For many of us, when you take away rules, campaigns, and plotlines of any good RPG, you realize that what was important all along was the people you were playing with. No one embodied that more than Randall Walker, who passed away last week.
I don’t remember exactly when I started talking to Randy online. Likely it was back when I was running the RPG Bloggers Network and read his blog about his gaming group, the Dead Orcs Society (that would also give him his Twitter handle.) I know that I got to meet him and his awesome wife Anna at Gen Con after that.
That, of course, is the real world stuff. If I were to take Randy and put him into a D&D world, he’d be the quest giver at the tavern.
The one who encourages you, and believes that you are up to the task. The one who was proud of what you had accomplished. He had his own stories of his adventures as well, which he’d be happy to swap with you. Always jovial, yet he would not hesitate to call out nastiness in the world and work to make it better. He’d tell you about elaborate constructions and terrain that filled his storage space, and how he could turn a simple shopping trip into a whole new world. He’d tell you stories of starry frontiers. One of his most popular tales was about the ancient and powerful RAMDU and his Ziggurat of Mirth. He probably even had a few levels of Druid, as a longtime friend to animals.
Mostly though, above all else, he brought people together. The bearded guy at the tavern who puts together the party. That was the Randy I’ll remember: the one that made us not feel like strangers wandering the world on our own quests, but as a group together, and even moreso, like a family.
I had hoped that I would see him again soon, and go on more adventures together. (The last time we did, I was a Rogue pretending to be a Bard amongst a group of all other Bards except for him as the roadie who wasn’t really good at being a roadie – nevermind, a tale for another day.)
Maybe he was called away on a new adventure somewhere. Regardless, the only thing we can do is keep our group together, and keep on fighting, one challenge at a time. Because I know whether he was the old man in the tavern, or your iDad, or just a Twitter stranger, he believed you could do it.
Please consider donating to the Walker family fund to help with their expenses.