Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back in the SPQR, again

I can't seem to resist that title whenever I get thinking about our old Imperium Romanum campaign, which I have been lately.

When I went to San Francisco and Chicago last month to talk to various press folks, I started getting really excited about D&D Insider, in general, and the D&D Game Table in particular. Chris Youngs talked passionately about "getting the band back together"—getting in touch with his old gaming buddies who are scattered around the world and restarting their campaign using the online Game Table. I've always been a little less than sanguine about that prospect because I'm a Mac guy, and a lot of my old gaming group are Mac guys as well.

Well, last week I got thinking about the old Imperium Romanum campaign again. It's that nostalgia that new editions seem to bring, which I talked about in an essay in DRAGON #360. So, for kicks, I sent an email to all the old gang, asking how many of them have access to Windows at off-work hours and might be willing to try out this game table later this year.

I got a very positive response back. I'm still not sure about the technical end of things, but I was pleased by the level of interest. The really interesting thing is where my thoughts have taken me since. I browsed through the old SPQR adventure log (including the adventure that Keith Baker ran—his sister was a regular part of our group at the time), and looked over the races and other rules we created for that game. Later I pulled out my old notebooks and folders and looked at the notes I kept on adventures I ran. 

Look at this entry in the adventure log:
Chala Does Tanis
DM: James Wyatt
Real date: 20 August 1990 
Game dates: 10 February 45–12 February 45
Characters: Chala, Tuina (NPC), others (NPC)

Chala did some independent research in Tanis in order to make some sense out of the goblins' letter. He learned the identity of the Denia mentioned in the letter: she is a human mage polymorphed into the form of a desert goblin as a result of a conflict with another mage in Tanis. Chala also learned the means to remove the spell on Denia. In the process, he established numerous important contacts among the mages of the town.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Yeah, baby—skill challenges. 

I'm thinking that 4th Edition is actually a lot more conducive to the way I used to play D&D, back in 2e days, than 3e was. And that it might actually be fun to run and play an adventure like that again. 

At this moment, I'd rather be thinking about the Imperium Romanum campaign—and the good friends I played it with—than writing Dragon War orDungeon Master 4th Edition For Dummies, which are the things I need to be working on right now. Novel in the morning, Dummies at night. 

I'm about ready for a vacation. Preferably one with some good, old-fashioned D&D playing in it.

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