27 December 2011

Push your tabletop through the Intertubes for FREE


This is where I will discuss my latest hobby: old school role playing using modern technology.

I am not the only 40 year old to have atavistic urges to play D&D, see this Wired story.  I need to get 80% of the thrill of D&D in 20% of the time I used to have to play it.  I think technology can make this happen.

You are going to need rules.

Although I have all the original TSR rule books,  I am most interested in the 1981 Moldvay edited Basic  and Cook/Marsh Expert Rules.  These are most accurately translated by Labyrinth Lord, from Goblinoid Games.

You are going to need web conferencing tools.

I will acknowledge that I am standing on the shoulders of (hill) giants here.  Zak at D&D with Porn Stars seems to be the first person to try running D&D campaigns over Google+'s multiuser video chat system, called hangouts.  He may have also been the one to mention free internet white-boarding, courtesy of http://twiddla.com/.  Finally, I believe Zak was one of the forces behind http://constantcon.blogspot.com/, a sort of rolling gaming convention where people advertise open games.

You will need to keep notes.

While I don't have much to add to the list, I will mention a few other technologies that I will be using in my campaigns.  I use google calendar to schedule sessions and send out invites.  I use google docs to keep notes during play, including using a spreadsheet to track party and monster stats.

And I am manifestly using blogspot to gab about this.

Thinking about publishing your modules?

I use The Gimp to make old school (i.e. highly schematic) maps and Open/Libre Office to make pretty PDF versions of my modules.  Much of this was inspired by the One Page Dungeon challenge.

Finally, I wrote my own character generator, which is admittedly a little wonky right now.  When I get some time, I will rewrite it to be more in line with LL and perhaps be a good tool for generating an NPC rooster.

One last shout-out.  Much of my current interest in playing D&D again comes from the excellent blog by  Jamie Maliszewski called Grognardia.

I will leave you all with this fabulous picture of a group of my misfit dice.  You may notice a few of them have serious user interface issues.