Simple Game with Simple Rules

Lots of arguments about rules. Games as written aren’t right, so we change them, but some argue whether they can be changed. It’s like poker. How many variations are there? I have played 6 or 7 in my life and still only make sense out of 5 card stud and 5 card draw. I haven’t ever read the rules for Texas Hold ‘Em, but watching snippets here and there, I don’t get it. Why not just stick with 5 card stud?

RPGs are the same way. Play what you like the way you like. If you aren’t having fun, your’e doing it wrong.

The simplest game my siblings and the kids in our neighborhood made up was called “Keep it Moving”. The only object required was a ball that we could throw, bounce, kick, etc. The playing area was how many ever yards we decided on, that is, my yard, the neighbor’s yard and whether or not anyone playing was allowed to play in the street or cross the street, or if old man so and so was home. There was no limit to the number of players.

There was one rule, keep the ball moving. If the ball stopped, we all counted while the nearest person to the ball went to knock it back into the area with the rest of the players, or the nearest player. We did not keep track of how high we counted. It was just a crude timer so that we could be as fast as we were able. I think we just gathered in closer and started again. No score, no time limit, no fouls, no tackling, (no intentional injury). Teenagers would play with 5 year olds. It was just fun, running, laughing, and having a good time. It was great exercise. Kids of all fitness levels and ball handling, kicking, throwing skills could play. Everyone that played that game had fun. The game ended when it got dark, or there weren’t enough kids left to play, or we all got so tired we just stopped.

There were no arguments about rules, no debates about going out of bounds, no need for referees. The older kids kept an eye on the younger kids. The older kids would get silly and do obvious major failures in ball handling to the giggles and glee of the younger kids. While no adults ever joined us, this is a game I wish I had shared with my own kids when they were younger. I guess I will have to share it with my granddaughter and get her father involved that way, but that’s still a few years off, since she is two weeks old today.

Most of us have our favorite RPG as the one we started with, like the first Doctor we watched with Dr. Who. But that’s not quite right. I started with Blue Book Holmes D&D, but AD&D is my favorite, but only the way I like it; i. e.  lots of rules ignored or streamlined, or changed in some way, or new rules added to fill gaps.

We all have our quirks and preferences and in different groups modify them to suit the particular group of people we are with. When I play with my brothers and the group we started with way back in junior high and high school, we have our way of doing it and there is little discussion only for clarification. My interpretation and preferences prevail when I DM with my sons, as they do not know all the rules, and just have fun playing. The weekly online AD&D game I’m in is fairly close to by the book, but some rules have faded from use as it just bogs things down, like weapon speed and all the fiddly bits with weapons. My knowledge and interpretation have helped with clarification, but not lead to my drothers prevailing. I am sure if I were to play with a group of experienced players for the first time, and we all agreed on AD&D, there might be questions about how the DM would do it, but we would come to some mutual agreement on how it should be done.

I haven’t played with teenagers other than my sons for over thirty years, but I would not put up with some of the immature teenage nonsense that some so-called mature adults display online. I don’t care what you are of any category, or what you believe about any topic, if we can agree to play a game with a mutually agreed ruleset in a setting that we can wrap our heads around, and have fun while doing it, then we are doing it right. I don’t have to agree with someone’s life experiences and the choices they make to play with them. I don’t always agree with my brothers, and we are polar opposites on many hot button issues, but we still love each other and can play AD&D together.

I have played with men and women, gay and straight, various ethnicities beyond my own, preteens to people in their 60’s and maybe older, in person, and online. (Don’t freak because I didn’t mention group X, Y, or Z. This isn’t a game to have the most complete list….) We all managed to have fun. However, if we all started talking about our religious beliefs, political beliefs, or sexual preferences, I am sure we would soon find out what each of our buttons are. Hopefully, we would be mature enough to have a civilized conversation and not throw it in each other’s faces and make a friendship impossible.

I find certain topics taboo in roleplaying. Acting out or roleplaying rape or sexual fantasies, or religious rituals to the point of LARPing, is too far. Mentioning that the bad guys raped, would be OK, but not go into a counseling session about it, or dwell on it. Yes, we talk about fictionalized violence and death, and killing “monsters”, but that we can put in context. I prefer a PG or at most R rating on roleplaying, and if young enough players are present, G rating.

The whole point of a game is to be fun. If the “fun” is in putting down or belittling someone else at the table, that’s not fun. I draw a distinction between sarcasm and put downs, and intentional hurt. Some who live on put downs and sarcastic humor have a hard time finding the point at which to draw the line. There are those who don’t like that type of humor, so their line is usually pretty obvious to all but the pathologically oblivious.

The internet and social media has made it easy for anonymous posters to be the ugly trolls that ruin it for the rest of us. Don’t feed the trolls is a good motto, hopefully they will lose interest and go someplace else without having to ban them, or seek legal action.

Don’t let the bastard get you down. Remember, the trolls rolled a one when it comes to having real love and real fun in their lives. We don’t have to play by their rules. I quit commenting on online discussions because my efforts to put things back on track just ended up making me a target. I just ignore commenting on things, or delete my response without sending, since the mere writing of a response got it out of my system.

I stick to commenting on RPG related stuff, and if I have something to say not about RPGs, I have a blog for that. A live, but obscure blog. I don’t link to it from here, to keep my gaming life separate from some of my thoughts and beliefs that at least one or more groups would disagree with and gum up the works here, and try to take me away from something fun.

As I said above, if you are playing games and it is not fun, you are doing it wrong.

OSRIC Print Order Arrived & Unboxing

My OSRIC Print order was waiting for me when I got home from work tonight.

As I posted earlier, I ordered the hard cover Player’s Guide and the softcover A5 lay flat full rules. My plan was to have them in time for Marmalade Dog, when I will be running Village of Hommlet as part of the OSR track.

As usual, from my prior order of Delving Deeper from Lulu, it was packed firmly to avoid damage from movement. There was a ding on one corner of the box, but no damage to either volume.

The hard cover is the 1st edition of OSRIC, and the lay flat is the 2nd edition. I am not aware of what the differences are, but a quick glance shows the Player’s Guide to be very thorough.

The Player’s Guide is a bit over 1/4 inch narrower, and maybe 1/8 inch shorter than the original AD&D Player’s Handbook. The AD&D Player’s Handbook clocks in at 126 pages, not counting the ad for GenCon and other TSR games. The OSRIC Player’s Guide has 170 numbered pages, plus the OSRIC Open License, Open Game License, spell index, index, and closing full page illustration.

Many of the illustrations pay homage to the original artwork. I like the one with the fighter and magic user in chains with a rat walking away, and the fighter says, “It didn’t work.”

The index has its own bit of humor. Under I it has “Is Anyone Reading This” on page “No”.

I like that all the bits and pieces for each attribute, race, and class are kept together. The organisation of OSRIC is one thing that is a big selling point. I did find it a little different trying to find spells by level, since they are in their alphabetically. I’ve gotten so used to go to spells of a certain level and then searching alphabetically, that it is a challenge. The benefit of having all the spells of the same level together is that it facilitates moving characters up through the levels to new spells.

For a new hardcover book, it lays open without effort or having to use the old school exercise for new books. The print is clear and legible and the paper seems heavy enough to take a lot of use.

The only quality issues with the Player’s guide is that some of the last few pages of the book were not separated at one small area at the top of the page. They all separated easily when using gentle effort. Also the fold on the top upper left and right corners of the front and back cover does not look like the illustration got folder over quite as neatly as it should have.  None of this is anything I am worried about. There is no obvious issue with the text or the printing, other than what would be found with a full read through. This will be a game table resource, so minor flaws I can live with.

The lay flat of the full rules clocks in at 396 numbered pages which includes all the way through the index. The last two pages are the OSRIC Open License and the Open Game License. The AD&D Player’s Handbook (126 numbered pages), Monster Manual (112 numbered pages including the GenCon ad and other TSR games) , and Dungeon Master’s Guide (232 numbered pages), clock in at 470 pages. I am sure someone has done a comparison of what is different. I know in part that the differences is partly not using the same text as the original, since it is re-worded. Also a cleaner organization can eliminate a lot.

The lay flat is smaller in width and height. Each page is slightly wider and slightly shorter than a standard letter size (8.5″ x 11″) folded in half. With the spiral binding, it is about two inches wider than a letter sized page in landscape.

I find that the print is clean and easy to read, but small, which is a necessity to get so much on a small page. This is probably not an issue for younger eyes, but older eyes requiring bifocals need to be aware of the angles one tries to read it while lying flat. The amount of light on the page will also affect how easily one can read it. I have had thick glasses for nearsightedness since I was 13, but bifocals only the last 6 or 7 years. I find that for me, the angle and the lighting on the page are the biggest factor. I suppose if I keep gaming for a few more decades, I may need the large print version of the lay flat. Do they make one of those?

As with the Player’s Guide, the information is grouped more logically. Also the age generation method is in the player’s section. It optionally lists the height and weight tables.  Secondary Skills are missing as are psionics. We rarely used psionics back in the day, but the secondary skill table gave an added bit of flavor. But it’s OK to make up your own rules. I take ideas from other games and other DM’s & campaigns all the time. Make it work the way you and your players like. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Here are the pictures of the unboxing.

The Box
The Box
Tightly Wrapped In Plastic
Tightly Wrapped In Plastic

Hero Forge Update 2

I got my Hero Forge backer’s mini on Saturday, that I ordered in December, and wrote about in my Hero Forge Update.

It was well packed and arrived undamaged.

It looks like it has dust on it, but that is an illusion of the texture.

Now I need to get the supplies needed to paint this and my original miniatures from back in the day. Since I am running out of month to finish two RPG related tasks, that will have to wait. No promises on the when, but I will post pictures when I get them done. I will show progress, etc. I will take better quality pictures and dig out my homemade light box when I start the painting process.

Now for pictures of the unpacking. Can you tell it was raining? Actually, this was before the rain and the warm weather melted the snow and ice on my roof and it dripped down on my front steps where the mail carrier left it.

It was wrapped in large bubble, bubble wrap with a layer of the same type of bubble wrap to ensure that it did not bounce around in the box.

Well Packed
Well Packed
Wrapped Tight
Wrapped Tight
In a Plastic Bag
In a Plastic Bag
Blends In On White Table
Blends In On White Table
Shows better on a darker background

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Next Generation

My youngest asked me to teach him how to run a game of AD&D. He lives out of state with his mother, so this isn’t too easy.

Step one I completed today at one of my FLGS, Fanfare, or on Facebook. I was looking for a Player’s Handbook to have extras at the table when I run Village of Hommlet at Marmalade Dog, Feb 6, 7, 8, as part of the OSR track. They had a Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual 2, so I picked them up as well. I was pleased to see that Fanfare has a Marmalade Dog poster, and the poster indicates there is an OSR track. Cool!

They also had the Greyhawk Adventures that straddles the 1e and 2e rules, so I picked it up. Since Hommlet is set in Greyhawk, I figured clerics will use Greyhawk dieties. I have stats on them somewhere on a PDF, I think, but this will make it simple to get any information I need at the table. The main thing is the names of the dieties and anything specific about them for flavor. I doubt a low level adventure will see any D.I.

I then emailed my FLGS on the ether, New Era Enterprises at neweraenterprises at, AKA Roy Snyder, who helped get the OSR track at Marmalade Dog, to track down a Monster Manual.

I’ll use the Player’s Handbook at the con, but when he comes out with his mother and grandmother to meet his niece, I’ll give him his manuals, PH, DMG, MM & MM2, and some dice and graph paper. He just turned 18, wow, time flies. He wants to get together and play when he is here, but I don’t think there will be time to squeeze that in, but I hope I’m wrong about that and we can play.

My first grandchild was born two days after my youngest turned 18. He was hoping that he would be an uncle on his birthday.

She is gorgeous! It will be a while before she is ready to roll up a character and play with grandpa. I am sure that we will be playing make believe of one sort or another before she’s ready for even a kid’s version of an RPG. It will be a while yet until she’s even at the peek a boo stage.

Life is good!

Again Alliterative Acronyms

Adventurous Adventurers Adventuring

Belated Blathering Blogger

Caverns of Cavernous Creepy Canyons

Devious Devils Defenestrate

Eerie Echoes Enervate

Fiery Fiends Flatulate

Grumpy Giants Girate

Hairy Hermits Harass Haughty Heroes

Island of Irate Isolated Islanders

Here’s one I found mixed in my DM notes ( I don’t have any notes indicating if there was supposed to be more.):

Livid lizards licking livers

While wild wombats wobble

And arthritic antelope anticipate.

99 Followers on Google+

Follow Me And Die! just had its 99th follower today.

I wonder who will be 100?

How many more followers can possibly want to follow this blog?

Be one of the few who follow, since all of us eventually die. 😉

Several of them are non-RPG related. Some I have blocked for obvious spammers, those that appear to be harmless, I let stand.

It is cool to think that I have had this blog since 2009, but only really got serious about regular posting in February of 2014.

I look forward to any followers of my blog and the interchange of ideas and stories about RPGs for many years to come.

D&D had its 40th anniversary last year, and this March will be my 37th year since I first started with the Holmes Blue Book.

LOL,I just had the image of that song we all used to sing to the annoyance of our parents and teachers.

I couldn’t resist, nor did I try very hard.

99 Followers up on the wall, knock one down and watch him fall, 98 Followers up on the wall.

Order for OSRIC Books

I am running the AD&D module, Village of Hommlet at Marmalade Dog 20 the first weekend in February, as part of the OSR Track.

I ordered the A5 Layflat spiral bound complete rules, and the hardcover OSRIC Player’s Guide. In addition to use at the table, I want to present that new players can get the basics they need to run AD&D without tracking down manuals, and without paying anything, if they just want the PDFs. I just ordered them today, so at the latest they should be here the week before I need them. I also want more manuals in case I happen to attract players to get my campaign going again. My son and his girlfriend have not been able to play since the summer.

I do have three copies of the Player’s Handbook, plus I have a tablet with the PDF I purchased before WotC yanked all their PDFs.  This should allow most players and myself to have a copy should they need it at the table.

I do have another copy of the original Player’s Handbook, that I snagged on eBay, but it is in near pristine condition. I also have one of the reprints, along with the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide, but they are still in the shrink wrap. I get overprotective of my stuff, so the copies I have in play, I don’t mind letting others use, I just don’t want any stains or writing on them, or the covers to be gouged by players using them as writing tables.

My original Player’s Handbook, that I got for Christmas the year it was released, is well stained from many fingers turning the pages. There are small tears and nicks on the edges of some pages, and the cover is somehow wrinkled, like it needs to be ironed, and faded.

I also purchased a PDF copy of the Village of Hommlet, so I can print it up and write on it, and cut out pictures to show the players, without having to write on my copy.

I need to finish reviewing and making notes and create some pre-generated characters. (Does anyone have pre-generated characters that would work well, or have worked well with this module?)

Once I get all that accomplished, I will try to find some others online so I can do a play test, since I have never played this module. It will be for six players. I also need to practice running a game that does not include my children, since they and I can communicate on a different level than someone I have never met or played with.

Hero Forge Update

Hero Forge is one of the Kickstarters that I backed. they are a victim of their own success and are backed up due to the volume of orders placed in the last few weeks, and rather than a planned two – four weeks until shipping, it is delayed to be four weeks. I received a generic email a couple of days ago, and today I received a personalized email about my specific order.

Here is the informational email I received.

Thank you for shopping with Hero Forge, the internet’s new home for customized, 3D printed tabletop miniatures!
In a response to requests for status updates, we are reaching out to users whose orders have finished processing and have been sent to our manufacturer to be forged. We wanted to let you know that your order 107996 has finished processing and has been sent to our manufacturer to be forged.

While it normally takes up to 4 weeks for your miniature(s) to arrive, we have experienced very heavy order volume during our launch and encountered some delays. This has resulted in some orders taking longer to be fulfilled and may extend delivery times by a up to a matter of weeks. We are working to address these setbacks in order to return to the 2-4 week fulfillment speed that we would normally provide.

*Your Character(s):*

Character: Griswald — Material:ultra_detail_28mm

Hero Forge Update

Note that we have been implementing several updates and tweaks to our models and poses to improve the quality of our 3D printed miniatures. We have included high resolution renders of your figure(s) below which include any updates. We invite you to review and verify they are as expected, though no reply is necessary unless you have any questions, concerns, or comments.
If you have any questions about your order please contact our customer service team with your order number, account e-mail address, and the contents of your order confirmation e-mail.
We hope to see you again soon!

I’m in no hurry, I had beta access for nearly two months and due to my schedule, I did not order until December.  Having regular updates to let me know that things are progressing is great, at least I know where things stand, and maybe by the time of MarmaladeDog, I will have a sample to show….