Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Our AD&D Party, 1980

For a few of us, the pandemic has encouraged some personal reflection and perhaps a bit of nostalgia for days gone by. This is probably natural, as we miss our friends, and think of those times when we were all together, contentedly whiling away hours in carefree companionship. 

My childhood friend, Gary, has spent the past few months excavating through a bunch of material from our group's early days playing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the early 80s (he was a very records-conscious DM). The two of us have had several conversations, reminiscing about hard-fought campaigns, good friends and those characters, both epic and ridiculous, that we enjoyed as teenagers.

From this, I've decided to put together a game for us using the excellent 'Thud & Blunder: Fantasy Skirmish Wargaming Rules' from The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare. I quite like the system as it can be easily adapted for 'roleplaying light'. Also, since the characters are stripped-down to archetypes, its perfectly designed for one player to run several heroes simultaneously. 

From this, I thought it would be fun to resurrect our old adventuring party from the 80s, putting them through a series on interlinked scenarios, providing a prelude, a v0.9 if you will, of our original characters, before they became hard-bitten, seasoned veterans.

For figures, I've chosen models from Otherworld Miniatures. I really like these figures as they're quite beefy, and incorporate all the necessary accoutrements, like packs, rope and torches, that adventurers would need while delving in dark, dank dungeons.  

So, here they are, Amrak, Zandrack, Zarg, Deka and Gallahan, five adventurers who entertained us for countless hours in the early 80s. 

___________________________________

'Amrak the Seeker' is the party's Cleric, and was the character of our friend John. As anyone whose played D&D knows it's almost impossible to form a group of adventurers without having a healer on board. Amrak was a very solid chap.

'Zandrack' is our thief, originally run by George. Zandrack was a good footpad, did all the traps and sneaky stuff, but was bit of a tw@t (see below)



Zandrack's well prepared. I like that he has a grappling hook on his pack.

'Zarg the Terrible' was my old original character, a magic-user. He was kind of superfluous really (thus the 'terrible' moniker), but he became a bit more useful when he got into higher levels. He ultimately died by friendly fire when Zandrack (badly) threw an explosive gem into a room Zarg was in. The b@stard. That was in The Hall of the Fire Giant King'. Anyone remember the old Giant Series?



'Deka Jsell' is Gary's half-orc assassin. As teenagers were very suspicious of Deka (Gary role-played him excellently, being very oily and cagey), so we ultimately ended up killing him as 'a test of his loyalty'. Yep, rolling with our party was a pretty tough gig.*


Deka looks to be a fairly nasty fellow, so I thought that he needed a softer side to him, literally. So I gave him a nice pink blanket that you can just see peeking out from his backpack. You see, this is his childhood blanket, a gift from his assassin mom. You know, for when the nights get chilly and a place to tuck your head under when there's monsters about.


'Gallahan' is our indomitable fighter. He was George's second character. I don't really remember much about him except that he was a very good meat-shield. An adventuring party always needs one of these poor slobs to do the heavy lifting.


*The surviving members of this party were killed in the infamous 'Tomb of Horrors'. I ran that module, my first effort as a DM. I'm still scared by the experience...


There you have it. Our D&D party from the summer of 1980, resurrected for fresh fun and adventures. 

Now, I just need to make a mixed tape of The Cars, Queen, Supertramp, BOC...


Cheers!

-Curt 


26 comments:

  1. love them Curt, they look great. I have not played for more than 7 years and used to play with a few members of my medieval group regularly.

    best of luck with the new adventures

    cheers
    Matt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Matt. Roleplaying is so wonderfully analogue. I enjoy my console games from time-to-time, but nothing beats sitting around a table with friends and telling a tall tale.

      Delete
  2. Those are lovely Curt and I remember the Giant series! I'm not sure on the acrylic bases as I always worry that they scratch too easily and thus spoil the look, but that's just the pro-modelmaker in me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Steve. Actually I've been using them for years and they hold up very well. They're not for every application for for skirmish gaming, especially if using terrain tiles, they are a neat alternative.

      Delete
  3. Those are some great figs. Otherworld really captures the oldschool feel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Yes, they definitely have that classic 'adventurer in the deep' feel about them.

      Delete
  4. Fantastic work Curt! Whenever discussions around D&D occur it also makes me think back to those early years when groups of friends got together to 'learn & play' this game. The hours spent, the beer drank & the pizza eaten are very nostalgic. I also feel that it was those earliest groups that seemed to be the best times. Trying to join a new group can be difficult as their 'play style' may differ so much from what you remember.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, the innocence of those early days, when everyone was a noob, discovering this wonderful and strange 'world' together, can never be replicated again. I'm delighted that I was a part of it.

      Delete
  5. Nice looking party, Curt. I do remember the Giants series, although never played them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a superb bit of modelling nostalgia - well done Curt!
    +1 on the age of discovery feelings. I think it was because EVERYTHING was new, the whole world of RPG and gaming. Everything after is just updating the system (and maybe group).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Paul. I totally agree, gaming as we know it was largely undiscovered country and it was amazing to be one of those early explorers.

      Delete
  7. Exquisitely painted minis Curt, I’m highly impressed! Oh what memories you’ve brought back. I too remember my gaming group from 1980, what amazing adventures and wonderful fun we had!!! My favorite character, a Ranger was blasted to bits by an angry storm giant who’d been shrunk by an evil wizard. Little hint, never step on a shrunken storm giant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarge and delighted to have sparked a few good memories. I remember Storm Giants being pretty terrifying. D&D was such a blessing for young nerds like myself (and now for old nerds as well). :)

      Delete
  8. Wonderful stuff Curt. They are absolutely gorgeous and I love that you have been digging into your gaming past. We've been doing the same of late with Runequest and having a blast.

    I hope you enjoy B&T. Craig and Charles put their heart and soul into it and it shows. The designer didn't do a half bad job either :-P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's great that you're getting back into Runequest. How many of the old sweats are playing in the campaign?

      Great work on the layout! I had no idea!

      Delete
    2. All of the same crowd minus one. Feels like the 90s, just with more groans when people reach for junk food!

      Delete
    3. That's just terrific Millsy. Thankfully, I can't keep up with my teenage junk food addiction. I don't think our washroom could take it!

      Delete
  9. A wonderful way of re-living old memories. Fabulous painting on some positively nostalgic sculpts of course. To my never ending shame I've to admit to not having played a real RPG ever...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nick! I'll have to get you in on a RPG over Zoom. :)

      Delete
  10. Lovely collection of figures, I started off with basic D&D and moved on,it's where figure collecting started. I did try it in school with the physics crowd but they didn't use figures so I was off, nice slice of nostalgia!
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked that D&D was your entry drug for minis. It was the same thing for me. The first Minifigs and Grenadiers that arrived in the mail had me hooked.

      Delete
  11. You brought back lots of AD&D memories with this one Curt!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to hear. I've never heard of a bad D&D memory. :)

      Delete
  12. Lovely job on the painting, Curt. And I adore those bases: so simple, so versatile, so elegant.
    You are lucky to have a DM who kept such great records too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Matthew! Yes, Gary kept all that stuff that we usually lose or throw away. Amazing. Some of it almost brings a tear to my eye seeing again, like seeing my handwriting from when I was 15. Very odd.

      Delete