This is mainly due to the lack of a regular gaming group, a state of affairs that has existed for several years now; in fact the last time I actually participated in a game was last July when I G.M ed a Call of Cthulhu game for two of the lads from my regular boardgaming club. The last time I actually participated as a player was 3 years or so back when I joined a D&D 4e campaign set up by another chap from the boardgame club, but that fizzled out fairly quickly when we collectively discovered that none of us liked the system. Looking back this is the likely point of origin of my re-newed interest in old school RPG's, I can quite distinctly remember going home on the Saturday evening following a game of 4e and pulling out all my old RPG stuff and seriously contemplating starting up a campaign using the Moldvay Basic set. I did in fact get as far as setting up a small dungeon , painting miniatures and sourcing terrain, but try as I might I couldn't induce any of my friends or associates to take part, lack of time or lack of interest seemingly the reason.
Now that is quite understandable, finding time to commit to such a long term undertaking as a roleplaying campaign when we are already busy with families, work, other hobbies etc is difficult, plus many of us have already run the gamut of roleplaying through our college and university days and probably have a suspicion that it won't as much fun second time round. This is one reason why I started to collect more gaming paraphenalia in the hope that a visually attractive game might prove more appealing to the stubborn masses, but in retrospect this may be missing the point. When I look back at the successful games that I've run and participated in down the years the ones that stand out are the ones with the best narrative thread running through them.
Now this obviously wasn't the case back at the beginning of my roleplaying days, our efforts running very much along the lines of kicking in the doors, killing the bad guys and stealing their treasure. To this day I still ( rightly or wrongly) associate this style of play with D&D and Advanced D&D.
A change in style coincided with the purchase of 3rd Edition Runequest published here in the U.K. by Games Workshop under licence from Avalon Hill.
As a contrast the character below from the barbarian society that was a basis for a later campaign:
Its interesting to remember that we never played Runequest with miniatures or terrain of any kind, it was pure pen and paper and better for it.
I think those years between 1987 and 1994 marked a high point of roleplaying activity for us, after that for various reasons it fell right off.
It was only fairly recently that I picked up the G.Ming baton again, a chance conversation with a newly married friend and his wife over a game of Arkham Horror sparked off a brief but intense period of playing Call of Cthulhu. Our first campaign was run in 1920's London and the South-East with a brief trip to the Middle East also involved, what really bought this to life was the fact that we were all interested in the 1920's and the Cthulhu Mythos in general and as a consequence had a good feel for the period. The other thing to mention here is the amount of background and pictorial material that was available via the internet, really important for a game which demands good quality props as part of the inherent investigative processes in the game.
So there you have it, the essential dilemma faced if I want to run an old school game again, the essential ingredients being the use of lots of tabletop terrain & miniatures plus a strong narrative theme. Does such a creation exist. Any Suggestions.