Old and new tabletop hooks

It was 1993, I was nine years old, in elementary school. A rumour spread among my classmates and my friends. They whispered about a unique, groundbreaking game that you can play with your friends for countless hours, and all you needed is just a book, a couple of friends with blank sheets of paper, pencils and your imagination (and of course dice, but that time I did not know that). The game called M.A.G.U.S. – The Adventurer’s Chronicles – the most influential and successful Hungarian tabletop role-playing game. The moment I heard about M.A.G.U.S. I knew that I had to get somehow to play it.

At the time I was already hooked on the Fighting Fantasy books of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. The promise of never-ending adventures where I get to choose whether I want to be a mighty warrior, a cunning rogue, or a fearsome wizard was mind-blowing. In the end, my brother and I bought the beginner’s pack (there was no regular beginner’s box) which included the core rule-book, two ten-sided dice, a GM screen, and a low-level adventure module. We were ready to begin our wondrous journey on the diverse land of Ynev, the mainland of M.A.G.U.S.

I mostly played with my brother’s classmates. One of them was bold enough to read through all the rules and at the same time confident enough to play the role of the GM. We played together almost every weekend and lived through tons of memorable and unforgettable adventures. For my first character – a human, male rogue – it took nearly two years to reach level 12. That is a lot of gaming, and I will never forget my beloved rogue. Unfortunately, he bled to death on his last adventure. May his soul rest in peace somewhere in the Aether.

However we had fun with M.A.G.U.S., after a couple of years, we also tried other tabletop games like the D6 based Star Wars and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st edition. We only get to play Warhammer once, but after the session, something clicked for me. The simple carrier system, the random character creation method and the overall grim and low fantasy setting was way the opposite that I have experienced until then. I just loved it and wanted to go for more, but I did not get the chance. After years of playing together, our battle-hardened group of adventurers was no more. Real life got in the way, and everyone went to different high schools.

During high school and college, I played occasionally. I tried out other games like Vampire the Masquerade, Mage: The Ascension, tied to the World of Darkness setting, some home-brew GURPS adventures and also a bit of Call of Cthulhu. But none of them could give back the same immersion that M.A.G.U.S. or that one Warhammer session did.

About two years ago one of my close friends called me. He is working in the mobile app development business and asked if I wanted to play M.A.G.U.S. with a couple of his co-workers and friends. You know, with developers and other geek guys. After more than ten years without any tabletop gaming, I couldn’t say no to an invitation like that. We had about 20 sessions, tons of fun, but once again, real life shenanigans got in the way.

Almost a year has passed without gaming, and I started to miss adventuring around the table with the gang. We didn’t finish the adventure that we started, and our GM got busy with his life. I determined that we should begin to play again. I didn’t want to start a new adventure in the same game and setting that we already started with our busy GM. Suddenly somehow Zweihänder came across. It promised the same old school, grim and gritty feeling that the classic Warhammer Fantasy had. The other selling point for me was the setting free system. To be honest one of my main problem with Warhammer that I couldn’t get entirely into the Old World setting. I don’t know why. There are several aspects that I like and adore: Skaven, chaos, orcs and goblins and stuff. I purchased the Zweihänder core book PDF – or should I say core-tome – after it released in August 2017. I read through all the 688 pages, and it blew me away. It was the game I was seeking for ages. A low fantasy game with smart, quite simple, old school, plug and play mechanics. Finally, I put my GM hat on and gathered my group of adventurers and started to play Zweihänder.

At the moment we are after our second session, and we are craving for more. We try to organise gaming sessions at least once in every month. This blog is about our adventures, about my thoughts on tabletop games and about my story as I’m trying to become a better GM meanwhile having fun with my players.

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