About


I returned to role-playing games in 2013 after having only played as a kid with other kids.

I found the "Old School Renaissance," and was happy to find out the difference between "old school" and "new school" play before finding a group. I am happy to return to D&D's old school.

But "Old School" casts a wide net. I also discovered that there was an edition of D&D before "First Edition" (is that possible? yes:) "Original Edition."

I became fascinated with it. Found a group. Started playing. A year later, by 2014, I started refereeing for folks. I read Jon Peterson's Playing and the World and loved it.

My fascination is with the birth of things, the origin of new things, that creative moment when something new is born out of elements that were all already there and in place but just not quite yet configured in the way it would become until folks came along and made it happen.

I am dedicated to original edition as the birth of something new from many elements already present. I am dedicated to original edition because I am dedicated to a "rules-lite" approach." I am dedicated to original edition because I am dedicated to "Rulings, not Rules" as the basic approach to D&D and refereeing.

These all make sense in the context of its birth. D&D came from wargaming. From Napoleonic miniatures, wargamers expanded to other eras, including the medieval. From historical simulation, wargamers expanded to hypothetical battles based upon their knowledge of how warfare worked in a given era with given troops, etc. The goal was to "map" rules to the realities of a given style and technology of warfare. This often included a trusted referee who, as an amateur military historian, could judge things that the rules could not determine.

Once medieval fantasy novels were engaged by wargamers, the time came for D&D. So, instead of analyzing and mapping historically verifiable war data, it was now time to make a few rules for mapping the "fantastic," and then to trust the referee to be an "amateur fantasy expert" who could make good judgment calls outside of the rules.

This is my approach and why I've given this web log its title and subtitle, a play on the subtitle of the original edition: "campaigns playable with paper and pencil and traditional legendaria."

What I am fascinated with is the interface between rules, rulings, the medieval fantasy legendaria we inherit both traditionally and via many amazing authors and how that unfolds as play at a table. I am not interested in "gritty" play, "forensic" play, etc. I am interested in things more archetypal. And I am committed to the research necessary to be that "amateur fantasy expert" so that my players can trust my calls as an "impartial referee" at the table.

And that research and those connections is what I hope to share in this web log. Thanks for reading!

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