Hello everyone. This being the inaugural post on this blog, I suppose certain introductions are in order.
My name is Tom, originally from Houston, Tx, but doing time in Dallas going on nearly 20 years. I’m a professional production artist, graphic designer and presentation specialist, as well as a proud father of two wonderful children. I’m also a roleplaying enthusiast, which is where this blog comes in.
Like many of my generation, I was introduced to roleplaying games with the old Tom Moldvay D&D Basic Set. That book, with all its iconic art and presentation, still holds a place very near and dear to my heart. I often tell myself that had I stuck with that and the companion Expert Set, my D&D experience would have been longer and more fruitful. However, while that was my introduction (through a family friend, naturally), my first copy of the D&D rules was actually the Holmes edition Basic Set, which led me straight into Advanced D&D, which led straight to…no where. Oh, my friends and I made characters, I crafted a dungeon or two, and fiddled with world building for many unproductive years.
In truth, before college, I probably only played D&D a handful of times with DMs with wildly different styles and almost no adherence to the rules. I ran more Marvel Super Heroes (TSR) and Shadowrun (FASA, 1st edition) than D&D. And even then, I can tell you I had no idea what I was doing.
In my sophomore year of college, I hooked up with a regular gaming group and played the hell out of AD&D (2nd ed, at that point). TSR rolled out the Dark Sun setting and I was off and running with it. And through trial and error (and paying close attention to what the other GMs in my circle were doing) FINALLY learned how to GM an RPG with any lick of effectiveness.
Fantasy was certainly my first love with Roleplaying. But the medieval time period has never really done much for me. Then, in 1999, I accidentally stumbled onto some online promotional material for AEG’s 7th Sea game. That game probably did more to shape who I am and what I want to be as a GM (and player) more than any other game before or since. I loved the whole concept of over-the-top swashbuckling adventure with its gonzo blend of sci-fi, fantasy and horror. By that time I had moved to Dallas and was working on my Masters Degree. I had gotten in touch with a regular game group and started running games for them.
Funny story, when I first brought 7th Sea to the group, one of the players was adamant in his dislike of the whole idea. When I brought the players book in a few weeks later, he flipped through it with a look of pure skepticism on his face until he hit the Eisen nation plate. “I wanna play THAT!” he said. And he did. And we did. For a good three years at least.
Oh, I was also a member of the whole Council of Greyhawk and contributor to several early Oerth Journals and Postfests on AOL (for those of you who were around in those days). I also spent a few years as one of the TX/OK Regional Triad (Bandit Kingdoms, baby!) for the Living Greyhawk campaign and wrote a few adventures and events for the RPGA during that era (the baby mimic and the wight that is not a wight ring any bells?). I’m not sure I would consider myself a Greyhawk expert anymore – 3rd edition and 4th edition killed any and all enthusiasm I had remaining for things D&D for a long time – but I’m still very much an enthusiast of that setting. If you vaguely recall the “blusponge” name, that’s probably from where.
I’ve moved on from 7th Sea since then – not because of any dislike but just wanting to try different things. Savage Worlds became my new go-to game for a long time. I was especially excited when they announced the Savage World of Solomon Kane book, which promised to marry all my loves into one delicious brew. I loved it, but the play experience was not exactly what I was hoping for.
Then came marriage, baby #1, baby #2, and there went a lot of free time. Players in the group moved away or started having kids on their own. And with two little ones sleeping, the house wasn’t right for loud, rawkus, late-night game sessions anymore. But hey, its a new era! A brave new frontier! So last year, once baby #2 started sleeping through the night, I started to assemble a new crew from friends, old and new and we moved the whole enterprise online to Roll20. We also shifted from SWoSK to the newly released 2nd edition of Paradigm Concept’s Witch Hunter: The Invisible World. Very similar genre but more focused on occult monster hunters, which gives it more of a 17th Century Supernatural vibe. The experience has been great and we are getting ready to start into our second year of regular play.
So that brings us up to date.
Ok, Tom. I get it. You’re a grizzled old gamer who can use a computer and likes over the top action rpgs. So what’s this blog about and why should I read it?
Because near as I can tell, there are no active blogs that deal with fantasy gaming with a swashbuckling and horror infused edge. Nothing. Nada. Really Bad Eggs hasn’t had a substantive update in almost a year. Pike, Shotte, and Sorcerie hasn’t had anything to say in about the same span of time. of Pendantry is a cold corpse. d20 Pirates is still chugging along…slowly. That leaves us with Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque, which is great but more focused on Gothic Horror Fantasy without the “I swing from the chandelier and kick the demon in the face” panache that I love. None of that is meant to speak ill of those blogs. Everyone runs out of things to talk about. I’m not even sure I’m going to be able to keep a steady line of thought going here. But these sorts of discussions have been moving away from the message board format I cut my teeth on so long ago (PCI’s WH forums appears to be every bit a purgatory of lurking organized play enthusiasts…at least the WH-side anyway) to networks of blogs, with regular outbursts on social media to announce some new post. So I’m going to give it a shot and see if I can’t fill the void left by these masters of their craft. I hope you’ll enjoy what I have to contribute. And yes, I’ll probably touch on something that has merit for the OSR crowd, too (Hello! Moldvay/Cook B/X love here, folks!).
So here we go!