I'd already published a couple novels and my day-job was making video games. I could put in a garden. Nah. Texas is hot. How about I start playing table-top RPGs again?
So after a brief stint in Pathfinder (long enough to realize I didn't like what the cool kids were playing) I broke out the old stuff, the good stuff. At least it was stuff that I was good at.
I dug out the piles of papers (many of which I'd authored in Home Ec class...Mrs. Sabin be damned!)
And then I launched again into the world I'd made in my teens: the world of Adummim; the march lands; the Six Kingdoms; the barbarians at Jacobugoth. All of it.
I dug out the Night Wolf Inn. The Dead Halls of the Giant Ancients. The maps. The races. The monsters I'd made. OK. Let's do this.
Let's roll dice again. Let's play Gary's game again. The old way, but with the wisdom of middle-age tempering our table-manners.
And so we do. Every other week I climb into the wheelhouse and fire up the engines and away we go, in search of adventure.
This is where the old gamer has come to die. But don't worry. There are plenty of dragons to be slain before then!
Right, so here's what happened.
In 2014 I came home to an empty house on a Friday night. My wife was at work. The girls were at sleep-overs. And it dawned on me: this is what happens when your kids grow up.
The house was silent as a tomb and I thought, what now?
The Campaign actually began somewhere back in the 80's when I started designing a country on the edge of a vast grassland and placed a curious bed and breakfast (called the Night Wolf Inn) at the edge of one of the cities.
The world of Adummim began to take shape and our rule set was AD&D, of which I remain an ardent supporter.
In the years when I left off gaming, I developed the setting to house a pair of novels published through Tor. These novels were nominated for several awards and the first earned a Kirkus Star.
The stories of the books took place in the Duchy of Stonehold, seen here to the left.
But as I returned to gaming, I set aside the novels entirely, returned to the roots of the setting and fleshed out other regions: the jungles and deserts, and also expanded on the grasslands and mountains of the north.
The current sessions (from 2014 on) we refer to as "The Esoteric Order of the Twilight Princess Campaign". This is because many of the characters are members of this Freemason-like organization that strives against evil.
Adummim and the Atlath Continent on which the playable lands sit are of course filled with many factions besides the EOTP and many nations (like the Society of the Jaw) that pose dire threats to the pursuit of happiness.
Here, you can see a fleshed version of the Country of Ormolu (formerly known as Wardale) and the city of Sanctuary that abuts the Marches. A good deal of player time has been spent in this vicinity, investigating the ruins of Copper Grove, exploring the Misthalls and Amharc Mountains, braving the crags of Geir Loe (the great peak that overshadows Sanctuary) and striking out on perilous missions into the march land.
If you are interested in these things, feel free to browse the player One Note, which is a much thinner atlas than the DM One Note but more or less represents what the players have learned and accomplished.
Alternate settings, worlds and planes are on the horizon as the group inches into high-level territory. Large scale warfare is also likely.
AD&D is a versatile system and for those of you who have never played (or found its labyrinthine systems daunting) the FEATURE posts on this blog are authored with you in mind.
Perhaps young explorers seeking insight into the way old (and getting older) advocates play this seminal system might herein find some guidance and build a new redoubt of AD&D adherents.