Member Since: 07/28/2011
Location: Carson, CA, United States
I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1983, back when a fellow classmate at the end of a school year showed me a copy of TSR’s first edition, Monster Manual. I’ve been hooked since, following the game through its ever-changing editions.
Although I’ve been a Dungeon Master (DM) most of the time, I started out as a player. I have fond memories of my first characters, Goldentag (a Ranger/Bounty hunter who shot golden tipped arrows) and a monk named Amsorak. I named Amsorak, I think, after a lake in Gary Gygax’s Greyhawk campaign. Amsorak was in a Greyhawk campaign created by a high school acquaintance. It was from this DM that I realized the potential and the shortcomings of what a DM can offer.
After the campaign died out, I tried starting my own campaign which was pretty inconsistent for years. In the early 90s, some friends and I started a Forgotten Realms campaign with me as the DM. Set in the Forest Kingdom of Cormyr, that campaign started family names like Crestkeeper, McClure, Theoff, and characters like Jorrond (Lil’ Jon), Syn Darkblade, and Goldentag—inspired by my first D&D character. Although the campaign lasted only for a few years, it was that campaign’s well-developed characters and rich storyline that has since evolved into what would become our current award-winning campaign, The Legacy of the Realms.
Nearly two decades ago, a fellow coworker and I started talking about Dungeons and Dragons after sharing views regarding a Forgotten Realms novel. That conversation led to the creation of the character, Zaachaeus De’Barronn, which relaunched the Forgotten Realms campaign I started years before. Other friends joined in throughout the years as we played through 2nd Edition D&D up to its current 4th Edition system. Now, we have a great cast of characters like Caldreas, Ang, Lo-kag, and Vyn, who will help continue the story that was started nearly two decades ago.
When Wizards of the Coast started its 4th Edition (set over a hundred years in game time since the 3.5 Edition), we created what is now, The Legacy of the Realms. Except for races that can live for centuries, most of these characters and NPCs are what we refer to as “legacy characters/npcs”, grandchildren of characters and npcs established prior to 4th Edition. Except for one or two players, everyone else had to create 1st level characters from scratch. But, rather than consider it as “starting all over again”, creating legacy characters has kept alive an epic saga that continues to write itself out with each weekly gaming session.
Currently, we’re play-testing D&D Next and we’re already inspired with the possibilities it offers. As in the past, we continue to evolve with the D&D system but feel that our own style of gaming and house rules continue to make this game enjoyable for all of us.
My own home-brewed campaign, Mythica: Legends of Terramyth, emerged from watching great movie classics like Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans (both the original and the remake), Spartacus (STARZ original series), 300, and of course, Gladiator, starring Russel Crowe. Mythica was a campaign I started several years ago, but I didn’t develop it well enough in the 3.0 edition of D&D. With the release of 4.0, I began updating it. It’s clear that I borrowed the minotaurs-as-Romans concept from the Dragonlance campaign setting by Wizards of the Coast. But what I did was build the rest of Mythica with the thought of humans and elves as philosophical and Greek-like, while the minotaurs are more Roman-like, a nation driven by war and conquering territories.
In my opinion, the best part of playing in Mythica: Legends of Terramyth is the simple, yet rich storyline. The players are truly heroes-in-the-making like those from Greek mythology. And because it’s a low-magic campaign, the players are encouraged to role-play and use their abilities and skills to overcome challenges and confront legendary creatures without having to rely on magic items. With the October, 2011 relaunch of this campaign, it’s already proving to be a fun campaign for everyone involved.
Laurentiana: Land of the Ancients was created after being inspired by great movies like Last of the Mohicans and 10,000 B.C.. We wanted a campaign where simplicity, story-telling, and challenging players became the focus of our gaming sessions. In Laurentiana, players play characters we would consider as being more “native” and those attuned to nature like shamans. Also a campaign with no magical items per se made using inherent bonuses and skills a must. The challenge in Laurentiana is to survive against the elements and animals like wolves, saber tooth tigers, and dinosaurs. For the players, it’s not as easy jumping into combat when you know you’re not equipped with a +5 Vorpal weapon, so it’s important to know your character’s skills and combat abilities when confronting a wolf intent on turning you into its latest meal.
Ultramodern 4: Ashes of Humanity, was inspired by zombie apocalyptic TV shows, novels, video games, and movies. The game engine is by Dias Ex Machina which utilizes the D&D 4E system. U4: AoH is also an expansion campaign I started years ago using the d20 Modern system by Wizards of the Coast.
What I wanted to do with this horror survival horror campaign was capture the real-life drama and events that can come out of a zombie invasion scenario. The TV series, Walking Dead, along with the Xbox game Dead Island, and novels like World War Z, by Max Brooks have all been influential in inspiring this dark campaign. The focus is in the human condition in the midst of an apocalypse. What would people do in a life-or-death situation where feral zombies threaten to annihilate the last remnants of humanity on earth? We feel that the characters in U4: Ashes of Humanity are people others can connect with on many levels.
On Personal Matters…
I’ve been teaching English for ten years, a husband to a great wife who supports my D&D addiction, and a father of two beautiful daughters (ages 15 and 12) and a one year-old son.
I hold a B.A. in English Literature, a Single-subject in English Credential in CA, and an M.S. in Education (Technology in the Classroom).
Besides playing D&D, I enjoy reading (fantasy and horror are may favorite genres), hiking, playing golf, playing the bass guitar, playing video games, and watching movies. I’m also an avid World of Warcraft gamer (Edgarpoe, Shadowsong server, Horde Recon guild, member since 2008), a Diablo 3 gamer, and an XBox fanatic. Naturally, horror and survival horror genre games are my favorite.
A future goal of mine is to write a fantasy or horror novel.
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