I arrived late for the D&D Next playtest flight 666.
It was April 2013 and I was relaxing on the beach in Varadero, Cuba, sipping on a rum and lemonade and listening to Iron Maiden's Hallowed Be Thy Name when I finished reading my well-thumbed copy of Moldvay's D&D Basic Rules. I reached into my beach bag and grabbed the file folder held fast with a thick binder clip. The folder contained a few chapters of the D&D Next playtest rules I had printed and stowed away before my wife and I went on vacation. I had planned to read through them the first day on the beach while away from the chill of Canada, but the lure of old-school RPG material was somehow stronger.
Or was it the sun and rum buzz and Maiden putting me in the old-school mood?
What the hell, I thought, let's give this latest ruleset a looksee. Seems like all kinds of gamers on the interwebs are clamoring about it.
Fast forward a week and to the Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport. My wife and I are waiting at the gate for our return flight to Toronto (unfortunately not on Ed Force One!) and I exclaim to her out of the blue, "Hey, babe, you know this D&D Next stuff ain't half-bad. I'm digging the advantage and disadvantage mechanic. And they're doing some interesting stuff with classes, equipment proficiencies and twists to the old Vancian magic system. Very different from that 4th edition skirmish game. What a freaking gallows nightmare that turned into. I think I'm going to run a game for the guys."
She looked up from a book and smiled. "Yes, of course, dear." I think a lot of married gamer guys know that look. I kept the remainder of my geek gibberish thoughts to myself, but I had decided I was running D&D Next.
Can I make this work old-school style?
Post to follow soon ... The D&D Next Playtest Flight 666, Part II: The Trooper