In the summer of 1986, I started playing Advanced Dungeons with my cousin John. It has been a remarkable world of fun, adventure, and learning. That same year, I remember sitting in class and study hall working on characters and thinking of dungeons, demons, and dragons being defeated by the +5 Holy Avenger that my paladin wielded, not to be outdone by the Hammer of Thunderbolts wielded by the cleric or the bow wielded by the ranger that made “Hank” from the D&D cartoon look like a chump. We had to make out own monsters from the DMG because – what else could stand to our characters.
What were we after? We were living the dream of doing good deeds, defeating demons (especially Orcus), saving the world, and owning the castle with a horde of money to do even greater deeds.
Twenty-three years later, I still don’t own my castle and for the most part, I don’t see what I fell in love with from the next generation. It seems lost in a feats and maxed-out skills. I remember (or I think I do) having player characters knowing the townsfolk to trust us if framed for a crime we didn’t commit.
Truthfully, I’m not as sharp as I was with the rule system as I once was but more the part of as a player or a DM, I rarely felt the need to come to the table with my “A” game anymore. That was until I went to “Cyrus-Con”. There were “kids” there half my age; ok, they were less than half my age. I came to the table pretty unprepared – still writing up my stats, having to double check my thinking with another player or the book. The DM was an old friend about 8 years younger. I would like to try to take credit and say I taught him some good stuff but he had new and better tricks and he was really prepared; prepared like I was or could get by with.
I realized how relaxed and content I became with my current group. That perhaps online gaming and not needing to be the best DM made me, well, old.
I’ve taken a break from my group and trying to find what I used to do that made me good and also help me get that castle I’ve wanted for so long.