Features > Tell Me About Your Character > Cameron Hays

Your name: Cameron Hays
Location: Denver, CO
Age: Late 20s
Sex: Male

Pets: Two cats: Kafka and Asimov

Religion: Apathist (like an agnostic, but not really caring)

Political party/affiliation: Liberal-leaning


Education: Never graduated from high school or completed the GED, but was accepted into Lewis & Clark College as a sophomore transfer student and graduated with a BA in Ethnomusicology. Returned to art school in Seattle for training in audio production and graphic design, but never finished due to the collapse of the dot com economy. Currently attending the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center for a Colorado teaching license (secondary education: social studies) and a Masters degree in Educational Psychology.

Hobbies/Activities: I'm an accomplished musician. As a bass player, I've worked with former members of a number of early nineties grunge luminaries, and once played in the backing band for DJ Muggs from Cypress Hill. I have put out two full-length albums of original music, and have contributed tracks to a number of compilation albums. As a recording engineer and keyboardist/synth programmer, I have recorded, mixed and remixed lots of other people's music.

I also helped establish the Adventure Education Company in Boulder, CO, which is a summer camp program for kids between the ages of 7 and 15. The basis of the camp is a large live action fantasy roleplaying game with each week of the summer being a different story arc. The camp has been in business since 1998 and just gets bigger every year.

What is your favorite way to spend a weekend? It's not very interesting, but I
love to sleep late on the weekends. Then I like to get up for a few hours, read
a book and then take a nap. Maybe I don't get enough sleep on weekdays.

What is the most frightening thing you've ever done? When I was 18,
I went to Sri Lanka as a research assistant. The war there was heating up
and I had some unnerving experiences involving bombs. At one point, I was
arrested in a small village by a military unit who thought I was an arms dealer.
It took most of the day to find an English-speaker and explain who I was.
Traditionally, interrogation by the Sri Lankan military tends to involve broken limbs,
so I was terrified the entire time.

Which of your accomplishments are you the most happy with? It's not easy to get into college without a high school diploma or GED. It was a long process that I don't recommend to anyone, but I'm very pleased that I was able to get where I wanted to be. I'm sure I'll be very pleased with myself when I finish my Masters degree as well.

What is your favorite time of year, and why? I love autumn. Unlike other people, its not the colors that gets me, it's the smells. Around late September, people start lighting up wood-burning stoves and the smell of dead leaves creates a stunning nostalgia for Halloween as a kid.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? After having spent my entire life as a very athletic skinny person, I began to realize at age 29 that my metabolism was changing and that I'd have to actually start being careful what I ate. I want my old metabolism back. Also, I'd be pretty happy to get rid of the affective disorder I've had since I was 11.

What was your favorite toy as a child? I had a stuffed badger named "Badger." Badger was the stoic kind of huggable badger, not the "rip your face off" angry badger.

Do you have a useless talent that no one else that you know can do? I can wiggle my eyebrows independently. On a good day, I can do the same with my ears.

If you could pick any other time period to live in, which would it be, and why? Honestly, I think I should've been born in the mid-1960s in London. I feel like I missed one of the most vibrant musical revolutions (not so much the punk thing, but what happened immediately afterwards) by being too young.

What is one thing that you regret that you would go back and change if you could?
Right after college, I married a woman who turned out to be a con artist and identity thief. As a result, my finances were set back by 10 years. 5+ years later, I'm still dealing with the aftermath, although I recently learned that she was finally incarcerated. If I had one thing to do over again, it would definitely be remaining single.

What is the one thing you want to do before you die? I have recurring dreams of architecture, so I'd like to purchase some land in an isolated wilderness area and build my own house. I imagine I'd have to do a fair amount of studying before I could design something structurally sound, but I think it would be worth it.

Tell us about your favorite RPG character that you've ever played.
I usually end up running roleplaying games rather than participating as a
player, but I did get to play a rotting ghost of an alcoholic birthday party
clown in a Wraith game for a while. His name was Chuckles and his inner
struggle with anxiety actually made him the perfect haunter, since he gained
strength from empathizing with the fear he instilled in others. When my
brother joined as the ghost of a dead lounge singer offed by the mob, we
made a great team of "bio-exorcists."


What are your favorite RPGs? I've played a lot of RPGs, but there have been a few that I've gotten really into. I've played a lot of Shadowrun, and was really into the White Wolf games when they were first introduced (of those, Wraith holds a special place in my heart).

What was your first RPG session like? I was first introduced to RPGs when I was in first grade by my neighbor's older brother, who ran several sessions of D&D for us. I played a cleric (although I had only the faintest idea what that entailed). I thought the entire concept was amazing, and began to draw lots of pictures of dragons, knights and monsters, as well as maps of trap-filled catacombs. I didn't actually start playing RPGs in earnest for another 4 years, however.

What was your WORST RPG session like? Games where there is a big disconnect between everyone's preconceptions are always frustrating. I seem to recall having read Christopher Moore's great book "Blood-sucking Freaks" and wanting to do a Vampire game where the characters were all slackers who had to hold down jobs at convenience stores and warehouses to pay for their unlifestyle. Sort of Clerks with fangs. Instead, everyone showed up with overwrought Anne Rice characters or 400 year old European nobility who wanted to be involved in the machinations of the global vampire conspiracy. There's just no way to tell someone modeled on Lord Byron that he needs to clean the slurpee machine.

Who is your all-time favorite person to game with? I've been really lucky to find great groups to game with. I was very distraught to leave my great group in Seattle behind. That said, I've found that my current group is game for all of my weird ideas. So Dr. James West and Shawn Gustafson, hats off to you.

Do you have anything gaming-related to plug? If you live in Colorado and have kids (or know someone who does), please check out the Adventure Education Company at http://www.adventureeducation.org.

Finally, Shawn Gustafson and I are actually writing a quirky crime drama RPG right now. We'd be interested in meeting anyone interested in helping with the project, specifically dark noir-style artists. We had talked about reviving the Gamelords Theives' Guild setting as a possible spin-off of our main game, but we've had difficulty tracking down the owner of the intellectual property. If anyone knows Tadashi Ehara, please have him get in touch with us.


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