Bittersweet Nostalgia?

Nostalgia can be sweet but it can also turn new versions sour.

When I saw the Goodman Games expanded reprint of the D&D adventure “Expedition to the Barrier Peaks” I knew I had to get a copy but it was very expensive so I took my time looking for one at a much better price.

All the reviews I read of this expanded version increased my desire to own it.

I searched eBay, Amazon and Google. Finally I found one at a price low enough to tempt my frugal nature and now I finally have a copy.

It is brilliant. While I never actually played the adventure, I avidly read it as an enthusiastic teenager. Rereading it brought back many good memories and in fact it seems even better than I remember.

It also has a section about Metamorphosis Alpha, which taught me some role playing history I was unaware of as well as reminding me of Gamma World.

Metamorphosis Alpha|Goodman Games StoreMetamorphosis Alpha: Doom on the Warden Hardcover – Print + PDF $ 29.99 Add to cart Metamorphosis Alpha: Doom on the Warden Hardcover (Gold Foil Edition) – Print +

Which led me into researching the history of the quirky, colorful post-apoc RPG Gamma World…. which I am sure has an influence on early Fallout game development.

And thereby learning that I only really like the early versions of Gamma World. For some reason I just do not like the later artwork and plotlines.

This reminds me of how the Kickstarter for the latest version of Twilight 2000 did not appeal to me in the same way the original version did.

Roleplaying in the WWIII That Never WasA classic tabletop RPG returns in a new retro-apocalyptic edition, from the makers of the ALIEN RPG and Forbidden

Another RPG I read as a teen but never played. In fact my mother recently sent me a couple of tiny (15mm I think) Polish soldiers I painted for the game… some of the first miniatures I ever painted back in the 80’s.

I also stumbled across a brilliant blog talking about both the new Twilight 2000 as well as the original.

Twilight: 2000‘s Polish Campaign, Part I – Black GatePatrick Kanouse encountered Traveller and Star Frontiers in the early 1980s, which he then subjected his brother to many games of.Outside of RPGs, he is a fiction writer, avid tabletop roleplaying game master, and new convert to war gaming. His last post for Black Gate was Tales of an Indie Game Designer–After: The Machines. You can follow him and his brother at Two Brothers Gaming as they …

It was great being reminded of what I love about the original as well as getting some spoilers on plot lines I never got to. There is no way I have the time and resources to get into this game again but I wish I could.

Another bittersweet bit of nostalgia has been seeing the first episode of “The Wheel of Time” tv series.

The Wheel Of Time – Official Trailer | Prime VideoAn adventure this epic cannot be contained much longer. The Wheel Of Time premieres November 19th on @AmazonPrimeVideo About Prime Video: Want to watch it now? We’ve got it. This week’s newest movies, last night’s TV shows, classic favorites, and more are available to stream instantly, plus all your videos are stored in Your Video Library. Over …

Now it has been quite awhile since I read the books and I never finished the entire series but…

The Dragon Reborn might be a woman? What? 

Drunken Ladettes defending Two Rivers? What? 

Bath scene between Moiraine and Lan? Stoic Lan complains about cold water and Moiraine uses the One Power for something so petty? Is that in the book? It seems very counter to how I remember the characters. 

Perrin married… albeit briefly? What a terrible thing to burden a new character with. 

Casting seems hit and miss. 

Set dressing is brilliant but costuming is a bit hit and miss. Some great colors, materials and designs but quite a lot of Asian themes and a remarkably diverse population. Perhaps I have been spoiled by the WoT book covers. Not enough distressing on the day to day clothing. 

Perhaps over the top but visually interesting battle in Two Rivers. Trollocs look cool when dodgy CGI does not let them down. 

I recall Tam doing better than basically getting beaten by a single Trolloc. Given his background this scene seemed off. The Trollocs are in my opinion being shown as too powerful on one hand but then not so much against Lan. Directors seem to get carried away too easily. More is not always better, both the Trollocs and Lan. 

Same with Moiriaine’s use of the One Power. At first it was amazing. Then it got a bit much. Then it got over the top. Then it started getting eye rolling. Although it was an interesting image to see it destroy the tavern… a very visible reminder of the price of using the One Power… or magic… or any power for that matter. Collateral damage showing why you can not simply magic all your problems away. 

The Fade looked cool as did many of the Trollocs. GW beastman fans will be pleased.

Much of the world building of Wheel of Time is rather derivative, like Shannara, owing quite a lot to Tolkien. I suspect some of the costuming and casting choices may have been to break from that…. but every time I saw the mountainous vistas I thought of Peter Jackson’s cinematography in Lord of the Rings. 

At least this show has so far been better than much of Peter Jackson’s the Hobbit. 

But what did you think of it? 

Is my sweet, sweet nostalgia making me bitter?


  1. That sounds like a great purchase, mate. I’m glad you were able to get a copy. I read the first two books of Wheel of Time and gave up on it, sadly. Derivative was definitely my opinion on it but more importantly, I found Robert Jordan to be a much inferior writer as well. Not to speak ill of the dead of course! I’m curious about the TV show as I read the books awhile ago and could be interested in watching the show if I find some freetime. That is always the big question though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am keen to one day… one day… get a version of Barrier Peaks on our gaming table.

      As for Wheel of Time…

      I rewatched episode 1 with Mrs. GG so she could catch up. I enjoyed it more the second time around. Perhaps the shock of the changes wore off. Mrs. GG enjoyed it although she is not as familiar with, or as much a fan of, the books as I am. She found it darker than I did and the characters/actors less likable. But she agreed to watch episode 2.

      The way the Whitecloaks are portrayed seems off to both of us. We both imagined more gritty Knights Templar types than the too pristine almost Elven look. Even the not so Knights Templars of Knightfall were more what we imagined for the Children of the Light.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad to hear you enjoyed it more and you’ll have to keep us posted on how you get on with the show. I’ve seen good reviews so far and I hope that it can be a strong show. We need more fantasy shows worth watching!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I owned Twilight 2000 at one point, like you read but never played. I was big into GDW games, especially Traveller. Had the game, the supplements, the magazine, the miniatures. Just recently sold it all except the miniatures and some ship plans.

    Like Kuribo, hard to find time to watch shows, but I plan to try it after Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I should be clear that I loved Traveller at the same time. Never played it but read the books, made characters, enjoyed the worldbuilding of it… particularly the one book with the waterplanet and big floating cities and exotic alien sealife. I even seem to recall reading some Traveller Twilight crossover game if I remember correctly. Military hard sci-fi, with Earth nations having disputes off planet. I think. Maybe I am misremembering. Travelled 2000? Something like that?


  3. I was more into the ship building vs planet. I know there was a supplement for water and associated creatures but don’t remember that, maybe MegaTraveller?

    It’s funny how certain images stay with you. I almost didn’t sell my GDW Striker game because I loved the cover so much with the command group with the radio and automated map.

    I’ve read several places that the initial episodes of Wheels of Time require multiple viewings to get into it and for readers of the book to take it as an adaption vs straight forward regurgitation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree, regurgitation is the wrong word. I meant more of a page by page straight forward filming of the book. Two different medias require different views but should still adhere to the same intent and theme.

    I actually had that supplement, just didn’t remember the image you described.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It just seems to me that if you want to make a movie about a book you like, you make a movie of the book as it is not try to rewrite a better book. If there is not enough time to fit the story in one movie or tv series, make more… do not cut things to make it fit too short a time.

      If it is well done you do not need to take short cuts… the final few seasons of Game of Thrones come to mind. Getting the pacing just right can be challenging but cutting things off too soon, rushing past key plot points and character development, can ruin a story just as can adding unnecessary padding.


  5. I kinda drooled over those big Goodman Games adaptions of old modules at first (besides Expedition, they also had one for Keep on the Borderlands), but did not get them as it seems they would be very unwieldy to use at the table. Nice as coffee table books, but for the GM to run a game from at a table, it seems they would take up a lot of table space.

    I read the first five books of Wheel of Time before I realized I was continuing because of the time I had already invested – very similar to the Dwarven Forge FOMO. I never cared for the characters very strongly, the world building was OK but nothing that stands out in m memory a couple of decades later. I did like the pacing of the books at first, but the formula started becoming evident by the time I quit. The writing was pretty bad at parts – EVERY character said “Fool!” all the time, EVERY character “muttered.” That series broke me of ever doing a massive series again (including GoT) – which lasted until I stumbled upon The Malazan Book of the Fallen five or so years ago when I was recovering from ankle surgery. Read all 10 books…

    I may watch WoT at some point, you do make it sound interesting, but TV is pretty far down on my list of things to do right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess it depends on how you run the space behind your DM screen. I do not think it is too unwieldy but your mileage may vary. It is great reading all of the additional material. I would love to have the Lost Isle one and the Borderlands one at some point… just for nostalgia sake if nothing else.

      While I never finished the WoT series I have heard it slumps a bit just past the middle but then picks up again.

      I think I read the first Malazan book but did not continue the series for some reason. I recall the series being very popular. If you liked that you may like Glen Cook’s Black Company Series. I read a bunch of those but again did not finish the series.

      One thing about the WoT tv series… it may not be great but it is not bad and it is the best fantasy show going right now. I do hope the Amazon Middle Earth tv series is better than this though.


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