Features > Tell Me About Your Character > Andrew French

Your name: Andrew "Aethan" French
Location: Boston, MA
Age: 41 (so far)
Sex: Male

Family: I have a small passel. My Dad passed away a few years back. My Mom is around, along with a guy I introduce as "one of my fathers" who she was romantically involved with before and after her relationship with my Dad. I have a half-sister and half-brother, though I donˇt think of them as "halfs". My brother is married and has a son, my awesome nephew Tim (taking him to Disney World this fall. Woot!) And Iˇm married to a wonderful guy, Steve, who is my favorite person in the world. My best friend, as well as my husband.

Pets: Two doves, named Leon and Noel (and no, we didnˇt name them)

Education: Went to High School in Woburn MA (nothing like being a closeted homosexual, gamer, geek, chorus singer, and drama club member in a jock school). For college, I went to Emerson in Boston. What an eye-opener!

Hobbies/Activities: Cooking, Movies, Music (I sing at a local Renn Faire), Reading, Travel

Just to test the stereotype - Have you ever lived, or are you currently living, in your parents' basement? Never ever. Though when I was still living with my Mom, I turned my closet into a computer room. It was a pretty big walk in closet, and I was able to assemble a small computer desk in there. I had my Commodore 128 in there, all my games, and I decorated the walls with fun, geeky posters. It was my place to really cutmyself off from the world.

What is your favorite way to spend a weekend? This is a really
question. I love going to Disney World, but I donˇt think Iˇve ever
gone just for the weekend. Iˇd have to say that my favorite thing to do is to
head to Gloucester, MA. My Mom bought a beach house there - itˇs a little
cabin about 100 yards from the actual beach. Gloucester is up on Cape
Ann,which is far superior to the overly touristy Cape Cod in my humble
opinion. There are great restaurants, great little shops, beaches to comb,
an island to swim out to, and just the pleasant relaxation of breaking up
the norm of location and schedule. Thatˇs something I truly enjoy.

What is the most frightening thing you've ever done? I make light of it a lot, and it was awesome at the same time, but I once jumped out of a plane. In retrospect, though I was too much in awe of the experience to really be scared, thatˇs actually some scary stuff! Heck, just to get up there to jump, I rode in a plane the size of a VW Bugthat was scary allon its own.

What is your favorite word? Fustigate, which means "to beat with a stick." I was taught that by a college history teacher of mine who felt that America's collective vocabulary had suffered greatly. He used to include vocabulary terms on his tests. Bless you, Rev. John Coffee!

What is your favorite time of year, and why? I actually really love all the seasons, which is why I prefer to live in New England. When all's said and done here, there's a time every year in Autumn?the leaves have changed, and they're beautiful. It's still warm, but crisp in the evening. The foods of that time of year are things like turkey, apples, stews and soups - all manner of soul food for me. And people have just started to light fireplaces, so there's a smoky scent on the air. That's my favorite time of year. Also, there's Halloween!

Do you have a useless talent that no one else that you know can do? Yes! I can smell when milk is going bad, about two days before anyone else around me. I think I have a bear nose.

If you could be one superhero, which hero would you be? Superman. Hands down. Not for the powers, though those are cool, too. But because Superman always tries to do what he thinks is right. And he never gives up, no matter how badly he's being beaten, no matter how rough the odds are. Although he's an outsider, although he could do anything with his powers, he chooses to help people, and to protect them. In a way, he's the quintessential chivalrous romantic knight in the modern age, and I admire the nature of the character greatly.

What did you want to be when you grew up? If I recall right, when I was little, I wanted to either be an archaeologist or an astronaut. Then I wanted to be an actor in musical theater. Now, I just want to be happy. And I am.

What is your favorite mode of transportation? This may sound a little kooky, but I love traveling by bus. When we travel from Boston to New York, we take the Bolt Bus - free wifi, electrical outlets to recharge cell phones, laptops, etc., comfy seats, and usually a stop at an amazing, huge truck stop. Every kind of jerky one could want! I love snuggling down in the comfy seat with my laptop or a book, a bag of jerky, and a soda. Knowing that I don't have to think about driving just makes me not care how long it takes to get there.

What is one thing that you regret that you would go back and change if you could? When I was little, my Dad and I traveled a lot, camping, going to Disney World, and so on. Before he passed, my Dad was ill for a long time. During that time, we talked a lot about traveling together, this time in Europe, when he felt better. I wish now that we had gone to Europe earlier. He died never having left the North American continent his whole life, but he had the heart of an adventurer. Sadly, he had the finances of a guy who can't NOT spend money on the latest gadget.

What is the one thing you want to do before you die? Ever since he was little, my husband has wanted to go to Australia. I work in the travel industry. For every ten years I last at my company, I get a free trip for myself and a companion. When I hit the 10 year mark, I was restricted to a number of trips. New Zealand was available, but Australia wasn't. So we
went to New Zealand, and it was amazing, but I know Steve still wants to go to Australia. I only have about 7.5 years to go before I hit 20 years, and then I get to pick any trip my company offers. There's a trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, and I'd really like to take him on that

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? Let's make it a blue bear, rampant, on a white field. Underneath will be a Latin motto for 'If thou canst read this, thou art too close.'

Tell us about your favorite RPG character that you've ever played. I'm almost always the DM, so my actual characters tend to stick out in my mind, and there's no contest who my favorite is. Scott Little, aka Skittle, is a 10 year old mouse pooka in my friend Whitt's Changeling:the Dreaming (Revised) game. In his mortal life, he was this scared, awkward kid who was dealing with the loss of a father (long before I lost my own), a
vulnerable mother, a harsh step-father (who wanted him to go to military
school), and a bratty half-sister. In his Changeling seeming, he was a brave,
witty faerie sorcerer of great power (after the campaign progressed for a
while). His friends soon to learn the value of listening to Skittle's plans,
even if they occasionally vetoed the bits I had put in "because that will be

One of the big story arcs of the campaign involved the young knight, Sir Fane, who, with his unseelie mother's help, wanted to become heir to the County we lived in. I've often joked that the evil Countess had spent years putting all her pieces into place, but it only took us a weekend to rescue her husband, the good, Seelie Count, find the artifact that she'd been searching for to keep it away from her, rescue Skittle's mother, defeat the dragon the Countess had set to guard Skittle's mom, rescue Skittle's girlfriend (an unseelie cat pooka who worked for Fane that Skittle had completely subverted), and capture Sir Fane. That was a damn good weekend - in real time, those sessions took months, but only a weekend went by in the game - it was a breakneck pace, and I felt exhausted when it was over.

What are your favorite RPGs? Dungeons & Dragons (started playing with the original blue box version of Basic D&D - chits instead of dice and B1: In Search of the Unknown. I've tried every version, and yes, I *love* 4E), Call of Cthulhu, & Changeling the Dreaming. After that, in no particular order, I also love Pendragon, Star Wars Saga Edition, Ars Magica, Deadlands, Skyrealms of Jorune (the world; not the system), & Gamma World (psyched for a new edition).

What was your first RPG session like? That was a game of blue box basic D&D. It was my copy, and I was the DM. I had taught myself and then my friends to play. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing, and we had a blast. That was played at my Mom's house, around the kitchen table. My Mom was stunningly tolerant. She liked the games at our house, because then she knew where I was.

What was your WORST RPG session like? Ah, yes. I remember it well. It was a game of Star Wars (the WotC version just before Saga). A friend of mine liked to run marathon sessions, and he asked to run it at our house, so there was no "Oh, I have to get home" excuses to be made. My husband Steve and I were asked to join a group of three characters that had already been playing together. My friend Neil's character was a tusken raider, and he played up his primitive nature to hilarious effect. But that couldn't counteract the fact that the DM made almost the entire game about the other two characters, one of whom was a
Jedi (very broken character who ignored all the Dark Side rules, used the Force openly in public during the Rebellion era, etc.) and the other was a soldier played by the DM's girlfriend (intensely broken in all ways character. At one point, we had to point out that the E-WEB rifle she was using in one hand was actually a huge gun that needs a team of three and a tripod mount to be used.)

Somewhere in the middle, he trotted out a droid that was, essentially, a Terminator, which made us roll our eyes a lot. Even though Steve's character was mainly a starfighter pilot, and I was a transport pilot, because that's what he told us his game had been lacking, there was only one brief (less than 30 minutes in an 8 hour session) space battle, and the rest of the time, we were just sort of along for the ride. We tried to engage the others in RPing, but basically
only Neil's tusken raider would talk to us. It was a miserable experience, and one I hope never to duplicate.

Who is your all-time favorite person to game with? This is a total no-contest. Not only is Steve a fun guy to be around in general, he's a great role-player, a very funny guy, and he thrives on cinematic action in his gaming, just like me. I adore being in the same game with him as a player, I love the curve balls he tosses to me when I'm DMing, and I love when he runs Star Wars games, because of his massive passion for the genre and the props he makes. (There's a Tatooine city on one of our worktables, complete with billboards, domes, and interior decorations. I can't wait til he runs that game!)

Do you have anything gaming-related to plug? Indirectly, yes. I run a website called BloopWatch.org which is related to Call of Cthulhu and Lovecraft in general. Also, I'm working with some other local D&D players to put together a local community site called bostondnd.com


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