Features > Tell Me About Your Character > Zachary Houghton

Your name: Zachary Houghton
Location: Currently in Spain, but Indianapolis is my hometown
Age: 26
Sex: M

Family: (Non-Gaming Yet Wonderful) Wife, Theresa; Daughter, Saris. Both of our families are from Indy, which makes having Gen Con there very convenient.

Pets: A plethora of cats, as well as The Friendliest Dog on Earth, Max.

Hobbies/Activities: Spending time with my family, Art, History, Football, and running RPG Blog.

Community service: The Civil War Preservation Trust, Games For G.I.s

Just to test the stereotype - Have you ever lived, or are you currently living, in your parents' basement? Lord, no.

What is your favorite way to spend a weekend? Not being bothered, finding some good discussions as I lurk on my message boards, having a couple of good movies to watch with my wife, and going to a new museum.

What is the most frightening thing you've ever done? Bought a house. It’s crazy. One minute, you’re still this person in your mind not too far removed from college and the innate irresponsibility contained therein, and the next, power and water companies are sending you bills, you’re interested for the first time in your life in interior design — it’s a thrill, but it’s also the end of an era.

Which of your accomplishments are you the most happy with? My marriage, and my daughter.

How many languages do you speak? 2; English & Spanish. It sounds pretentious to throw Latin in there, but I’ve learned enough to embarrass myself in front of any true scholar, and sound like a cretin to everyone else.

What is your favorite time of year, and why? Winter, because of Christmas.

What is your most prized physical possession? My book collection. In various incarnations, it’s traveled with me from one end of the U.S. to the other, to Korea, and to Spain.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My current vocation.

What was your favorite toy as a child? My Lego collection. Actually, my brother and I compiled a vast collection of Lego, and even as we grew older, we were loath to part with it. A bitter feud ensued over which Lego set belonged to whom. There is currently a tentative cease-fire in place, following a brilliant coup in which I secured 75% of the collection. We’re considering having the Swiss mediate.

What makes you cry? Until this season, the New England Patriots. Aside
from that, bad poetry and worse prose.

What are three things you can't live without? My family, my books,
and the Indianapolis Colts.

If you could have one superpower, which power would you pick?
No contest. I’d want the Green Lantern’s ring. But Batman edges him in
overall coolness.

What is your favorite mode of transportation? None, until teleportation is invented. I hate flying, and my butt falls asleep on long car trips.

If you could pick any other time period to live in, which would it be, and why? I’d love to live in Washington, circa 1861-1865, just to see the sheer amount of living, breathing history, but I wouldn’t care for the dysentery.

Tell us about your favorite RPG character that you've ever played. I suppose my favorite character of all time was probably Rickman Callidan, a bard I ran in Forgotten Realms (D&D 3.0). Rickman was the slightly heavyset son of a retired famous hero, but personally aspired to be a bard instead of a fighter like his father. He was cheerful to a fault, liked nearly everyone, and when his village was threatened, finally decided to take up the mantle of hero. The only problem was, his idea of heroism was found in old ballads & poems. He had no common sense for adventuring, and was always running blindly into trouble. I suppose his 15 minutes of fame probably came during a prolonged battle for his village. Through a very long & drawn-out process, he managed to get past over 100 sentries to within mere yards of the raider’s main camp. He then summoned wave after wave of celestial badgers, and ran off in the confusion. He later found out the raiders had over 4,000 men in that camp. Not smart, but he lived, somehow.

For his worst act, I would have to say it would be falling victim to his own
Grease spell he had cast. He placed it at the entrance to a cave as
revenge on a fun-spoiling party member, forgot, left the cave first, and
knocked himself out sliding into a wall.

He also had the best Bluff skill I’ve ever seen. He could hold off
companies of Orcs by reciting lines from various plays he knew, and
acting as if he were a great mystic warrior. Eventually, he believed it
himself, and tried to take on a foe he shouldn’t have.

What are your favorite RPGs? Rolemaster and anything by I.C.E., Burning Wheel, Palladium Fantasy, and anything by The Wicked Dead Brewing Company. I’m also very quickly falling in love with Iron Gauntlets.

What was your first RPG session like? It was a session of Rifts back in the early 90s. One of my friends at school GMed a solo adventure for me, and I don’t think any of my characters lasted more than 3 minutes. I think he’s in rehab now.

What was your WORST RPG session like? Probably a Rolemaster session in which one of our drunken grognards started a fight with a friend who was in mourning. In addition, our GM kept switching the setting week-by-week to whatever he had read. One week we’re in a Salvatore knock-off, the next we’re in Pern, followed by a run through the works of Terry Goodkind. Yeah, it’s as bad as it sounds. He also ran a GMPC that was invincible, and always got to attack 4 times before anyone else was allowed to. He was likely the worst GM I’ve ever encountered (at least my school friend stayed in one genre), but we all loved our characters so much, we stuck it out far longer than we should.

Who is your all-time favorite person to game with? Of all time? It has to be my old gaming buddy Shane—our characters, no matter what game, always hated each other. The weird thing is we got along great in real life. We just always played opposites. Not planned, just how it happened. I don’t think we were ever in a game where our characters didn’t end up physically attacking one another.

Do you have anything gaming-related to plug? I’d just like to remind folks to remember we have a lot of gamers serving in Iraq & Afghanistan. Let’s keep them in our hearts. We play at being heroes; these guys are the real thing. Heroism isn’t the indestructible 6’8” fighter with a +5 sword; it’s the all-too-mortal soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who know what they’re doing could cost them their life, but do it anyway.


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