Codename: Sand Paper
Codename: Sandpaper is almost ready and is currently seeking players in the West Los Angeles Area.
We have two rookies so far and are hoping to add up to three experienced players to round out the group. I have over 20 years experience with D&D and other games and have run many an adventure. We are looking to game with peers so you should be in your thirties like the rest of us, but we are open to any sufficiently mature players. This means you have your own transportation, can contribute to group meals or at least bring your own food, and are reliable and punctual. Our schedules are a bit fluid and the campaign is being developed to accomodate that. My hope is that we will meet once a week to once every two weeks, but not more than three times in a month. We will compare schedules and try to find times that work for everyone. If you can’t make a session once in a while, I will have some built in workarounds.
The campaign will be AD&D Second Edition (2E). I do not expect you to have your own material right away, but the 2E Players Handbook can be easily obtained online for about $10 if you decide to join us.
This edition was released in 1989 and material was actively published for almost a decade. 2E was the last edition released by TSR before the game was bought out by Wizards of the Coast (WOC). WOC can be commended for expanding the consumer base of D&D, and allowing for the creation of a thriving open system. Unfortunately the quality of the core game suffered greatly with subsequent editions, offering only marginal improvements to overall mechanics, while significantly dumbing down game play. It is for this reason, and the fact that I still have all the material I need, that I have chosen to go back what I feel is the golden era of the game.
The setting will be Dark Sun. This may cause those who are familiar with 2E a bit of pause as some of the changes in the rules for this setting were a bit broken and unbalanced. I have reworked these areas and managed to even things out.
I revisited my Dark Sun books recently and saw a number of things I hadn’t while playing in the 90’s. What I had seen as a cool dystopian playground that combined Mad Max and D&D, now looks more like this;
A harsh, largely desert world of diminishing resources and strong class divisions, where roving free market trade companies and tribes control a crumbling economy under the weight of an oppressive ruling class that consciously exploits nature to the detriment of anyone who can not afford the astronomical cost of what’s left.
I could be reading into things a bit, but it never hurts to get a little topical with a game. D&D can be ripped from the headlines, too.
Explaining the tagline.
Role Playing vs. Roll Playing
When I first started playing Dungeons and Dragons at the age of twelve, I wanted to beat the game. I wanted to obtain the highest level and kill the greatest monsters. Pouring over and exploiting the rules to find the greatest advantage was thrilling for me. As time went on there was much more satisfaction in the limitations of my characters and the creative puzzles that grew out of operating within those boundaries.
Writing and Game Mastering my own campaigns led to insight about what inspired new players and what fed the creativity of experienced players. I also found that I enjoyed running a campaign that captured the imaginations of the group much more than I enjoyed the disposable, blow off some steam hack slash adventures. Gaming had become a collaborative experience rather than a competitive one.
One of the issues I found playing WOC editions was that things became pre-calculated and overwritten to the point that it stifled creativity. WOC got its start manufacturing CCGs, wherein the focus was on what you could do with what you were given, and everyone had access to the same materials. In my opinion this was the opposite of Pen and Paper Role Playing, the spirit of which was to create a character and place him or her into a world of the DM’s choosing and to act out that characters reactions to the events transpiring in that world, using a set of mechanics that could bring consensus to the players while being open enough to interpretation that imagination was the only limit to the outcome of the game and more importantly the experience of the player. In a CCG strategy and the luck of the draw are paramount and the outcome is a static win/lose scenario. In a role playing game players have the opportunity, if truly committed to their character to choose loss or sacrifice. WOC made such an effort to consolidate and simplify the game into something they could understand and market to their existing customer base that they lost sight of the spirit of the game.