Features > Tell Me About Your Character > Cyrano Jones

Your name: Cyrano Jones
Location: San Francisco Penninsula, California, USA
Age: 36 (The atomic number of Krypton, the number of chambers in the Wu Tang Clan's first album, the number of views of Hokusai's Mount Fuji, and the number of plays in Shakespeare's First Folio.)
Sex: Manly, but still sensitive and in touch with my emotions.

Family: Father and mother in Idaho, brother and wife and passel in Utah, sister and husband and passel in Arizona. All the pressure to bring forth grandchildren has been relieved, and non-immediate surviving family is surprisingly small thus avoiding the need for painful and awkward family reunions.

Pets: None currently. My parents' house was a menagerie, composed of multiple dogs and cats, budgies, ferrets, rats, guinea pigs, a cockatiel and a skunk at various times. If California ever repeals its ferret discrimination laws, I'd consider housing a ferret friend again.

Religion: Typical California newage pastiche: season dependant nature celebration with a healthy dash of Taoism, Zen, and common sense. I am still fascinated by Christian mythology, however.

Political party/affiliation: Monster Raving Looney, officially. Neither Democrat nor Republican, neither Labour nor Tory. Leaning toward Socialist economically and Libertarian socially.

Education: I spent ten years going to school until I ran out of money, going to
work until I had more money then repeating the cycle. I majored in about
sixteen things, I learned to dance tango, I took 'Introduction to Shakespeare'
and 'Hitchcock as Literature' each twice (not because I'd failed), spent a
few years as a college radio DJ, worked in local theater up until they
asked me to direct, and never once got invited to a party where girls
got drunk and took off their clothes.

I finally settled on a double major of PoliSci and History. And then I
forgot to graduate.

Hobbies/Activities: I write fiction (nothing good enough to even submit to a publisher), I create music mix CDs, I'd some day like to get back into theater, I'd some day like to DJ again, I'd like to dance again, I'd like to play the guitar. There are too many things to do in life, and not enough time. I'm submitting a bill to Congress to expand the day's length to 38 hours, so as to facilitate more hobby time.

Just to test the stereotype - Have you ever lived, or are you currently living, in your parents' basement? I have been living with a wonderful housemate for over five years now, who shares her toys and her cats with me. When I was a teenager, I lived in the basement because it was delightfully cool in the summertime but I was one of those who, come eighteen, hiked himself out and got a room in a house full of college students. We lived fifteen feet from the railroad tracks, but the house was wonderful - solid, exposed wood beams, a garden in the yard, and a giant tree which demanded to be climbed. And no matter what Jennifer says, we never used the tree to peep at her.

What is your favorite way to spend a weekend? Surrounded by friends, possibly at the coast or in the woods, with very little in the way of planned structured activity that demands that everybody be a specific place at a specific time. Food should be, of course, wonderful, and the conversation should be free flowing. There should be stories, either told by participants or read or watched. And there should be hugs.

What is the most frightening thing you've ever done? Moved to California with a pickup truck of stuff on a month's notice and landed on a friend's front porch with no job and little in the way of savings.

What is your favorite word? Currently, 'pan-Turanianism', the idea that all Turkish-speaking peoples should be incorporated into a Turkish SuperState. Not because I like the idea, but because I like the sounds the word makes as it cascades across the palate. I got it in a spam email this week, and it promptly replaced the old favorite, 'clitoriste', which I read in Neal Stephenson's "Tree Frightener" trilogy. A close runner up, from the same email, is 'muse-ridden'.

How many languages do you speak? I am well versed in American English, and have forgotten a great deal of German, Spanish and ASL. I love words, and am fascinated by the many ways in which people fail to communicate. My first girlfriend was fluent in French and so I learned a smattering in self-defence. Watching Hong Kong films gained me a pastiche of Chinese words, although I could not tell you whether they are Cantonese or Mandarin or whether I am stressing them properly. I learned a little Russian and a little Italian, and in my work at the international airport I am picking up the occasional Tagalog.
How many languages do I speak? Quite a few. How many do I know? Pretty much just the one. In the words of James Nicoll, the English language doesn't "just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I have always wanted to be small, willowy and lithe. Even if I were to become emaciated, I would still have broad burly shoulders and be six feet tall, so that's not something that's going to happen in a real hurry. And so in gaming I tend toward the high-dex acrobatic characters.

If you could pick any other time period to live in - including the future - which would it
be, and why?
I would want to live in the Jules Verne/Steampunk Victorian Pulp era (with perhaps just a dash of fantasy/occult--maybe elves and a hint of Elder Gods) that never actually existed, so I could be a dashing lantern jawed hero who went about saving beautiful dragons from fire-breathing robot maidens and flying zeppelins.

What is one thing that you regret that you would go back and change if you could? My past is the sum total of choices and decisions I have made. My wish would be not to go back and change anything but to *learn more* from the choices I made so I can make better choices in the future.

What is the one thing you want to do before you die? Arise from the cavernous depths of my alchemical laboratory, with the cure for stupidity clutched in my creosote-encrusted hand.

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?
Something that doesn't clash with the shoreline, I'd think. We may cop out and just go with basic black--it's true, it doesn't clash with anything. There would be some witticism on it, translated into Latin, encircling a stylized icon of a coyote. And not one of those cheesy silhouettes like you can get at the gas stations in Albuquerque either, something classy.

Tell us about your favorite RPG character that you've ever played.

My favorite character was probably Nitya Sethuraman. It was a
GURPS 3.0 campaign, modern occult, in the style of X-Files or the
Friday the 13th television series. The campaign was called "After
Midnight" and everybody was an employee of the After Midnight
Detective Agency. It took place in the Corvallis/Albany/Philomath
area of Oregon, where I was living at the time. Nitya was min/maxed
to make her a linguistic genius, fluent in some thirty-two languages.

She was the library, she was the giant throbbing brain in the tiny four-foot six-inch body. She also had a stubborn streak, and could be provoked into displaying a vitriolic temper. She'd just graduated from Berkeley with a PhD at a prodigiously young age, and knew everything and had no patience or tolerance for stupid people. She drove a Kawasaki Ninja, something light enough that she could pick it up if it fell over. I very quickly ended up the Game Master, so she didn't get a lot of time as a PC. But she was glorious as NPC and newly-promoted head of the agency when the former game master stepped down and the former head of the agency had an unexpected and rather fatal encounter with that week's case.

What are your favorite RPGs? I love the variety and crossover potential of GURPS, I enjoy the quick and dirty mechanics of Feng Shui, the worlds of Seventh Sea and Deadlands, and there's this home brew system I crafted which involves using Tarot cards instead of dice--I think it really facilitates the story telling aspects of the game. Come over here and let me show you how it works....

What was your first RPG session like? I was one of those kids who, in the early '80s, discovered AD&D. We cracked out our first game in the computer room after school, and I remember very little about it except that the entire idea was new and exciting, and a grand adventure. I think my friend Rich Bushell was our DM, and there were definitely kobolds involved.

What was your WORST RPG session like? Let's just say that my worst RPG session involved another AD&D game, a cramped and ill-ventilated mobile home, a television with professional wrestling, discussions over when the Masters of the Universe sequel would come out, a coffee table full of salty snacks and a group of adventurers with Truly Mighty Armaments, Magical Artifacts which mimicked the powers of the Gods and ludicrous amounts of hit points. I was a character surrounded by action figures, and I couldn't wait to go home. Let me stress, however, that everybody else had a perfectly delightful time. This was not a Bad Game, this was simply a game in which my goals were at odds with the rest of the group's goals.

Who is your all-time favorite person to game with? My two favorite gaming groups--because at its heart the chemistry between players is just as important as the players themselves--are the Ar Noir gang and the Seventh Sea gang. Ar Noir was Post-WWII Los Angeles with magic leaking into the world through an atomic hole. Megan, Cindy, Tony and Laura were amazing. Sometimes they were far more invested in the world and its minutiae than I was. We had a LJ account where I would post newspaper articles, a web page, and hours and hours of post-game discussion and debate. We got a deep exploration of Film Noir style morality and ethics, and what I hope was a hell of a puzzle to solve which worked itself to a cinematic epic conclusion in the desert at White Sands against the armies of destruction. Plus, we used this gaming system with Tarot cards instead of dice. Come on over here and let me show you how it works...

The Seventh Sea campaign is still kind of ongoing, and there are pirates and intrigue and vikings and flashing blades and buckling swashes. The style is completely different, and instead of grey moral decisions and cryptic puzzles we have broad characterizations and broadcast plot twists which Ellie, Leigh Ann, Cari, Angie, Clay and Laurie all do their best to try not to notice until their characters have been doomed by them in classic serial adventure form. They leap atop moving carriages to wrest the reins from the evil henchman's hands, they swing from chandeliers, they flee in terror from zombies lurking in the Paris sewers. It's a hoot.

Do you have anything gaming-related to plug? Well, anything Jess Hartley is writing (especially in the new White Wolf:Promethean line or her prodigious editing for Steampower Publishing) is bound to be fabulous. And Evil Hat Games should soon be releasing Spirit of the Century (pulp role playing), Don't Rest Your Head (damned creative dream roleplay setting) and later this year the Dresden Files RPG based on the books by Jim Butcher. Also, there's this gaming system based on Tarot cards instead of dice that I created. Come over here, I'll show you how it works...


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