I’ve been a gamer since my senior year in high school. I still remember going through several level 1 characters in my first D & D campaign because of the fortress full of kobolds. There have been spectacular dramatic moments, like when the climax of the adventure came down to a single die roll to determine if my brother’s character’s thrown dagger hit the boss. For the record, he rolled exactly what he needed. And many inside jokes came about, my favorite still being “Thump!”
A year later, I was talked into Gamemastering (or GMing) my first campaign, and that’s when gaming started to truly become a vehicle of inspiration and creativity for me. That first campaign, we were playing the West End Games D6 Star Wars RPG. One of my friends came up to me and said, “I want to play this, not run it. You run it.” And so I did, and that little campaign lasted the summer. It was also the creation of my little corner of the Star Wars universe that would be further developed years later when I GMed a Star Wars D20 campaign that lasted a couple of years. In the middle of all of this, I was introduced to Champions, a game I both played and later GMed. As I went over in an earlier blog post, the story and the world of my book, New L.A., was born from my Champions campaigns.
Eventually, I started gaming less and less. I was building a career as a sound tech in professional theatre and started crisscrossing the country going from gig to gig. I was no longer around the friends I would game with, and I didn’t really have the time anymore. Early on in this time, I would squeeze in a game about once a year when I came home to California, but getting home became less frequent as well. And a lot of my creations fell into the rearview mirror as I moved forward with life.
Skip ahead to about a year ago. I finally came to realization that my career in theatre was coming to an end for various reasons. For me, this was a dark time as I was searching for what I was going to do now. It was around this time that Geek & Sundry started a Twitch channel, and I stumbled onto one of their new shows called Critical Role. Critical Role is a show where a group of voice actors play Dungeons & Dragons. And they play like I always strived to play, to tell a story. Each player role-plays their characters well and their Dungeonmaster, Matthew Mercer, is the kind of Dungeonmaster I always strived to be. And their game told a vast and interesting story that I still follow to this day.
Critical Role lit a spark inside of me that had gone out a long time ago. It got me thinking about my old games and the stories that we had created. It helped me tap into the creativity that had gone dormant long ago. It got me dreaming again. I decided to revisit one of my favorite campaign settings I had created, and I started creating a new story. During the process of writing this new story, I decided to try and make it an ebook. I focused myself and I set the goal to make it a reality. The result: I have an ebook available for sale called New L.A., the first in what I hope will be a series of books.
A year ago, I would never have imagined that I would self-publish an ebook. Doing something like that is not in my nature. I don’t put myself out there like that. But somehow, I did. Perhaps Scanlan gave me an inspiration die. Regardless, I do credit Critical Role for igniting the creative spark in me again. And for that, I am incredibly thankful to the cast and crew of the show. So, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Is it Thursday yet?