Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

First Experiences The Blue Sun and Joywind

This was the first role playing game I played. It was 1980 or so and my good friend John Marvin was the Dungeon Master. I played it twice and I became fascinated with the concept of a game that wasn't competitive and that never ended. I still love it warts and all. The wide open nature of the magic system and the rules with gaps you could drive a truck through made for games that were more story oriented. In a few months I began refereeing my own campaign. It was called Joywind or the Blue Sun and had more flaws than the game system!

The Blue Sun campaign began with the players waking up on a planet that orbited a blue sun where magic worked but was outlawed for common people. The players found the sun was blue due to a alien terraforming. The sun had been en globed within a field that uses the suns energy to emit magical energy. The Campaign sought to remove the field from the sun,. kill the aliens and return the planet to its proper state. I had envisioned writing a long book based on what happened during the play of this series of adventurers, but my note keeping was not complete enough to get it done. It was all paper and pencil records until the last year or so.This campaign lasted over 6 years and reached a very climactic conclusion.

SOS Planets The Local 509 - The Narratives

The adventurers of the Local 509 initially was mostly using early modules primarilly using the Judges Guild documents.
But soon I wanted to return to using my own adventurers. I wanted something epic enough that it would take years to play and take players from about 3rd level until the characters are retired.
To support an adventure so sprawling I needed a canvas equally large. I had been playing in the Forgotten Realms world from TSR using only the boxed set. This was well before all the supporting material came out and I found it ws too restrictive.
So I decided to invent a fantastic solar system with more than a dozen planets. Here is some Narrative information on the system

My second D&D campaign began in 1990 and lasted 21 yearsI. This campaign was called the Quest of the Fifteen. The party of 12 players (off and on) called themselves the Local 509. The 15 referred to the number of body parts they must collect to fix their friend Beourn the Sundered God. The physical parts were each located on a different planet or moon. The physical parts each had a ephemeral component located in a different Outer Plane. After securing the physical part, the party had to join the soul part.retrieve to it. This was the Great Campaign that is detailed in these pages.
Accompanied by Beourns keeper Ulla they traveled from Faerun on the planet of Torel. After finding and restoring a Flying Ship the traveled to the far east of that continent Kara Tur.\.
From there they took off into space visiting a number of other planets.
There is a lot more information here.

The. SOS Adventurers

Early Adventures
Quest of 15
Ravencrag Castle
This is a large castle that was abandon decades ago because it was overrun with the undead. This was a Judges Guild adventure

The Crumbling Stair
This was intended to be a short adventure intended to cover a time when fewer players would be available. It turned out to be so much fun, the players returned to it severa time. Although the Crumbling Stair was on the outdoor map, I wrote the adventure.

The House of Stone
A house that looked like it was made of stone but was in reality a totally evil living thing. It only existed to torment the creatures inside and punish those who entered. It actually appeared in 3 different occasions even after it was "dead".

Adventurers of the Body and Soul Parts
The Feet
The Lergs
The Mouth
The Arms
The Heart
The Lungs
The Nose
The Later Adventurers
The Last Adventure of the Local 509
Twisted Trees of Myth Adofhaer
Malignant Tress have taken over the High Forest near the ancient fallen city of Myth Adofhaer. The trees were the homes of the Elf residents of the forest.
The Coming Cold
A DemiGod from the frozen wastes where he was imprisoned in the previous age has escaped and is heading for Waterdeep. It will take the Local 509 and all of the high level residents there to remove the threat.
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Early Days
In the early days, role playing games were totally misunderstood and regarded as the exclusive domain of the geeks, freaks and the social outcasts who could never get a date. While at least partially true in the beginning, it was still the most fun you could have without spending a lot of money.
The three of us would spend DAYS playing in Johns apartment going through many of the TSR published adventurers. It was all Theater of the Mind using nothing but the books, the dice a pencil and paper. At that time the vast array of accessories didn't exist. They weren't needed. John was a very likable guy and I think Gordon and I were too, so the gaming group grew and soon there were 6 or more players at times.
This game came into my life at a critical time. I was in my late 20, had just split up with my first wife and was working at a terrible, terrible job at a company manufacturing printed circuit boards which envolved hot, humid conditions using several different dangerous chemicals. My fellow workers were often not natives of the USA and more than one ICE pogroms decimated them. But my best friend (Gordon) had gotten the job for me, and we had befriended up with another white guy named John. John helped me move into the apartment building where he was staying. He was an experienced Dungeon Master.

The rules were a framework of rules that were open enough to allow them to be personalized and "house rules" were very common. This was true because many of the rules were bunk. House rules usually consisited of throwing out the bits that were too hard to keep track of (weapon VS armor type To Hit variations) to much math for too little impact (encumberance rules) or to constrictive (racial level limitations). Every DM had a considerable amount of flexability in running their games without rules lawers butting in.
This is not to say that there weren't problems. I remember one game where someone objected to a ruling maintaining that "it doesn't make sense" that a character had been penalized for trying to do something that was dangerous to the frail game balance. At that time Gordon and I were working at a better company with a different co-worker. He and Gordon worked in the same small department. The manager became involved as it became disruptive. The manager fixed it by listening to the issues and solved it by refusing to take sides simply saying "it sounds like a game where you get screwed sometimes". True that!
The rules allowed for crazy stuff. The players and the DM were encouraged by the looseness of the RAW to be extra creative. Some examples are:
A magical item called "The Ugly Stick". It was a wand that would decrease the charisma of a character by 1d4 points. A character with a low charisma score found that it was easier to scare/intimidate people when you had a low charisma. He determined to get the lowest CHR possible. He used the Ugly Stick to arrive at a CHR of 0, then took it further with self mutilation cutting of his nose, ears and lips! The gods and everyone else laughed..

Early Memories

When first exposed to D&D, I had been working for years at companies where English as a second language was common among co-workers. This and the non-demanding nature of the work had reduced my mind to a very low level of engagement. D&D got me thinking again. The arithmetic-in-your head, the critical thinking and the use of imagination all contributed to a return to my powers of intellect that was dramatic.

Withing a year of becoming a DM I had quit the PCB job and found a position as a sales person with the first company to sell PC and other gadgets in a retail mall. This game me access to computers when they were only just getting started; think the Apple 2 and Atari 800! It wouldn't take long for me to see the advantages to using a computer in D&D.
I used AD&D until about a year after D&D 3.0 was released. It fixed a lot of silly things about AD&D (like racial level limitations) but also lost a lot of its charm and flavor. For those wanting the ADS&D experience, but not enough to buy all the books, try Osric.

The Judges Guild
My friend John who introduced me to the AD&D game was using all the books and adventure modules published by the creators of the game TSR, . When I became interested in reffing, we made a deal. I would not buy or read any of the TSR adventures as that would be cheating! He agreed not to buy or look at the Judges Guild published material. The quality of the JG adventurers was uneven. Some were good and some were really not good. One of the worst was a Cloud Giant adventure. It took place on a cloud that you would walk on and that was only the beginning of the dumbness. It was so bad the characters I was taking through it committed suicide by jumping off the cloud!
Still, I loved the Tegiel Manor adventure and the city and territory releases were lots of fun. In particular, the City State of the Invincible Overlord had really hilarious random city encounter tables and many well fleshed out locations and shops.

My First campaign - The Blue Sun and the planet Joywind
At this time I was an avid reader of fantasy books. They game me a lot of ideas that would work great within the game. That was the driving factor for me to invent my own world and my own adventurers. I wanted to use the situation and the characters in a book when the campaign was done. When it was done, I realized that a book from that adventure wouldn't work. Being my first attempt at world building I made a bunch of mistakes. Not the least of which was including a lot of stuff that would be easily traced back to the books I stole them from!