Sunday, September 18, 2011

Intro - Welcome to Between the Rolls

Setting up for an Encounter

Well welcome everyone to the new blog.  If you’ve followed me over from Between the Ticks, thanks for making the trip. I hope you will feel it was worth your while and that you enjoy the new blog.  I’ve moved a portion of my blogging over to here in order to help keep it all a little more organized.  Also to make this kind of my one stop shop for all of my gaming blogging.

Let’s start with a little bit about myself.  Of course, none of this makes me any better than any of the hundreds if not thousands of other gaming blogs out there.  It doesn’t make me any more qualified or my opinion any more valid then the rest of them.  This is just to give you a sense of, who I am, and where I’m coming from as a gamer.

I started gaming around the age of 11 or 12.  I was up at West Hawk Lake and was hanging out with a group of friends who were all a few years my senior.  The weather had gone from great to worse and it was a torrential downpour. Keith, the guy who was the head of our little group invited all of use to come and hang out at his family’s van for the night.  It was a way to beat the weather and was something to do so the four of us agreed.  Within hours I was a fighter swinging a sword at goblins and taking my first heads. The system was the original TSR Red Box.

The group of us played a number of games that summer. By the end of it we no longer waited for bad weather we were playing every couple of nights.  We had also moved away from the Red Box.  One of the guys had returned to Winnipeg. While there he picked up the Rolemaster box set from Iron Crown Enterprises (I.C.E. as it was better known) As I write this and think back to that time and struck by how different it was.  We didn’t have photocopiers, or the internet to print off character sheets. We had to manually write them out.  A strange feeling really, I really should run and old school game at some point and make everyone hand write their character sheets.  It might be funny to see the player reaction to the idea.

That summer ended and we all went our separate ways, until next year.  As soon as I had the opportunity and had convinced a parent that it was a good purchase I wanted those books. Of course it didn’t take long they had already seen how much I had enjoyed playing the game at the lake.  It also helped that I had convinced them it would encourage me to read more as well.  This last part was completely true. I had already started reading more and more at the lake.  Of course it was just gaming books.  In the end I don’t think it was more than a couple of weeks before I owned a copy of both the Red Box and the Rolemaster books.  A few weeks later I was running my first game in my best friend’s basement.  I had no clue what I was doing but we all rolled dice, killed monsters, and had a great time.

Second Edition AD&D came out about the time I was in high school.  So we all switched over to that.  The in-school AD&D club was run by the owner of one of the local gaming stores so we all got a good feel for the system. It gave a lot of us something to look forward to over our lunch hour.  I hope other teachers followed in the footsteps of Mr. Macuria and Mr. Hurtig.

Being in high school, with access to my parent's pocket book I was able to get into Warhammer 40k.  It was a horribly expensive hobby, but a really fun game.  I’m just glad I wasn’t the one to have to pay for it.  In the end I drifted away from the game.  I just was never very good at it and got tired of putting hours and hours into painting miniatures and building armies only to lose.

During my high school years I somehow found myself involved with the University of Manitoba gaming group, as well as running a home based 2nd edition AD&D game.  At the time they went by the name AGL(Affiliate Gaming League) I don’t think it exists at all anymore last I heard.  As a group we organized various gaming events. The most common of which were Games Day events held in the massive multi-purpose rooms at the university, Where we would pack in 5 – 10 tables of Warhammer, a few tables of various role-playing games, and a schwack of people playing and trading Magic cards.  Through the AGL club I got to experience a lot of different role-playing games including some of my favorites, Torg, White Wolf (Various Settings), a little bit of G.U.R.P.S. D6 Star Wars, and even Twilight 2000 (Honest this has nothing to do with vampires that sprinkle)

Ever the supportive DM, I'm giving my
players their requested moment of
My home group explored the Temple of Elemental Evil and fought it out in the Slave Pits.   In between adventures they spent their time hanging out at the Golden Griffin Inn in Greyhawk city.  A tavern I plan to redesign for 4e and post at some point down the road for the blog.  I have a lot of fond memories of the place & my internet handle Randilin comes from this tavern.

Life moved on and I fell in love with a woman I met through mutual friends and a mutual love of Magic.  Of course it also helped that she was as much of a gamer as I was.  There was a brief period where I tried to integrate my new partner into my existing group from high school.  That however was doomed to failure from the beginning.  All of us had grown older, our interests where changing, and we were starting to move in different directions. As an interesting aside I recently learned that a couple of my old players have connections to some friends I’ve met through playing D&D Encounters.

That woman and I were married and I became a father twice over to two wonderful girls.  They both grew up around roleplaying games, board games, and L.A.R.P.  My wife and I had both of them rolling dice and making monster noises for us as soon as they were old enough to express an interest in it. Both of them are now over 20.  My eldest and her husband are both regulars at my gaming table and have an almost 6 year old son who has taken over the dice rolling & monster noise role.  The youngest one plays a little online and LARPs from time to time.

After that group ended my wife and I formed a new group that I ran for a number years.  We continued to explore the wonders of Oerth and travel the length and breadth of it on homebrewed adventures. It finally came to an end at about the same time that was becoming popular.  Here was something reasonably new that I could really sink my teeth into.  It offered a good excuse to costume, and allowed us to act.  My wife and I loved it.

We LARPed as players for 2 years before we started our own game. This was about the longest continuous time I’ve spent as a player.  It didn’t take long for ideas to start to formulate for my own campaign.  Then once a Saturday became free in the local LARP schedule my wife and I jumped in and started one of our own. We ran that one for a number of years, were a part of OWBN (One World by Night) and had a great time.  We made friends across the country and took part in an active community that literally spanned the globe.

We did some tabletop gaming during this period although with a new group that was dubbed the Squires of the Sofa.  What little we did were things like Prime Time, D20 Modern, Star Wars and Mutants and Masterminds. Having spent years with 2nd edition AD&D we just could not find it within ourselves to learn 3 or 3.5 .  We did try a couple of times but it just never felt like D&D to us.  Looking back on it I honestly don’t think that we gave it a long enough or serious enough attempt to get into the system.  If we had we would have gotten more into it.  We played a few miniature games during this period as well.  I especially enjoyed Whizkids Pirates and Crimson Skies.

That brings us to about a year and a half ago.  The wife and I had picked up the 4e starter box set and were looking at starting a new campaign.  Both of us are the type who learn best by doing so we looked into find a 4e game that would willing to take on a couple of system newbies, who in all honesty were coming out to learn and to take it home to their own group.  A local store was running the then new D&D Encounters and we jumped into it, with a pair of Tiefling sisters and we had a great time. I’ve been DMing Encounters since the end of the 1st season.   Our home group has regularly played D&D 4e since then and has just recently come to a climax in our campaign.  So our plan now is to explore a few other systems and take a break from from 4e for a while.  Up next on the agenda is the latest edition of Paranoia that has been released by Mongoose, followed by some 4th edition Shadowrun.  Each game will be a short lived adventure that will last a few months.  During that time the next DM/GM/Zombie Master (The person who runs the game) will have the chance to prepare.  I’m really excited about this new arrangement because it means we will get to try out a wide variety of games and it will also encourage some of our new GM/DM types to step up to the plate and give it a shot.

Well that about sums up my background as a gamer, if you can call two and half pages typed any type of summary.  It was a really interesting process to look back at the games I’ve played, where I was in my life as I played.  Just as interesting to me at least was the number of times I’ve returned to Dungeons and Dragons in many different forms. Over the years a lot has changed, a lot has stayed the same, but no how much it might change I plan to keep on playing with on system or another. So the way I figure it is since I will keep on gaming and trying new things until there’s nothing left to play I might as well be writing about it.

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