June 2015
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Misty Mountain Hop


So this pile of books recently surfaced from the attic of my childhood home. And yes, that is the original edition of Deities & Demigods, complete with Melnibonean and Cthulhu Mythos material.

But I should back up to the end of last year, when I was indulging in some nostalgia for the table-top gaming days of my youth, courtesy of the Art of the Genre blog. A post featuring the I.C.E. module Thieves of Tharbad reminded me of how much I enjoyed the material I.C.E published for the Middle-earth Role Playing game, and wouldn’t it be fun to run game using said material, just for s. and g. but not with MERP because I never much cared for that system… and down the rabbit hole I went, catching up with 25 years of changes in the hobby.

Six months later I haven’t run a game yet but I do have a hard drive full of .pdfs, of games new and old, and I still think it would be fun to run one – live and in person, on the table top, of course. (I know a lot gaming is done online now, but to me the appeal would be to kick it old school.)  I’d love to play any of the following…

Space: 1889

I’m guessing Space: 1889 probably has a limited target audience. There’s probably a limited number of people interested in a John Carter of Mars and Allan Quartermain mash-up, but those that do would really dig the setting for this game. I’ve never actually played it so I have no idea how well the rules work in practice.


I’ve never played Pendragon either but it has the reputation of being one of the best role playing games ever designed. It also has a very specific setting – the world of Uther and Arthur Pendragon, as described in La Morte D’Arthur and other medieval Arthurian romances. I’m hard pressed to think of anyone I know with the time or the interest for this one but it would be a blast to run the Great Pendragon Campaign, and take players through the whole thing,  from the end of Uther’s reign to the fall of Arthur.

Call of Cthulhu

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn – “In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”

Another award-winning game, designed with a particular audience in mind, that I’ve never played but would really like to try. Looking back, and as a long-time Lovecraft fan,  I’m not sure how I missed this one when it first hit the scene. I can remember seeing Pendragon, and for that matter Stormbringer, in stores, but not Call of Cthulhu.

Trail of Cthulhu also looks very appealing.


…and it gots to be Classic Traveller.

 Dungeons & Dragons

Obviously.  Probably the game it would be easiest to round up some players for, and the one I’m most familiar with. I started gaming when my friend’s dad brought home the Holmes Basic Set, and when I thought ‘but not with MERP’ my mind immediately jumped to ‘but maybe with Dungeons & Dragons.’ And of course I still have all the (hardcover 1st Edition AD&D) books, as you can see above, but then I got to thinking why not go really old school and try playing the original Dungeons & Dragons and that was when I well and truly went down the rabbit hole as I read all about the Old School Renaissance and Retro-clones.  So maybe Blood & Treasure, maybe Swords & Wizardry, or maybe The Gray Book.

If, you know, anyone wants to play.

3 comments to Misty Mountain Hop

  • Tom

    Welcome back!

    I heartily endorse Swords & Wizardry Complete. It’s a very pliable system, easy to run, and oh so familiar. And if you haven’t looked at it yet…the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG is pure awesome.

    And RPGing online with Roll20 has been surprisingly satisfying for me. We should talk. 😉

  • Dan

    Live or online, you should consider yourself drafted.

  • A childhood friend recently asked me to sit in on a D&D campaign he was running for his 11-year-old son and his friends—first time in nearly 30 years. I felt a little awkward about trying to reclaim romanticized childhood glories, but exploring “The Keep on the Borderlands” anew through the eyes of middle-school kids has been a blast. (I was also surprised that in 2015, we had to explain role-playing games to baffled but otherwise supportive parents…)

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