About Bob Drouin
From the Top 32 Backgrounds Posting:
Been playing since 1984. Oddly enough, got started with AD@D instead of Basic set, although I read both. I was heavy into comic books and this was just an outgrowth...I can still remember the magical feeling I got when going through Toys'R'Us and seeing the Monster Manual there with the Pegasus on the cover with the Red Dragon breathing, opening it up and reading about ki-rin and genies...
I roped my brother and his best friend into playing, and we basically went through modules, not having the kind of time to make up our own. We went through a LOT of modules.
We've been through Against the Giants three times, each time upgraded for a new version. Only once did we make it all the way to Queen of the Demonweb Pits, however.
Dark Clouds Gather. That module was EPIC!
Ravenloft, several times. Every time it played different because of those damn cards. ANd that map of the castle is still the greatest map in D&D.
Ravager of Time. Want your players to learn to hate Juju zombies? Play this module. the ambush we unleashed on the lady at the end was overwhelming...we hated her SO much.
Desert of Desolation. Woo, hoo, skiing on glass!
Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain and Lost Caverns also got multiple runs from us. We also did a lot of the encounters out of the Book of Lairs, and ran through multiple dungeons from Dungeon Magazine.
Our single biggest module, and our last real hurrah, was Greyhawk Ruins. Yes, we went through that entire module, every single lair, every single map. Took a party of a dozen characters to 15th level. We had battlemaps scattered all over the floor of my sister's house on the bay while we were house-sitting for her...
Alas, we got older, and interest in play turned too time consuming, and everyone drifted apart and basically relegated to books to get our fantasy fix.
I did have an active gaming crew in my late 20's, but we played other systems, mostly Warhammer. The GM was good and insightful, but it has a much grittier feel then D&D. We came back together for a short campaign when 3E came out, taking a break from Lo5R and MTG card-gaming. I'm proud to say my halfling fighter-rogue made it to level 12, and was the only character who didn't die over the course of that campaign. We were a bit unusual because almost nobody was a spellcaster, they all had the 1E mindset that fighters were the best. I turned the party upside down when I recruited a gnome wizard with leadership, and took apart bunch of slaads that was going to be a great encounter by successfully slowing the lot of them for the party to tear apart.
I wouldn't mind getting into an active game and seeing how differently it plays. But I will treasure my old, original characters until the day I die, even if today a grey elven F/MU/Druid 9/17/14 just screams cheese!
I took that as a message to make the next item as clear and simple to understand as possible, and divorce it from any tie to the game world. The Figurine of Familiar Power was actually designed back then, reading through Sean's posts on what not to do a second time (funny, they didn't warn away from how I got rejected :P), and I've been waiting an entire year to submit it, basically.
As for gaming credits...well, I still peruse the WoTC boards, I believe I got one guy banned from it over twenty times (he'd get barred, create a new account, pick up again where he left off with his drivel, get barred again...and he still posts on these boards sometimes).
My biggest contributions over there were the Lockdown Fighter/20 build, which went into far, far more detail for a fighter build then any other one ever posted. Actually, the trick about wearing a shrunken cone/hat so it would drop down over you when an Antimagic shell hit you was first mentioned seriously on my Lockdown thread, I believe, and spread from there. Some wags pegged my build as a mage dueling build, and then kept getting killed with it, so they had to keep coming up with fantastic methods to try and get out of an A-M shell with a Stand Stilling fighter on top of them. It wasn't pretty.
The Fighter vs Warblade comparison was another well-received analysis. By the time you get done realizing the Fighter has 11 class abilities, and the Warblade has 43, and casters have in excess of 70, there's little doubt why Fighters have problems in 3E.
I coined the term 'Uber shield' to describe a Shield +5 of Bashing, +5 Defender, for a shield build that I put up (that thread resulted in the multiple banning of a vitriolic BG forum guy, above). The shield is designed for max AC for 100k. The build would go two-handed, sword and shield, or TWF/Shield Bashing, whatever was most appropriate at the time, and had a walk-around AC of 49 at all times. It was poo-pooed because it wasn't a devoted Uber Charger build, despite the fact that statistically it would take an average Uber Charger build apart due to being unhittable.
So, I've been lurking on the forums for years, watching how the game changes and different styles. The BG forum 'bend the rules and break them' style always irritates me, and I admit to loving Bob Loblaw's posts about how to apply the rules and run a fair game. He always strikes me as the most reasonable person on these boards (I admit, I tend to find a position and stick to it, and I tend to be conservative about it).
As far as influencing the game I love, I've done that, too. If you look at the FR Book Champions of Valor, there are two organizations covered in that book: the Knights of the North, and an organization for random Good-aligned monstrous creatures (I forget the name). Well, Sean K Reynolds had an active website at that time, and asked for ideas for organizations to include in that book. BOTH of those were my idea...the Knights of the North had faded into obscurity in 3.5, despite having this wicked cool lady fighter with double spec in bastard sword and longbow (Jhesentel?), and being devoted high-level enemies of the Zhentarim in the original boxed set. It was like the years did nothing for them, and it was time for an update!
I may or may not be responsible for Ed Greenwood finally giving Elminster some kids. I brought up the subject at the Gencon where they announced 3.5 (I still have the t-shirt they handed out then). I think I was sitting next to his wife in the audience...A couple years later, zing, book about his daughter by a were-dragon...and the queen of Cormyr was also his daughter...