Ravens Fell has entered playtesting, which is not to say that it is remotely close to completion. Only that I have kicked off the sessions.
I have two local cohorts, each consisting of six players. We are playing in person at the table. This is madness. Not because we are back to in-person gaming but because of the overhead and record keeping, and also in keeping everything straight between the two groups. I have two separate slacks, two separate game calendars, two separate forums. The only saving grace is that both groups opted to begin playing in the same location.
Both groups' initial session consisted of rolling up characters. Some of the players are novices, some are veterans. Almost half have never played 1st Edition AD&D before.
The others immediately noticed the addition of a peculiar stat on the character sheet.
I detailed this new mechanic here.
Currently, I suspect my own sanity is 12. This is likely to worsen with time, but should be fun all the way down. Which brings me to the next topic.
All good things must come to an end. I've said many times that I did not want to be creating poor/fluff content for this blog. Therefore I can say with a clear conscience that, for the foreseeable future, this blog has fulfilled its purpose. I think it does a reasonable job of explaining 1st Edition AD&D.
I have not moved on from the game. With the advent of the Ravens Fell Campaign, I'm actually running MORE sessions than since high school, playing more AD&D than at any time in my adult life. I have the privilege and responsibility this time round to welcome six completely new players, many of whom have NEVER played old school and many who are much younger than I.
This fills me with joy because the system might just survive, after all of us who were there when it first came out are gone, not only in its written form but in the truer form of adherence and play.
That is the whole of this post, to restate: I have no more time or inclination to author regular blog entries, not because my interest has faded, but because I am too busy with the hobby itself, not only in the authoring of the material and painting of figures, but in the more sublime joy of relationships spawned by the game and the excitement of the players who understand that you have gone above and beyond to craft them something not just bespoke, but something you have poured yourself into.
The rules and systems in the hand of the expert referee provide an honest and therefore TRUE path to drama, occasional euphoria and reliable friendship. I have said it in almost every post. The relationships forged by this peculiar game and the journey of making those relationships are the only things that matter in the big picture. Ergo, I have no real sense of sadness in closing out this blog, relegating it to occasional updates at best, because instead of maintaining it, I am doing the things pertaining to this hobby that matter most.
So smile. Because I was never here to entertain you or become famous or rich selling product. I was here to teach you about AD&D and about HOW to embrace that wonderfully complex system so that it will create for you lasting memories and friendships. I have not turned my back. I have doubled down. Gone to Mithlond perhaps, where they play and feast evermore...
Remember if you can, as you now find your own way at the gaming table, that our relationships with other humans have so much potential when we eschew the assumption of malice, trust in the universal desire to be loved and appreciated, decide to laugh easily, and place above other things unity and cooperation instead of the aggrandizement of self.
The Ravens Fell Campaign is underway! By the end of this month, both cohorts of six players will have played three times. I have no schedule for the campaign's public release (if it ever happens) except to say: no time soon.
Rest assured, however, that I have given the keys to my Dropbox to Allan Grohe. In the off chance I perish early (like some adventurers do) Allan has access to the live working files of the campaign.
And here I'd like to say a few words about Allan who, as much as any internet person can be, I consider a friend. His infectious smile, genuine goodness, and enthusiasm for this hobby along with a talent for the meticulous, fill me with admiration. I wish we lived closer. Allan has championed AD&D even better than I have and has been a guiding voice throughout my reacquaintance with rolling dice. Seeing him so joyous at conventions, sharing the hobby with his family, is not only inspirational, but aspirational.
Now I must return to my work, for game day is fast approaching and the stars are right...after vigintillions of months in pandemic isolation, my players are loose again, and ravening for delight.