Friday, September 05, 2014

I'm finally home






You are the reason I've been waiting so long
Somebody holds the key
Well, I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home
                                                                                                                 Steve Winwood

Back in the late 90’s I heard that my favorite game was going to change, really change. Wizards of the Coast (WoTC) bought TSR and began a process to change Dungeons and Dragons in a radical way. They promised the change would be monumental and would make the game that I’d been playing virtually obsolete.

Now I had just moved to Hawaii, working a new job and seeing a beautiful girl who is now my beautiful wife.  So, though I had other things going on in my life, I still kept an occasional eye on my hobby and I watched the coming of the 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons. 

The players handbook gave me a disc to help me create my characters, but it didn’t work quite right (I was used to the Core Rules disc and expansion, so I had high hopes, but the 3rd edition software turned out to be garbage).  I bought a few 3rd edition splat books and even helped out with Living Greyhawk for a bit, but I just wasn’t feeling this game anymore.

A couple of years later I come to find out I’ve been trying to play the wrong game. I should be playing the 3.5 edition of Dungeons and Dragons. That 3rd edition crap was, for lack of a better word, crap.  So now according to WoTC, in order to play 3rd edition the way it was meant to be played I needed to buy all new 3.5 edition books and my 3.0 books could be used for kindling or to level out the work bench in the garage.

That was when I said goodbye to Dungeons and Dragons.

I looked at my three bookcases full of 1st and 2nd edition AD&D materials and resigned myself to make do with what I have.  I never looked back…

One of my secret reasons for having kids is to have my own ready-made D&D group, as my boys came of age I began ushering them into the mysteries.  However, my 2nd Edition AD&D campaign held little interest for them, we also tried Castles and Crusades but they didn't  care much for that either, and I have to admit I was just going through the motions as well.  In 2012 I heard from friends about a game called Pathfinder- so we played Pathfinder. We played in a Pathfinder Society Campaign all through the summer of 2013 and while it was a little too much bookkeeping for me, my boys loved it.  I’ve heard people refer to Pathfinder as D&D 3.75 which I suppose makes sense. And while it was rather heavy at times, there were things that I admired about the system. But it wasn’t my D&D.

This summer I heard the rumblings of the next great edition of D&D. Holding fast to my AD&D Core Rules Expansion discs I flatly stated that I had no intention of spending another penny on a WoTC product. I had weathered the storm that was 4th edition quite well thank you and I figured this too shall pass.  And I’d still be out there today if it wasn’t for the fact that WoTC did something inconceivable – they gave a free PDF of the core rules to everyone who wanted one.  I can say no to many temptations but “free” is a tough one to turn down.


So I downloaded the free PDF, then I read the PDF, then I printed up the PDF. I was gobsmacked. This new 5th Edition was wonderful. There’s just enough “old” for my Grognard sensibilities to be satisfied, and plenty of “New” for the Geek in me to revel in.  Of course its not perfect, but neither was my D&D. I never needed it to be perfect. I just wanted it to be fun.
 I’ve heard folks say that there is quite a bit from 3rd and 4th edition in it, I have to take their word for that, I wouldn’t know. What I do know is that it’s been close to 12 years for me wandering around looking for some “Old School re-hash” or “Indy darling” to give me the feeling of being on the cutting edge of a game that I loved so much.  I can finally stop looking and come home to D&D.