Welcome everybody to the sixth part of my activity report. Today, I will tell you about my fantasies of omnipotence and my glee to torture innocents.
I am just joking. In fact, today, I will talk about being a roleplaying gamer and game master for most of my life, what it means to me, and why it is part of my activity report series.
I have been a role player since the classical D&D red box — and a game master since not much later when the second first German RPG was published in 1984 (and yes, I own the original „indexed“ box). Aside from that short period — okay, it was not that short, as it lasted until 1989 —with Das Schwarze Auge, known in English as The Dark Eye, I later came back to AD&D with its second edition, where I discovered my lasting love for the Forgotten Realms by Ed Greenwood.
Naturally, I played and/or game mastered a lot of other systems, and I collect a lot just for the fun of reading them. But the Forgotten Realms, with all its subsidiaries, like The Horde, Kara-Tur, Matztica, and Al-Qadim combined with Planescape, Spelljammer, and Ravenloft, is and stays my all-time favorite.
In this thrilling mix of settings, I created a campaign in the mid-‘90s, which started right before the Time of Troubles in the year of 1357 DR.
After all those years, this campaign is still going on. But, unfortunately, we had a very long break because of all the issues life imposed upon all of us, and not to a small degree because of my mental breakdown.
When we resumed playing irregularly a few years ago, we switched first from AD&D II shortly to D&D 3.0/3.5 and then to Pathfinder. We also tried out D&D 5. But meanwhile, we use a custom rule mix of the Pathfinder system ported to fit the Forgotten Realms setting how it was before D&D 4). And yes, we totally ignored D&D 4 (rules and Realmslore) and do the same with the actual D&D 5 rules and lore, as we regard them rather as a form of HeroQuest Enhanced instead of being a suitable TTRPG system for our tastes.
Initially, we started to play in the world of Golarion from the Pathfinder setting, as our group is hugely reduced in strength compared to the good old times when we were between 6 to 8 people around the table. We used that time to get ourselves comfortable with the new system; however, my players and I were never thrilled with the world of Golarion, as it just sucks. Eventually, my players, who are also my lifelong friends, nudged me to continue our campaign in the Forgotten Realms, of which I was a long time opposed. I was opposed to that idea as we stopped our campaign around 2005/2006 with 7 players right before a climactic event, and I feared that continuing there would spell certain doom to them. Especially as we still had issues with understanding some rules — mainly because the translators of Pathfinder into German often had no clear understanding of the rule mechanics and apparently at times also had problems understanding the English text. At the same time, they generally lacked the skill to write coherently in German.
After I figured out that most rule issues are based on bad translations, I started to translate the rules myself and declared my translations to overrule any official German rule texts. I fear, in the end, I will have translated most of the rules, so fucked up are the official German translations.
Playing again in the Forgotten Realms also means I need to rework many a spell (mostly renaming them) and many a monster (either by recreating unique classical D&D monsters with Pathfinder stats or using the Pathfinder stats of monsters known in both systems, but with the monster description of the original D&D (Forgotten Realms) version, as those also suck in Pathfinder). Not to mention that I need to convert whole pantheons and their clerics and priests with their powers from D&D 3.0/3.5 to Pathfinder.
As you can see, these alone are massive undertakings, and I still have not talked about all the time needed to work myself back into the lore of the Forgotten Realms and our campaign after so many years.
Unfortunately, we started to resume our campaign right when the pandemic emerged in 2020, and thus we had not much time to seriously play yet. But, on the other side, that gave me enough time to get back into the material, and meanwhile, my players tell me that I am on a good way back to the glorious day of being the best game master they ever knew. I am trying my best to fulfill their expectations – and mine.
I love torturing them with my devious imagination, scaring the shit out of them with my adversaries, stealing their breath with intriguing adventures, and intoxicating them with fantastic plots.
Being a game master is my devotion as much as being a writer — and to be honest, for me, there is no clear distinction between them as I spin tales with both pastimes. And I love to tell stories! My own character is not by chance a bard.
You can imagine, I spent a lot of time reading and preparing the last two years, and doing so inspired my creativity and gave me itches to write more fantasy stories — once more.
As, hopefully, the pandemic is lessening its grip, we resumed playing every second Friday for a while now, and we have a lot of fun doing so. But that also means I need parts of my spare time to prepare those game nights, time that I cannot work on the projects for the Society of Lust or on the content for The Realms of AbyssalEros. However, as being again a game master inspires my creativity, you will eventually profit from it, too. Promise.