Return to Argothald

I am excited, probably too excited, about returning to Argothald.

Short history: Argothald was a table-top fantasy role-playing I ran from 1978-1989. It was set in a world and used a system of my own design. For a time, my friends and I met once a week to play the game, and tell a story.

The game had big effect on my life. You may have noticed my LiveJournal posts are titled "The Argothald Journal." My LJ account name, Crytolos, comes from an important character in the game’s story. My first Craft name, Tala, was the name of the world I created.

Why am I excited?

In part, it’s a chance to capture a piece of youth that I thought I’d left behind me. If I’m going to have a mid-life crisis, better I should have it writing rules and scenarios instead of buying a sports car.

It’s also a chance to continue a story that enthralls me. Over the past couple of decades, I’d occasionally fantasize about a scenario set in Argothald. I’d enjoy the daydream, but not the sad moment that followed: there were no players to share, enjoy, or finish the story.

I couldn’t share the story by writing it down. Anything I’d write would be unpublishable: the world of Argothald is not original, and I’m a poor writer.

I don’t know what will happen this Thursday when I try to run my first Argothald expedition in 22 years. Maybe the magic will return. Maybe my skills as a gamesmaster will be rusty. Maybe the new rules system will have problems. Maybe I won’t have enough players; it would not be the first time!

Until then, I’ll try to enjoy the excitement. Why be nervous about negatives that may be as much a fantasy as Argothald is?

In the process of writing the preliminary guide to Argothald, I observed:

– I looked through articles I wrote up to 25 years ago. Boy, was I a lousy writer! I’m no great shakes now, but back then I was terrible. It’s not that I disagree with some of what I said; I was a kid and I feel entitled to have made kiddie mistakes. It’s that I wrapped those opinions in tons of excess and repetitive verbiage.

– 25 years ago, I drew the maps of Argothald on six-line-per-inch graph paper. A few years later, it became almost impossible to find that type in stores. Now I can get graph paper designed to my custom specifications for free. I love living in the future!

– I still have many of my computer files from 20 years ago. They were created by programs that no longer exist. I can still extract text from some of them, but it’s like pulling teeth. I can read files I created since 1996. That’s when I started using Microsoft Word.

I’m sure I’ll have more observations about this minor game that’s of great importance to me. We all have our loves. Argothald is one of mine.

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