For some time now some of my co-workers have been asking me to start up a new D&D campaign. The main force behind this is actually a guy who was in my previous campaign, but there did seem to be a general desire around the office to play. Seriously that’s one of the big advantages of working in video games — I have yet to work anywhere that didn’t have enough people interested in playing D&D to actually start a group. This one was a bit surprising though. Out of the 20 or so employees in the office, 9 players have asked to be part of the campaign. I imagine one or two may start to flake out as it goes on, but our first session is scheduled for this Wednesday and as far as I know all 9 players will be there.
The campaign location will be the same world I’ve been running since my blog reset back in 2010. My goal at the time was to start a campaign world that I could continually run stuff in that would eventually become deep and full of content simply by virtue of playing in it for so long. I had heard stories of guys running the same world for decades, and I was jealous. Well, it’s actually is working. I have a huge hex map of the known part of the world and tons of adventure leads to start this new campaign out. I’m pretty excited actually.
The group is an interesting melange of newbies and old hats. As I said, one of the guys has been playing in my campaigns for years and I sort of think of him as the backbone of the group. Or at least the cheerleader. Certainly he’ll be the one to lead between-game conversations and keep the energy up, and frankly, I’m super grateful to have a player like that. That kind of player can really make the difference between a game that trudges on and one that everyone is really excited to play every week.
Then I have at least one guy who has never played any version of D&D before. This is a guy that will have trouble telling a d8 from a d10. I like this kind of player just as much, because newbies have a great way of not letting themselves be bound by the rules. They are far more likely to try something crazy that makes me scramble to make up rules on the spot and inevitably leads to a really awesome and memorable scene. I do, however, have trouble answering him when he asks the simple question “What edition are we playing?” I’m so steeped in the history now that I find it difficult to answer that question without going on for half an hour about the history of the game.
The funny thing is, I’m almost tempted to start calling what I play “OD&D”. The fact is, I use the B/X books, but the majority of my house rules are focused on adding OD&D and AD&D 1e style stuff (race/class split, multi-classing, spell progression, etc.) When I compare how I run the game to how others run OD&D, I’d say my game is more OD&D like than Basic D&D like. And there’s something really nice about being able to answer the above question as simply “We play the original edition. You know, the first one ever made.” Most neophyte players understand numbers, and have a vague impression that there’s a 1st edition, 2nd edition, etc. Trying to explain this weird non-numbered branch of the game that existed in the 80’s is a bit cumbersome.
However, the books I have at the table are undeniably the B/X books. I have one set for my own use behind the screen, and one on the table for the players. The fact is, I find the language and the organization of these books much more usable at the table than the LBBs. While the spirit of what I play may be infused by ideas in the LBBs, I think the B/X books are just far more functional as reference material mid-session.
Anyway, I seem to have wandered pretty far off course here. The point is, I have a new campaign starting up, using the same good old world and system I was using back in the halcyon days of 38. I’m pretty darn excited, and I expect it will lead to a bunch more posting at this site again.