(Editor’s Note: Dave and I switched places for this early Friday Chat, hope you enjoy it.)
Though you might have been bombarded with it already, I was the subject of an interview from Wizards of the Coast’s web content guy Bart Carroll. It was especially cool for me because it allowed me to explore my gaming DNA a bit in a way I wasn’t expecting. In fact, I’ve tried to write posts about it in the past, but never really succeeded… which is weird for me since I generally have no problem writing about myself (as might be evident from the interview.)
(Editor: And you accuse me of always doing it? Pfaa!)
Two of the more interesting questions in it were about my early campaigns and how important other geeky influences are on RPGs. Maybe it’s because my early gaming experiences were at science fiction conventions (which definitely included plenty of outside influences) that like to weave in plenty of “winks” into my campaigns and lift shamelessly from pop culture so much.
Yet at the same time, I’m clearly embarrassed by some of the elements that have made their way into my campaigns. One of my favorite characters to play at conventions was a direct Indiana Jones rip-off named Illinois Smith that used a whip and magic dice. I’ve also mentioned my first campaign that was a disastrous D&D/Doom mashup, and the following campaign that featured everything from Lord Invader and his 12 Penetrators to Gigantor the great big robot. One of my friends played Doctor When the Chronomancer while another one was Arcanus and one a Dwarven master of Blitzes. These PCs would eventually go up against the spacefaring, honorbound Klangrion Empire.
These games were run nearly 15 years ago, and yet, I still cringe when I think about them. Many of the players in my current campaign were in those same campaigns with me, and so we smirk about those old campaigns a lot during our current games.
Now here I am, all this grown up and wise, yet still introducing Sir Mixalot as a major NPC and playing Istarya (Elven for “Wizard Who“) the wand-wielding Eladarin Time Wizard in Bartoneus’s game. I am generally not a fan of kitchen sink settings- every time I’ve played RIFTS or World of Synnibar (yes, I’ve actually played it, multiple times) I don’t enjoy it. Still, my brain continues to mash things up into D&D and make it seem like the coolest, funniest thing in the world.
Thus is my dilemma. Ashamed of my gaming past, willing to cast hypocritical dispersions when done by others, and continuing to do the same thing with no signs of changing. I wonder, how many others feel this way? How many of you have your immersion in a game broken when you find your game rick-rolled? How many of you mix your genres liberally together? Do you have anything you put in your game from elsewhere that you look back on and shake your head in shame? (Don’t worry, I won’t judge, we’ve all been there.)
Do tell! (and thanks to Chatty for giving me the opportunity to borrow his soap box to ask)
(Editor: No problem friend. Wait, dude! Where are the 700 missing words? Sigh…)