Your name: Rich
Family: Mom and dad,
both quite elderly. Eldest of three; none of whom game. One daughter,
30, two ex-wives -- none of whom game. Fiance and stepson, both gamers
to different degrees.
Fresno, California, USA
Three territorial adult cats -- Janey, Sophia, and Precious.
Eclectic neopaganism. I worship the natural world, celebrate the cycle
of the year, and the pattern of birth, life, death and rebirth.
Attended Modesto (CA) area public schools to the age of 18. Was always
the "weird guy," into military stuff and things like board wargames.
Enlisted in the US Navy, found board wargamers galore, and this new
thing (in the mid-70s) called "RPGs." I picked up the white box set of
D&D from Enterprise 1701 in Orlando, FL, and never looked back.
Went to college to study Electronics and and continued to
Blogging, Facebook, computers, WoW, Macs, coffee.
to test the stereotype - Have you ever lived, or are you currently
living, in your parents' basement? I am not, have not and
have never lived in my parent's basement.
What is your favorite way to spend a weekend? The
Sunday Pathfinder Society games at the local FLGS, going
out to eat with my fiance.
What is your favorite time of year, and why? The six weeks
between the official start of autumn and Halloween (Samhain). I use
this time to evaluate my progress on goals I set the previous year,
celebrate wins and identify opportunities for growth and positive change.
What is your most prized physical possession? My Macbook.
Which of your accomplishments are you the most happy with?
Back in the early 90s I was a contributor to gaming magazines -- SJ
Games' Roleplayer, Autoduel Quarterly, and GDW's Challenge. One of my
articles in Challenge was about variants for FASA's old Renegade
Legion: Centurion tank boardgame. FASA , publisher of Renegade Legion,
picked up the article and included some of my variant rules it a
supplement. I got a nice letter and a modest check for my ideas.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would strive to be unflappably calm, to not lose my temper or flip out emotionally.
Did you have any embarassing nicknames as a kid?
In boot camp (OK, not childhood, early adulthood -- close enough) I got
tagged with the nick name of "Moose." That happened during the first
run at boot camp. I was abysmally out of shape when I reported for
active duty. As a guy 6'3" and well over 200 lbs, I moved like,
well, a moose.
What was your favorite toy as a child? BB gun. I loved shooting.
What makes you cry? Gallant sacrifice. A high degree of spiritual resonance.
What is your favorite section of the newspaper? The op-ed page.
If you could have one superpower, which power would you pick? The power to grant cluefulness to the clueless.
What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be an astronaut, fighter pilot or scientist.
What is your favorite mode of transportation? A good book.
If you could pick any other time period to live in - including the future - which would it be, and why?
History fascinates the hell out of me. If I had to pick one era to live
in, it would be in the early Dark Ages. The Byzantine Empire, from the
final fall of Rome until the late 11th century.
What is one thing that you regret that you would go back and change if you could?
I would have embraced my nerdiness / started flying my geek flag far
sooner. I did not grok that Geek is Good fully until I was over 40.
Instead of going for the fast degree in hardware, I would have gone all
in for computer science.
What is the one thing you want to do before you die? Write the Great American RPG adventure.
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? The flag would be a heraldic device.
The field would be divided "per bend" green and yellow ("vert and Or")
with a castle in the middle, green where the field is yellow and yellow
where the field is green ("counterchanged"). The heraldry is from one
of the kingdoms in my long running game world.
What advice would you give someone who says he or she wants to create and run his or her own game world?
As a game master and world builder, your primary job is to create and
present an environment so immersive, so evocative and so compelling
that the players will be entertained enough to keep coming back for
more. I have done this rather successfully with my decade-plus old game
The main way I have done this is to never forget this
simple fact: If you are going to create a world, you need to know
something about, or preferably, have some degree of interest in
virtually everything. Read lots and lots of history as well as fantasy
novels. Read good literature as well as popcorn. Many of the pros
working at WotC and Paizo have degrees in things like literature,
history and anthropology. Do not be afraid to adapt, I mean steal, the
good ideas you uncover in your reading. Look for patterns and models,
then creatively combine them, because there are few truly new things
under any sun.
Finally, make the motto of the US Coast Guard, Semper Paratus ("Always Prepared") your guide. Prep your games throughly.
Tell us about your favorite RPG character that you've ever
played. Meet Uncle John Sings-The-Truth. Galliard. Homid, Children
of Gaia. Den Father of the Gold Hills Sept, Singer of Tales, Healer of
Bodies and Minds -- my Werewolf: The Apocalypse / Laws of the Wild
(2nd edition) LARP character, Uncle John is an aging Deadhead hippy
stoner / healer / social activist who, due to a lot of Very Bad Weed, did
not First Change until he was well into his fifties.
John carried a fetish guitar, a "Harmony Lute" given from the
hands of none other than the Umbral spirit of Jerry Garcia himself (in
this chronicle, the ST ruled that Jerry was indeed a CoG, not kinfolk).
After a short cubhood, John progressed rapidly into the leadership of
his sept. John had a unique advantage: most Werewolf characters first
start becoming aware of their status as werewolves at puberty.
John spent puberty so stoned that First Change was suppressed . . .
until he got busted for the very first time at the age of fifty and
spent enough time in stir to detoxify the THC enough for Change to
happen. John had two or three times more life experience than the
average cub, which was something the elders took immediate note of and
made use of. John called fools into account at Moots -- I, the player,
actually wrote poems and parodied songs to sing at Moots. I was THAT
into this character. Perhaps his greatest adventure was when he was
inducted into the Silver Pack. The Silver Pack is something of an
elite. Silver Packs are gathered by the totem spirit of Phoenix to face
down the greatest perils to Gaia.
was called to face his greatest fear -- that lurking within his gentle,
calm pacifistic soul was a raging beast he had only just began to get
to know. He had to meet with and come to terms at long last with his
inner beast by fighting for his life with a Ahroun Get of Fenris. John
acquitted himself well, but John had no chance of winning against a
He went down swinging, and singing. As he
lay bleeding in the circle of honor, his last sight was a silvery flame
as it consumed his body utterly. In the spirit realm, John
saw the totem avatar of Phoenix, the Silver Pack's patron. As the
player, I did not know anything about rules or mechanics, as this was
pure roleplaying. A small voice inside my head told me to trust the ST,
that you are not dead until the ST says you are. The Pagan in me saw an
initiatory death-rebirth rite coming... "Uncle John, Arise reborn from
the ashes of your destruction as My Champion. May the Wyrm tremble, for
the Silver Pack is reborn!"
I was in tears. The STs set this up as an end-of-season award for the five best-played characters.
What are your favorite RPGs? Pathfinder, D&D 3.5, Traveller: The New Era, Car Wars.
What was your first RPG session like? White box 1st edition D&D,
at Naval Training Center, Orlando. Spring 1978. I played a dwarf
fighter, Xenon of Nucleon. It was a dungeon crawl through the classical
"multilevel underground defense installation" full of 10 x 10 rooms
with random encounters. Xenon won for himself a pair of "Gloves of
Rollerball" -- spiked gautlets on steroids -- and a Vulcan Lirpa from Star Trek.
Three attacks a round, at 1st level. Hack, slash, kill the monsters,
grab the loot, go to town to ogle barmaids and pick fights. I was in
What was your WORST RPG session like?
Add one part last-minute volunteer GM. Stir in a Pathfinder Society
Organized Play session. Sprinkle the GM with 'I've never GMed in my
whole life, but I have played D&D 3.0 once. Garnish with "Rich had
a bad week, and would have GMed himself if he had not been pressed for
prep time." Bake with total aggravation culminating in everyone leaving
the table in complete disgust when the GM threw massively overpowered
CR 6-8 encounters at a 1st thru 3rd level group because he did not know
that Pathfinder Society scenarios are scaled to the party level.
Who is your all-time favorite person to game with?
My Comic Grapevine (Lodi, CA) groups from the late 90s and early 2000s:
Kajir, for the Mad SCIENCE!; Heather, for whipping out a Wand of Wonder
in a bar fight; ChrisR, for bitch-slapping Evil; ChrisB, for playing
Evil so Good; ChrisG, the Airborne Ranger; Steven, for the Flying
Wheelchair of DOOM; Brian, for Grond; Rob, for a weapon so enchanted
that it needed a spreadsheet to resolve its full damage; Diane, for
knowing when to surrender a major artifact; and David. for being The
SPY. Also right up there is Mike, who played in games at two
consecutive DunDraCons. Best. Damned. Paladin. EVER.
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