On the subject of Monsters

by on Nov.11, 2009, under Gaming

There was a time when I was a gamer. A proper, full-on, buckets of polyhedral dice, stacks of books gamer. I knew how 1st ed AD&D overbearing, grappling and pummelling rules worked and I had a 216:1 bell-curve mapped in my head. It was Owlbears and Rust Monsters all the way down. Then, for a while it was more than a hobby; it was my living. Travelling the world, meeting gamers, showing my face, yet I was still a gamer myself. Those days are in my past, but every so often, I get reminded of how much fun it was to gaze upon a random table of Artifacts and Relics or to wonder at what a Bohemian Earspoon looked like. Remembering an old Paladin or Thief, cleaning Citadel Acrylics off a sable brush, rolling for initiative.

Nostalgia is a powerful drug and I hope the mere mention of a Bohemian Earspoon triggered something in your brain like it did mine. If not, imagine Sahuagin, clambering over algae-covered rocks at Saltmarsh or a party of adventurers, quartermastering supplies and packing mules in preparation for a descent into the depths of the earth. If none of these images awaken memories of simpler times, you missed out on the early days of gaming; the roots of what the computer guys are doing today.

What are the memories that have stuck with you through the history of gaming? Nostalgia it up, give us some of those Proustian Madeleines of gamer gold, transport us back to days of trying to understand how hit points worked in Traveller. For my part, I’ll leave you with one that has stuck with me since the Basic Set: Bree Yark, bitches. Bree Yark.


9 Comments for this entry

  • Argent

    Hey rube 🙂 how the language has changed 🙂 But to be honest, if there was one particular phrase that I remember from the younger days, one that above all summed up the triumph of the day, the win, that you’d conquered and no one could take away from you, it had to be…..

    Now turn to 400.


  • dava

    Bree Yark!

    (How rude!)


  • dava

    Thorin sits down and starts singing about Gold


  • Spadge Fromley

    – Willie? What are you doing out of your bowl?
    – My name is KIZARVEXIUS and you are TOAST!

    I had a plastic spinny THACO wheel for Fighters, Paladins and Rangers. Before THACO was the norm. Heck, it was such a revolutionary concept that it needed explaining on the cardboard sleeve. Anyway. You matched up the armour type against the weapon type on the outer and inner rings, read down towards the middle for the fighter’s level, and it told you the adjusted THACO. Or something. Never played a game where the rules were implemented.

    I also remember a certain nameless bastard DM who would get the law student living next door to help pick fault at wish wordings.

    I also remember the same bastard DM calculating the volume of a room, comparing it against the size of your average fireball spell, and adjusting saving throws for half damage accordingly.

  • Eliot Earle

    New blog, new post: (via @jearle) – for all your D&D nostalgia needs.

  • mgreen02

    Occassionally when I find myself walking the dog early in the mornings or walking with the family in the woods at a weekend I can’t stop myself from thinking that someone, somewhere is rolling on a wandering monster table.

  • dava

    Poor old wandering monster (most probably an ‘OwlBear’) is out in the woods for his daily walk, with his little belt attachment thing that counts his steps when BAM! An adventure party lays into him with +1 axes, and flaming acorns! It’s just not on!


  • Dave C

    I have an almost complete set of AD&D 1st Editions rule books. I sat down and started to read them, and it all seemed much more complicated than I remember. It occurs to me that my younger self was either much cleverer or was able to fudge more effectively than my current self.

  • Spadge Fromley

    Did you just call the Owlbear a pedometerophile?

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