(This is a mirror site of my webpage karenjcarlisle.com)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Memories, Imagination and Inspiration - old school

In 1979, my world opened up; my friend Christine and I discovered rolelplaying and I eventually bought my first Dungeons and Dragons red book of basic rules, then the red box. My first character was a 'thief' who was always finding traps and not always the easy way. I was not a big fan on hitting things. Back then, there was only one RPG; we had a set of rules, a notebook, a pencil, a set of really cool dice and our imagination. Now we have computer gaming, LARP, online gaming and more. The traditional roleplaying/ gaming is now called tabletop gaming, or so am I am told. This still sounds strange to me, as tabletop gaming used to refer to wargaming (with the figures on the table to play the game). Semantics. Here when I refer to RPG, I am referring to the original and traditional game with the dice, books, table and my friends in the same room.

At Uni, I purchased a set of the first AD&D books - three in all. The Dungeon Masters (DM) Guide, the Players Manual and the Monsters Manual. The rules were simple but much easier to follow and alter to fit our style (called house rules). University years were filled with study and gaming in my off time, with the university RPG club - the Gamers' Guild. By the end of Uni, we had a permanent booth, in the Campus Club, and a standing lunch order.  

Our group continued to play after we graduated. I DM'd (Dungeon Mastered, now usually known as GM'ing - Game Mastering)for a long running game in the 80s and 90s. But the most fun I had was playing. My favourite characters were a Magic User/Theif and a Cavelier (of Treasure Finding) when the updated rules expanded character classes. 

For me, the character's statistics were just numbers but it was the name that brought a character to life. I would dwell for days on a name. I really could not get a handle on the character until I had a name. My Magic User/ Thief was called MOTH. This started as a sort of joke, as I needed a name in a hurry and MUTH sounded silly. From there, her whole personality bloomed. Like a moth, she was attracted to flame; it almost mezmerised her. Early on, she suconded ??? a necklace of 'magic missles' which she used enthusiastically but sparingly. Not being very strong, her roles were scouting, clearing the way, identification, fact finding, back up, other secretive things and retrieving the injured so they could survive to fight another day. Fighting was left to the fighters who had 'the points for it'!

Though a useful member of the party, Moth was thought of as  just a thief. Ha! One long and eventful adventure found the party in a dungeon (as you do), fighting trolls... big trolls! Moth had already retrieved two of the fighters, the cleric was badly wounded and our remaining fighter squared up to the remaining troll which proceeded to plough through him with ease, continuing on towards the last member standing - Moth (me)! What does a Magic User/Thief do when all the magic is gone? I threw my only remaining dagger which bounced off its hide. What now? (At this point, the other players started packing up their character sheets, as the trolls would make quick work of their unconscious bodies once I was dispatched)...

So what else could a girl do? I punched the troll... and it fell over, dead! (unknown to us all, it only had one hit point left. That did not matter though as characters do not know such things). When the other characters were patched and woke up, they had a new respect for Moth, the four hit poit Magic User/ Thief. Ah!

Having recently finished another long-standing adventure of over 15 years, I have again retired a surviving character. Another is planning to start a new adventure, later this year. So I have been creating a new character, with a new updated, unfamiliar set of rules, who I hope I will one day remember with the same fondness as Moth. 

Reminiscing always leads to the digging out of tangible memories, finding old treasured character sheets, descriptions and (in my case) drawing and likenesses. This has inspired another series of work, some old work I have rediscovered and am revamping and some new... After all, I do have a new character to draw. (Yep, a Rogue/ something).  The first in this series is the Elf Fighter:


What sort of characters would you like to see?

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