Showing posts with label blogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogs. Show all posts

Monday, August 1, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 1

It's August and I am participating in the RPGaDAY2016 blog marathon.  This year hosted by BrigadeCon.


So let's get started!

Do you prefer to use real dice, a dice application or program, or use a diceless system?

I am old-school. I prefer real-dice.  I have used many dice programs and apps of all sorts going back to the dawn of both D&D and computers.  But for me the feel and sound of dice hitting the table is where it is as for me.







Monday, July 25, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: D&D 5e Homebrew Tumblr

Typically I don't pay much attention to Tumblr. But this is something that has popped up a few times on my feed that is too cool to ignore.

The D&D 5e Homebrew Tumblr page has a ton of really nice material for a D&D 5 game.  Including a lot of monsters.


The pages are well done and there is a lot of material here.
Including some new dragons:


http://dnd-5e-homebrew.tumblr.com/post/147797832343/how-to-train-your-dragons-nightfury-by


Princess Mononoke/San

http://dnd-5e-homebrew.tumblr.com/post/144553345402/spirit-of-the-wolf-by-jonoman3000


It's fun blog and worth your time if you play D&D5 at all.


Don't forget to include the hashtag #MonsterMonday on Twitter or #MonsterMonday on Google+ when you post your own monsters!

Monday, July 4, 2016

2016 ENnie Nominations are In!

The 2016 ENniesAward Nominations are in!


And it is my pleasure and honor to report that The Other Side is once again nominated for Best Blog!
http://www.ennie-awards.com/blog/2016-ennie-award-nominees-and-spotlight-winners/

I am so excited by this. Really. A chance to be voted on by my peers is a great opportunity.

I am really looking forward to the next month and will do my best to provide content worthy of this.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fellow A to Zers


I have a lot of blogs in my normal reading lists that are participating in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge.  If you are a regular reader then these blogs are likely familiar to you too.   If you are here from the A to Z Challenge, then please check out these blogs as well.

Crossplanes 
http://www.crossplanes.com/

The World of Stelios 
https://wordofstelios.wordpress.com/

Nemo's Lounge
http://nemoslounge.com/

Sea of Stars RPG
https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Monstrous Matters
http://www.monstrousmatters.com/

Halls of the Nephilim
http://punverse.blogspot.com/ BTW if you are new here or to any of these blogs, Justin does a good job explaining what D&D 5th Edition stuff is about.  http://punverse.blogspot.com/2016/04/d-5e-for-those-just-stopping-by.html Plenty of links to free stuff so you can play too.


B/X Blackrazor 
http://bxblackrazor.blogspot.com/

Lloyd of Gamebooks
http://www.lloydofgamebooks.com/

DMing With Charisma
http://dmingwithcharisma.com/

Sphere of Annihilation
http://sphereofannihilation.blogspot.com/

The Iron Pact
http://theironpact.com/

Fuzzy's Dicecapades
http://fuzzys-dice.blogspot.com/


Graphs, Paper, and Games 
http://graphpapergames.blogspot.com/

Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool, though Cal is doing things his own way!
http://calvinscanadiancaveofcool.blogspot.com/

Dr. Theda's Crypt
http://thedascrypt.blogspot.com/


Check out all the blogs participating below!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Link Roundup

Lots of things going on today. So here are a list of links I have been reading or need to read in detail still.  Thought I'd share.

Curse of Strahd is coming.  Ravenloft was my all time favorite module to play and run. The Demiplane of Ravenloft was my world of choice during the 2nd Edition days.  So I am finding it hard to wait till this new book comes out.  Thankfully my FLGS is a Wizard's Premier store, so I should be picking up my copy this weekend.  But until then here are some things to keep us all busy.
Looks great so far!

The Witch is out. The movie that is. I have been following this film for months, so I hope it lives up to the hype.  So far I pleased with everything I read, though I am not trying to read to much to be honest.  Some of my fellow bloggers have already seen it.
I need to see this movie.

Once a again a tip o' the hat to my good friend +Calvin Heighton at Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool for this one.
It's a "Dragon Wagon" with a surprisingly familiar font.


Is this the conveyance of some mad wizard?  A collector from the future? A Gamma World/D&D crossover?  No idea, but damn if I don't want to do something with this.
Here are some more links of information/pictures.

Need to learn a new language?  Well there is a Chrome add-in that simulates language immersion by swapping out words you read with those of the chosen language.  Which language?  Any language in Google Translate's database.  Trying it out now.

Finally the same folks that brought us the Harry Potter fan film The Greater Good just finished their newest fan film, Severus Snape and the Marauders.  I do love a good fan film!



I have to say the casting of this is spot on.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Blog Roundup: Gods, Vampires and Blinky Thieves

I have some edits that I need to make to Sisters of the Aquarian Order today, so I won't be getting that out to every just yet.

I have some posts I need to wrap-up, but I am headed to an early morning meeting today so some links will have to do.

+Ray Chapel over at Quasar Knight's Fantasy Blog has put together something I have been meaning to do for a while.  A comprehensive list of all the White Star products on OneBookshelf.
http://quasarknight.blogspot.com/2016/02/a-comprehensive-list-of-white-star.html
It is an impressive list to be honest.

+Sean McG over at The Power Score has done another of his fantastically detailed analysis of a D&D monster. This time it is for the Vampire. A long time favorite of mine.
http://thecampaign20xx.blogspot.com/2016/02/dungeons-dragons-guide-to-vampires.html


+Chris Kutalik and +trey causey have both given us some detail on the so called "Erol Otus Pantheon" on their respective blogs.
http://hillcantons.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-erol-otus-ddg-pantheon.html
http://sorcerersskull.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-otus-pantheon.html


It is a nice little trip back to the 80s.

+Mark Craddock has been steadily releasing D&D5 material over at the DM's Guild for a bit now.
His biggest project is Deities and Domains: Specialty Priests of the Forgotten Realms (39 Feats for 5E).  At 25 pages  and 39 dieties this is one of the larger products.  While overtly for the Forgotten Realms, there is so much here that any D&D 5 palyer should grab it and just swap out the names for their own gods.  Plus it comes with a printer-friendly version.  I am already using the cleric of Mystra, only in my game it is a cleric of Wee Jas.

His newest is Psionics Unearthed: Tesseract.   I just got it and love it.  The best way to describe it is "blinky thieves" but it would work for any martial class too.  It might actually be a little underpowered compared to say the Arcane Trickster, but the fact that a Tesseract can use their powers multiple times between long rests makes up for it.  My kids will fight over who gets to use this one!

My favorite though has to be Character Crucible: Dhampirs.
Not very large, but it does exactly what it needs to do.  The Dhampir is a great race to play in any version of D&D, but Mark capitalizes on the strengths of D&D5 to make a fun race.  I would have an easier time working these Dhampirs into my games than the Dragonborn and Tieflings my kids want to play all the time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

RFI Podcast

You can hear me today as well as read me.



The Roll For Initiative Podcast I was a guest on is up now.

http://rfipodcast.com/show/2016/02/10/volume-5-issue-174-round-table-talk-community-hot-topics/

If you are interested in the Victorian Gamers Association I mentioned on this the link is here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/117617184004/

Thanks to +Vincent Florio and +Erik Tenkar for a great time.




Monday, February 8, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up

Busy weekend!

Started off by guest posting over at Angry Hamster Publishing, home of the fantastic new game WITCH: Fated Souls.   I posted my top 5 witches.  Have some you like? Post them there!

I also played a LOT of Pathfinder Deluxe Munchkin this weekend.  Didn't win a single game, but I still enjoyed it.

Sunday I was part of the next Roll For Initiative podcast.


I hung out with +Vincent Florio and +Erik Tenkar of the eponymous Tavern while we talked about social media, blogs and boards, Pay to Play DMs and Kickstarters.  I'll post a link when that is live.

In other news the proofs of "The Sisters of the Aquarian Order" are on the way.  That should be going live soon.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A to Z sign up is Live

The sign up for the 7th annual April A to Z blog challenge is now live.



I am participating again this year.  Last year was a challenge for me to be honest.  But I hope I am better organized this year.  I already have an idea for my posts, I just need to check my Y and Z posts.

I do encourage others in our little corner of the internet to participate.  It not only helps grow your readership and blog, it also helps grow our hobby.  I won't lie, sales of my books go up in April.  People read what I have and they get curious.  My book plus Labyrinth Lord or my book plus Basic Fantasy is enough to get a newbie going for under the price of going to the movies.

Think about and join me if you can.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reading Challenges

I am going to participate in a few reading challenges again this year.

Once again I am participating in The Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge at Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf.

2016 Witches &a Witchcraft Reading Challenge

I doubt I will do as well as I did last year, but I am going to give it a try.

Also I "read" a lot of audio-books.  So this year I am also going to participate in the Book Nympho's 2016 Audiobook Challenge.  This one I expect I will do well on.  I have to commute everyday to work so I have lots of time in the car.

I have already started on both.

Another one I would like to do is the 2016 Victorian Reading Challenge.  But I don't currently have anything in my TBR piles that qualifies.  Except for games really.

Belle's Library

Still.  I enjoy these and it is a fun way to talk about something I was going to do anyway.

ETA: A few more.

2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge




Retellings Reading Challenge 2016



2016 EBook Reading Challenge



Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge




2016 Horror Reading Challenge




New to You 2016

New To You Square

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Déjà vu Blogfest 2015

I am joining the Déjà vu blogfest for 2015.

http://www.dlhammons.com/2015/12/the-deja-vu-blogfest-2015.html



Now I just need to find something to talk about from this year.
Likely I'll post this on Sunday Feb 20.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Zatannurday: The Cypher Friends

+Mark Craddock over at the excellent Cross Planes blog has been doing a lot of stats for the Cypher System lately.

His series, which has the great name "Cypher Friends", has been about all sorts of superheroes in a post-apocalyptic setting.  It is pretty cool.

Here is his Zatanna,
http://crossplanes.blogspot.com/2015/11/cypher-friends-zatanna-for-cypher-system.html

and Raven, http://crossplanes.blogspot.com/2015/11/cypher-friends-raven-for-cypher-system.html

They are really awesome and you should check out the whole series.

Thanks Mark!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Diigo upgrade - Come join me!

I upgraded my Diigo account.  The "OSR Blogs" social bookmarking tool is now public.

Anyone can now add their own blog to the list.




If you want to add this code to your own website, just copy and paste.

<script type="text/javascript" src="https://groups.diigo.com/user_mana/link_roll_data?group_name=OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites&icon=true&width=350&count=20&title=Group%20OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites's%20best%20content&tags=&token=" ></script><noscript><a href="https://groups.diigo.com/group/OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites" >Group OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites's best content</a></noscript>

The red highlights are values you can change.

Join me and help increase this list.
I am also going to add more features as the week goes on.

Let me know what you think!

Edited to add: Adding another group to my "Witch Links" page.
http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/p/witches.html.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Organizing via Diigo

Doing some research for my day job and I came across Diigo.  It's a social bookmarking site that allows users to bookmark and share websites, pages, articles and so on.  There is more to it than that, but I am just getting going on it.

I thought it might be fun to create a group where we could all share various OSR and RPG blogs and sites.  There is very little RPG on Diigo so far (at least what I could find) so this would be helpful.

To that end I created a group and I am inviting everyone to join and link your sites or site you like.


Right now there is only me.
I am on a free account but I am likely to upgrade to a full professional account if this works half as nice as I hope.  Once I do that then the group will have some more features.

I have added some blogs. Mostly those from my own blogroll starting from the bottom up, but I would love it if you all added your own and commented on the ones added.  Just keep it nice, we are community here.




You can even add this to your own blog or website.

<script type="text/javascript" src="https://groups.diigo.com/user_mana/link_roll_data?group_name=OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites&icon=true&width=250&count=10&title=Group%20OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites's%20best%20content&tags=&token=03f4ad7c34cfe7a31674868e9a7499eb" ></script><noscript><a href="https://groups.diigo.com/group/OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites" >Group OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites's best content</a></noscript>


I know we have sites out there that list all of these blogs, but this is something we can all contribute to and help maintain.
Plus it is kind of fun.

Edited to add: I just discovered I can "auto-post" from Diigo to here. So as we add things an automated posting can go out say every Sunday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2015 October Horror Movie Challenge

I so look forward to this every year, but this year I think I am going to fall a little short of my goals.
Busy time at work and with projects means less time to enjoy some horror.

So this years theme will be "Attacks of Opportunity".  That is, I will watch movies as the come on or as I get access to them.  The nice thing is this year I have Netflix in addition to my Amazon Prime.  So I do have many more choices.  Plus I have a stack of DVDs laying here that need to be watched.

Normally hosted by Krell Laboratories I think offical hosting is now covered by the Facebook group.



Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

2,000,000 Page views! And Ennies.

Sometime around dinner time yesterday I hit 2,000,000 page views.

I took me about 5 years to reach 1,000,000 and less than half that to reach the next million.
Pretty humbling really.  That after all this time you all are still interested in what I have to day.   I want to thank you all.

Nothing really special planned this time, except a special themed edition of "Friday Night Videos".

Don't forget the voting is now live for the ENnies.
http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/2015/

I did not self-nominate my self this year mostly because I didn't feel like I posted anything above and beyond what I had done last year.  Maybe next year.

For support I am throwing my votes at +Lowell Francis' and his Age of Ravens, http://ageofravens.blogspot.com/ for best website (though it should really be nominated for best blog).

I am also showing my support for +Zak Smith's "Red and Pleasant Land".  We need more strange and weird in our hobby and it is nice that something that is nominally part of our little subset of the hobby get a nod.

My Ubiquity post will be later today.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why I Love RPGS: C. J. Carella's WitchCraft RPG

Note: This is part of the Dyvers Project on RPGs.  We are supposed to talk about RPGS we love and why we love them.  This is my second part.

RPGS I Love: C. J. Carella's WitchCraft RPG

WitchCraft is, hands down, my favorite game.  Period.  Picking up a copy of this book back in 1999 was just like picking up a copy of the Monster Manual in 1979.  Everything I ever wanted in a game was right there.
Everything.

WitchCraft had such a profound effect on my gaming that I can draw a rather clean line between what came before and what came after it.  Granted a lot was going on in 1999/2000 both gamingwise and personal that may have added to the this effect, it was an effect all the same.

Back in 1999 I was really burned out on D&D.   I was working on my own Witch netbook and reading a bunch of different games when someone, I forget where, must have been the old RAVENLOFT-L that TSR/WotC used to run, told me I really need to check out WitchCraft.  At first I balked.  I had tried Vampire a couple years ago and found I didn't like it (and I was very much out of my vampire phase then), but I was coming home from work and the my FLGS was on the way, so I popped in and picked up a copy.  This must have been the early spring of 2000.

I can recall sitting in my office reading this book over and over. Everything was so new again, so different.  This was the world I had been trying, in vain, to create for D&D but never could.  The characters in this book were also all witches, something that pleased me to no end, it was more than just that.  Plus look at that fantastic cover art by George Vasilakos. That is one of my most favorite, is not my favorite, cover for a game book. I have it hanging in my game room now.

WitchCraft uses what is now called the "Classic" Unisystem system.  So there are 6 basic attributes, some secondary attributes (derived), skills and qualities and drawbacks.  Skills and attributes can be mixed and matched to suit a particular need.

WitchCraft uses a Point-Buy Metaphysics magic system, unlike Ghosts of Albion's levels of magic and spells system.  Think of each magical effect as a skill that must be learned and you have to learn easier skills  before the harder ones first.    In D&D for example it is possible to learn Fireball and never have learned Produce Flame.  In WitchCraft you could not do that.  WitchCraft though is not about throwing around "vulgar magics".  WitchCraft is a survival game where the Gifted protect humanity from all sorts of nasty things, from forgotten Pagan gods, to demons, fallen angels and the Mad Gods; Cthulhoid like horrors from beyond.  WitchCraft takes nearly everything from horror and puts all together and makes it work.

The Eden Studios version was the Second Edition, I was later to find out.  The first one was from Myrmidon Press. I manged to find a copy of that one too and it was like reading the same book, from an alternate universe.  I prefer the Eden Edition far more for a number of reasons, but I am still happy to have both editions.

The central idea behind WitchCraft is the same as most other Modern Supernatural Horror games.  The world is like ours, but there are dark secrets, magic is real, monsters are real. You know the drill.  But WitchCraft is different.  There is a Rekoning coming, everyone feels it, but no one knows what it is.  Characters then take on the roles of various magic using humans, supernatuals or even mundane humans and they fight the threats.  Another conceit of the game (and one I use a lot) is that supernatural occurances are greater now than ever before.  Something's coming.  (dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria).

It is most often compared to World of Darkness, but there are things WitchCraft does that I just like better.  Unlike (old) Mage there is no war between the (good) Mages and the (evil) Technocracy.  There is a war certainly, but nothing so cut and dry.  Unlike new Mage there are rarely clean divisions between the factions.  Yes, yes Mage players, I am being overly simple, but that is the point, on the simple levels new Mage dives everything into 5 because that is how the designers want it.  There are factions (Associations) and there are different metaphysics for each, but also overlap, and sometimes no clear and defined lines are to be found or given.  It feels very organic.

In my opinion C. J. Carella may be one of the best game designers out there.  WitchCraft is a magnum opus that few achieve.  I took that game and I ran with it.  For 2000 - 2003 it was my game of choice above and beyond anything.  The Buffy RPG, built on the Cinematic Unisystem took over till I wrote Ghosts of Albion, which also use the Cinematic Unisystem.  I mix and match the systems as I need, but WitchCraft is still my favorite.

WitchCraft in fact is what got me into professional game design.

Back in the Spring/Summer of 2001 I started up a new game.  I had just purchased the WitchCraft RPG book about 16 months prior and I was looking for something new.  That something came to me in the guise of Willow and Tara.  I had been watching Buffy for a bit and I really enjoyed the character of Willow.  When she got together with fellow witch Tara I thought they were perfect.  I had become very involved in the online Willow/Tara fandom so I created a game, focusing on just them.

The game would focus on just these two, no one else from the show (which I would soon become an ex-fan of, but that is a different story).  Plus it gave me something to try out in a modern setting, something I have not done since my days with the Chill RPG.

The trickiest part of developing game stats of any fictional character that belongs to someone else is knowing how to strike a balance between the game's rules and the fictional pottrayal. A lot of "artisitc" license needs to be used in order to get a good fit. For example, how do you determine what some one's strength is when there is little to no on screen evidence? What spells would the girls have?

In the end I decided to play it a little loose, but I love where their stats ended up.  In many ways this is who Willow and Tara are to me, not the characters on TV or comics, but the ones that were my characters since that day back in May 2001 that I decided they needed their own chance to shine.

After this I went on to work on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.  It should be no suprise then that the Willow and Tara stats that appear there are not that much different than my own.  I can be quite vocal in play tests.  That got me the chance to write the Ghosts of Albion RPG. This also allowed me to meet, work with and remain friends with Christopher Golden and Amber Benson.

WitchCraft paved the way for so many other games for me, not just in terms of playing but in writing.  If it were not for WitchCraft then we would not have had Buffy, Angel or Army of Darkness.  Conspiracy X would have remained in the it's original system. There would be no Terra Primate or All Flesh Must Be Eaten and certainly there would be no Ghosts of Albion.  The game means that much to me.

But you don't have to take my word for it, Eden Studios will let you have it, sans some art, for free.
http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=692&it=1&affiliate_id=10748

Download it.  If you have never played anything else other than D&D then you OWE it yourself to try this game out.

My thing is I wish it was more popular than it is.  I love the game. If I was told I could only play one game for the rest of my life then WitchCraft would be in my top 3 or 2 choices.

Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: June Reviews

Here are the reviews for May for the Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge.

Lots of books this month!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
All things must end...I started my reread of the Harry Potter series with much enthusiasm and I was rewarded every step of the way. But I was dreading this one.  Not because of the deaths or the loss, but because this was the end, no more Harry, no more Hogwarts, no more of the world that enchanted me and millions of others.
J.K. Rolwing is a genius. Pure and simple. While I thought some of her later books could have had a deft hand at editing I find in the end I would not want one line changed.  The best thing about this book, and the last one, is you really, really get a feeling of how and why Ron and Hermione got together and why Harry and Ginny are together.  The movies, as fantastic as they are, glossed over this subtle storytelling.
Every fan of fantasy needs to read these books.
Witch Count: Hundreds

Witches with the Enemy: A Novel of the Mist-Torn Witches by Barb Hendee
Book 3 of the Mist-Torn Witches series sees Céline and Amelie Fawe heading back into the land of their birth, Shetâna, to do a job for Prince Damek who once tried to have them killed.
Like the previous two books this one involves a mysterious murder, but the murders keep happening and it is soon obvious that no one is what they appear to be at all.  This one grabs you from the beginning.
Hendee is great at character development and it was nice to see Céline get some much needed growth and the spotlight for a while.  The previous book featured a lot of growth for Amelie.   I also like that the witches may have made a terrible new enemy by the end of the book.
The potential for this series really is unlimited. I would like to see some new powers or new nuances to their powers for the sisters, but I also see no end of their troubles.
I think what I like the most about this series is that both the two main female characters and the two main male characters are allowed to be strong when they can.  That is, one character or gender does not show strength at the expense of the others. They all have the potential to work as a greater team but finding their roles is the trick.  In any case there is plenty of more room for future character growth and that is exactly what I want in my series reading.
While these books are set in a fantasy realm of magic, witches, ghosts and even vampires these are solidly murder mysteries.  Can't wait for Book 4!
Witch Count: 3-5 (including hedge witches)

Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave
The classical Russian tale of Baba Yaga and the brave young girl Vasilisa.  I actually read a couple of different versions of this tale over the month, but since they only differed by a detail here or there I am counting this as one.
Witch Count: 1

The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston
This one has all the elements I like. Welsh countryside, ancient witchcraft, new you witch coming into her power.  It just didn't grab me like I thought it would.  Now by the end of the book things had gotten better.  I liked the character Morgana and I liked how her magic worked.  The author is quite good really, I just found the pace a bit slow for my liking.  I think if I had not just come down from my Harry Potter fueled high I might have enjoyed this one a lot more.
Witch Count: 3

Books read: 18
Current Level: Crone,  Read 16 – 20 Witchy Books

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Why I Love RPGS: Moldvay Basic

Note: This is part of the Dyvers Project on RPGs.  We are supposed to talk about RPGS we love and why we love them.  This is my first part.

RPGS I Love: Moldvay D&D Basic

Christmas 1981 will forever go down in my memory as the one where everything changed.  I was in Junior High and had been playing D&D for a about two years, off and on.  I had read the Monster Manual and I had a copy, badly xeroxed, of the Holmes Basic set.  Christmas though was the turning point. I got two box sets that year; the Ballantine Books boxed set of Lord of the Rings and the "magenta" Basic Set.
Inside was finally my own book, not a copy of someone else's book. I had my own dice (finally!) and a complete adventure.
I devoured that book. Cover to cover. Every page was read and read over and over.

A lot of people talk about "the Red Box". My Red Box was magenta and had Erol Otis on the cover.  For me this was the start of what became "my" D&D. Not someone else's game, but my own.

In 1981 I felt fairly proficient D&D. But with Holmes D&D I always felt like there was something I was missing. I only learned later of the "Little Brown Books" and how "Basic" actually came about.

The Moldvay Basic set had almost everything I ever needed for a game.  Plenty of classes and races.  More monsters than I expected (it had dragons!!) and what then felt like tons of spells.  I made dozens of characters, some that saw actual game play, but I didn't care, for me it was the joy of endless possibilities.
And that was just in the first couple of dozen pages.

Everything I know about exploring a dungeon, checking for traps, carrying holy water and 10' pole began here.  I learned that ghouls can cause paralysis (unless you were an elf!) and that zombies always attacked last in the round.  I learned Thouls were a magical cross-breed between a hobgoblin troll and ghoul. No I still have no idea how they are made. I got to meet Morgan Ironwolf herself.
There was a sample adventure in the book, but I never really looked over. I don't think anyone did. It was called the Haunted Keep by the way.

This magenta colored box with strange art on the cover also had other prizes. There inside was my first set of real D&D dice.  No more raiding board games for six-siders, though I learned that they were properly called "d6s".  I had a set of blue dice with a white crayon to color them in.  They are not great dice, even then I knew.  But they were mine and that is all that mattered.

I want to pause here a second and come back to that art.  Lets look at the cover again.  A woman casting a spell, a man with a spear. Fighting some sort of water dragon (that didn't even appear in the rules!). But look how awesome it is. Do you need to know anything else? No. They are fighting a dragon! That box is the reason so many gamers fell in love with the art of Erol Otis.  Inside are some equally important names; Jeff Dee, James Roslof, David LaForce and Bill Willingham.  They gave  this D&D a look that was different than AD&D.  I love that art in AD&D, but in this book that art was just so...timeless. It was D&D.

In that box was also the Keep on Borderlands. I don't think I need to go into detail there. We have all been to the keep. We have all taken that ride out along the road that would take us to that Caves of Chaos.  Nevermind that all these creatures, who should by all rights be attacking each other, never really did anything to me.  They were there and they were "Chaotic" and we were "Lawful". That was all we needed to know back then.

What treasures in such a small box!

The Moldvay Basic set was more than just an introductory set to D&D. It was an introduction to a hobby, a lifestyle.  The rules were simply written and organized. They were not simple rules, and re-reading it today I marvel that we all conquered this stuff at age 10-11.  It may have only covered the first 3 levels of character growth, but they were a quality 3.

I picked up the Expert Set for my birthday in 1982. Bought it myself, and for the longest time that was all I needed.   Eventually I did move on to AD&D. I also discovered those Little Brown Books and even picked up my own real copy of Holmes Basic. I love those game and I love playing them still, but they never quite had the same magic as that first time of opening up that box and seeing what treasures were inside.
I did not have to imagine how my characters felt when they had discovered some long lost treasure. I knew.

Today I still go back to Tom Moldvay's classic Basic book.  It is my yardstick on how I measure any OSR game.  Almost everything I need it right there.  Just waiting for me.

Time to roll up some characters and play.
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