Portals of Adventure is intended to end up being somewhat of a grand scale project. It is born from a desire to have a Role Playing Game (RPG) campaign world that facilitates a bit of everything I enjoyed as a gamer growing up. As a fan of several AD&D 2nd Ed. fantasy settings (including Forgotten Realms, DragonLance, Greyhawk, and Ravenloft) and a fan of old school Moldvay style campaigns as well, it has been difficult to pick a consistent realm to run my games in over the years. This has resulted in me splitting my time reading up on and bouncing between numerous settings, including a couple of homebrew, and enjoying aspects of all of them to varying degrees.
So, as I gear up to engage in gaming once again, I find myself thumbing through all the old books trying to decide which campaign setting to run my game in and once again, I find it very difficult to do so. Thus I’ve decided to give this a whirl. I plan to start my game in one setting and as the players progress, facilitate an easy transition back and forth between various settings via good old Forgotten Realms style portaling. I always enjoyed Greenwood’s ideas about alternate worlds and the mathematician in me loves the concept of alternate dimensions, so it makes it easy to think of our “real” world, Earth, being but one of many dimensions out there in a huge multiverse that also include Toril, Krynn, Oerth, Mystara, and others.
With my “setting” determined as an amalgamation of all campaign worlds (including several non-D&D related) I turned my attention to what ruleset to use. This was easy. Over the years, I cut my teeth on AD&D 1st and 2nd Ed. and then in the post-college years learned to enjoy d20 style (3rd Ed.) rules with some homebrew mixed in. Later, in my 30’s I began exploring the Old School Revival (OSR) rulesets out there and really took a liking to Castles & Crusades. As D&D moved on to 4th Ed. and once again re-invented itself with the shiny new 5th Ed., I found myself sighing heavily at the explosion of rules and (to me) power-gaming style adventure. I longed for the days of old, the lighter rulesets of old school style role playing.
So, I thought once again about Castles & Crusades, but decided to take a pass. They too had become marketing geniuses, selling their wares in a multitude of ways. They had successfully taken a single book of rules and successfully expanded it into far too many suppliments (granted mostly as campaign setting expansions). But still, I found myself sighing. Plus, they had begun producing just as many 5th Ed. versions of their material as their original line of products. I can’t blame them, but I don’t have to like it either. So, I continued scouring.
And then, it came to me…
A free ruleset, created by others like me, and shared openly. I like it so much that I bought hardback versions despite them providing absolutely free PDF and document format versions of all of their products. Happiness reigned down like a shining light from above. This system combined old school flavor with d20 mechanics magically meshed in with the savings throws and thief charts of days gone by! Lo, hath the gods favored me this go around.
Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game (BFRGP) rule set would be my rule set of choice!
The choice of BFRPG rule set made it easy to decide where to start with my campaign since it provided old school flavor with d20 style-ish mechanics. I dusted off the old Moldvay classics and began to contemplate my multiverse of adventure. Referencing material from long ago, I put pen to paper (virtually, of course) and began to weave my latest story for some as of yet identified heroes.