March Blog Carnival: Echoes of Yesteryear

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is hosted by Campaign Mastery, who bring us the expansive topic “Echoes of Yesteryear”. They asked Carnival participants this month to take the number of years they’ve been GMing, divide that by 2, and revisit something from that time period. In my case, I’ve been GMing since 1981 so that would be 38 years. Divide that by two and I’m back in 2000, before I even started blogging about TTRPGs.

But I definitely remember what I was playing back then. Because just three years earlier a company called Wizards of the Coast purchased ailing TTRPG goliath TSR Publishing, and started work on a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

It’s hard to articulate what gaming and D&D were like back then. I managed a gaming store in the late Nineties, so I had a bit of a more inside view of what was going on with TSR: late shipments, underprints, overprints, new release promises which never came to pass. Like many retailers, I saw the death spiral coming sooner than most gamers. I remember preparing myself for D&D to just be…gone, after what I considered a brief seventeen years of playing the game. Yes, of course I could keep playing with the books I had, as could every other gamer. But unlike now, where you can track down just about any TTRPG game you want somewhere online, in 1997 if a game went away there was no reasonable expectation you’d see it again.

So when Wizards of the Coast bought TSR, and almost immediately announced they were starting work on a new version of D&D, my relief was palpable. And my anticipation grew over the next three years. When it finally came out…well, if you played D&D back then you know. Third edition was literally a game changer, not just for the game itself, but for the gaming industry. But all those changes came later. All I knew then was that the first RPG I ever played was back, and better than ever!

Part of Third Edition for me was playing in the Living Greyhawk organized play campaign, and my only character to make it to retirement level was also my favourite. So in the spirit of this month’s topic, I wanted to present a 5e version of that character: Argent of Zeif, gnome bard extraordinaire! Fun fact, for whatever reason no one was really interested in playing clerics in our Living Greyhawk circles. So the fact that bards could also cast healing spells, and use a wand of cure light wounds, meant Argent (and his trusty riding dog, Coda) was a very welcome addition to any LG table.

So I give you Argent of Zeif; raconteur, amateur sommelier, and the second-best lover in all of Zeif (borrowing from a Terry Pratchett character, second best tries harder). I created the basic sheet for him on D&D Beyond. I hope I can dust him off as a DM character in a game some time. Until then, feel free to use him in your D&D campaigns; I left his equipment and weapons mostly open, for DMs to add to as they like.

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