A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

10 April 2010

The First Step

"Who are you?"

Well, that's a long story. So far as this blog is concerned, and so far as the interest of time allows, suffice it to say this: I am a Gamer.

You want more? Well, short version of events: I was introduced to Role Playing Games (RPGs) in the late 70s by a friend at school. At that time, the game-play between us essentially consisted of moving the lead figures about in mock battles with very little regard to the rules or to dice-rolling, although there was more of the latter than the first. Stats meant very little. These were, at the time, essentially small, hard action figures to us. We used up A LOT of Testor's enamel paints painting up these little guys, and painting them up BADLY. Of course, they were masterpieces to our eyes.

My first mini, if I remember correctly, was a dwarf. I'll dig him out and post him up sometime.

I was one of those poor saps that went around the family and around the neighborhood twice annually selling gift wrap and greeting cards. You remember the school programs: here's a catalog of all the cool stuff you can "buy" with your sales points. Of course, they don't tell you that you have to sell the equivalent of Oregon's annual paper output to get enough points to earn the really cool stuff.

And of course, just how many people need to buy THAT much gift wrap twice a year?

But then came one year: 1981.

There in the catalog was this: The Basic Set. Erol Otus' adventurers worked their magic on me, even through the long distance of the catalog page. I was hooked: I ran my tail off selling cards and paper that year. My parents at the time had no idea what it was--they thought it was just another board game. To be honest, I wasn't much better educated than they were about it, but I knew that I just had to have it.

I can still remember where I was when I first opened up the box: in the basement, sitting on the floor in front of the couch. Blue and green shag carpeting in front of the enormous Magnavox console television.

I peeled the cellophane off the box and proceeded to remove every last item in the box, almost reverentially.

First thing I did? I colored the dice with a white crayon.

Then I rolled up characters for the rest of the night.

I think that was where my parents first started to worry. The worry quickly turned into a near-Jack Chick-like obsession against gaming. I played on the sly, going through reams of graph paper creating dungeon after dungeon, world map after world map. Then I added Star Frontiers, Doctor Who, and Star Trek to my list of games. I still have a binder full of starship drawings I made in High School when I should have been listening in class.

Yup. Hook, line, and sinker.

I admit that I put them aside for a while through undergrad and grad school. Got married, enjoyed my first six years of marriage...then broached the subject one day on a long road trip for a job interview.

And I found out I'd married a past gamer myself.

And shortly thereafter I got reacquainted with my inner dwarf.

Since then, I've been a player. Not frequent, just as often as our group can get together. We started out a decade ago playing so-called AD&D 2E. We dragged ourselves (late) to the 3E changeover...just before the changeover to 3.5E. Most of the group has investigated or played 4E and decided it's not for us. We're sticking with 3.5E (with houserules, of course) for the time being. (I brook no edition wars, however. I've played 4E and enjoyed my time; it's not my game of choice, but gives an OK play.) As a result, a lot of what I post here -- stat-wise, mostly -- will be for 3.x. However, there's enough of the Old School still in me that I respect and adopt pre-3.x stuff readily into my game, and I hope to put some of that here. I may not stat it, but rest assured, I have no problem with it being used for any edition.

The make up of our main group itself has likewise been through different variations over the past decade, and I've played with more than one group. I even introduced the kids and some of their friends to the game. I've painted hundreds of miniatures, both for myself and others. I like to think that I have gained a little skill at the painting, too. I've even been dragged kicking and screaming into plastic miniatures; I now see their specialized worth at the gaming table and embrace them.

And now, after 30 years of gaming, I've finally taken the seat at the head of the table. Y'know, the one behind the printed screen of tables? The seat from which all rulings descend? Yeah, I'm this guy now.

Come to think of it, I've nearly got his hairline, and my hair is turning grey. Tell you what: when I start to shrink, I'll worry. (Of course, my group already considers me a dwarf, so maybe I'm already there.)

But that's where I am now. In my first session behind the screen, I killed my first PC. In true dwarven fashion, it was, of course, an elf. "Pah! Elves!" (Of course, some of my best friends are elves, so I can say that without getting into trouble, right?) Now, four subsequent sessions later, four other player characters have come *this* close to visiting Valhalla.

And that's when I re-discovered my love of maps. I've learned to love statting-up NPCs. I've even started creating my own monsters and magic items. There have even been *gasp* random tables!

The logical next step was to share all of these with the world.

Fortunately, "my" group of guys is pretty good about meta-gaming, so I'm not too worried about them dropping by. For the rest of you, I hope you get a little bit of pleasure out of what I contribute here to the RP Blog Universe. Come back soon and come back often, and may your beards grow long and full.

Until then, Happy Gaming!

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