Saturday, December 26, 2009

I started playing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons back in 1989, when the first edition of the game was just coming to be replaced by the second edition. At the time the game had a sense of wonder to it that probably can't ever be recovered; every new book that I found that contained a new class, race, piece of equipment or magic item was an exciting discovery that allowed us to further develop our growing campaigns. I was thirteen when I started, so that was the game that carried me through junior high and high school and into college.

While I played primarily in a few of the published campaign settings, especially Oriental Adventures, Spelljammer and Al-Qadim, I was also intrigued by the less well-known line of historical supplements that TSR released, including books about Charlemagne, the Vikings and others. I played in a couple of highly enjoyable Ancient Greek campaigns, and these opened up a whole new vista of creative endeavor. It was interesting to imagine a historical setting because of the wealth of campaign material available, limited not just to what TSR published but including all of the non-gaming books available detailing different places and time periods.

At the same time I began to write my own material, and eventually became inspired the notion of being published. At that time having an adventure in Dungeon magazine was the goal; although I began to pursue it, however, I never succeeded.

This situation was completely changed in 2000 when Wizards of the Coast released the third edition of the game. Under the Open Game License, scores of companies began to produce their own supplemental material, creating a much larger demand for freelance authors. I found some of my first success with smaller companies like Citizen Games, Emerald Press and Bastion Press, and eventually did some writing for WotC via the RPGA. While this gave me considerable personal gratification, it also introduced me to the notion that the shared worlds in which I loved to play and run adventures could be truly collaborative endeavors, ones to which people around the world could contribute. Improvements in technology also allowed people to share their ideas like never before.

Nowhere did I see this sense of possibility better realized than in the Skull & Bones campaign setting written by Adamant Entertainment and published through Green Ronin. The Buccaneers & Bokor e-zine that provided supplemental material for this setting not only provided new open content rules for the game, but also maintained that every aspect of the publication, including plot elements and characters, were open content. This sense of openness was a particularly good match for the nature of the setting, capturing the sense of freedom that pirates embodied.

Sadly, with the onset of a fourth edition, Adamant Entertainment ceased publication of B&B. In the same spirit of collaboration and openness, however, I'd like to launch this d20 Pirates blog, a repository for old material that never saw the light of day and new things, as well.

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