Sunday, July 28, 2013

The OD&D Handbook Project - Part the Seventh (References and Expansions)

With research and revision comes revelation and reconsideration. I said back here that I would be including all relevant rules and references from Chainmail in my version of the original D&D rules. I have since changed my mind due to the fact that (as far as I can determine) the supplements (mainly Greyhawk) effectively replaced or standardized any Chainmail rules referenced in the first three booklets. That is a big help to me for a project like this. For the most part, I would rather look forward from the role-playing treatment of Men & Magic, rather than back to the game's wargaming roots.

Also, I have decided to include any relevant and developmental material from The Strategic Review and earliest issues of The Dragon which dealt with this pre-Basic/AD&D ruleset. For example, the second issue of The Strategic Review presented the very first treatment of the Ranger class. How can I pass that up?

More to come as I continue to delve into fantasy gaming history. In the meantime, a couple more page samples. Due to some substantial edits among the previous work, there will be some previously-shared material among these previews.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The OD&D Handbook Project - Part the Sixth (Decisions and Compromises)

We saw in the previous installment that the class advancement charts included the "Fight As" column. Yeah, well, that's gone. Since this project is incorporating all the material from the three brown booklets and all the supplements that follow, I see no reason to cling to the few references to Chainmail that were optioned out later anyway. It will be less confusing and also less work for me. Everybody wins.

Now, on to the next page.

The OD&D Handbook Project - Part the Fifth (Magic-Users, Clerics, and Thieves - oh my!)

Continuing from the last update for the project, here are a few pages to preview, including the revised version of the page shared previously. The project proceeds - if slowly.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dungeons & Novels

A nice chap in one of the Facebook gaming groups I endure brought up a subject close to my shriveled black heart and I'd like to address it here. In brief: Why don't I write fiction set in my D&D campaign setting(s)?

In not-so-brief:

I am a writer. Well, sort-of. I have been published in a few semi-pro venues. I've written a novel that I hope to have published in my lifetime, and am working on a number of others - along with a plethora of short stories. See that there? Only a real writer could get away with using "plethora" in a sentence.

Recently, I've also done a little freelance RPG work, and hope to do a lot more. See the left side of the blog for those RPG credits.

For as long as I can remember, I've written. I started my first novel at the age of 5 or 6. It was a ripoff of The Hobbit, but set on Mars. It was called "A Martian Adventure." I've always been torn between my two first loves: fantasy and science fiction. I was also illustrating the book, since I've supposedly been drawing (well) since the age of 3. But that's a blog entry of a different color.

I was probably about 9 or 10 when I started creating my first fantasy world. Here's the first monster I ever created for my D&D setting (I was never afraid to aim big):

Yes, I still have the handwritten page. I'm just that kind of crazy. I have just about everything I've ever written for the D&D game - though most of it has been transcribed to digital files and the original pages recycled.

Okay, back to my dubious point.

I create. All the time. On varying scales. I've come up with ideas for short stories and had them become milieus for entire novels and series of novels during development. I'm all about the details. The color. The texture. My D&D campaign setting is not about telling stories.

---Brief pause for effect---

My D&D campaign world is about providing a setting for boundless adventure. I'm not telling stories with it. I am presenting plot points and adventure hooks for players to follow where they may. Some DMs run their games as if they are writing a story. These games tend to be known as "railroading." Players tend to feel as if they are being led around by the nose from scene to pre-planned scene. To each their own. I don't enjoy that.

Could I write stories based upon my D&D setting and/or campaigns? Of course I could. And, maybe someday, I will. In the meantime, I am currently considering, developing, and writing roughly:

A dozen novels.
30 novella-length stories that could easily become novels.
100s of short fiction pieces - I genuinely cannot keep count of how many.
Dozens of microfiction pieces.
Along with 20,000+ words of random notes and blurbs designed to bookmark various concepts and thoughts for possible future development or inclusion in stories being written.

I can't help myself. But, for now, I prefer to keep my gaming concepts and my fiction concepts in separate worlds. It is easier for me. I have no shortage of marketable ideas. I do have a shortage of marketable time to develop the ideas. Writing something I know to be a story will help set my mind one way, while crafting material for a campaign setting puts me in a different frame entirely. To be honest, I don't want my D&D setting to form the basis of fiction right now. I like leaving it open and rife with possibility.

Both pursuits are a lot of fun for me. So is keeping them separate. Is my D&D campaign world of Avremier more interesting than my Snowglass "sixguns-and-sorcery" fiction milieu, or my Ophelian Age of Enwonderment "Wonderland-Cthulhu-Mythos-alternate-Victorian" fiction milieu, or my Age of Runes "modern-day-alternate-norse-myth-cosmos" fiction milieu? That's not for me to decide. My job is to present each one as best I can for others to (hopefully) enjoy.