What am I Doing?
So I am going to chronicle my different playtests of D&D Next, and try to pick apart what works for me, what doesn't work for me, and also the responses of my players and their attitudes toward it.
So for this first post, I am going to sum up my experience with pen and paper games and engage in some catahartic humanizing storytelling.
Next post, I am going to sum up my understanding about what the Design Goals are for D&D Next. That'll be the rubrik I'll be talking about later.
After that, I am going to post some blurbs on my belief of game design.
Then, I'll be posting some play test summaries, and then my thoughts of them.
Who am I?
I'm a 27 year old gamer, who is married to a gamer wife. Most of my friends are gamers because I am a "pusher." I try to introduce new people, get lunch games going at the office, that kind of thing. Professionally, I work with a lot of bright, busy people in the technical field. I tend to be very involved in organizational aspects (sometimes project management, some other things).
This means that I am biased for: easy to play, but very engaging games, that are clear cut and unambigious.
Because I travel a lot , most of my games are on Saturday, and they are online games. We use Maptools; I generally macro out everything in advance, and do some neat (IMHO) maps. It appeals to my Lego building side, and also helps me with having terrible drawing talents for my maps.
I got in to Fantasy stuff when Dragon Warrior came out for the NES. I was five, and fell in love with the heroic knight battling a horde of monsters and an evil dragon king. I continued to diget the Legend of Zelda, and Wizards and Warriors. You can start to see a trend here. I then picked up Final Fantasy, and played it, and basically chomped on every type of video game available.
When I was 8, I got a leather bound edition of the Hobbit. Blew my mind. I read it cover to cover, pouring over the map, in love and amazed at it. The book itself felt so magical, that I could believe that Bilbo really had written it.
I remember distinctly locking the door to my room, and opening the window, pretending that it was my hobbit hole.
When I finished it, I tried to read Lord of the Rings, but it was hard going. I picked up some other stuff from the library, of differing levels and types.
Around this time, I started getting on to the internet. I found out about D&D, what it was like at the time. I had no one around to play with, but using the stat sheets from the video games I had, and a set of dice, I was able to make my own little 2d6 game that I played on car trips.
I started doing diceless RPing on IRC. Basically, the chat room would be an inn, and people would gather there, fart around, go on quests, and show off their power level.
I ended up reading the first Drizzt book when I was 13, I believe. That got me more exposure to D&D. All the while I was on the video game trail. We moved around a bit, and I started playing Magic: the Gathering at card shops.
In high school, early on, I got a basic box set of some kind. I was able to get my best friend to play with me; I DMed, and he played a drunken priest with a dwarf NPC that he called Shorty. We played once.
Later on, 3e came out. We had a group of friends now, and we ended up getting a game going. I played an elven fighter, my best friend reprised his role as the drunken priest, and we had some other characters. It was kind of fun; the social outweighed it.
After that game, D&D wasn't a thing we did every week; it was a three day weekend binge, a stay up all night playing, kind of thing. There wasn't really a campaign. I tended to DM, and we did weird and crazy stuff.
In college, my girlfriend at the time had dance classes on Thursday. So I started a game the only way I could think of; an online game. Of Arcana Evolved.
Through college I played the ongoing campaign of AE, which then switched to Iron Heroes later. We would do the occasional core D&D game on campus, and then senior year the other game dried up and we ended up doing a big 3.5 edition game of Red Hand of Doom, which then had a 3 month follow up campaign.
I took some years off, after 4e came out and my game groups fell apart. I was a big fan of 4e because it fixed what I saw were some serious problems. But since people were getting jobs, having babies, and the like, stuff slowed down.
I did one online game with 4e until my schedule broke. Then last year I came back with a vengence, doing a short AE game called "Keepers of the Red Oath," set in a post-Diamond Throne Serran. Then I did an online game, "Legend of Remthal" a take on the old "save the kingdom!" thing, where the party was challenging an orc king who had overthrown the kingdom and sent people to hide in the hills awaiting saviors.
Now I'm doing a semi-sandboxy game with a lot of dragons online. I occasionally find time to play with a local group, who maintain a lot of old school game styles. I haven't gotten to play with them in a few months because of travel shinnanigans.
Alright, so enough about me.