Features > Tell Me About Your Character > Michael Simon

Your name: Michael Simon
Location: Indiana
Age: 35
Sex: Male

Family: I'm married and have a 15 year old step daughter and a 1 year old daughter who keep me on my toes at all times. My wife is a tyrant in her spare time, but is generally on good behavior around guests. Both my parents are still alive and I still have one grandparent left who drops by to look in on the great-grandchildren often. I also have two younger siblings, a brother and sister.

I have two dogs (Great Dane and German Shepherd) as well as two cats of indeterminate origin.

Religion: I grew up dutifully Christian but then kind of abandoned religion after my grandfather died. I've been looking back into it... but still haven't found what I'm looking for (unintentional U2 quote).

Political party/affiliation: Until a few years ago I was a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. Now I have a cynical view of almost all parties… though I'm still left leaning.

Education: I went to college off an on through the 90s. I think it was more a hobby or pastime than education. I learned a lot, but mostly from things that had nothing to do with the classes.

Hobbies/Activities: I draw comic books, strips, etc. I paint. I'm a web designer/programmer as a profession but I love to come up with goofy site ideas and make them in a few hours. I have a lot of pretty useless domains for that reason. I also love watching shows and messing with stuff on my iPod video. Anything that takes up that much time of my day HAS to be a hobby.

Community service: I give to charity when I can... that's about it.

Just to test the stereotype - Have you ever lived, or are you
currently living, in your parents' basement?
No. My parents never
had a basement…but from age 19 to my early 20s, I did pretty much
live with my mom. After being kicked out for the third time (I was just
trying to get my career in comic books off the ground), I figured I'd try
something new.

What is your favorite way to spend a weekend? Playing with the
baby, drawing and watching movies when she's asleep. I plink around
with my MIDI keyboard when I can, but that's about third down the list of

What is the most frightening thing you've ever done? Opened a safe with a gun pointed at the back of my head.

Which of your accomplishments are you the most happy with? Three way tie: The job I've done raising my kids. Some of the artwork I've done. Making a program for my older daughter that wound up on the net and being used by people who teach adult education courses.

What was your first word? Chocolate Milk.

How many languages do you speak? Three. English, Spanish (rusty) and Japanese (rustier). I work on Russian in my spare time, but I don't have much these days.

What is your favorite time of year, and why? I love the summer. I don't care how hot it gets, but I HATE the cold.

What is your most prized physical possession? My tablet PC.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I'd actually exercise when I say I'm going to. :)

Did you have any embarassing nicknames as a kid? Peanut – That's from my mom. Dream – It's one thing when people call you that on a MUD, it's another when someone calls you that in a restaurant.

What was your favorite toy as a child? White typewriter paper.

What makes you cry? Genius.

What is your favorite section of the newspaper? Comics.

Do you have a useless talent that no one else that you know can do? I can make the sound of a drop of water by tapping the side of my cheek.

If you could pick any other time period to live in, which would it be, and why? Probably whatever time Star Trek could take place in. That level of societal harmony is my dream.

What is one thing that you regret that you would go back and change if you could? I'd have bought that Google stock :)

What is the one thing you want to do before you die? Become a wildly successful syndicated comic artist.

What are three things you can't live without? My laptop, my iPod, my daughters.

If you could have one superpower - or be one superhero - which power would you pick, or which hero would you be? I'd be Spider-Man, but if I had to have one power, it'd be density control (ie: the ability to make myself incorporeal or dense as diamond.) The cheesy answer would be Power Cosmic (ala the Silver Surfer) because that's basically any power you want, but I'm trying to be cool here.

What did you want to be when you grew up? When I was REALLY little, I wanted to be a garbarge man…later I wanted to be a comic artist. I still want to be that.

What is your favorite mode of transportation? Teleportation. But behind that, Lamborghini.

You've just purchased a small island off the coast of any continent of your choosing, and you are preparing to start your own country there. What does your flag look like? The Jolly Roger

What is the meaning of the universe? Man, why do you keep asking me that?

Tell us about your favorite RPG character that you've ever played. His name is Morningstar and he was my first Advanced Marvel Super Heroes character. My first character in every game used to pretty much have my personality. It was high school so I could play almost every day. I loved that character and that game system because it was the first time I could do everything I wanted to do in a game within the rules.

With Marvel, you weren't constrained by classes, only by the powers listed
in one of the books…so I created a character whose powers could grow
and expand over time. Playing every day really let me experiment with
different ideas and it taught me a lot about creatively thinking on my feet to
overcome unusual obstacles (a skill I use every day as a programmer). I
pretty much lived in the Marvel universe as a kid growing up and when I
found this game, it was everything I'd hoped for. As in every high school
campaign, my character became the most famous hero on Earth and
though some of the stories were a little goofy, I always look back on the
times I saved the city, country or the world with fond memories.

What are your favorite RPGs?
D&D, Marvel Super Heroes.

What was your first RPG session like? The first RPG session I played was a really informal introduction to D&D. A friend of my mom's had a son whose room I stayed in while we were visiting North Carolina. Sometime before we went to sleep, he asked me if I'd ever played D&D. I told him that I hadn't, but was interested. So he asked me what kind of character I would like to play and I described someone good who carried a sword. He went on to explain that I would be a paladin and then talked me through an adventure. There weren't any dice involved, but it was a pure role playing experience. My paladin fought a displacer beast and won, gaining a bright silver shield. We never actually played, because we went back home the next day, but laying there in the dark and going through this adventure in my head resonates as one of the cooler RPG experiences I've had.

What was your WORST RPG session like? There's a tie. The first one was when I showed up and another other players had basically taken all of my characters and duplicated them giving them similar names and powers. I had to go through the entire game pretending my characters wouldn't notice the not so subtle differences because we were trying to get new players in the game. We talked to the kid afterward and he understood, but that was pure hell.

Second was when I played a game and the DM and one of the other players were best friends and the other player constantly rolled over the NPCs with his ego (even if they were gods) because he knew that the DM would never kill his character. My character, on the other hand, was killed in the first round of combat in an arena against a monster that had 16 attacks that all did massive damage. I didn't go back for a second game.

Who is your all-time favorite person to game with? The DM with the richest world and NPCs I've ever played in, Kevin Dunn. Almost a tie is Jay, my first Marvel GM (and ongoing D&D DM)– because he's fair, and isn't afraid to change things up and take big risks to make the game interesting.

Do you have anything gaming-related to plug? Buy WindZone. It's an RPG I co-wrote and did all of the illustrations. You can Google WindZone RPG or ask your local shop to order it from Key20 direct.


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