25th Anniversary Special!
I started this blog at the same time a small group of us were looking at rekindling our tabletop roleplaying past using Google Wave. The group as was have moved off into different areas of the UK over the years, had children, and in the future some of us are moving over the pond to the States. We’ve always kept close as a group, meeting up as often as possible, but with other priorities and time being the enemy, we’ve hardly sat down to roleplay for a long, long time. Google Wave could be the answer for us.
Like a lot of other groups we started roleplaying at secondary school, a few guys had already got together and started a Dragonlance campaign (in ’85 or so) using the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st Edition set. I was good friends with the elder brother of one of the guys, and he knew I’d played various systems (original D&D, AD&D 1st Edition, Rolemaster, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, Laserburn, and dabbled with new sets such as Paranoia, Pendragon, and MERP). He introduced me to the group, and things took off from there.
I’d never read any of the Dragonlance books, so had a bit of catching up to do with the rest of the group. I picked up Tanis as a character in their second session, read the books over a long weekend, and never looked back.
The group changed a little over the next few years, a couple of guys in, a couple of guys out, but the core of the group has held strong. Big friendships were made – to the point where members have been Best Men at weddings and Godparents to children.
We have tried a number of different systems and gameworlds, but have mainly stayed faithful to the various incarnations of D&D. We’ve even used some of our homebrew systems. Some long running campaigns have been epic in scale – the original Dragonlance campaign; the Forgotten Realms Time of Troubles set; a gritty Dark Sun campaign; and a homebrew campaign using on the AD&D 2nd edition rules crossing the multiverse and giving birth to the groups’ ‘flagship’ characters. Games will be remembered for many things the characters did (or didn’t do) but also tabletop antics such as dead spider impressions, exploding tins of beans, pet dogs peeing on people’s legs, and a police search of sports bags containing rulebooks.
With advancing years the amount of time available to roleplay declined but in 2002 a shining light appeared – Neverwinter Nights. Throughout the early months of that year plans were made, ideas were born, and enthusiasm for roleplaying grew again. Not all of the group joined in, but for those that did it opened another world. Although some of the group had dabbled in Ultima Online, it was really NWN that opened up the door to MMORPG and new friends were made. So much so, that some of us became DMs in a persistent NWN world, which was incredible fun.
Since that point the group have mainly focussed on MMORPGs, with Star Wars: Galaxies taking the brunt of our enthusiasm. With the proposed release of Neverwinter Nights 2 we were ready to unleash a new persistent world of Blackegorge upon the unsuspecting populace. Forums were set up (originally hosted at this site), vast plans were laid, stories were written (of which many are being put on this blog).
We must have done something to offend the Gods, though. The toolset for NWN2 was buggy and the server was unstable to say the least. Combined with the birth of my first child, and another member’s wedding, the time to overcome the hurdles was too much, and the plans faded into obscurity.
With the group scattered across the country and no NWN2 project to entertain us, we concentrated on Star Wars: Galaxies, only to eventually get distanced by their constant rule changes. EVE Online and Lord of the Rings Online took over.
In November of 2008 we managed to get most of the group together for an evening in one place. With a one-shot adventure (homebrew rules, homebrew time-travel scenario) we managed to have an evening of roleplaying. It was great fun. The idea was to try to do this every six months or so, but somehow with further children, new jobs, house moves, and weddings amongst the group it never seemed to happen.
With MMORPGs to fall back on, though, it never seemed like a problem.
However, late last year I got an invite to Google Wave Beta, and although I never really used it, I tried to keep abreast of what was happening in that space (being in the IT profession it pays to understand what’s going on). I noticed a trend starting for people to use the medium to roleplay – particularly Brent P. Newhall’s excellent adventures (that were always full!).
So, the latest plan is now to take all of the good work that people like Brent have toiled through to get a good roleplaying experience and mash it together with our group.
We don’t yet know whether we are going to use the excellent Pathfinder series from Paizo, or run our own homebrew world (perhaps based on the world we were developing for NWN2) in D&D 4E. but in either case we’re now getting excited again, after 25 years from our initial foray into roleplaying!