Many, many years ago, when my friends & I were still in High School, I ran an Old School AD&D campaign that was loads of fun! Granted, by my standards today, some of it was a bit cliche'.
But it was FUN!
Let me tell all of you something.
Before there was a Drizzt Do'urden, one of my players and best friends asked me, "Can I play a Drow Elf?"
Up to that point, no one I had known or played with had ever suggested such a thing.
At the time, I had to do a little thinking because despite the fact there were rules for Drow PC's in Unearthed Arcana, NO ONE had EVER played a Drow!
Especially a Chaotic/Good Drow!
Drow are evil! Everyone knows that!
But he had a really cool idea & I have always tried to be a fairly liberal Dungeonmaster. Especially when it comes to GOOD character ideas.
So after the clatter of some dice and another talented sketch, Denerite Evafair was born!
This is not her story.
Another friend of mine had a pretty nifty idea of running a different sort of character.
I was an avid reader of Dragon magazine back in the day. (Before it started to suck.)
One of the magazines I bought had an awesome cover of a scantily clad woman kneeling atop the horned head of a ruined statue, praying in the moonlight. (Anybody remember THAT cover?)
Inside was an article for the Witch NPC class.
Witches, much like Drow, are basically evil. Yes, they allowed for good & neutral witches but the article strongly suggested that most witches encountered should be evil and they should strictly remain a NPC class.
But, after being inspired by the impressive Elmore sketches used in the article, my friend approached me with a GOOD idea.
So after fiddling with the class just a bit, (I dropped the N and made it PC....not much effort really.), and the clattering of some dice, Branwen was born.
This isn't her story either.
Since most often there were only 3 of us playing and I was the DM, my players ran several characters at once, while I played several NPCs to help them in the tougher fights.
So along with Branwen & Denerite, I got to meet the dimwitted barbarians, Groo (Inspired by Sergio Leon's hilarious comic.) and Ernie Gung-Ho (Inspired by my friend's brother.) There were also the Paladins, Braddock and Andared Truesword, the ranger Arocken (a pre-rolled character from The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth) and the befuddled magic-user Adrix.
These, along with many other characters became the adventuring companies, The Fellowship of Blood and eventually, a group that broke off to become The Fist of Tyr.
These characters have adventured through everything from a modified Keep on the Borderlands, White Plume Mountain, the classic Ravenloft and the deadly Tomb of Horrors. They have even made it part way through Demonqueen of Spiders not to mention dungeons of my own creation. For months now, we have been trying to recapture the moments when we would hold our breath as the dice were rolled at a critical moment and the many times we laughed ourselves to tears when things didn't go quite the way they were planned.
Quite frankly, many of the recent few sessions I have run as Dungeonmaster have been a bit stiff and uninspired.
My players simply didn't seem to be getting into their characters.
I blame myself for much of that because of my love for the things I have done with Undermountain and my overwhelming desire to have them see what I've done with the place.
(See my earlier blog to read about the largest mass grave in all Faerun.)
But during our last session with their Elven band of adventurers, both my friends started telling me about their decision to bring back The Fellowship. (Most of it anyway.)
It's so hard for me as a Dungeonmaster to stifle creativity and let's face it, FUN!
I was feeding off their energy and by the time they finished telling me about their idea, we found a good place for the elves to stop in Undermountain and I got out the character sheets.
Soon, most of the old characters were rolled and we were nearly ready to play.
So on January 19th, 2010, in my basement, around my large gaming table and over cups of coffee, glasses of tea and bowls of stew, we set out with some of our oldest & most beloved characters and NPCs we have ever played!
Denerite has seen a few different incarnations as has Branwen. Denerite has returned as a Drow elf but Branwen is now a half-drow cleric/fighter/magic-user.
(Groo and Ernie-Gung Ho will probably never walk the Realms again, but we will remember them fondly. To be honest, they were almost always the cause of of our 15-20 minute interruptions in playing while we laughed ourselves sick but they are a handful for any DM!)
I started the adventurers as basically 2 separate 1st level parties and had to sort of wing it to bring them both together. This was a bit ham-fisted at times but it worked.
We started in the trap infested halls of The Killing Keep.
I know it sounds crazy, but including the NPCs, there are roughly 16-17 adventurers exploring the keep.
The players have decided to try a tactic where half of the party explores, while the other half rests, recuperates and recovers spells. So far, it has worked BRILLIANTLY!
I don't think we have had this much fun playing since we started playing again!
See ya Saturday!