APPENDIX N: Robert E. Howard’s Conan, Part II

Oak Hill RPG Club

conanunchainedToday marks the 112th anniversary of the birth of my favorite author, the legendary Robert E. Howard, and it’s no secret that Gary Gygax was a huge fan of Robert E. Howard as well.

The influence of Howard’s Conan on Dungeons and Dragons is undeniable. Fantasy roleplaying would simply not exist as it does today if not for the creation of the sword and sorcery genre and we have Robert E. Howard to thank for that.

Gygax first mentioned Conan in IFW Monthly in May of 1969.

gygax conan

That early Hyborian Wargame Society surely added fuel to the fires of creation in which Dungeons & Dragons was forged. Listed amongst others in the 1979 Dungeon Master’s Guide’s Appendix N, Robert E. Howard’s influence was all over the game. One need look no further than Conan’s last published adventure Red Nails, which featured a wilderness trek and battle with a…

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5 Years Ago Today…

Oak Hill RPG Club

Sometime in September of 2012 I made a somewhat innocuous comment on facebook, something along the line of “getting your old D&D mates back to the table for old time’s sake was the modern equivalent of getting the band back together“.

That sparked a discussion with my old chum Shaun Keenan and we decided to have a go at it. We reached out to the legion of diceslingers who had once battled kobalds, goblins, and worse as a part of the Oak Hill Dungeons & Dragons Club, a group we had formed back in the near prehistoric age of the late 1970s.

So it was that five years ago today, on the 5th of January of 2013, a group of friends came together for a game of Dungeons & Dragons.

Shaun made arrangements for us to use Ali-Caters in Marion, a sort-of abandoned tavern, complete with a dance…

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#RPGaDay Day 22: Which RPGs are the easiest to run?


Day 22: Which RPGs are the easiest to run?

ggygaxThe easy answer here is RPGs that focus on character more than mechanics.

One of my favorite quotes from D&D co-creator Gary Gygax is — “The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don’t need any rules.”

For me, games live or die based on interactions, be it between DM and player, or player and player.

Games that are not bogged down by herculean rules and complex math, that allow DMs and players to breathe and concentrate on character development, are what I gravitate toward.

It’s one of the reasons I took to 5th Edition so quickly.

While rolling dice is a thrilling part of any game system, those random dice rolls are seldom what stand out when you look back fondly on sessions past. It’s those visceral story elements and defining character moments that become the fabric in the tapestry chronicling your most treasured gaming experiences.

#RPGaDay Day 21: Which RPG does the most with the least words?


Day 21: Which RPG does the most with the least words?

I am, once more, going to take you back to Christmas 1978 when I received TSR’s Dungeons & Dragons box set for Christmas. Inside, was a module and some horribly cheap plastic dice. The rulebook, written by John Eric Holmes, was a slim 48 pages, reproducing David Sutherland’s box art on the cover in blue.


In those 4 dozen pages, I was not only introduced to the rules of the game, the combat system, monsters, and spells, but I was transported from this world into a fantastical one born through the power of imagination.

And it inspired a hobby that has sustained me for nearly 40 years.

If that doesn’t qualify for getting the most from the least, I don’t know what does.