMT Games. Eventually, the excitement began to fade which I knew was a sign because I always obsess over one particular thing at a time. I realized it was time to move on from board games. So with a little help from my friend Ray Case, I got back into RPGs for the first time since college through a Meetup group.

In my early teenage years, I owned AD&D 2E books and box sets but never actually played them until I got a little older. I just obsessed over them until I was about 15. It wasn't until after high school when 3E came out that I actually started playing. I continued through college until 3.5E came out, which is when I gave up. I concentrated on books, movies, and video games with my free time. My friend told me about Pathfinder but I wasn't interested. I was happy watching horror movies, reading Lovecraftian novels, and playing the popular video games.

I had been a big fan of Lovecraft since around the same time I started reading AD&D books. I had no idea there was a roleplaying game as a teenager. I may have stuck around through the turn of the millennia and stuck with RPGs if knew of Call of Cthulhu. Ray told me about Bundle of Holding which I thought was a great idea since I had dozens of Humble Bundles. That's when I discovered Trail of Cthulhu and Pelgrane Press.

I played a few different fantasy games at the Meetup group but Pelgrane became my new obsession. I devoured Trail of Cthulhu and moved onto all their other games which use the Gumshoe system. Robin Laws and Ken Hite quickly became my favorite game designers. At one point, after selling a slew of board games, I bought a hard copy of every Gumshoe product. I still love it and am currently running a Night's Black Agent game using the Dracula Dossier campaign.

I started a regular D&D 5E game with the Meetup and realized I wasn't really enjoying the rules of D&D. I felt like we were all equal to Gandalf fighting off lesser beings and never actually being challenged. It could have been our GM's style but it just seemed like something needed to be changed. While discussing it with several people, I learned about the OSR movement and how it distinguished itself.

I found that OSR had a philosophy and gameplay style I liked but the rules were basically still D&D. It did away with all the super-powers I hated in 5E but it still seemed to be missing something. Again, with Ray's advice, I explored two other OSR like games, Torchbearer and Dungeon Crawl Classics. I was in love with both and had a second obsession.

Torchbearer scratched the new system itch with ideas I had never heard about before and still had that OSR feel of deadly, free-form play. The problem was that most of the people in my Meetup were willing to try it but weren't really enjoying it and the players slowly started to drop. I found online players for a while but realized I wasn't enjoying it as much online. I took a break from it for a while but my interest is percolating with the imminent release of their new supplement, Middarmark.

Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) is basically everything I ever wanted out of D&D. It took everything I didn't like about 5E (and OSR) and fixed it. I added exciting things like Luck, uncontrolled magic, and weird fantasy. The crazy ideas I had from reading Lovecraft fit right into DCC. I backed their 4th printing Kickstarter and immediately started running it for anyone willing to play. I currently have two campaigns of it going on and have tons of ideas floating around in my head.

So that's where I'm at right now. I have grown as a role-player quite a bit since I started again 3 years ago. My collection of books mainly consists of Pelgrane Press, Burning Wheel HQ, and Goodman Games products now. I've got tons of stuff I want to talk about in addition to those but those will be my main topics.