Foam Rubber Costumes

Short article where I discuss behind the scenes of the Power Rangers Lightning Force villains.

and other things that are easier in RPGs.

One of the things about kaiju and sentai movies/series that RPGs are not burdened with is a limited prop and costume budget. I was watching Power Rangers Beast Morphers the other day and it occurred to me that we are fortunate in the #ttrpg world not to have guys running around backstage setting up cardboard buildings to get tramped by people in foam rubber monster costumes.

In the realm of imagination, we get to have huge explosions, more than any propane behind any group of Rangers ever should we so desire. No pesky actor’s guild restricting character stunts. No bottle rockets and air cannon effects for explosions to worry about. Nothing “flying” by wire over the cardboard buildings. Yay imagination!

Ay yi yi yi yI can’t stand Alpha 5.

In my Power Rangers Lightning Force campaign, I’m introducing Alpha Four, which was then shortened to Alphour. She’s a segmented robot with tracks for legs, a long slender neck with two bulbous eyes and a lighted box for a mouth. She has four long, slender metallic arms in front of her. Literally “all four.” She is calm, cool, and collected at all times. No pesky “Ay yi yi yi yi.”

Again, it’s all the beauty of running an RPG instead of a major TV or film production. Do I wish Hollywood would catch onto some of the character and situation ideas? Well, honestly I think there are many game masters who would relish a chance to go write for Hollywood. Unfortunately, I think some of my ideas would give effects guys nightmares and cause producers to have nervous breakdowns, which is why I stick to rolling dice behind my GM screen instead.

I want to take Alpha 5 out behind the base and go all Office Space copier scene on it.


Lots more to come this week. Thank you for being here. Have a good one!

Let’s Talk About D&D Edition Wars Part One.

I promise I will not intentionally raise anyone’s dander with these articles. Truth is, all editions of the game have their loveable strong points.

This is right up there with Star Wars vs Star Trek in terms of internet forum “debates.”

Let’s face it, debating on the interweb is like running on a treadmill backwards. No matter how far you think you’re getting, you’re still not going anywhere. You’re better off whizzing on an electric fence.

But seriously, debating politics would be more effective. We’re still here talking about D&D editions, but I’m having fun today. Have you seen BECMI? It’s what I grew up running. It’s a good basic edition of D&D, possibly the simplest definition of any RPG anywhere. It’s a solid game.

‘Twas a sad day when they took the “A” out of AD&D.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was arguably one of the best editions of the game ever created. It built upon the basic game and had all kinds of awesomeness going for it. It also had more professionally written modules than pretty much any other game I’ve ever seen. (*Professionally as in by the folks at T$R.) It also had a really nice combat system, a few class options that never came back, and some of the best RPG sourcebooks ever written. When most people talk about Old School Roleplaying, this is what they mean. Good times.

2nd Ed AD&D might be my other favorite edition of the game. The initiative system in this game is probably my favorite way of doing initiative that has never been duplicated except maybe in Castles & Crusades by Troll Lord Games. This edition removed some of the classes from the previous edition, but introduced Kits. Kits were fun.

Later 2nd Ed gave us some of the greatest RPG sourcebooks ever written. Encyclopedia Magic and the spell compendiums for priests and mages were amazing! I keep mind easily

*Side Note: If you keep your eyes open, sometimes you can score C&C Player’s Handbook for free.

Then 3rd Edition and the OGL happened.

I own more books for 3rd Ed and 3.5 than the rest of my collection combined. I love 3.5. It also had the best computer program. The world of third party source material would see a golden age. Very good times indeed.

I think some of the best campaigns and campaign worlds hatched from 3rd Ed. I just received my copy of Iron Kingdoms RPG recently. IIRC, that started in 3rd Ed, skipped an edition, and picked up steam again in 5th. (See what I did there? Steam? LOL!)

3rd was also where Eberron started. I remember submitting my pitch to WotC. The anticipation on announcement day was so thick and I was on pins and needles the whole time. Alas, I did not make the grade. My campaign world may never see the light of day. Who knows?

3rd is also where D20 Modern and a few dozen other spinoff d20 based games came from. The most notable is probably Pathfinder. Personally, I think PF came about because 3rd Ed fans didn’t want to let the edition go. Although it might be a D&D spinoff, it’s still an outstanding RPG.

Mutants & Masterminds is another d20 based game that arose from those days. It has also evolved considerably from its humble roots into one of the most famous superhero RPGs of all time. It really shows how much mileage was possible from the OGL.

My favorite d20 based games were conversions of other classics. Boot Hill, Deadlands, 7th Seas, Traveler, and even World of Darkness joined the d20 revolution. One could probably look on Spycraft somewhere in that mix, too. I was sort of Top Secret S.I. only modernized. We also got a d20 Star Wars, which was amazing to run. (I miss that game so freakin much.)

Dungeon Crawl Classics started out as third party modules for 3rd Ed. It grew into its own rulebooks and campaign world. Even though it has more of that OSR vibe going for it now, it was an old school riff off of 3rd Ed back then.

We’ll talk more about Third, Fourth and Fifth editions later. Have a happy and safe weekend! See you soon.

Let’s Get Back to:

Let’s get back to less serious stuff, please?

Role Playing Games.

I’ll be honest, I was diagnosed with ADHD over a decade ago. I was medicated for it. Then I learned to meditate and got off of the medication. Most of the time it remains in check, but I still get sidetracked periodically.

Lately I’ve been concerned about what’s going on with world politics, LGTBQIA++ matters, philosophy, spirituality, and minor issue here at (my) home. I truly just want to get back to talking about mecha, Power Rangers RPG, my Fate Space/Horror game, and D&D. We might also be talking about some Dungeon Crawl Classics and a few other games.

Please don’t take this as a sign

That I don’t care about those more serious topics or that I’m trying to maintain the status quo. Please let me be clear: I do care about the serious stuff. I do care about my LGBTQ friends. I am still a very spiritual person at heart. I’m with you. I care about you.

But I also have to take care of myself. By taking care of myself, I’m taking care of my family, community, and helping others. Truthfully, the state of affairs in our world is starting to take a toll on my mental health. It’s sad, literally.

I’ve got my own share of personal matters to cope with right now, too. My unemployment ran out. I still haven’t found a paying remote job. SSDI fell through. (Round one. We aren’t done yet.) This blog keeps me sane.

I’d like to teach the world to game, not sing.

LOL! Only because I was told I have a singing voice that’s perfect for print. But seriously, if we could all sit down together with our beverages of choice and roll some dice together; maybe have a good laugh; that’d be just swell. I’d rather make characters not war.

Let’s pray peace breaks out and we can get back to having fun again. Let’s hope midterm elections prove successful in removing certain unruly elements from office before half the United States resembles Nazi Germany. Let’s leave the planet in better shape than it was in 100 years ago.

Thank you. I appreciate you. Take care.

Old School Somewhat Conflicted GM

It’s sad to think some people lean on OSR style games to justify the same old attitudes of hate, fear, and separation in the real world.

This is now my third take on this article.

I keep getting partway into this particular subject and then bailing out. This is mostly due to the fact that I am concerned about offending someone. I want you all to know I am grateful you are here. Thank you!

I see something of a conflict between new and old gamers, at least on social media.

This usually takes place in the form of the D&D edition wars. Some people learned the game in Fifth Edition. Some of us have been around since BECMI or even White Box D&D. And of course every edition in between then and now has its own rabid fanbase.

Some designers even miss the old editions so much that they’ve redrawn the old rules in newer books. Collectively this is called the OSR movement or “Old School Renaissance” I usually say Old School Rules or Old School Revival. It’s all basically the same idea. Someone takes the original Basic, First Ed AD&D or Second Ed AD&D and puts it back out under their own banner with a few minor adjustments here and there.

The conflict “is not what you think” as one of my favorite YouTube channels likes to say.

The biggest problem I’ve seen lately seems to stem from one of two sources. “Old” gamers who have gotten frustrated with all the immense rules changes and add-ons in 5E who want to go back to simpler times. This is in contrast to the 5E players who have grown up in a more social and political environment who see the older editions as inherently racist, homophobic, or transphobic.

I’m going to pick on @matthewmercer for a moment only because I know good old Matt won’t ever read this or comment on it. (I’m too far below his station.) “The Matt Mercer Effect” as it is called causes tension and sometimes divide at the table because us “Old Grognards” have been running D&D for literally decades without a camera on before Critical Role came around. I’m not saying anyone’s take is better or worse. But sometimes it is a bit daunting to compare one’s own game to the shiny TV/Internet version of D&D. Honestly, I think a lot of new players are intimidated by anything that isn’t D&D 5E or Pathfinder 2E.

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com
Please understand: These are my observations and opinions based on said. Please run your game at your table your way.
Also, I do not hate Critical Role, Matt Mercer, or anyone else for race, gender, political orientation or sexual preferences. Let’s focus on love, please.

Someone mentioned that most of us “Old, (bitter,) Grognards” hate Critical Role. I see a degree of pretentiousness on both sides and it makes me sort of sick to my stomach if I’m being honest. The “new kids” seem to think that only actual play podcasts like Critical Role are “real roleplaying.” All of us old guys shake our heads when we watch these younger pups with their political correctness and handholding ways. (I get that I sound divisive and dismissive there, but I’m trying to make my point.) Both sides are right and wrong at the same time.

I’m going to be blunt for a moment. The RPG industry was built by old, mostly cishet white guys. HOWEVER, that is not to say it has remained that way or has to remain that way. If the last couple of years have taught us anything it’s that the industry can change. People can change. We’re evolving.

1977 D&D is not even remotely the same animal as 5E D&D. If Gary Gygax and Matt Mercer could swap places for a day and each run the other’s game, I daresay people would be crying and running out of the room from both tables with bruised egos and hurt feelings all around. D&D’s origins are steeped in ___phobic or ___cist behaviors. Again, it doesn’t have to stay that way.

14 year old me was confused by the race relations table in AD&D Unearthed Arcana.

Please hear me out on this one. A LOT of older D&D games contain a high degree of racial tension between the Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings (The demi-human races that used to have their own classes.) and the “dark races” such as the Orcs, Goblins, Drow, Duergar, and Draconians. The origins of those racial tensions go all the way back to Tolkien and WotC is just now getting around to really changing the basic premise behind races in D&D which I will save for another article.

I’m sort of ashamed to admit it, but I’m a big fan of some of the older campaigns that had some pretty ugly racial blunders in them. My beloved Oriental Adventures, Birthright, and even good old Greyhawk were pretty much a product of an older way of thinking about race. I prefer to keep the stuff I love from those settings and toss out the rest. That’s just how I do it, not that it’s for everyone. There is never a good justification for hate when it comes to race, religion, gender, sexual preference, etc. So, just don’t.

So, yes, OSR gets a pretty bad reputation, mostly from people who use it to justify the same old, tired, closed, narrow mindsets that include hate toward other members of real world human society. It’s really sad to think that we’re in a global age of communications and people can still be stuck so far in the past. On the bright side, we have to learn sometime. Many of us have evolved in our way of thinking as it applies to people in the real world and in games.

On that note, I’m signing off for the night. Please keep praying for peace. Please be kind to one another today. Please keep gaming. Gaming is good. Thank you for being here. I appreciate you.

Can We Just Get Back to Gaming?

If something is making you or someone else uncomfortable at the table or even out of game, please speak up. Throw up a red flag. Use the X card. Hopefully we covered it in Session Zero, but if we missed it, PLEASE SPEAK UP! Even if you have to pull the GM or another player aside in the middle of play and stop the game. It’s better to halt play than suffer in silence. As a GM, I’d rather kick one bitter old veteran player than have a new player go home in tears. I’m not in the RPG hobby to make people uncomfortable. No denial. I just want to have fun.

I’m probably going to get called all kinds of “-ist” and “-phobe” for this one, but hear me out, please?

I saw someone today whom I was following on Twitter blocked me presumably for political reasons. This person claimed to be a gamer. The account was actually listed under “So-and-so” Games. (Real name kept confidential.)

Yet I would constantly read this person’s post about how someone is a transphobe because they refused to acknowledge a specific pronoun. And how this other person was a racist because of this political affiliation. Furthermore we shouldn’t follow @X, Y, or Z because they’re one of those reviled Republicans.

Sorry, not what I signed onto RPG Twitter for.

RPG Twitter still makes UFO Twitter look like a government run haunted house, but lately things have been getting a bit touchy over in RPG land, too. Admittedly, it’s not as serious as infiltration by a three letter government agency, but it’s getting about as bothersome at times. Folks, I left my baggage over in UFO Twitter. I only go back there to visit a few friends.

I came to RPG Twitter to talk tabletop roleplaying. I want to talk punching Orcs in the face and slaying dragons. I want to talk mecha battles and starships. Sign me up for my Morpher or my cape and armor. Maybe it’s the “Old Grognard” talking, but when did rpgs become about transgender politics and political parties?

I’ve said before, I should come with a trigger warning.

Look, I can’t help that I was born the was I was born any more than the next person. Here’s the thing- I don’t care if you’re Black, Lesbian, Trans, Neurodivergent, Atheist, Disabled or much of anything else as long as you’re not hurting anyone. As long as your whole thing isn’t hate, harm, or abuse of some kind, you’re probably okay to come game.

Republican? Who cares? Democrat? Same. Green Party? Dude. Nazi? Stay the Hell away from my family. It’s easy. We just don’t discuss real world politics in game, EVER! It’s a rule.

Same with religion. I’m spiritual, not religious. There’s a difference. Sure, we have clerics in fantasy roleplaying. But that’s different than real world religion and spirituality.

I might slip a moral into my story occasionally as a GM, especially when I’m gaming with my kids. If they pick up on it, we’ll talk about it. Easy enough. My wife does life lessons in her classroom, too. I promise she has no sinister agenda at school or in our gaming sessions.

I don’t come to the gaming table or rpg related social media to discuss that serious real world stuff. I’m a married old white guy with kids. I don’t vote Republican or Democrat. I don’t try to hide it, but I don’t try to push it down anyone’s throat, either. You do you, okay?

Let’s talk about what we’re for, not what we’re against, okay?

I’m all FOR Universal love, peace, understanding, prosperity for all, and joy. Let’s all get along, even if we disagree on some points. Let’s thrive together and have some fun along the way. Now you know where I’m coming from.

That’s one of the biggest problems in the United States right now. People, especially our politicians, are in a hurry to tell you, “I stand against this because my opponent stands for it.” But never, “I firmly stand for this because I believe people will benefit from it.”

Contrary to that, I will definitely say, “I’m NOT here to offend people.” Trolls and haters can go for a walk and self-reflect. If I manage to cheese you off, please come talk to me?

So, what do people stand for, exactly? Be proud of who you are in the real world. Great. I certainly hope you are as long as you’re not extremist about it. I stand for being kind, gentle, generous, loving, and decent to one another. Love, joy, and prosperity should be very high one everyone’s priority list on any given day, but I can’t force it.

Honestly, family. I get that we have a shit-ton of problems in the real world. There are plenty of communities out there that are far better equipped to deal with some of them than the ttrpg family. My best advice for rpg groups where everyone isn’t familiar with one another:

In Other Awful RPG News…

I know we’ve had a major problem on RPG Twitter come up where a guy abused his power as a GM and social influence for sex and that shit is NOT OKAY! This person was an actual play streamer and GM for several groups. He welcomed a lot of us, me included, into the RPG Twitter sphere. He used his influence/authority to try to get sexual favors from female players. At the very least, he was making some very uncomfortable advances toward his female players. We’ve had a few other people stand up with him. Again, there is no part of his/their behavior that is okay.

Don’t defend the abuser. Don’t attack victims. NEVER BLAME THE VICTIMS! How many times do I have to say that on this blog? It’s not just ET contact experiencers. It’s anyone who has experienced major trauma.

If something is making you or someone else uncomfortable at the table or even out of game, please speak up. Throw up a red flag. Use the X card. Hopefully we covered it in Session Zero, but if we missed it, PLEASE SPEAK UP! Even if you have to pull the GM or another player aside in the middle of play and stop the game. It’s better to halt play than suffer in silence. As a GM, I’d rather kick one veteran player than have a new player go home in tears. I’m not in the RPG hobby to make people uncomfortable. No denial. I just want to have fun.

I stand in SUPPORT of the VICTIMS. Likewise, I stand with my trans, gay, and lesbian friends, too. Yes, Black Lives Matter. So do Asian lives and Jewish lives. This all goes back to one basic thing. Can we all just please be good to one another on this planet? We’re all we have.

I love you all. I’m grateful for you. Please be good to one another this week. Please stand in the good and the light wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Take care. See ya soon.

Naturally Talented People

My original comment was if you gathered a handful applicants applying for a specific writing job at (well known RPG/TV show) you could start your own company.

A while back I commented that if you gathered the applicants for any given job in the RPG industry, you could start a company.

**Disclaimer** This is nothing against anyone I may be working for or with in the future. Everything is fine, honestly.

My original comment was if you gathered a handful applicants applying for a specific writing job at (well known RPG/TV show) you could start your own company. I stand by this statement because within any given five or six applicants for a writing job, you’ve got enough combined skills and experience to write a book, create artwork/ maps, promote the book, start a Kickstarter, and sell the thing. It’s really not a surprise that this sort of thing has already happened.

Actually, I think the bigger question is: Why doesn’t it happen more often?

I can speculate quite a bit on this. I know one person who is doing exactly this. He’s bringing together writers, map-makers, and artists while doing all the editing and promos himself. Kudos to him for all of that hard work. I think it would be a lot tougher to do it while holding down a 9:00-5:00 job and raising a family.

I think that’s a lot of what happens in the industry with a lot of us part time, amateur game designers. I used to see a lot of absolutely brilliant games on the convention scene that never went mainstream because it’s pretty tough to support a family and stay afloat without a steady income.

If COVID 19 has taught us anything, it’s that we can be largely cut off from society and still contribute something meaningful.

When I think of lockdown time, (I live in a state with a Republican governess, so we had frightfully little of it,) I think of spending more time online, watching live streams and watching the Virtual Tabletop industry blossom. It goes without saying a lot of small companies and independent writers began to flourish around that time, too. Now it’s just a matter of keeping the ball rolling. Online sales of electronic books, especially pdfs are still going strong.

If you think about it, even a Pay What you Want title or even $.99 goes a long way when you have little-no overhead beyond time invested. It’s not like the grand old days of RPGs when you had to send submissions to Dragon in the vague hopes of getting noticed and published. Add some social media moxie and free advertising to the mix and you can pull in some good money.

You can also work miracles without a few million viewers on YouTube or a major show on Amazon Prime. I know I’m a bit ‘critical’ of everyone’s favorite actual play show, but I’m sure one minor detractor isn’t going to dissuade people from tuning in every week. Good for them. More on that in another article.

Hope everyone is having a marvelous weekend. Stay safe. Take care. Be back soon.

Dimensions in Character

A few tips and examples for new players when creating characters. Please keep it simple. I can’t stress that enough.

Player tip: Keep it simple!

I wanted to put out a very common piece of advice for new players in any RPG. Please do yourself a favor and keep your character’s personality, backstory, and description as short and uncomplicated as reasonably possible? You can fill in or retcon some details as you go. GM’s typically don’t want to see a six page backstory that is going to trap them into some sort of convoluted plotline that only serves one character.

Keep it open ended. Keep it simple. Work with the party. If you want to play the angsty loner, then you’d better have good motivations for getting with the group and staying with them. If you have six solid, separate, distinct personality traits on your character, please make sure you can play them all without sounding schizophrenic. (Unless one of them is “schizophrenic.” )

It’s okay to play a one or two dimensional character. You can have a knuckle dragging barbarian with a club whose only real motivation is food. There’s a lot of room to grow. “Oog like pretty lady. Okay, where food?” is a great opening for character growth. As a GM, that’s gold right there. Now we have an opening for Oog the Barbarian to excel at something besides hitting stuff. Now Oog might be motivated to try to win the heart of the fair gnome princess instead of just trying not to step on her trying to get to the banquet table.

It’s okay to play a dwarf fighter who lives to shoot his crossbow and hit stuff with an axe. Suppose the elf bard in the party wants to teach him how to dance? Now there’s a subplot. GMs like that because we don’t even have to step in and it’s golden. That way the next time the PCs appear at a court function, the dwarf doesn’t have to guard the horses outside.

Which is a lot easier than having a backstory for the fighter that was tragically orphaned at birth, then his adoptive parents were eaten by two different dragons and his long lost sister turned out to be a witch… It’s not so terrible saying your character had a relatively normal and stable childhood. It’s okay to make a character that is angst free and can trust people, too. Just because you’re a shifty, shady rogue, doesn’t mean you have to treat other characters like dirt.

Not all of us are cut out for the cast of Critical Role. Don’t get me started. I’m no Matt Mercer and I don’t expect anyone, especially a new player, to act like their character is ready for their own animated series. If you can do a voice for your character, awesome! If not and you just manage to tell me what you want your character is doing, we’re good!

GMs and other players are a good source of inspiration and character development! Please, as long as you’re putting in the effort to show up, pay some attention, and have fun, that’s all we can ever ask. Just try to participate when you can, roll some dice, have your character sheet mostly in order and be a part of the group. Honest, the rest will fill itself in.

You can’t get it wrong. Go easy on yourself. Enjoy the game.

Until next time, stay safe. Please try to stay healthy. Game on.

First Level “Noob” Stamp

I had this DM once (Okay, more than one over the years) who had every NPC treat our characters like total noobs. My character wasn’t a dufus and yet…

I had this DM back in the day who treated our characters like our levels were stamped on their foreheads.

On one of those rare occasions when I got to play instead of DM, my best friend ran D&D for us and it was fun. It was a good game, but one thing that used to seriously bug me was when we encountered practically any NPC of any importance. It was like we had our character levels stamped on our foreheads because we were treated like total nitwits at low levels and maybe a little respect at mid levels and a reasonable amount of respect at high levels.

Was it an outcropping of BECMI and old school AD&D that had our character classes attached to these sometimes silly titles? Seriously, I’d be a level 8 Fighter for life… It’s not like my character walked around introducing himself as Benedon the Acolyte. My friend who we’ll refer to as Todd was already name-impaired enough and “Butt-Stomping Butt Stomper” really needed no further introductions. But all of our characters, regardless, were treated like noobs and it didn’t matter what we did, either.

Make me a Level 8 Fighter.
Borrowed from AD&D First Edition.

Save the whole kingdom from a Drow invasion? Noobs. Peasants. Losers.

Save the whole kingdom from a rampaging Black Dragon? Yup, we were still insignificant. I mean, that one was kinda our fault for looting her dungeon and killing all her minions, but…

Walked around town bristling with magic items and shiny armor getting our castle built? Well, at least our gold was good. But the NPCs always seemed to know our levels regardless.

It didn’t change when we got to college.

Different group with a different DM in college asked me to sit in on his game. I played a cleric again. They always need a healer… We were still playing BECMI, modified heavily with house rules. Like to guess how our characters were treated by every NPC we met? Yup. “Chumps.” “Noobs.” “Idiots.”

The major difference was it didn’t even matter what level we were. I started doing things just to get noticed by the royals. I turned entire waves of an undead army. I healed rooms full of the sick and injured. I rezzed an entire unit of dead soldiers. (Heh heh. Spell points. No mats.) I got some negative attention from a couple of gods on that one, though. Still, we were the Rodney Dangerfields of that D&D world.

The crazy part of this story is: these weren’t even new DMs! Both DMs in question had multiple years of experience as a DM and as a player. I might have made that mistake with my first campaign, but since then? No way. Every NPC has a different personality from the stable boy all the way to the queen and treat PCs accordingly. It’s all about respect.

The lesson here is:

DMs wear many hats and study many subjects.

Please don’t do this to your players! I would like to think roleplaying has evolved well beyond over simplified interactions with stereotyped characters. I strongly urge DMs to treat the characters in a way respective to their station and behavior. People should be reacting reasonably in character.

Yes, royals will treat peasants like… well, peasants. Mileage may vary depending on the kingdom. The innkeeper and the barmaids will generally treat paying customers with respect so long as they don’t torch the place and kill everyone. I think we get the idea.

You can’t get it “wrong.” Certainly you don’t have to be perfect. No player should have to take acting lessons. No DM should ever have to study, uh- Sociology, Anthropology, Archaeology, World History, Ethics, Economics, Creative Writing, Acting, Art, Philosophy, and Engineering in order to build a world and run a game. Just play the game and be decent to each other.

If your DM seems to be dumping all over your characters in game, maybe it’s time to chat with them outside of the session. It’s a simple conversation to have. Please listen with curiosity. Maybe the Duke is a really snooty dude, the innkeeper is reminded of someone they truly despise, and the local sage looks down on everyone. If it keeps happening, try talking to the DM again, or just find another game. Trust me, DMs learn what not to do next time when their players start bailing out.

Out in the real world: please treat everyone, especially your DM, the way you would want them to treat you. Be kind. Be gentle. Take care. See you soon.

“Old Grognard”

I don’t consider myself to be a grumpy old man gamer, aka “Old Grognard.” Rather, I’m an older, slightly more mature, experienced gamer.

I don’t find this term offensive. Do you?

Yes, I’ve been around a while. Back when I first started using the Internet, there was this thing called “Usenet News” that I got all of my RPG news and reviews on. It was a forum like any other. Many of the same truths and toxic attitudes still prevail today. Thus began my love-hate relationship with forums.

I love Instagram. Every community I’ve joined over there has been helpful, supportive, and fun. I love you guys. Keep up the good work.

My Facebook RPG experiences have been somewhat limited, as have my forays into Reddit and Pinterest. Really not much to comment on there. Is YouTube considered “Social Media?” If it is, I watch a lot of videos on there. Again, I like pretty much all of the content I consume, or I wouldn’t be watching it.

Then there’s Twitter. After the Ufology community showed its true, very ugly colors, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be deleting my account. So I started hanging out over on the #ttrpg side. Thus far, I have found it to be a warm, supportive, positive group of peers 98% of the time I interact with anyone. (Okay, I’ve had one less stellar experience, but it was mostly miscommunication.) I love all you beautiful people over there #ttrpgfamily. I’m grateful for all of my followers.

I’m not that old.

I mean, I’m 49. My roots go back to T$R Marvel and BECMI when it was new. I’ve been in the hobby for almost 40 years. Yes, there were good old days.

But that doesn’t mean I’m stuck there. Yeah, I know guys older than me who will never give up their lead minis and boardgames with cardboard chits. They’re reluctant or downright intragnizent when it comes to learning/playing anything new, even if it’s a reprint. Change is truly frightening for some folks. That’s before we start adding technology to the works. Yeesh.

D&D has plenty of throwbacks, and so do I.

Lately, I’ve been encouraged by a friend to get back into more rules-lite, Old School Roleplaying. I’m monkeying around with Dungeon Crawl Classics, Mutant Crawl Classics (Goodman Games,) and Frontier Space (DwD Studios.) I really like that kind of old world BECMI, Gamma World, and Star Frontiers feeling.

That’s not to say I’m abandoning 5E D&D, Pathfinder 2E, or anything. Still tons of fun to be had with any game. If nothing else, playing older games makes me appreciate both eras of play and those play styles that much more.

RPGs have evolved over the years, and so have I.

Beer and pretzels was a style of play back when I started. We did some goofy things running around in dungeons just for the fun of it. We hacked and slashed our way to finding incredible treasures and fought freaky, sometimes bizarre monsters. Some of those dungeons made very little logical sense to begin with. I enjoyed those games as much as I imagine people do Critical Role now.

As the years progressed and we matured as people and as players, some games turned more dramatic. We still talk about those with the same affection and fondness as we do about the half-crazed dungeon romps. Characters and stories mean more nowadays. That’s cool. I think there’s room for both yet.

There’s room for all.

I don’t consider myself to be a grumpy old man gamer, aka “Old Grognard.” Rather, I’m an older, slightly more mature, experienced gamer. I’ll allow pretty much anyone at my table. I’m here to have fun however that comes about. I don’t hold any grudges, and I don’t begrudge any particular play style. Just enjoy the game. That’s what we’re there for. No worries as long as someone’s not ruining it for everyone else at the table.

Yes. I’m sure I’ll still get lumped in with the other old Grognards. I’ll still gladly play Man O War or whatever else they want to pull out when I’m hanging out with those friends, too. Likewise, if I’ve got a group of 20-something 5E players, we’re going to probably be a bit more character intensive.

On the other hand, I’ll offer up some Old School concepts to my younger audience. It’s fun to watch younger players racking their brains to come up with solutions to old school traps and puzzles as long as I don’t overwhelm anyone. There’s also some oldie-but-goodie treasure to be given out and even a few bizarre, somewhat goofy monsters to fight that may not appear anywhere in the newer books.

Lots more to come. I’m going to be putting out some add-ons to old school games that came to mind recently. I’ve also got a few newer projects I’ve been working on for fun that I’ll be putting up somewhere here eventually that are kind of old new school or new old school…however that’s supposed to work. (You know what I mean.) I’m still contemplating various aspects of FATE, Pathfinder 2E and Starfinder, too. The RPG world is never boring.

Next time, let’s talk a little about Hex Crawls. What are they and what do we do with them? Game on!

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