So a few weeks ago, I was poking through an old chest of junk from high school and found something I thought I’d long, long LONG since lost. That image to the right gives the suspense away, but I’ll say it anyway:
The pink-box, 1980 copyright, got it for Christmas out of a Sears catalog, “red box” Dungeons and Dragons. The dice are gone (as is the crayon included to color in the numbers), and the spine of the book is cut through so I could put it in a ring binder, and the box is full of old maps and worlds and character sheets, but it’s there. The expert rules, too, in all its weird, crazy, “dwarves, elves, and halflings are characters classes, like warriors and wizards” glory.
And I want to run it so, so bad.
Or at least something like it. For me, a romp down the OD&D lane would be one thick with nostalgia, but I understand that, while the rules are kind of light, not everyone would want to spend the time grokking them (and ignoring the stuff you know from more recent, if not really improved editions) just to smack some kobolds for 1d6 damage with an iron mace.
But… something like that, you know? I love me some Wicked Age, or Spirit of the Century, and I long for a good campaign using Heroquest rules, but while WIcked Age is lean and mean and good story-making fun, and Spirit is a hell of a fun romp and plenty rules crunchy, and Heroquest has a kind of all-in-one fantasy beauty to it, none of the games I’m playing right now scratch a particular itch that I can best sum up as “defined progression.”
You know what I mean; that thing that D&D does, where you get a certain number of experience points, and then there’s a ch-ching and you get a new skill or new trick or new something. Wicked Age characters change, but it’s more story-like. Spirit of the Century characters… shift but, superhero-like, don’t really level up. Dogs characters change all the time, but it’s as a result of things that happen in the story, not because you got 1000 xp and became a Dog-Exorcist, Level 3, you know? There’s no level-up chart for fixing 2 Dogs towns and then *ding!* Heroquest is more traditional, but is like Hero System or other point-based games in some ways — little, incremental changes that you pretty much get by your own spending of points.
I want… I dunno. Burning Wheel would probably do it, with its skills and mega-crunch and life paths, but it’s a big meaty system that Kate played once and didn’t love, and I don’t want to have to learn and then teach another huge, meaty system, anyway. I did that with DnD 3.0 and 3.5, and it burned me out to the point where I won’t play those games anymore; they make me sad the way a failed, codependent relationship does.
So I want something with some structure to character progression, some smacking-kobold fun, that I don’t have to spend a lot of brain power learning… so something I already kind of know, and like, and didn’t burn out on.
Basically, I want this.
I remember, with great fondness, a two-semester-long campaign I ran in college in Warhammer’s Old World. Surprisingly, De remembers the same game with much the same fondness.
And there’s a bright and shiny new edition of the game out about two years ago (now available for a lot less than it was when it was out new) that won a bunch of design awards and, from what I’ve read in the last couple days, keeps pretty much everything I liked about the game, and fixed most all the things I didn’t like as much, and updated it with an advanced timeline to work with the changes to the Old World (as represented by the Warhammer Fantasy Battle storylines). And some cool supplements that have come out in that intervening time for things like more monsters and magic stuff… and a pile of player-written scenarios and general neato stuff…
And it has the kind of gamey stuff that Kate likes from her NYC crowd (brutal combat and cool/horrible things happening to your character), and De wants to play, and Lee is interested in it (I wager) just because the WAR MMO is coming out, but whatever… that’s one reason *I’M* interested.
So we’re gonna to play some Warhammer Fantasy RPG.
Let the crushing blows and amputations commence!