Share a friendship you have because of RPGs
I’ve already mentioned Steve and Alex in a previous post. Those are definitely friendships I wouldn’t have without RPGs, just like most of my non-work, non-writing relationships.
Today I’ll drill down on a couple of those relationships I’ve had over the years, my first two long-term GMs. You see, I’m almost always the GM of a group. I like it, but it’s nice to get to be a player.
I met Graham through playing cards with a friend of his, Gary. Gary heard my woes about the Gen I In-Fighers, who were taxing, to put it generously. My brother and his friend Matt had a firm grip on the group and everything was done in an old school D&D (read – confrontational) way. We didn’t know much better and it was pretty taxing. Gary offered me a spot in his and Graham’s group. They both ran games for it from time to time. Graham was this ultra host of RPGs. People came round and he’d cook a meal, we’d chat and catch up like grown ups, even if we were mainly talking about nerd things. It felt very humanising. It also felt a little like an affair at first. I kept my Cyberpunk 2020 and AD&D character sheets hidden in my jeans pocket so none of the In-Fighters saw them. I got to play a weird jacket kid who had a weird cannon bolted onto his arm in Cyberpunk. In AD&D I played a well-meaning if idiotic paladin. We only played a few games before MMOs sucked in a couple of the group. Despite that, Graham and I kept in regular contact, often conspiring to meet at conventions. My first ever GenCon UK had the two of us playing a demo version of the Spycraft RPG where we met the wonderful Pat Kapera and joined together my love of spies with Graham’s love of firearms. We volunteered to run and host Spycraft games for a few years after that point. He’s been my ‘gun guy’ for both my writing and RPGs, as it’s a field I just don’t know about. I’ve been schooling him on narrative-based RPGs like Dungeon World, where he taught me how RPGs were supposed to work back in the day.
I mentioned Andy yesterday and he’s a friendship I’ve had mainly through RPGs. He was one of my most prolific RPG customers at the comic shop when I tried to get them stocking role-playing games. It was a modest success, basically replacing the shelves of ‘adult’ comics, then expanding from there. Andy and I were both massive World of Darkness fans before and after the change from Old WoD to New WoD. That change fascinated us both and he went from the person who’d turn up shortly after the delivery of new stock to hanging out and chatting about the implications of Gehenna, the existence of the Exalted game and more. He was the ‘cool’ GM, into those kinds of RPGs. We’d drink coffee and chat about new television shows as well as the edgy, continuity-heavy White Wolf games.
When I left the shop, Andy took over, so our lunchtime hangouts kept going. We were in a group for a few years before it dissolved after a falling out between Andy and another GM. When I bailed on my role-playing group (The Gen II In-Fighters), he helped start a new group up. Like Graham, he was someone who I could spend hours talking to about games an acted like a lightning rod for ideas.
Both Andy and Graham have left Brighton. Graham has a job which keeps him on the road at all hours, so I often hear from him while he’s driving. I was terrible at keeping in touch with Andy but have been trying to get in contact with him more often. We’ve spoken a few times this year and hopefully will do again soon.