Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Forgotten Era

It's amazing what I'm recalling for each post in the blog so far, but this is stuff that I legitimately remember about my gaming days. It's all fairly fresh in my mind. However, I find it equally amazing what it's bringing back to me.

Back in highschool, I got a job at the Domino's Pizza down the street from my house. Early on there, I overheard one of the drivers, Todd, saying to the manager that he was off to play in a D&D game. I think it wasn't until the next shift we worked together that I asked him about it. He'd been playing with the same batch of guys for several years now. They even played through the entire Dragonlance Chronicles campaign together. So, knowing that I played, Todd invited me to join the group.

Now, here's where my memories remain sketchy. I know we played at Todd's place to begin with, but I can't remember what character I played. There are only two characters I remember playing in that group, a wood elf archer named Daikini Randor, and a dwarf cleric named Rokan Ironfist, but I only remember playing those characters when we played at one of the other player's apartment. I think maybe I played a half-elf ranger first... hmmm... Earendil? That rings a bell. (Yes, I was in the habit of yanking names from Tolkien in those days. Most of my halfling characters were taken from Bilbo's family tree. heh.)

Now this group, being the jokesters they are, was in the habit of coming up with alternate names for characters... Paul, the DM, changed Daikini into "Bikini", and Rokan became "Rodan".

Fortuanately, Daikini didn't last long (so I didn't have to suffer the nickname for long)... actually, I think he got killed pretty quickly. See, another fact of this group was that no matter when you started a character, you always started at 1st level. The rest of the group was pretty high level when I started with them... like, 9th or 10th on average, I think. I remember that in the first session I played Daikini, I was down by the river at the camp, and was attacked by something that he needed saving from. The rest of the group happily abliged, giving him crap about being a noob, of course (granted, this was in the late '80s, so the word "noob" didn't exist yet, heh).

The group was adventuring through "Tomb of the Lizard King" adventure module when I rolled up Rokan... oh, sorry, I mean Rodan, and they found him as a prisoner there. No equipment and 1 hit point. They healed him up, and outfitted him with magical chainmail and two magical hammers. When they finished the adventure, they heaped upon him a mound of gold (his share), and in those days, 1 gold piece gave you 1 experience point, so all of that gold, plus the magical items they gave him, raised him up from 1st to 6th level in one go. That put him on a more even footing with everyone else, which I guess was the point... start them at 1st level, and if they can survive, they'll even out soon enough. I should mention that there was a rule in the books those days that said you couldn't actually do that. You could only gain one level, plus the experience to bring you one point less than the level above that. If you had any more experience points past that, it was lost. However, this group did away with that rule. Once you were of the same level as most of the other character, it wouldn't happen that way anyways. So, it wasn't a big concern. It was amusing, though, that this complete greenhorn dwarf gets rich and suddenly he's a powerful cleric the next day. Well, I guess the rules factored in getting someone to train you when you reach a new level (which was also a good way to relieve a character of plenty of his extra cash. heh). So, it wasn't completely unrealistic. If I became a millionaire tomorrow (*crosses fingers*), I'd probably pay someone to train me in some martial arts (probably kendo first).

One of the other players was playing a halfling thief, and he decided that he wanted to play him like a kender. So, he had his thief steal my dwarf's holy symbol. Then, when I had my dwarf demand he give it back, he ran for it. Well, Rokan picked one of his hammers off his belt and threw it at the halfling. Well, I rolled a 20, getting a critical hit, and ended up knocking him into negative hit points. Rokan took back his holy symbol and healed the halfling up to full, but I got a lot of flack for that. Seriously, though, how was I supposed to know I'd roll a 20?! ;)

I'm having a hard time remembering the other adventures we went on in this group. I vaguely recall wanting to use the Stone Shape spell to form a big stone spike out of the ground, possibly to impale a Purple Worm, but that's really it. All of this only just came back to me, though, so hopefully I'll remember more later.

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