This is a story which I really haven't shared yet here on BHD, but in honor of the fact that James over at Grognardia just surpassed 1,000 followers, and others are paying homage to him, I felt it was time I told this story.
Back in the late 1990's, life began to change drastically for me. After spending most of my young adolescent days in that decade playing D&D, starting with 1e then moving on to 2e, towards the end of the decade, I began college, started working to pay my way through, and gaming fell on the back-burner. Eventually I got married and joined the Air Force in 1999, and by that time, gaming for me had completely fallen off the map. It was, I believe, the following year when Wizards of the Coast took over TSR and revealed 3rd edition. I recall being in a book store somewhere, picking it up and having a read through, and putting it down on the shelf. It was strange really. I had moved on away from the game of D&D, and after seeing the new version I felt the game had moved away from me as well. The glory days of 2e were behind me, and the whole d20 thing just wasn't my cup of tea at all.
Here and there throughout the 2000's I played on occasion, when I got out of the military and returned home, but always we played 2e. Eventually even that began to subside. There just wasn't much material out there, and there didn't seem to be much of a niche for older editions online. I suppose most of the old 2e players either moved on to 3e, or simply gave up on the game completely. I discovered the Knights and Knaves forum some years ago, back when it was a ProBoards message board, but their utter hatred for 2e turned me away. So, in many ways I felt alone in my love for the older incarnations of the game. While most of my playing experience came from 2e, I got my introduction to the game through playing 1e, and always held a fondness for that version.
It was late last year, I believe, I was surfing through my feeds and noticed that one of the large sci-fi blogs, io9.com, linked an article James had written on Grognardia about Robert E. Howard. Being a big Conan fan, I followed the link over, and from there it opened a whole new world up for me. There was this thing they were calling an "old school renaissance?" 1e had been restored through OSRIC to allow for new material, and best of all, there was not only James, but hundreds of others who were just like me; fans of the older versions and styles of play. This discovery ignited a fire within me again, and soon I started blogging myself about the games we all love.
So, congratulations on reaching 1,000 followers, James, although we know your reach in the community goes far beyond that. Had it not been for your blog, I never would have discovered the OSR, and all the great people I've had the pleasure to meet over the past few months.