The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Let me tell you about my character….

Posted By on January 18, 2014

So, this is the start of a series of articles where I wax nostalgic about games and characters past, and I will veer off into GM analysis and other bits that interest me.

By way of a bit of background, I’ve been playing roleplaying games and wargames off and on (largely as scheduling and group availability permitted) for about 15 years at this point. I got stared in college, primarily with Warhammer 40k and Shadowrun. I actually knew that roleplaying games existed prior to that, having played the Eye of the Beholder video game on PCs. I was amazed at the amount of content in the manual. It was then that I realized that it was based on some type of story game you played around a table with your friends. I din’t know exactly how the game worked, not having read the rules, but I knew that it wasn’t a video game or a board game like anything I’d ever played.

Fast forwarding a couple of years, I actually had an opportunity to play at a friend’s house. The idea was that we were going to play until the early morning hours, then sleep over. However, I missed that game because I came down with a case of strep throat.

About a year after that, a different friend came back from a weekend in Cambridge, MA, where he had visited a bookstore and came back with a copy of Shadowrun, Third Edition. He let me thumb through it in study hall and I was very interested. However, again, we never did get a game together, as we were too busy playing Magic – and then we graduated and went off to college.

In college, I got in to 40k at the local game shop, which is, incidentally, where I met my Rhode Island gaming group. though they don’t really figure in to this story. Anyway, I’m there playing 40K, and I see the same book that my friend brought back from Cambridge (the cover is a bit distinctive). So, I buy it, take it home, read it. and I’m like “I need to play this”. so I ask around in my group of friends to find out of anyone wants to play. This comes together surprisingly quickly, including with two experienced roleplayers, one of whom who has even played Shadowrun before. (As an aside, this spoils me a bit, because I think that this is how easy it will always be to find a game. I didn’t realize that it’s easy in a college town with a bunch of college kids, but it gets more difficult when you get a real job).

Anyway, at this point, I had a group, and I volunteered to run, and that is where the story really begins.


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