Features > Tell Me About Your Character > Joe Leven

Name: Grimm Brightstave (pseudonym for Joe Leven)
Location: Philadelphia PA
Age: I’m 43
Sex: I’m a Polyamorous Bisexual male identified in the ‘gay vernacular’ as a Bear. I have been ‘married’ to the same man for 12 years now.

Religion/Spirituality: I’m a neo-pagan / solitary Wiccan.

Pets: I have 2 ferrets (Jafar and Rascal) 2 Dogs (Ginger and Bruno) and 2 cats (Bumster and Goblin).

Hobbies/Activities: Besides gaming I do leather crafting, chandelling, and I’m starting to get into sewing. I used to draw all the time but for some reason I have gotten away from that.

What is your favorite way to spend a weekend? Gaming and snuggling with my husband.

What was your favorite toy as a child? My GI Joe. I also had a Ken doll and they lived together. I wonder why I’m gay.

Did you have any embarassing nicknames as a kid? As a kid my family always called me Joey. I still think that’s the reason I go by my stage name now. Very few people call me by my true name. At school I was called Sasquatch. (I was big and hairy even as far back as 10 years old. My mom used to say I whipped through puberty overnight.

Just to test the stereotype - Have you ever lived, or are you currently living, in your parents' basement? I have indeed lived in my parents’ basement. I grew
up with my 2 sisters and my parents in a 3 bedroom house. When I was 10
my mother had our basement turned into 3 rooms. One was for my sister to
live in so that the girls could have their own rooms. Eventually I was
‘banished’ to the basement as my mother wanted me to have room to
game with my friends.

What makes you cry? Everything makes me cry. I remember an old Garfield
the cat TV special where Odie gets sent to the pound and I cried for like an hour
after the show ended.

What is the most frightening thing you've ever done? Trust in myself. My mother coddled me very badly and I sometimes realize just how much I don’t know about to survive in the world and I’m middle-aged.

What can you not live without? I don’t think I can live without gaming at this point. I went through an almost 8 year period without any gaming and I was a wreck because of it. I need that imaginative release and the camaraderie.

What did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be a star when I grew up. It didn’t matter what kind but I wanted to be recognized for being me. I wound up as a holistic healer and spiritual adviser which is sort of the same thing.

What is your favorite form of transportation? Car. I love to take long drives to help me think.

What is the one thing you want to do before you die? I just want to make my life count for something more than just being alive. As a gay man I will not (baring a miracle) have kids to carry on my lineage so I want to leave the world better than when I arrived here.

If you could pick any other time period to live in, which would it be? I would live in ancient Greece. Brutal yes but some of the best thinkers in all of time.

If you could have one superpower, which power would you pick? Flight. I sometimes get so entrenched in what I’m doing that I lose perspective and flight would let me raise above all this and breathe the air.

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?
My personal flag would be the fantastic symbol a friend made for my business. It’s a tribal bear with a swirl in the belly and 3 stars it is following. Thanks Komochiko!

Tell us about your favorite RPG character that you've ever played.
Diamondshard Glyphandar. He’s an Illumian Artificer in our latest game. The
system is Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 and we just started the game a
few months ago. We document the game in a story hour over on EN
World - http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=161689

He is an Illumian which is an offshoot of the human race and his specialty
is to make magic items. My favorite thing about his class is Homunculi
small biomechanical helpers. You can read about him and the rest of the
Blue Tyger Legion for yourself but Glyf’s best actions are not really printed.

He has a homunculus called Grinder who is a dog type of construct who is turning into a great asset to the team. One time we were faced with 2 frost giants guarding a gate we needed to get through. Due to Grinders 50’ move base I had him run up to the giants before any of the players could get there. Zad thought I was nuts to do it but when he realized Grinder took the AOOs from the giants so the other players wouldn’t have to he was very thankful. Glyf’s best quality is his dedication to the team. He’s the closest thing to me playing myself I have ever done. (If he were a Kender… Then he would be me).

What are your favorite RPGs? I like D&D (any edition is cool with me), Call of Cthulhu, Paranoia, Mutants and Masterminds, Champions... Heck I’ll play anything - bring on the Bunnies and Burrows.

What was your first RPG session like?
My first gaming experience was in 1978 in this guy's parents’ basement. We played D&D (1st edition) and my character was Donaldor the fighter. It was god awful and we always seemed to be playing against the DM not with him.

What was your WORST RPG session like?
Has Bruce Cordell written all over it and is the only game we decided never happened. Our characters were going through a pre-written module and it was a blood bath. We would have had a TPK but we all decide it just never happened and put the evil module down.

Who is your all-time favorite person to game with? My gaming group. WizarDru, Komochiko, Blinkensopps, J, DM_Scorch, and Wingblaze. We’ve been gaming together for over a decade and I hate to think what I would ever do without them in my life.


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