Thursday, March 5, 2009

GM's Day Recognition

Taking a cue from this posting on Gnome Stew about Gamemasters and Dungeonmasters who have been influential on one's gaming career, I figured I owed many in my life a similar level of recognition.  So, as a shout out to my nerd-homies:

  • My Dad and my brother Christian - My father was a grognard in the historical sense of the term: a military veteran wargamer who spent copious hours painting lead miniatures (yes, lead, kids!) with enamel paints.  When my brother, Christian, and I were young, he turned us on to a new game that was taking hobby shops by storm: Dungeons & Dragons.  He figured it would get us to read more, and it did, but I don't think he realized the hobby he was opening us up to.  I hero worshipped my big brother as a kid, and I remember sitting on the stairs of my parents' house - just out of sight of the downstairs landing in the living room, eavesdropping on he and his buddies playing OD&D in the Greyhawk setting.  Their adventures were epic in scope, with the PCs owning keeps and vying for kingdoms, and when I was on my best behavior (sorry for the incident with my crayons and your book about polearms when I was 4, Chris) I was allowed to join in.  I always wanted to play the magic-user because it sounded cool, but I'd blow my magic missle in the first battle, and sit there waiting for another opportunity to get it back and use it again.  Over time, I got my own boxed sets and started running games, but my father and brother served to start the whole thing.
  • Stephan Edel - In college, I got to know the fabulous Edel twins.  Stephan shared many of my interests for all things Cthulhoid, and following graduation we found ourselves co-authoring Call of Cthulhu adventures and running them together at conventions.  Stephan's grasp of how to take situations that should be workaday and turn them into creepy Lovecraftian moments is unparalelled.  Without cheesing this up, I often think of Steven Spielberg films when playing in one of Stephan's games - the pregen PCs are usually "regular joes" who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances (like the police officer in Jaws, Richard Dreyfus' character in Close Encounters...).  Stephan's comfort level with breaking out of the standard time settings for Call of Cthulhu is laudable - very few folks I know run games in the 1970s or 1940s with Cthulhu, and he makes it work.
  • KR Bourgoine - Kerry is a gamer's gamer - runs great games, creates his own rules systems, envisions not just an individual session or module, but large sandbox campaigns where there is always tons to explore...  His ability to run a table and come up with new and interesting ways to take the PCs through his innovative tales and adventures is professional in its quality.  A dear friend of the late Gary Gygax, Kerry's gaming skills are perhaps only surpassed by his knowledge of gaming history itself.  Every session is what gaming should be in its purest sense - an opportunity to get together, swap stories - both in and out of character, and enjoy one's company.
  • Josh Auerbach - It's a great D&D player who realizes when his DM is burned out and offers to take a turn in the DM table.  Many kudos to Josh for taking over the game I'd been running for years at Time Warp Comics, to give me a break and get my DMing chops back in order.  I'm very impressed with how a guy who had never DMed before quickly got his legs under him and exhibits great chops in managing the Swiss-army-knife responsibilities of being a DM - keeping the adventure moving, reacting to player activity/antsyness to alter encounters to keep them interested, and mostly just juggling cats.  
So, right on, guys.  Thanks for being such fine inspirations to me and many other players.  Keep it up, and maybe next year I'll remember to buy you a sack of dice or something for GM's Day.  ;-) 

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