Sponge Bath In A Tea Cup

…harder than it looks



Ten Old (pre-1985) RPGs That Everyone Should Play At Least Once And Why

1: Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (The Holmes edition)
Play it because it is the edition that got roleplaying really started and it is stiff fun.

2: Runequest (Second edition, 1980)
Play it because it is very different from D&D and you can see the early days of Glorantha, perhaps the greatest RPG setting ever.

3: Tunnels & Trolls (Any of the first 5 editions)
Play it because it was the second RPG ever published and it takes a much more lighthearted tone that D&D

4: Traveller (First edition, AKA Classic Traveller)
Play it because it was one of the first great science fiction RPGs and you can see if your character dies during the character creation process.

5: Champions (3rd edition, 1984)
Play it because it was the best and most complex superhero game of it’s time and lets you build exactly the character you envisioned.

6: Call of Cthulhu (Second edition)
Play it because it was and still is the best damned horror RPG out there.

7: Toon (First edition, 1984)
Play it because you get to be a cartoon character that cannot die and it is hilariously funny.

8: Gamma World (First or Second edition)
Play it Because it was one of the very first post holocaust games and it is nutty fun to play a mutant.

9: Paranoia (First edition)
Play it because it is set in a totally wacky dystopia run by an insane computer where everyone is paranoid and you can bet your ass you’ll get killed several times.

10: The Fantasy Trip (Melee, Wizard and In The Labyrinth)
Play it to experience a fun and simple mix of RPG and minis combat that later evolved into the much greater GURPS system



The Very Late, But Still Damned Scrappy, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Seven Dancing Ferrets

…co-starring her pet duck, Randolph



The Gaming Is Afoot!


The past few months have seen me hit something of an all high mark in my gaming life. Not since the mid 1980s have I been doing so much roleplaying and boardgaming on a weekly basis.

Now, to be sure, I am still a long way from the 14-16 hours a week I did back then. Those were the days when my four players and I would do a 4 hour session on Wednesday nights and a 10-12 hour session all day on Saturdays. We were all around 27 years old and it was hella fun, but now, at 65, I am pretty sure that exact situation would kill me :)

Now, I play in a D&D group twice a month, 4 hours per session, usually on Sunday evenings. We just celebrated our 4th year together.

On alternate weeks, I run a D&D game for 5 players on Saturday afternoons, again, for 4 hours per session. We have been getting together for just shy of 2 years.

And then, adding to the gaming goodness, is the fact that I run both RPGs and boardgames at various events for the non-profit Your Turn Community Game Events. I am also a board member.

Your Turn was thought up by one of my Saturday players, Cathy Ford, who does the Our Turn! Gaming For Everyone podcast over at https://ourturnpodcast.com/.

The actual genesis of Your Turn is not something I’m going to get into now, but suffice to say it was put into action by Cathy and a bunch of gaming geeks, Your Humble Narrator included. We run games at libraries and community events. So far, we have had a lot of success and are getting invited to more events all the time. We may be hooking up with a local game store to run games on a weekly basis soon.

Part of that weekly scenario may have myself and other RPG GMs running games on alternate weeks or something. Details are still hazy.

And, on top of all of the above, I’m 13 days out from going to GenCon, which I have not attended since 2007. I am awash on gaming goodness.

About the only thing I’m not doing, gamingwise, is writing for publication. Now, I do write gaming useful stuff, but not for any company. I do it for my wonderful Patrons over on Patreon. So far, there are several items up for Patrons only, and I will have more coming soon.

Note: A more crass individual than I might suggest you go over to https://www.patreon.com/DocCross and sign up for as little as $1.00 a month. Fortunately, I am not given to such acts.

I am going to try to remember to do some regular gaming posts here on the blog, in addition to the other regular stuff.

And speaking of that regular stuff, here’s a bit of what to expect in the next few weeks.

GenCon reporting will start on the 30th of this month when I fly to Kansas to join my friend, Peter Hildreth, for the trip to the con. I may do these reports on video, if I can get video to work on here.

The annual Trip To CritterCon, everyone’s favorite fictional convention, will start Friday after I return from GenCon and will cover about 12 days.

After a 4 month absence, the Doclopedia will be back starting September 1st. I am not sure, but I may do another “500 Entries In 365 Days” bit of madness. Stay tuned.

I am also entertaining the idea of doing interviews with gaming folks. Not sure yet.

Well there you have it, a gamealicious post about my gaming situation. I hope you liked it.

See you next time.


Cyborg Hound On The Magic Bus

…soon, very soon

The Doclopedia #1,068

Saloons, Bars & Pubs: The D&D Inn

Good day, Mr & Mrs Bronfeld. I’m Evenstar Skyson, from the Royal Department of Inns, Taverns and Pubs. I’m here to do your final inspection so that you may open up your establishment. I’ve already been around back to inspect the stables and your two ways out, one via straight access to the street and one via connected alleys, is first rate. It was also a nice touch that your upstairs rooms in the rear all have drainpipes or trellises near them for easy escapes. Usually, we only require that there be one easy escape route per side of a building. I’ve given you marks for your crusty, but talkative stablemaster, too.

My my, this is a lovely main room, if I do say so. Fairly well lit, except for those booths in the rear. Fire burning in the fireplace. Tables that are heavy, but easily turned over in a fight. And my oh my, THREE chandeliers at swinging height? Oh yes, high marks there indeed!

Chairs light enough to be used as weapons, good, very good. Two front windows to jump or throw an enemy through. Excellent, and might I add that you were wise to use the cheapest glass. So many places go all fancy, only to run up large debts to the glazier.

Now, I see you have two mysterious hooded figures in dark booths. I’m afraid the law requires you to have only one. Oh no, no deduction of points for it. Happens all the time, really. I suggest you just station one of them out in an alley and you’ll be just fine.

Four dwarves arguing mining techniques? Good. Busty serving wenches? VERY good! Your daughters? No! You both look so young. My, my.

Trio of halfling musicians? Check. Old sot who knows all sorts of things? Check. Two local boys to flirt with the wenches and start fights? Check. Worried looking priest of some god or other. Check.

Now as to your food and drink, while the meals are hearty enough, you needn’t stock more than ale and wine if you choose. Regulations are pretty open on that. The fact that your mugs are an excellent size for smashing an opponent in the face adds points.

Now, upstairs you have two sets of 2 rooms each that have a connecting door between them? Quite nice, that. So many places just go with the required single pair. I see you offer baths, too. A nice touch, especially since the drain in the floor has a pipe wide enough for creatures up to cat size to crawl up.

Well, all of this, plus the fact that the building across the street is tall enough for sniping, means that you will receive an A+ rating. Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Bronfeld, you may open for business.”

Just Keep Walkin’, Ambrose

…yeah, that’s a very obscure reference, Dementoids

A Remembrance Of Games Gone By

As some of my LJ friends have done today, I hereforth tell the tale of my first encounter with Dungeons & Dragons.

It was late November of 1976 and my first wife and I had been living in the Eugene/Springfield, Oregon area for just shy of 2 months. I was newly out of the Navy and trying hard to put the memory of that 4 years behind me.

In Eugene, there was a bookstore that I found had a reasonably good selection of sci-fi, fantasy, etc. One day, while visiting there, I heard two young college age guys talking about something called Dungeons & Dragons. I had never heard of it before then, but from what the one was telling the other, it appeared to be a game where you could play a Conanesque fighter or a Gandalflike mage and go adventuring in dungeons.

Being a longtime fan of Tolkien, Lieber and Howard, this intrigued me, so I introduced myself and asked them about D&D. The one fellow, whose name is lost in the mists of middle aged memory, excitedly told me about the game and how cool it was to go through dungeons gathering loot and killing monsters. His friend, who I found had not yet played the game, told me a guy who was a “DM” was starting up a new dungeon and was looking for players. I got info and phone numbers from them and left, thinking that I’d check this D&D thing out.

About a week later, I showed up at the DM’s home. It was actually his parents home, but they were on vacation and he had the run of the house. (in fact, this 30+ guy still lived with his folks, had a part time job delivering bundles of newspapers and looked like every stereotypical cat piss man gamer I’ve ever met since then…but he was the first).

There were 6 players and after a few minutes of chat and introductions, we all created characters, with mine being a human fighter. I think I had 7 hit points. It was all very exciting to me and I was already thinking of how I’d buckle a swash or two. Then we entered the dungeon.

For about 30 minutes, not much happened. We found the bones of a few previous adventurers, searched a room that yielded a bit of loot and went deeper into the darkness. Then, out of a side tunnel, came a couple of orcs. A pitched battle ensued, which damned near killed several of us. Still, it was exciting and fun and we got some more loot. Life was looking good.

The next hour went much the same, except that our Elven archer got killed, we met a strange old man who healed us in exchange for half our loot and we found a passage to a lower level. Naturally, flush with full hit points, we went down to level 2.

And got killed by a troll. Utterly wiped out. No survivors. Game session over.

Now, not knowing any better, I assumed we had just messed up somehow. Maybe we should avoid going down to Level 2 next time.

Wouldn’t have mattered. The next session was all about traps, which picked us off until we were all dead.

Session 3? Horde of orcs handed us our sliced off asses.

Sessions 4-6? More Killer DM fun.

I created a new character each time, only to see him die. Talking with the other players, I could feel the dissension in the ranks. This game could be better…be more fun. After the last session, one player, whose name was Tom (the only name I really remember, now) had pretty much decided to start DMing his own game, with “less dying and shit”.

Alas, by this point, my marriage had entered the “argument of the day” stage and was working rapidly towards critical mass. I played no more D&D in Oregon, or anywhere else, for about a year and a half. But I never forgot those early wonderful and frustrating sessions, so that when I next played D&D, I knew what I wanted out of the game. Even more importantly, it planted the seeds of GMing in me, which eventually lead me into a whole series of real life adventures.

But that’s another story:)