Back in the long ago days of my teenage years - so long ago as to fall in a bygone millennium - I discovered a red box containing a couple of booklets and a handful of bizarre plastic dice. One of my aunts had stumbled upon it, I think, at a garage sale perhaps, and thought that some of us might be interested in it. For whatever reason, it never made it from her hands directly to ours, but ended up forgotten on my grandmother's coffee table, until I happened upon it, and intrigued by the picture of the scene of dungeon mayhem on the cover, opened it up.
That copy of the Tom Moldvay-edited D&D basic set launched a DMing career that lasted into my twenties, as I guided my younger siblings and cousins through dungeon crawls, wilderness expeditions, and tavern brawls, from the first fumbling forays in the Caves of Chaos to the Isle of Dread and on into the wider Known World and beyond.
I never lost interest in the game, not really, but my players moved on, and I was a DM without a group - still buying and reading the sourcebooks every time I had some money to spare, still hatching epic adventures in my head, all dressed up and nowhere to go. For a while in the early 2000s I fell in with another group, as a player this time, playing 2nd edition AD&D - fun while it lasted, but ultimately, for a variety of reasons, not a good long-term fit for me, and I reluctantly bow out. Several years pass with hardly a thought of D&D, as such; my books and dice are packed away in boxes, and the void is filled with fantasy novels and computer RPGs.
Now, suddenly, with some interest from one of my brothers and his family, I find myself back in the game. And what timing! It's as if I'm a DM version of Rip van Winkle, but instead of awakening to find everything changed, I step right into a resurgence of old school gaming, a whole internet full of forums and blogs, each linking to others like the rooms in some vast dungeon waiting to be explored.
It's amazing how many people are out there who have thought so long and deeply about this peculiar hobby, and how full of brilliant ideas they are.
I've found it impossible to read them and not have a few ideas of my own, and at last I felt inspired and motivated to put some of them down in words, to add my own little trove to the ever-growing megadungeon that is the online presence of the "old school revolution." If you're reading this, you've stumbled upon the secret door that opens into my corner of this vast complex, and I leave all assessments of the brilliance of my ideas, or lack thereof, to your faculties of judgment.
Welcome to the Dragon's Flagon, fellow traveler!