In which 30-year-old Argothald questions are finally answered.
I want to tell a story about Argothald. It’s a geek story. It spans 35 years and two worlds, one real and one fictional. There’s no moral, no point, no great insight to be had. It’s merely a story I wish to share.
It’s also long enough that I want to split it into three parts.
It’s been a couple of years since I last posted about my fantasy role-playing game, Argothald. That game has been a part of my life for about 35 years, including a 20-year hiatus. If I’m to use this blog to document what’s important to me, I should check in on Argothald once in a while.
I’ve had a chance to run a couple of Argothald expeditions. It’s been great.
I’d been concerned that my skills as a gamesmaster would be rusty after more than two decades. I needn’t have worried. While there are some issues with the rules system, they’re relatively minor. What’s important is that the players have fun.
I’ve hit a snag. It’s a big one. I can’t find my old Argothald notebook.
For me, this is no small matter. This notebook contained some key game notes. It contained the maps of the main "dungeon" (Ironmaw Mountain), the nearby town, and other details that would be a big pain to recreate.
For years, I’ve kept all my gaming materials in a closet. In the two decades since I last ran Argothald, I occasionally pulled out that notebook and took a nostalgic look. Today I search the closet, but I can’t find the Argothald notebook.
There’s lots of other stuff. I have my complete notes for my other old campaigns: Star Wars, Paranoia, even Toon. I have lots of Argothald-related stuff: character sheets going back to the 1970s; notes on the geopolitical landscape of the planet Tala; the one Argothald "module" I wrote; old versions of the game rules; copies of the game newletter. Everything except that central notebook.
I can run the first Argothald adventure without that notebook. After that, it would get hard. The thought of losing that key notebook is nagging at me like a missing tooth. It was once a central part of my life. I’m irritated that I somehow let it go.
Perspective, Bill, perspective: It’s just a game. There are more important things in your life: health; friends; cats; the Craft; work. The notebook may be missing for a reason.
I think I’ll tear apart my closet again. Maybe the notebook fell into my Santa suit.
What does the name "Crytolos" mean?
Crytolos is the Demon Ruler of Aeykia. You see, when the Mekatrig defeated the forces in Ironmaw Mountain with the Argothald, he appointed a Demon Ruler to rule over each one of the Twilight Kingdoms…
Your eyes are beginning to glaze over, aren’t they?
OK, let’s try a human explanation. Crytolos was a creature in a table-top fantasy role-playing game I designed. The name of the game was Argothald, which is why my LiveJournal blog is called the "Argothald Journal."
Yeah, I’ve just given you enough clues to figure out my real name, with a little help from Google. Like you couldn’t figure it out before this post. (If you couldn’t figure it out before this post, subtract 2 from your web-fu. If you still can’t figure out after this post, subtract 5 from your web-fu. If you don’t care who I am but read my posts because you’re interested in what I have to say, add 10 to your overall Humanity talents.)
I enjoyed playing Argothald. It represents a time in my life that I’d like to recover someday. But for that, I’d need players, and mature table-top role-playing gamers are a rare breed these days.
There’s a number of things that I got out of playing Argothald:
– The face-to-face social element.
– The shared creation of a story.
– The mental exercise of creating a world that, if not believable, was at least entertaining.
I ran the Argothald campaign from 1979 through 1989. Unfortunately, my face-to-face gaming life came to an end. My fellow players moved away, or developed other life commitments of their own. Argothald gradually petered out.
As I discuss in another post, I found substitutes: live-action role-playing (for about 12 years), and World of Warcraft. But I missed Argothald, and still do.
The story of the Argothald, the demon ruler Crytolos, the planet Tala, and the characters who lived in this world will probably never be finished. It will join one of many unfinished tales in the universe, living on only in the memory of those few who choose to remember it.
At least I can get some small joy by keeping a few names alive from that time in my life. "Crytolos" is one of them.