Troll Lord Games is reporting that Gary Gygax, one of the creators of D&D and the main author of the First Edition of Advanced D&D (not to mention many of its most popular early adventures) has passed away.
It is almost too much to get my mind about. But I’ve just had news that our dear Dungeon Master has passed away. Ernie called this morning, he thought we should let the fans know. He’s just sent an email out.
Gary was in his home when he gathered himself up to cross the great divide.
He was a very dear friend of mine. And I will miss him so.
I knew Gary mainly through his writings (although I did meet him once at a convention long ago), but he was one of the main creators of a hobby that I have enjoyed for most of my adult life and I will miss him.
Wizards are spells-casters who study powerful arcane magic. While Wizards tend to be pretty fragile, some of those spells can pack quite a punch. Unlike Clerics, Wizards aren’t as good at fixing people as they are at breaking them, so watch where you toss that fireball!
Your most distinctive trait is your intelligence. You’re probably well learned and logical, if perhaps a bit fragile.
I’ve dropped by the Campaign Builder’s Guild a couple of times in the past and have always been impressed with the community there even if it was not quite my thing. When I dropped by this morning, I discovered that they, in association with a couple of other sites, have started a new PDF magazine, Fantaseum, the Journal of the Creative Community Alliance. The first issue is 36 pages and weighs in at a hefty 28 megabytes because it is very graphics intensive. It features campaign areas (described rules neutrally for the most part), fiction, and maps. Lots of nice maps.
One of the most interesting parts of this issue is the Glass Ocean section, introduced with this:
“We are delighted to bring you the first of our combined guild challenges. First, the Campaign Builders’ Guild held a monthly competition to create a frontierland. The winning result, The Glass Ocean by Luminous Crayon was then used as the basis of a monthly challenge for the Cartographers’ Guild and Plotstorming to draw a map of Luminous Crayon’s winning entry and write a fictional piece set within it.”
I think this quote from The Dragon Editorial Archive sums up everything that is wrong with The current versions of D&D and how it is being made even more wrong in 4th Edition.
Quite simply, the math behind the game is so rock solid that I’ve been encouraged to play my character as a genuine, action movie, one-liner quoting hero. I’m not rushing to open the door because I know I can survive the fireball trap on the door. It’s that I know that the trap on the door isn’t some ruthless save or die effect that will punish me for rolling a 1 on my save. I still don’t shy away from danger, but I find myself taking even more risks with my 4th Edition character than I did before. I don’t dread the finger of death, wail of the banshee, or worst of all, energy drain effects that so permeated previous editions. — From the Dragon Editorial Archive: Fearless
I’m just shaking my head. It sounds like they’ve taken all the risk out of the game. What’s the fun in being able to act like “a genuine, action movie, one-liner quoting hero” in a game if there are no risks at all of failure, let alone of severe failure? Playing a god-like character in a group of other god-like characters, all of whom get even more god-like with time sounds like it would get boring fast.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the cinematic style of gaming where people don’t regularly die from a single bad die roll and can do lots of heroic things. I’ve always ran my D&D and other fantasy games like that. But there was still risk and lots of things that any player should dread. Cakewalks not only get boring fast, but players don’t feel very heroic at the end of one, no matter how successful the characters were.
Under Xylarthen’s Tower is a very nice 6 level old school dungeon in a pdf file. It even has a dragon’s lair. Jeff has some interesting takes on monsters as well. That’s one of the nice things about OD&D, the monster descriptions were very sketchy — especially on what the monster looks like — which gives a dungeon master a lot of room to customize things for his or her world.
I had not thought much of Tunnels & Trolls recently. Then I get sent from T&T links last week. Now I discover that Flying Buffalo is apparently trying to spark some interest in Tunnels & Trolls with a free sixteen page T&T rulebook/solo adventure.
From the description at RPGNow.com:
This is a short version of the full Tunnels & trolls Rules. It is sufficient to play the solitaire adventure, and to show your friends how to play with the GameMaster adventure.
Tunnels & Trolls is one of the easiest role playing games to learn and play. All you need are paper & pencil and some six-sided dice (at least 3). One of the best things about T&T is that you can play it solitaire, where the book is the gamemaster. Most of the following rules are written as if you are playing a solitaire adventure. If you are playing with a gamemaster, he or she will roll the dice for any opponents or monsters, and normally you will not be told the Monster Rating, or armor of your enemy, only what you might be able to see, and the total of any dice rolls.
If you’ve never played T&T, here’s your chance. It would be nice to see a new generation introduced to T&T solos. Of course, I have to wonder what people used to 900+ pages of detailed rules will think of T&T.
This quiz is actually fairly accurate for me — at least with respect to what I’m not as interested in in RPGs (combat and getting the most powerful character possible). However, I would not describe what I am interested in quite a strongly as it is described here. I want a campaign to feel like I the characters were in a novel instead of a video game, but I don’t expect the campaign to move like it is being scripted by the gamemaster.
You’re more inclined toward the role playing side of the equation and less interested in numbers or experience points. You’re quick to compromise if you can help move the story forward, and get bored when the game slows down for a long planning session. You want to play out a story that moves like it’s orchestrated by a skilled novelist or film director.
A member of one of the non-gaming message boards I hang out on saw this blog and sent me some Tunnels and Trolls links — including lots of freebies! Thanks to Oaksworn for this information.
Randall, I didn’t see an option to leave comments on your RetroRoleplaying blog without creating an account so I thought I’d pass along a couple of links via PM here. Don’t worry, I won’t make it a habit.
One game that always intrigued me, primarily because of the number of solo adventures and my difficulty of finding a group to game with, has been Tunnels and Trolls. I’ve found a few links that I thought I’d pass along to you:
In the 1990s, I spent a lot of my spare time trying to design a very simple, universal roleplaying game. I was attempting to recapture the spirit of the games I started playing in the mid-1970s. I finally decided that the best way to recapture that feeling wasn’t to create an entire new game, but to just play the old games like really liked. FAST (Flexible Adventure System, Task-oriented) was one of my most successful attempts at a playable, very simple game. I’ve put it up on RetroRoleplaying just in case anyone finds it useful.