Updated: Jun 2
Written By RIchard Bilsker
Soon, I will be running D&D 5e for the first time. I’ve been playing it for a few years—my Half-Elf Bard is now 13th Level—and I ran 3.0 and 3.5 many times. One of the 3.0 campaigns I ran took characters from 1st to 20th level (that campaign ended 9 years ago). I’ve also run games in many other systems, including Call of Cthulhu and several long-term 1930s Pulp campaigns using Savage Worlds. This new 5e campaign will be a pandemic special. Since me, my wife, and our son are all home together, this will be a good time to try this one out together.
My first experience with role-playing didn’t stick. It was 1980 (or 1981) and I was in 7th or 8th grade. My classmates were into it and I played along. I remember nothing about my character—all I remember is that I had the blue box and that I thought graph paper was cool. The kids that were into it (oooh! I want to be like Gandalf!) had read Lord of the Rings, of course. I hadn’t. I was more into Sci-Fi than fantasy (I still am!).
Scrolling forward to 1995, I started my current job (I’m a Philosophy professor). One of the first people I met was a friend of someone on the hiring committee. We both liked sci-fi and chatted often. Soon, he invited me to join him in playing a collectable card game, Illuminati: New World Order, once he found out that I had read the Illuminatus Trilogy, by Wilson & Shea (check it out, if you haven’t already!). The game was a lot more fun than I expected. We started playing other card games once other friends joined us: Babylon 5, 7th Sea, Doctor Who, and Magic: The Gathering. INWO remained my favorite, though. Little did I know that this was intended as the gateway drug to table-top RPGs.
Would I be willing to try? Remembering middle school, I said anything but D&D. He asked if I read any H.P. Lovecraft. I hadn’t. He described Call of Cthulhu as a horror game and that he would be running Cthulhu by Gaslight, the 1890s setting. Sherlock Holmes vs. Horror? I was game. This was probably 1997 or 1998. I’ve been gaming once or twice a week since then.
So, “Something New” but not completely new. Stay tuned!