Features > Tell Me About Your Character > William J. Walton

Your name: William J. Walton - I usually go by Dr Awkward online
Location: Felton, Delaware
Age: 39
Sex: Male

Family: My lovely life partner Paula, and two beautiful and intelligent daughters, Aylish (10) and Nolah (7)

Pets: We love critters, and usually have a lot of them - cats, fish, and guinea pigs. Our old friend Bella, a border collie, passed on earlier this year, and it may be a while before we get another dog. She is dearly missed.

Education: Some college. I dabbled in Music Education and Computer Information Systems majors before my ADD took over.

Hobbies/Activities: I play guitar (and give lessons), mandolin, banjo, and lap dulcimer. I play banjo in the Downtown Dixieland Band, which is part of the Milford Community Band in Milford, Delaware. I draw, paint, write fiction, and even do a little bit of sculpting.

Community service: I volunteer at a theater in Milford, painting sets and helping out in any other ways that I can. I work on lots of projects with two different Girl Scout troops (one for each daughter). I used to work with the Creative Mentoring program at a school in Milford, and I'm hoping to start that up again someday. I also maintain a web project called BeQuest that encourages gamers to get involved in philanthropic endeavors.

Just to test the stereotype - Have you ever lived, or are you currently living, in your
parents' basement?
No, we lived in a mobile home for all of my childhood and young adulthood. So no basement to speak of. But for two years, I lived in my sister's
basement, before moving in with Paula.

What is the most frightening thing you've ever done? Rode the Loch Ness
Monster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. It was at our Senior trip in 1985. I'm terribly
acrophobic, so hopping onto a rollercoaster was one of those illogical impulse things
that teens like to do.

Which of your accomplishments are you the most happy with? You're clicking on it!

What was your first word? "Cookie"

What is your favorite time of year, and why? It's a hard choice between Spring and Fall, the seasons of change. I usually lean harder towards Spring, because it leads to Summer, and it has my birthday in it.

What is your most prized physical possession? This changes from time to time (mostly 'cause I have a LOT of junk!) but at the moment, it'd have to be the sweatsock that my friend Ken gave me for my 23rd birthday that is signed by three of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I'd love to have an awesome singing voice, like Geoff Tate from Queensryche, or Jeff Martin from The Tea Party.

What was your favorite toy as a child? Lego, for certain. Here comes one of those "back in my day" stories - I was young at a time when Lego wasn't easy to come by, and most of the pieces you could get were simple bricks. They didn't carry them in the department stores, only in this one hobby shop in Dover called Cobel's (which is also where I bought my first AD&D hardcover books, years later). We didn't have the little Lego people at the time, but I did get a set once that had larger people, with arms that had elbow joints.

I remember getting an "Idea Book" that had no text in it at all - probably to make it more universal to different countries - and it had all sorts of unusual pieces that you couldn't find in most of the sets that made it to the United States. I can remember wanting some of those pieces more than anything.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Lots of things! A stuntman like Evel Knievel, a cartoonist/animator, a rock star, a railroad engineer, and a disc jockey, to name a few. Of course, I wanted to do all of them at once!

What is your favorite section of the newspaper? The comics, but I also read the horoscopes and the advice columns. Both are great inspiration for plot and character ideas.

What are three things you can't live without? Something to read, some music to listen to, and someone to love.

Tell us about your favorite RPG character that you've ever played.
Yoromi Chaiotro, a sparrow hengeyokai kensai that I made right after the first edition of Oriental Adventures for AD&D came out (which would be around
1986). Hengeyokai are animals that can change into human
form at will, but Chai had been raised around humans
and was convinced that he was actually a man who
could change into a sparrow.

Most of his misadventures centered around this misunderstanding, and why
people weren't as impressed as he thought they should be whenever he changed into a little
black bird without any warning or provocation.

He also had a very loose grasp of the Common tongue - this was a problem, as he had been seperated from Kara-Tur, his homeland, in a shipwreck, and was experiencing the wonders of the Western world for the first time. One of his quirks was that he had somehow gotten the idea that "Have a nice day" was the worst possible insult that someone could utter to another person, and was even angered enough to hurl it at an opponent once.

He was innocent, naive, kind, and full of wonder, and I really miss him.

What are your favorite RPGs? D&D, Toon, Gamma World, Call of Cthulhu, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Over the Edge, and any RPG that I can play with my kids.

I'm a big fan of quirky settings and general weirdness. My dream RPG would be a mix of Solid! (the D20 Blaxploitation Experience), Urban Arcana, and Gamma World - something like Shaft meets Shadowrun after the Apocalypse, with mutated animals and such. I'd also need a group of gamers who are as kooky as I am to truly enjoy it. (Lotsa luck there...)

What was your first RPG session like? It was a game of basic D&D one summer evening, in the front yard of some kids who lived near my sister's house, with whom I was spending the summer. The school year before, I had heard these terrible rumors about this game that made kids kill themselves and others, and when I found out that these neighbors of my sister knew how to play, I begged them to teach me. I just knew it had to be some overblown myth.

They helped me through generating a character, but for equipment, all I got were the clothes on my back and whatever rocks I could find. After we started playing, I overheard some goblins in the forest, plotting some sort of nefarious deed, so I winged a rock at one of their heads and knocked him out. I figure that was the moment when I got hooked, right there.

What was your WORST RPG session like? If I had to pick just one, it would be the Lankhmar game I played at Origins 91. Paula was there as well, and we signed up for it to try to play one game together before the con was over.

One of the other players brought his son with him, who was around 10 at the time. He was very eager to play, but the DM really wasn't skilled at handling a child in a game with several adults. The kid would try some things that the DM didn't feel were appropriate, and the DM would stop the game to argue it with him while the rest of us would sit around waiting for the game to progress.

The DM also had some problems with pacing. The adventure had us exploring for something (can't remember what, exactly) in the sewers beneath Lankhmar, and in the course of the three-hour game, our party moved about sixty feet in a single-file line. My character got to take one action during the whole game - turning around to react to a sound he heard behind him. It really would have been more enjoyable for everyone if the DM had simply paced it better, and let us get to our destination without measuring every step.

But, something good did come out of it - I learned a very long and painful lesson in the importance of pacing, and another in being patient with younger players.

Who is your all-time favorite person to game with? Paula, Aylish, and Nolah, of course!

Do you have anything gaming-related to plug? Other than the site that this very page is a part of (and all of its combined projects), I am also involved in Square One, a podcast for newbie gamers with one of my gaming heroes, Sam Chupp. I also try to make appearances at some great cons that have graciously asked me to be a regular returning guest - Econocon and Dexcon, and I can usually be spotted at Origins running role-playing games for new players and young people.


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