21 March 2011

Games I Wanna Play, Part 1: D&D

I have a pretty big gaming library. Come to think of it, "pretty big" might be an understatement. Used to be (before I had kids and financial responsibilities) I'd buy any game that caught my fancy. If it looked even mildly interesting, I'd pick it up, read it in the bathroom, and then stick it on my bookshelf. Nowadays I'm not so free with my cash. Impulse buys are a thing of the past. My money goes towards things like rent, utilities, gasoline, and food.

So despite the fact that I've really only kept up with two or three titles since I "grew up," I still possess an embarrassing collection of RPGs, many of which I've never actually played. But this rumination isn't solely about my regrets as to these long-ignored titles, but rather to the games I'd love to run or play, whether I've done so in the past or not. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day, and even if the time available to me was unlimited, I doubt I'd get a stable of players with just as much free time.

Dungeons & Dragons (3.5)
I get this hankering every so often to play or run a good, old-fashioned D&D game. I can't quite bring myself to run AD&D 2nd Edition... or any prior edition, for that matter. I've come to like the options available in 3.5 too much. It may still be class-based nonsense, but it's a lot more flexible than previous editions.

I have a stack of Dungeon Crawl Classics adventures, many of them geared for low- to mid-level characters, that I'd love to dust off for a short-term campaign or two. Sometimes the "kick in the door, kill the orcs, take their stuff" adventure is fun... and they can always lead to meatier, less formulaic adventures later on.

I've also been tempted to pull out some of the old settings I've always loved. Midnight is one of them. It's sort of like "Red Dawn," but instead of having the Russians and Cubans occupying your lands, it's Morgoth and the orcs. And they've been on your soil for a hundred years. A very grim setting, but there are a lot of really awesome options.

My all-time favorite setting for D&D is Dark Sun. Outside of Athas.org, there was never and official 3.5 update for Dark Sun. Well... I take it back. There were some Dungeon and Dragon articles back in the day, and they weren't bad (outside of their take on half-giants, IIRC). And the Athas.org stuff is usable, too. If I ever did it, I'd need to take a long look at the available source material and decided which version(s) to use.

For more traditional fantasy D&D, it'd have to be either Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms. A long while back, before I moved to VA and started working for EA, I was running the Expedition to Castle Ravenloft adventure, but I'd set it in Forgotten Realms. I've often thought about reviving that game with a new cast of characters. It could be fun.

Even though I contributed to Green Ronin's Thieves' World campaign setting, I've never run a game of TW (outside of a couple of sessions at conventions). Between the core setting book and the other supplements, it is such an awesome product line. It's really too bad it didn't sell better, but I guess TW fans who also play 3.5 are nothing if not a niche audience. If you like TW and you don't have the books, I suggest you check out Green Ronin's online store. Last I looked, the gift set was discounted quite a bit.

That about covers it for D&D. There are some other settings that would be nice to mess around with; the short-lived Dawnforge, for one. When I was just getting into the industry, I'd been contracted to write part of the Dawnforge monster supplement, prior to the product being scrapped due to poor sales of the core books. It's too bad; Dawnforge would've been an interesting product line. Who knows how it would've turned out if WotC had chosen it instead of Eberron?

There are others I could touch on: Green Ronin's Testament (Biblical!), Eternal Rome (Romans!), and Skull & Bones (Pirates!); Mongoose's version of Lone Wolf (which is a bit too rules light as written); and Nyambe (deepest darkest Africa).

So... that's about it for D&D. Next time I'm going to cover some other RPGs I'm hankering to try out, be they pulp, science fiction, horror, or even non-D&D fantasy. See you then!

1 comment:

sirlarkins said...

Nice post. I'm starting up my own series along a similar vein, returning to the Forgotten Realms with an eye towards developing them into my own, customized vision for any and all future vanilla D&D campaigns (which will probably be few and far between, but still...).

Couple months ago I got the itch to give Dark Sun a place on my shelf again and was able to find a good deal on eBay. Probably my all-time favorite D&D setting as well.

I quite like the (non-d20) Mongoose Lone Wolf. I could easily see bolting on a simple skill system. The narrow range of attributes doesn't bother me--playing Pendragon got me used to games without mental stats.