Day 2: First person YOU introduced to D&D? Which edition? THEIR first character?

I have no idea who it would have been. My brother, Robert and I probably shared our first person. We also helped found the Science Fiction Book Club at our school, it was all genres of books, movies and games.

The two most recent I introduced were my sons. Their mother, my ex, is anti-D&D, but bought them Magic, The Gathering cards, LOL. She has no clue.

My sons loved it and we have a blast when we play. I just wish we could work it out to play more often. I really enjoy it and am the DM I wish I was when I DM’d in high school. I don’t think I am as good as my brother, Robert, but I think I am good enough that he would enjoy being a player for a change. He would definitely stretch my skills to the max!

My sons each went with non-human split class characters for magic use and armor. They have done very well for first time players.

My oldest told me about playing in a 3e or 4e game and was so lost by character creation and a DM who wasn’t very helpful that he did not enjoy it. I showed him that it can be simple to create a character, 15 min or less and soon be playing and having fun.

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Day 1: First person who introduced you to D&D? Which edition? Your first Character?

D&D at 40 Blog Hop Challenge
D&D at 40 Blog Hop Challenge

My brother, Robert, seemed to have a knack for learning about interesting things that I also found interesting. I am ten months older and the way our birthdays fell, we went through school in the same grade.

He convinced my parents to pay for a subscription to Science Fiction Book of the Month. I think he also got Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. I’m not sure if that is where he learned of D& D, but that was in 8th grade in 1978. I’ll have to ask him. He still plays with his wife & kids and a classmate from our high school graduating class. Robert is my favorite DM and can handle anything the players do and can ad lib any situation. I wish I lived in the same state so we could play more than once every year or two or three.

I mowed lawns and did other things to bring in money, so I was the financial backer to our endeavors.

We went to the hobby shop at the nearest mall, Independence Center, in Independence, MO. (More on that in a later day for the challenge.) I bought the blue boxed set and we both consumed the rules. He was DM and we soon had others playing with us. We were frustrated that it only went to 3rd level. I don’t think we managed to get any characters past that point for a long time.

In 9th grade one family moved in with three brothers the same ages as my brothers and I. They played D&D and lots of other games. My brother, Robert, and the oldest brother of the other family, David, took turns DMing. We ended up with trains of adventurers, war dogs, mules, and hirelings navigating dungeons. Not very practical or realistic, but we had fun.

I do not recall my first character. My oldest character that I still have the character sheet, is Kad Staglar, halfling fighter/thief. We had a set of characters that we rotated between two or three DMs, one was my brother, Robert. It was Monty Haul, as this character ended up with a girdle of storm giant strength, gauntlets of ogre power, and a ring of regeneration. In dungeons we just had him run through locked doors and knock the bottoms out. For a thief, not very responsible. I don’t recall having any death traps to stop that behavior.  More on this in Gladiatorial Combat. This would have been about tenth grade.

We had a lot of fun and I remember a lot of laughter about things we said not coming out right and repeating something that we found funny until it became a catchphrase for the group, even if only for the session.

D&D 40th Anniversary Blogging Challenge List of Questions
D&D 40th Anniversary Blogging Challenge List of Questions

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Directions, as in “Which way did he go?”There are a few things to keep in mind when determining a random direction.

  1. Land, Sea, Air, Space, Alternate Dimensions/Realities/Planes?
    1. Two dimensional, Three Dimensional, or Four Dimensional?
  2. Simplicity verses complexity.

Roleplaying is not about making perfect game analogues to anticipate every possible piece of reality one would need to cover to have the most “complete” ruleset. It is about enough of a mutually agreed framework that allows the gameplay to proceed with minimal interruptions.

A simple, two-dimensional example we are all familiar with is the map or boardgame. The points on the compass give the basics of what is meant by direction. The most simple example are the four points of the compass, if one is facing an outdoor scenario, with modifications for cliffs or other features that make certain options difficult to follow. The complexity can be increased for the number of directions in a geometric progression. 1d4 for N,S,E,W; 1d8 for the four basic directions, plus the four “diagonal”positions on the compass, i.e. NW,SE, etc; and finally, 3d6-1 for the 16 points. Beyond this it takes 32 options, or 64 and complexity soon becomes cumbersome. This simple example leaves out determining if someone climbed a tree, or hid in the pond. Add a desired modification of up, down, and sideways to add complexity if ideas for continuing the story are evading your current stint as GM.

Two-Dimensional Tables:

4 points (N,S,E,W)

Works well for graph paper.
1 North
2 South
3 East
4 West

8 points (N, NE, etc.)

Works well for hex paper.
1 N
2 NW
3 NE
4 S
5 SW
6 SE
7 W
8 E

16 Points (N, NE, NNE, etc.)

What simple model best fits here?
3d6-2 Direction
…. ….

While reviewing hex paper, it became clear that with 6 points and 6 sides a d12 could be put to use.

12 Points – Using points and sides of a hex.

Works well for hex paper.
1d12 Direction
1 First side of hex
2 First point of hex to the right of the first side
3-12 Continue with each of the remaining sides and points.


* See Sideways sub table.
1d3 Direction
1 Up
2 Down
3 Sideways*

Sideways (NPC or creature or object being sought has encountered a complication.)

External Intervention can be another interested party has acted on the item via physical, magical or otherworldly means. Location variable can mean something like a trap or hazard.
1d6 Direction
1 External Intervention
2 Location Variable
3 Backtrack
4-6 Roll Twice,
or add more options, etc.

For example, if an NPC thief is fleeing the party into the woods, and he encounters an Ogre, does he live, die, etc? How does this change the direction?

For internal directions, such as a building, dungeon or town, the directions will be more limited to the available terrain. A dungeon with a straight corridor for 100 feet and no secret doors in that space only has forward and back without mining tools or powerful magic, or a complication.

Three dimensional movement is encountered most often with sea, air or space encounters. Three axes of movement are involved and quickly complicate things.

One could roll on one of the two dimensional tables for the direction and use a second die or roll for z-axis modifier for up/down. There is some discussion on this in the AD&D DMG. p?

Adding in another layer of complexity, like time is simple simply determine past/present or add in parallel dimension/plane. This level of complexity would only be found in a fantasy setting where play involved powerful enough players involved in dimension travel. While some use of this might happen if the party can’t easily follow, like Donjon from a “Deck of Many Things.”

The K.I.S.S. principle will go far, just pick the number of points that make sense and fit the circumstances to keep play moving. This is only useful if a pre-planned contingency is part of the GM’s plans, say if the party encounters an individual in a maze of twisty passages with multiple routes of travel, plan the route ahead of time, or save work and devise a fast method to plan the route, since players have a knack for avoiding the cool scenario you want to see played out.

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Back In The Saddle

Have not posted any RPG remembrances. Instead, I have been making new memories with my sons. We started playing last July, and did not play again until Christmas. I am taking a two week staycation since gas is high and money is tight. We have played the last three days and I have been rapidly filling in information using various hexcrawl methods and suggestions. That really helps to plan what is available so if and when the players encounter it, things are ready to keep moving. I am still rusty as a DM, but digging through the various Monster Manuals and coming back to the DMG and other books (AD&D) have re-familiarized myself with the creatures and their statistics and game mechanics. Before July of last year, I had not game mastered anything in nearly 30 years. I had only played one marathon session as a player for the first time in about 15 years a few years ago. Reading about the whole OSR movement got me to harking back to the days of yore.

It has been a slow process with fits and starts. It is easy to get side-tracked and follow side links and get lost in learning about new things online on various RPG blogs, or reading about different types of tombs when building your own tables.

I find that building my own tables is fun but very challenging. I want to build tables that are level appropriate until the boys get better at the game. They are 15 1/2 and almost 21, so it’s not like they are little kids, but I want them to figure out the mechanics without getting totally slaughtered. They are both playing split class demi-human spellcasters, so they have the mechanics of figuring out the spells, etc. They are doing very well with minimal input from me.

Charm person seems like such a feeble spell that in my playing I have stayed away from it. However, my oldest has used it to great effect when they were in situations that it was good they used it. Having a creature that is basically a slave with inside information has been very good for them.

The youngest was mad at his brother and used it as an excuse for his character to go off by himself. He stumbled upon the clue they were looking for and nearly died trying to get back from his adventures. It was fun seeing him wracking his brain trying to figure out what to do to handle the situations he got himself into. I think he has learned his lesson to not run off into the forest by himself. While he can handle simple things, charging into a tomb at night without a torch lit, even for an elf is a bad idea. Statues in the dark seem like the undead when your mind is filling in the blanks. His 2nd level FTR/2nd level MU happened to stumble upon the tomb that only had 3 centipedes and a skeleton in it, and came out wounded, poisoned but alive. This after stumbling across a lair for 20 giant rats who by dice roll were not there and he got their loot before they got back. He had fun and learned his lesson at the same time. Meanwhile the parallel time line with his brother and the NPCs, they ran into nothing but the NPC they were going to get more information.

Then little brother’s Character, Fang, happened to come charging into them on his horse as he was riding like mad to get to the NPC Druid’s house for help. He passed out and fell off his horse at their feet, thus he was saved. He was passed out the next day, so big brother’s 2nd lever Druid/2nd level MU Half Elf, Descartes, and a 1st level Dwarf fighter and 3rd level human thief went back looking for an object they left behind that the sage back in town is willing to buy from them, hoping it is still there. Now, their rolls turn bad and they come to the burrow for the giant rats, but speak with animal allows them to pass without a fight. However, the next encounter at the edge of a large pond, a giant crayfish kill’s the dwarf’s horse. But a quick, entangle from the Druid/MU traps the crayfish, that failed its save and they kill it while entangled. There is more, but it was fun to watch them encounter the things that they encountered and they want more!

I am stocking hexes and making sure to cover all the bases for whichever direction they plan to head. I look forward to finding out how they plan to deal with the goblin lair they learned about. The NPC druid wants it out of her forest, and they will use a charmed goblin to help them find it. They won’t have the help they had fighting the last group of goblins, so it will be interesting….

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“The Rancor” – A Cautionary Tale On Out-of-Character Outbursts

During a long series of play, we called “Dungeon Wars” (One big dungeon/cavern complex with several skirmishes and battles, and no clear winner.) The DM described a creature, later learned to be an annis, in a way that lead me to picture a Rancor. If you have seen “The Return of The Jedi”, you know that the big hungry monster in Jabba the Hut’s basement is a Rancor. Robert, the DM and my brother, described the annis as eating a man in two bites. I think he overestimated the size of the mouth of an annis, as they are about 8 feet tall and basically humanoid.

That inspired me to say, out of character, “The Rancor”, and make my best imitation of the roar of the rancor.

Later, whenever we encountered a big and tough monster, I would blurt out, “The Rancor” with the same rancor roar.

My brother is a very creative individual, and decided to teach me a lesson to limit my use of such out of character utterances. That is to say, he was tired of “The Rancor” and my roar.

During an adventure that saw all of the players of the major PCs and a major NPC wizard go after a magic bookstand. We all owed favors to this wizard and he called in each of our favors to go get it. Robert set the stage and when we got to a very large room and we knew it had a big, bad monster in it. As if on cue, I said, “The Rancor” and roared.

Suddenly, Robert reached down and pulled a toy Rancor out of a paper grocery bag and set it on the table. We all cracked up, and it was several minutes before we had composure. Only to learn that the Star Wars toy was the actual monster we faced. Griswald was in the front and the Rancor grabbed him and rolled high enough that he swallowed Griswald whole. Robert then picked up my miniature for Griswald and stuffed it down the mouth of this toy. (Scale-wise, a 25 mm miniature is about half the height of Luke Skywalker, so this creature was huge.) Griswald was limited in what he could do, and managed to pull out a dagger to do internal damage as the rest of the party tried to kill the monster without also doing in Griswlad.

Robert gave it like 100 hit points, which was not too many for the rest of the party to wail on it in a few rounds before Griswald suffocated or took damage from stomach acid.

Anyway, lesson learned. I do not make continued out of character noises or references that are annoying to the DM. However, I must say, I deserved it, my character did not die, and we all had a great laugh and still laugh about it today.

What creative ways have you or your GM used out of character statements or actions as plot points in an adventure?

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WotC Fan Site Policy Uproar

WotC’s Fan site Policy, as many have pointed out, is actually a license. It prevents you from using some images on your site, yet if you use it, you assign all your writings over to WotC. Not a fair trade, in my opinion. I will continue to write about what I want to write about, the way I want to do it. I will not use copywrited images or material to do it, so WotC has no fear from me. I do not plan to buy 4e, but would buy more PDFs of AD&D and OD&D, if they are ever made available again. If not, then I will make due with what I have, or use one or more of the retroclones.

Greywulf’s Lair [old link:]  has an interesting idea, about a “Happy User Policy” [old link:]. This sounds like an idea related to Net Promoter Score. NPS is the current focus where I work, and the idea is to make customers so happy with you, that they tell all their friends, such that they are a free sales force. It also requires converting disgruntled customers to ahppy ones. Basically the idea is, don’t jerk your customers around, or they will find a vendor who will treat them right.

The level of quality Greywulf is asking for, is on the same level people keep asking for from Microsfot Windows. An OS that does not crass, get viruses, or slow down with time. Like so many have turned to the OSR instead of 4e, many in the computer realm, have turned to Linux and other free alternatives. Surprisingly, in the realm of Operating Systems, free has what the fee-based Windows has not been able to do. Microsoft gives the impression that they care more about money than customers. WotC gives the same impression. I am not a lawyer, but a smart lawyer could draft a license that does not stir up a hornet’s nest. WotC needs to get a lawyer with knowledge of the internet. Look at all the fury over Facebook’s license/policy change. Facebook had media coverage, the whole D&D thing will probably not get much traction in the media.

There is also a petition to WotC to drop this new license. I do not think this will have much traction with WotC. The numbers who agree to the license will be a stronger determinant. If it is only 100 people who have low traffic websites, WotC will take notice. However, if it is 100 very high traffice sites, then WotC may see it as a win. As with everything, time will tell how this plays out.

I do not see WotC listening to fans who do not agree with them. I hope for the sake of the hobby I am right. As it is, I don’t plan to spend the money or time to learn a new rules variant, so 4e and its successors will have little direct impact on me. If I can’t find a local group to play with my rules of choice, then I won’t play. I can spend my time polishing my campaign setting, or I can go read a book. I like writing about my reminiscences and ideas. It helps me flesh things out. If no one reads this blog, I am okay with that.

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The Story Behind “Follow Me, And Die!”

First, it is all how you say the phrase. It should be: “Follow Me!” in a dramatic, heroic voice, with a pause, then “And Die!”, also in a dramatic, heroic voice. This is the way my brother mocks my character’s ability to live through the incidents that eliminate 0-level cannon-fodder, er, troops.

There were several grand incidents that we all were aware of, and then one day, as an out of play aside, in reference to my character’s lack of success in finding more troops to hire, blurted this out. From that moment on, he, and other players would interrupt the course of play by blurting this out. Such tangential occurrences are one of the things that make RPGs so fun. There is shared history that informs the hilarious things we say that have us in stitches because we are laughing so hard. Without the shared group experience, the rest of the world just looks at us like we’re crazy. Even over board games, something happens or is said that does not come out right, and we are rolling on the floor, and even years later, we can make reference to it and those in the know still laugh.

My brother’s campaign is low magic. There are wizards, but a first level magic-user is called a wizard by those who can’t do magic. After years of playing, one player’s character is finally nearing 18th level, with the use of an Ioun stone.

My character is Griswald Stewart, Duke of Stewart. He is a half-elf. His father, a human, was the Duke of Stewart when the Buchanan clan kicked the Stewarts off the throne and drove them out of the Kingdom of Carbaen Moor. This kingdome is based upon highland Scotland. His father fled across the plains to the Elvish wood, and was found by an elf-maid, Griswald’s mother. On a stats note, Griswald is mediocre in his stats as some would see it, his high score is a 14. To overcome this mediocrity, Griswald is a Fighter/Cleric/Magic-User. A fighter because that is what his father wanted, a cleric because that is what his mother wanted, and a magic-user because that is what Griswald wanted.

Griswald starts off thinking his father is the next in line to the throne, so he is thinking that if he can become powerful enough, he will one day be king. It turns out that he has 6 royal cousins all preceding him in the succession. Once he joins up with his cousins and their band, The Red Arrow (long bowmen), with judicious use of cunning and well-rolled dice at critical times, Tameus (the true king) is convinced that they are ready to take back the throne. The problem is that Griswald knows that he is far from a wizard, but no one will listen to him. So he gets the Elvish Army that is part of his home temple to help out in exchange for exclusive rights to build temples for our Elvish diety in the Kingdom of Carbaen Moor. Griswald then goes to one of the small clans that stayed loyal to the Stewarts and have suffered under the Buchanans the last 50 years. Through a judicious use of a command spell, that the DM ruled can not be used that way again, the clan lord declared for the Stewarts. Griswald then found some mercenaries who would fight for us in return for land for the payment for the officers, there were about 1000 troops. The 200 or so Red Arrow, 500 or so Elves, and 2000 or 2500 Cavendish troops were all Griswald could scrape together. He did manage to hire 63 troops, plus his father a 7th-level fighter. The Stewarts had about 4500 troops to the Buchanan’s 7000. Griswald also went to the most powerful wizard he knew of, Moran Redbeard, and got some scrolls with potent spells to help them in the battle. This cost him a personal favor to the wizard to be paid back later. The scrolls contained a spell my brother came up with, “Battlemagic Fireball”. It is a third level spell, but the area of effect is tripled, so instead of a 30 foot/yard sphere, it is 90 feet. Those, plus the archers of the Red Arrow, and the Elvish Cavalry broke the morale of the Buchanan troops, and the Buchanan pretender, his sons and other high ranking nobles were captured. Tameus personally beheaded the Buchanan pretender and pulled the bloody crown from his severed head. Tameus kept the skull and had it made into a drinking cup.

We then marched to the capital city, Horn of Stone. When we showed up, the guards at the gate failed their morale when Tameus showed them the severed head of the former king.

The incidents that lead up to this are: The Battle of the Plain, where 63 troops and Griswald’s father were killed in our brutal house rules large battle rules. We only used those rules one other time, if I recall correctly. They were harsh, but the results were known quickly. My character’s side of the battle had magic, so we did  a lot of damage. Griswald and his father both got a saving throw as “leveled” individuals vs. death. My brother the DM ruled that since Griswald made his save and that his father did not, that his father threw him to safety and killed ten men before he himself was slain.We won the battle and Griswald’s cousin, Tameus, was returned to the throne as the rightful king.

Next was a battle vs. the Temple of Arok and the House of Buchan in the streets of Horn of Stone, the capital city. We discovered that Lord Buchan and others were trying to get Mr. Buchanan, who was next in line of the pretenders to the throne, help them regain the throne. The Elvish Army took the Temple and a well-placed Stinking Cloud and a failed saving throw lead to the capture of the High Priest. Griswald lead the troops against Lord Buchan’s house. Lord Buchan was a 9th level fighter, who was laying low the low level humans who were in front of Griswald, when Lord Buchan and his henchman were trapped in a tower. Lord Buchan had a healing potion, so he was able to step back and come back to the fight almost as good as new. He also had a steel sword. (In my brother’s campaign, iron and steel and the knowledge to work them are rare, so Bronze is what is most common.) Griswald’s sword broke, so he had to pull back and rely on his magic.

Next was dungeon wars. In the dungeon to the King’s castle in Horn of Stone, Griswald detected evil, so the King ordered it sealed. That worked until two scullery maids disappeared. Then we proceeded to a long protracted dungeon war with orcs, ogres, ghouls, annis, and a temple of Gruumsh. Griswald got good at using fireballs underground, and only hurt one of his own troops, and never since. Unlike some of the other spellcasters in the campaign. Griswald and the forces he could scrape together were not enough, so he had to call in other PCs for help. Even that was not enough to clear out the dungeons. The DM got tired of it, I think, as a convenient Earthquake put an end to the dungeon.

Next was Battle of The Gap. This was the second large-scale battle in the campaign. Griswald and the King’s troops verses Lord Gordon, who took over a section of the kingdom in the chaos following the defeat of the Buchanans. The Gordon Clan is the largest clan after the Buchanans. Our forces met and due to well placed spells and the archery of the Red Arrow, the Stewarts were about to wipe out Gordon, when an insect plague from a cleric henchman of Gordon went off, hitting many of Gordon’s own troops. That ended the battle, and allowed Gordon to get away with the remains of his force.

Next was fighting orcs in the Stewart lands. Following the Battle of the Gap, the previously mentioned earthquake hit, with the epicenter at the site of the Battle of the Gap. This was a huge earthquake that damaged most of the Kingdom, and Horn of Stone collapsed. This also affected Gordon and minimized the threat from him. Also affected were the orcs in the ancestral Stewart lands. Griswald helped his ducal cousins reclaim some of their ancestral lands, and then he went to reclaim his own patrimony. Through various battles and mini-campaigns of a few battles, Griswald managed to reclaim his patrimony, and kill or chase off the orcs  in it, and fight the orcs in the surrounding territory. He was quite successful, and destroyed or nearly destroyed several orc tribes. These tended to be the smaller tribes, and were far from peak strength due to the earthquake.

Finally is the situation that is like the movie “Zulu”, where we have yet to see if Griswald and his patrimony survive. The two largest orc tribes in the western Stewart lands, were unaffected by the earthquake. These are the Blue Fang and Vile Hand. They teamed up to come down on him hard, as they know they have to strike before Griswald and the Stewarts go after them. This scenario was on hold for about 15 years, and we finally started playing it over Memorial Day weekend. This is when I found out just how bad it is. None of the other high level PCs/wizards are immediately available, and the closest one is a three day march away. The orcs set the small forrest on Griswald’s land aflame, so the smoke will be seen for many miles. It is possible that Griswald’s amazing luck and reputation could pull his bacon out of the fire, but that remains to be seen. After 15 years, both the DM and I had a lot of notes and plans to consolidate and agree on, and we only played 12 hours or so of game time. Now we have to wait until I can travel back to Missouri from Michigan, and find out if he lives.

What is funny is that two mid-levels PCs that are known to have survived this battle do not yet know how they survived. They were “set-back” to their levels from that time frame, so it is an interesting situation to watch. There are things going on in the game that Griswald is ten years behind on the time line, that it will make a difference if Griswald and any of his henchmen and troops survived.

Robert, my brother, the DM mentioned that he was going to have his son, Steven help him play out the scenario. While the plan was to retire Griswald and he become an NPC, Robert never acted on it. I think because he likes the creative ways I have managed to play Griswald getting out of  so many tight spots. Will Griswald’s creativity and amazing luck hold out? Will the orcs overrun the walls and eat his head?

Stay tuned for the next exciting adventure update….

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Where Do You Get Good Miniatures?

Back when I was really big into RPGs, Ral Partha was the brand that we mostly turned to. I do not recall others off the top of my head.

Since then, Ral Partha and several contemporary companies that made miniatures for fantasy gaming have gone out of business.

Now, it seems that over sized (bigger than 25 mm), cartoon like figures are the standard. They are also expensive! The local comic/game store has some of these miniatures, and they are $3 or more each! In my day, I might pay $1 for a really good figure that was something I really wanted, but most were 75 cents or so. Packages of 6 of  the same figure, could be had for $3 or $4. Of course, you had to paint them, etc.

Now, in trying to Google up miniatures and to follow up on miniatures recommended on RPG related blogs and sites, I find pre-painted miniatures that are $5 or $6 or more each!

I can understand people wanting to have someone paint their miniatures if that is the thing they want.

I would like to find a reasonably priced source of “realistic”, well-done, and consistently sized miniatures. I think that finding a miniature to represent players, or a major NPC adds flavor to the game, and can be used to illustrate the position of encounters. Instead of making Jim be the red six-sider, when he wants to be the ruby d20, etc. can be avoided. Yes, we can use our imaginations to suspend disbelief and let any object be our placeholder, but with enough players in the mix, a table can have a lot of dice, etc. It is nice to have miniatures to represent the main players in a scene, especially for the more complex encounters with combat and magic in the mix.

I have played with and without miniatures, and with and without some object or mark on a page to represent characters.

For those of us who are visually oriented, having s physical representation on the table can eliminate confusion and arguing over position and who can see/hit what or be seen/hit by whom.

I am not interested in spending a fortune to re-enact Helm’s Deep, or any other large-scale action. While it does have a certain coolness factor to it, I just want a reliable source of miniatures at a reasonable price. Both for players to find representatives for their characters, and for the DM for major NPCs or a large gang of orc/goblins/zombies/etc. The one nice thing about a large gang of monsters, is that we can use 20 orc figures to be goblins, zombies, etc. In time, perhaps have 20 of each, but time, space, and finances all have to come together for the gradual acquisition of a large collection.

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Pantheons in Roleplaying

I do not like the idea of using the pantheons of real, yet dead religions, such as the gods of the Greeks, Vikings, Sumerians, etc.

There are several reasons for this. D&D already has a bad name and is wrongly associated with devil worship. Invoking the names of the gods of other religions, some of who are mentioned in the Bible, Apocrypha, and historical writings, just adds fuel to the fire. Both the Monster Manual and Dieties & Demigods/Legends and Lore, use these historical names. Tiamat, Mephistopheles, Zeus, etc. are all from historical religious writings.

While one could use a the structure of those historical pantheons, for their ready made stats in various game source books; change their names, to avoid continuing the stigma. It takes a lot of effort to come up with a religious structure from scratch. Yet, there has to be some framework of dieties if a player wants to be a cleric. For the humanoids, I go with the materials in the various source books. For the humans, I am torn between finding the time to develop my own, or just picking and choosing a few from the Greyhawk setting. After all, keeping prep time to a minimum, to maximize play is the key. A DM does want a life outside the game, right?

As a Christian, it does bother me to speak the names of historical deities while roleplaying. Roleplaying is not the same as having a literate discussion of the religion of the ancient Greeks.

That is one aspect of roleplaying where I think we should draw a line. Granted, we are all free to run the rules as we see fit for our own group. For my campaign in the works, I will avoid the use of any historical religious names, for both a clean conscience and to avoid the appearance of evil, for those who would judge our preferred game without all the facts.

Some may view this as a naive view of the world, but if we want our game of choice to be an option for the people of faith in our communities, or at least move them to a neutral and accepting frame of mind, we should keep such things in mind. Granted, there have not been a lot of movies about the dangers of D&D like in the 80s. However, I still do not feel comfortable discussing D&D with those who are more likely to look down on it.

While I have not run into outright anti-D&D sentiment in a long time, I have been an “in the closest” gamer for years. It was really bad when my wife questioned my beliefs when I mentioned that I like D&D. She like many from the 80s, bought the line of the movies and sensational headlines.I think I finally have her convinced it is not devil worship or evil, as she has not complained about having my books openly displayed on the shelves in our computer room. Yet she did state she did not want me spending hours wrapped up in those books. (She understands the time sink problem.)

How does your family, friends, and community react to D&D?

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Ramblings of an Old Gamer