Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Story So Far

So, to start this blog off, I figure I might as well explain how I got here.

I've always like "fantasy," and fantasy books.  Some of my best memories from elementary school are of reading children's versions of Ivanhoe, Robin Hood, Arthurian legend, Greek and Norse myth, Narnia and The Hobbit. (I didn't get to The Lord of the Rings until middle school.)  Science fiction was always cool, too, though I discovered Star Wars in a family friend's spare room as my family was traveling around the country, rather than on the big screen of a movie theater.  That's what I get for being born in the 80's, I suppose. After reading The Hobbit, I even tried my hand at a little world building.

Playing with Legos in elementary school also had a really heavy slant towards the fantasy genre for me. (I suppose the popularity and availability of Legos during my childhood is a decent tradeoff for the Star Wars thing.)  Knights, bandits in the forests, quests, castles, wars- Legos go great with all that stuff.  I actually still use Legos for miniatures, since I don't have the capital to start a miniatures collection and Legos are much more customizable.  They work great.

All this time, I didn't hear anything, really, about RPGs.  That begins to become believable when you realize that I lived in Japan until I was 14; my parents are missionaries.  I spent high school just trying to figure mainstream American culture out- I didn't have a chance to try to figure out sub-cultures.

I suppose it's actually kind of humorous that I heard about wargaming- specifically H.G. Wells' Little Wars- a few months before I heard about RPGs, but I didn't get a chance to try anything out before I heard about Dungeons and Dragons.  My roommate was playing in a campaign DMed by another guy on my floor.  I was a guest for one session, playing a dwarf.  It was fun, but I was too busy with Student Senate and school work to get too involved.

The next year, a closer friend started a campaign with his two sisters, my roommate and me.  He was running 3.5 and figuring things out on his own, not having played, I don't think, at all before he started DMing.  I was hooked, though I found the immense amount of choices when creating a character bewildering.  Around this time, I started looking around on the internet, as did my roommate, to see what I could find out about D&D.  Initially, I spent most of my time on d20SRD.org, spoiling what could have been a lot of cool first experiences for myself, but then I'm pretty sure it was my roommate who showed me Matt Finch's Quick Primer and what it was describing sounded really cool.  I think I bugged our GM by asking to incorporate a lot of what I read about in the "Primer" into our 3.5 game.  I tried to play more in the way it described as well.  One time, dungeon-delving, we entered a room with a monster that seemed to be all fight, no reward.  Before we started fighting, I suggested we just close the door and run away, as it was slower than us. That turned out to be a smart move, as our DM told us later that it was a Chaos Beast.

At some point, I started looking for more stuff in the internet that had to do with what Matt Finch was talking about and discovered the OSR and I started lurking.  At some point during the campaign I was playing in, I discovered that I wanted to try my hand at running games from the other side of the screen, though I absolutely didn't have the time to do that while I was doing my undergrad studies.  Besides, I was about to graduate.

I went to college in Texas, but my family lives in California, and I came back here to continue studying to be a teacher.  I've had more time on my hands, and I've lurked enough to "get" the "Old Ways" enough to run games.  I went back and visited my friends in Texas and ran some Swords and Wizardry for them, which they enjoyed.  Around August I went to the SoCal MiniCon III (I'm the one with the beard and the curly hair in the first two pictures) and, among other things, learned that I was, in fact, running games in an essentially "right" way, which was cool.  Armed with that confidence, along with some of the cool DMing skills I learned from playing in Tavis', Telecanter's and Brunomac's games, I decided to start a Skype campaign with my DM, my old roommate, my roommate's girlfriend and another friend from college who had only had experience with forum-based rpgs before.  We've been playing my homebrew of Swords and Wizardry weekly with one or two interruptions for a good three or four months now, which is really pretty cool.

Lately, I discovered a FLGS not too far away (hence the "L," I guess).  It's been a cool place to pick up hard copies of RPG stuff I'm interested in, particularly old stuff re-published by Flying Buffalo (I now own Citybooks I, II and IV, for example).  Other than that, about the only OSR stuff they have is a rack of Goodman Games modules with a smattering of other OSR modules.  I'm not sure just what the people who run the place make of me, some guy who's younger than them, coming in and asking about games that are older than what they play, but they're usually pretty friendly and are willing to order what I ask for. They also let me run a game in the back room over Christmas.

I've thought about blogging about games on and off lately, and have been encouraged to do so by some of my players, who would like their efforts at creating good metric (as opposed to Imperial) systems for distance, encumberment, etc., to be shared with the wider world. I've been lining up a bunch of posts for a while now, since I tend to let my blogs slide and write in bursts other times, and I figure I've got enough momentum now that I might as well give it a shot.  Hopefully you'll find something useful here.

And that's about where things stand right now.  We'll see where things go from here.