Monday, January 14, 2013

2012 - a great year of just plain gaming

With the Temple of Demogorgon 4 year anniversary just this last week, I thought it might a good time to talk about some of my gaming from the last year (as seems to be the tradition). Mostly the last year was about focusing on actually running games over blogging or kerfuffling in the OSR, and I found it both peaceful and fulfilling.

In 2012 I didn’t do much in the way of gaming outside the regular group. After a couple of shitty experiences in the previous and other years both at tabletops and online (there were some good ones too), I dedicated myself to the regular group and to new campaigns with gusto, and kept my posts here to an average of 2 or 3 a month.

Pretty much started the year jumping right into my long-daydreamed about classic Runequest game. I did a lot of research, and dreaming up of my own stuff in relation to existing data for this campaign. It was a lot of work, but I love Glorantha and could not wait to portray my version of it. Though I used a lot of the Celtic imagery and some clarifications on locations from later editions, I did my best to keep my Glorantha very basic, they way I experienced it as a kid. There was a bit of work to be done with the crunch, as I almost immediately threw out some of the Strike Rank stuff and started houseruling to make the game and all it’s combat focus go smoother. I think that went well, as I’m pretty sure I captured the groups imagination with strong tribal-clan setting, a nice break from generic medieval Europe setting of D&D. I finally got to do the classic Gringles Pawnshop and Rainbow Mounds scenario’s, and it was all good. I think I left the campaign off later in the year with the players wanting more, and that is the feather in the GM cap as far as I’m concerned. I will for sure revisit the characters later this year.

In January regular player Paul brought a copy of Arkham Horror boardgame when we were low on players, and though lengthy (as most boardgames seem to be) it was fun, and got my juices flowing to do some Call of Cthulhu. We did eventually get a few sessions in, and it was good times. I called this part of the campaign “Fangs of New York,” with a classic New York setting. Byakhees and Chinese Gangsters over Times Square on New Years Eve, Cho Cho People and Chaugner Faugh in the Jersey Pine Barrens. Really great sessions, and as in the past some players hemmed and hawed about the genre, but loved it once we played. Quite honestly, I think I do my best GMing with Cthulhu. I’m really “on” when I run it. Looking forward to getting in some more of this soon. It is a good game for when you are low on players.

Just a quick video gaming mention as an aside. Around the earlier part of last year my video game of choice ended up being Fallout 3. I hadn’t played a video game with this much enthusiasm since Resident Evil 4. Just a great and immersive game, and a big time waster in 2012. Right now, into 2013, I’m putting a bit of effort into Borderlands 1 and Bioshock (I might have mentioned in the past that I am always 2-4 years behind on my video games).

My Knights of The Old Republic campaign continued. Despite the crunch, or maybe even because of it, the group on a whole seemed to really enjoy it. I cannot compare it to AD&D as I hadn’t run that for the group in over two years, but out of everything else I have done; Mutant Future, Champions, and Call of Cthulhu, this seemed to be what the gang liked best. I ran it right up to the holidays, but have set it aside since I want to do D&D so bad. We’ll hopefully get back to it later this year, maybe summer.

In addition to this new D&D campaign we are just getting underway, I also still want to do a mini-campaign with the high level dudes left over from the Night Below campaign I ended two years ago. The players seem very attached to these characters, and it seems a shame to not do the occasional outing with them, despite my mild dislike for high level play.

When mentioning events/non-events of 2012, there is I guess one minorly controversial blogging thing that happened quietly for me that has a little weight I guess. After almost 4 years James M. over at Grognardia dropped Temple of Demogorgon from his blog roll. Even though I had poked good natured (what I thought it was, anyway) fun at him over the years, and even questioned some of his more head scratching opinions and other things in his comments section, I was a fairly devoted follower of the blog and often complimented the things worthy of complimenting that he was up to. The thing that eventually got his goat, I guess, was this fairly innocent comment located here, pointing out his long record of “hand wringing” over the original Conan film where the titular character wasn’t blond, blue-eyed, and refined enough in dialogue as the books portrayed him.

There is some significance there, I guess, as the oft-called “voice of the OSR” took the time to drop a fairly unknown blog name from his roll over such a trifle, but I guess a bit of fame, as niche as it is, goes to one’s head from time to time. I started this blog, my first ever, inspired mostly from his nostalgia for old gaming stuff, and I kept a certain respect for James because of what seemed like interests similar to mine. But as time marched on I became less and less impressed as others seemed to become more and more so. I was one of the eager folk a few years ago involved in his play by post Dwimmermount campaign On the OD&D boards, one which he abandoned a couple of weeks into it without a word or explanation or “sorry guys, just don’t have the time.” No big deal really, but it was weird. It seems to me that the most Aspergers-ridden gamer out there would at least utter some word of explanation to the dozen or so folk who took the time to indulge his little endeavor. I grew less and less interested in what he had to say in his echo chamber as time went by after this, and by the time he made a hefty profit from his extremely vanilla and (to me) non-ground breaking dungeon setting “Dwimmermount” (I still don’t know what the hell a “Dwimmer” is) I had checked out more or less completely. Not that it ultimately matters much. I don’t know what impact being on “Mr. Big’s” blogroll had on Temple of Demo, I never spent much time looking at the blog stats. I’ve lost more followers on this blog for my comments in the past than I actually have on the blog right now. If I had “played it nice” and sucked up instead of speaking openly about bullshit experiences I had and things I’ve noticed online, I guess I might have a following in the several hundreds like most blogs as old as mine. But I obviously haven’t been in it for that since my first year, when I decided talking about real, visceral experiences relating to gaming and gamers was more interesting (to me) than talking up Keep on the Borderlands for the nth time.

Anyway, from what I’m told, bigger and better blogs than mine have been zapped from his blogroll, so hopefully I’m in good company there. Plus, from what I hear James is in hiding from his Kickstarter supporters and recently coming forward to them to apologize and to tell them he no longer finds fun in blogging and is burnt out on writing in general. He hasn’t posted to Grognardia in over a month now.

Anyway, back to the real gaming, and fuck all that other mess. So we in the group have started my new AD&D 1st edition campaign, and the characters seem like a lot of fun so far. So my gaming wish list for lucky number 2013 is to do a bunch of this AD&D campaign, a smattering of the high level AD&D, More Call of Cthulhu here and there, a continuance of KOTOR later in the year, and…heaven forbid…maybe sneak a little Champions in? That would be a damn good gaming year for me.


  1. keep on truckin' baby!

  2. James dropped me at least a year ago, probably because I comment with my own name on YDIS and think most OSR output is vomitous. (I wouldn't have known if someone else hadn't mentioned he did it to them, so I checked and sure enough ...) I wouldn't sweat it. Grognardia seemed pretty cool five years ago when it was one of the only two or three games in town, but it's always been content-free and there's no reason to read it when there are so many better options now.

    Once James made the jump from "fellow doofus, doofing about games" to "legendary dungeonsmith," the whole damned thing became insufferable. He's been bailing on commitments without explanation since Petty Gods and his odd74 PBP, and he didn't have any problem posting reviews for ancient, irrelevant magazines while these personal crises were consuming his soul.


  3. Scott: way well said. I'm guessing that beyond family tragedy and other things that wear us humans down, that he perhaps has some common nerd milktoast emotional problems. Not making fun of it, but he seems ill at ease confronting adult issues, or being an adult and just keeping in touch with commitments. He leaves people hanging. Lately in very important, kind of disturbing ways. But yeah, with lots of the online stuff about D&D is going to google + and me not having much free time to explore it, my OSR experience now is one of looking for illegal pdf's online of ancient game stuff I want to use with the group. Maybe the occasional blog post if I think it is interesting enough. I've been holding off for weeks now because I am running a classic old school UK dungeon for the group with the name files off so they won't look it up. Since some in my group look at this blog, I can't post about ongoign secrety DM crap anymore. I kind of miss the days I could to that, and rag on about my players shennanigans a bit.


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