Be the Game You Want to See


Up-close photo of the DMG's random mercenaries table in the Expert Hirelings section. And some dice.

When I started this blog this summer, I wasn't expecting to be in the midst of the greatest D&D of my life by autumn.

In August, I kicked off an AD&D by-the-book campaign. Since then, joined by great players and a great system, our campaign – young as it is – has shaped into the D&D I imagined when I was a kid. Whatever it is that's missing from every other game system I've played, original AD&D has it.

God, this week, across two sessions with different mixes of players in a shared world, I adjudicated three outdoor battles with troops of bowmen and calvary led by PCs wielding magic swords and spells. Come on, man! Battles! With characters 1st through 4th level! Against ogres and harpies and planar worms! Combat, treasure, and glory in an open world! A superior alloy of myself and my players!

I can not get enough of what's going on these days. Starting this week I'm running the game three times a week, for three different mixes of players, all in the same campaign world. And it's simple, man, it's simple because I love the game and because it's fun to prep for AD&D. To sit down with the books and the dice, and pen a scenario. Scenarios that often feel like they write themselves, powered as they are by the results of previous scenarios, PC desires, and NPC activity.

And these scenarios, I get to experience them twice. When the PCs take them on, sure. But also during that prep time. With the dice, I go on my own adventure during prep time, and it's from that adventure that scenarios are often born. What a privilege to be able to enjoy that sort of prep.

They told me I could run AD&D by the book and it would be good. I believed them, and they were right. They also told me it gets even better the longer the campaign goes, and I believe that, too. But man, if it isn't killer already. For me, this is the game I've been looking for my entire life. I already know it and we've just gotten started.

I got hit by two cars when I was out on a run last month, like a pinball. I had a severe concussion and amnesia. I'm told I was unable to even describe what my apartment looked like. I didn't know what year it was. Do you know the three things I wanted to know after I got out of the ER? (1) What happened? (2) Do I have any broken bones? (3) When do I run AD&D next?

That's how good the game is.

I've been so hyped, I've got a hundred ideas for posts, and starting today I'm ramping up my blogging. I don't want these days to go by undocumented, especially when the old-school blogosphere is so inundated with B/X derivatives, nu-OSR, and rule-zero gameplay. I've gotta represent! We're playing the game of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons out here! Rules then rulings! All this can be yours! The D&D you've always imagined – the wilderness, the wargame, the weirdness – it's there if you want it!

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