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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Reprints of Earlier D&D Works, the OSR and My Origins Story Part 2

Within a short period of trying out this wonderful game with the Boy Scouts, (which I loved having already become a fan of Lord of the Rings based upon constantly looking at my Dad's collection of Hildebrandt Brothers calendars) I decided that I must have it.  While at a local comic shop with my Dad a couple years later, after having picked up and played the whole of "Heroquest" with my good friend and still gaming buddy Rick (my first gaming buddy by the way,) I saw the "New Easy to Master" boxed set of D&D that came with the "Zanzer Tem's Dungeon" adventure.  We played this for a while, also inviting our friend Dave (equally a fan of LOTR at the time) in to game as well.  So for a little while we played basic, and cobbled together our own games.  

Then a couple years later still, Rick's sister and brother-in-law moved back into his parents house.  They brought with them a curious tome called The Complete Bard's Handbook.  Not knowing what exactly a Bard could do by level, We decided that we should use this book anyway.  We made note that it didn't streamline well into what we were playing.  So, instead of asking the owners of the book anything about this at all, I went to the library and found and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook.  This was a 1E handbook.  I immediately noted that the bard in this book didn't seem to fit quite right with what was in the brown handbook that we continued to borrow.  It came to pass that I would thumb through the phone book to find places where we could acquire the "right books" to make our game "better" and "more official." I eventually found a local comic shop that I would shop in until the day that it would close, many years down the road.  Comic Kingdom II was paradise for me.  The first thing I pick up for 2nd Edition was a basic boxed set that taught some of the rules with ease.  It was "First Quest" which turned out not so great with an even worse CD to help teach the rules.

I realized right away that we were far beyond this, and promptly picked up the 2E Players Handbook.  Lo and behold, when I picked this book up that it was the exact same thing that I had played with the Boy Scouts all those years ago!  Soon after we had a plethora of shared 2E books and a few 1E books that I inherited from friends of my uncle who were still playing 1E.  Watching their experiences taught me a bit about the difference in the play style between the two editions.  It also taught me a bit about miniatures, which I started to acquire and paint weekly from Comic Kingdom II, where I would listen to the owner's (Bob that is) stories of his characters.  I realized that his game, too, was 1st Edition.  I didn't mind, but these experiences taught me about certain things that seemed to be inherent in the 2E system, railroading campaigns and heroic adventure, primarily.  Luckily for us, Rick liked to do things sandboxy, and even when I ran something of epic scope, there was always room for PC's to do other things.  Rick also liked playing thieves and not so nice fighters, so that helped take some of the "hero syndrome" out of the game.  Several of my players were more often the "anti-hero" type.  But really, this was all just the beginning...

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