Gaming History: Amy

I didn’t get into gaming until I moved to Manchester at age 18. The people I was hanging out with were into Magic: the Gathering and they got me into it too, serving as my gateway drug for gaming. I bought my first deck but a lot of my cards at the time were given to me by my then-boyfriend Stuart, who gave me a shoebox full from his collection; it slowly grew bigger and stayed with me even after the relationship ended.

At that time I would spend most of my day, after looking for work, at Fanboy 3 playing Magic and watching all kinds of games – not just MtG but RPG’s too.

It wasn’t until a couple years later that I played in my first RPG, a Buffy game which was fun but didn’t go too well. We were playing the pre-made characters from the book, which I think was the first thing that was wrong for me, as I like to make a character with a story and explore the world and the stories in that world through their eyes. I started out playing one kind of witch and switched to one that had more story, that was still from the book (because I had joined the group late and the GM liked players to use premade characters) by the beginning of the next scene. I did have some fun with it, and I played to the end of the story… I think. I don’t remember anything about the other people or their characters – I was playing with people I didn’t know which may have been one of the reason it didn’t work for me

I started playing RPGs with a regular group soon after that – with my best friend and Dan, my new boyfriend of the time, we met once a week for a game. We played modern d20 which was my first meeting with the d20 system – I was playing a techie who was a mutant dolphin person, I had metal armour before the rest of the party, which was needed because my dexterity was terrible [turns out, Dolphins are not agile on land], because I made it myself.

That campaign and Character taught me few things, like it was more fun to make my own character and how much fun it was to be something i’m not – having created my own character let me feel very proud of her achievements.

Having found both a new job and a new hobby, I gave the magic cards to Dan, put Spycraft and other card games to one side, and focused on the roleplaying which I enjoyed more.

I played in the same group for a few years and we played a few different systems and settings like Werewolf the Apocalypse, and BESM [Big Eyes, Small Mouth], though not all went as well as my first game with that group, such as our In Nomine campaign which never fully got off the ground.

With Werewolf I liked the world and story but hated the system – especially trying to get honour to level up which you mostly got from killing things; I was playing a smart schoolgirl who didn’t get much chance to kill. This lead to people leveling up at different times even though we had all contributed – something I’ve tried to avoid in games since.

I game for same reason I write, or read, to get away from me and the real world. To be someone else for a bit, to be able to do the things I can’t do like be able to move like a gymnast or a monk or a cat, or to able to play with tech in ways I can never understand, and make magic.

I like to make a character with a story and explore the world and the stories in that world through their eyes – so when the mechanics get in the way I tend to either ignore them or as for help in working around them.

The BESM game was the first time I GMed – it was ok for my first campaign, though a bit clunky, as I didn’t own the book and hadn’t read the whole thing – and I hadn’t played in a game with that system which is how I generally run games now since my dyslexia makes it hard to fully read a rulebook, I learn by playing and have Ste help with the more mechanical parts of running.

Sadly I had to leave the group not long after I met Ste but the Magic cards came with, not just my shoebox but pretty much the whole collection as my ex, Dan, passed them on to Ste [Ste Note: I’ve now declared that these cards don’t belong to me, they belong to whoever Amy is with – but hopefully the difference will remain irrelevant :-)].

Once we left, we started up own game with him running and I’m able to make better character now, making them a bit more well rounded.

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Gaming History: Loz

I’ve been gaming for so long I genuinely can’t remember the details of my first games. I was 12 when my older brother Tim got into Warhammer 40k. So I played 40k against him, and lost a lot – but I enjoyed it. I think he had Eldar, Orks and Space Marines, and I used his models as I didn’t have my own.

For I think my fourteenth birthday I received the Warhammer Fantasy boxed set. It had elves and goblins in it. I built an orc and goblin army, and played that for ages, against my brother’s dark elves, and against my friends various armies – it’s at least in part from here that my lifelong dislike of fantasy dwarves stems, because of a friend’s really cheesy dwarf army.

Somewhere around the same time I picked up my first role playing game – Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I honestly cannot remember most of the games we played with it, they probably made little sense as we didn’t know what we were doing, I mostly remember creating characters by the dozen. It clearly triggered something inside me though, because I’ve loved RPGs ever since.

By the time I was doing my A-levels (17ish) I had a regular gaming group, and we played White Wolf’s various games (Vampire: the Masquerade, Mage: the Ascension, Werewolf: the Apocalypse), and Dungeons and Dragons second edition. Planescape is a fantastic setting, but due to having too few players we played two characters each – I had Bjorn Bjornson son of Bjorn Bjornson’s son Bjorn, a taciturn norse fighter, and his twin brother a wild mage named simply Krapotkin.

I went to university in Bangor. I went there hoping there would be a gaming society of some sort. It turned out they had what was at the time one of the largest and most respected university gaming societies in the country – Bangor Wargaming and Role Playing Society, or BWRPS. I also met Ali there.

While there I played and ran just about anything I could. I was rarely in more than three games a week though, which was probably wise – I knew someone who was in eight (one every night and two on Sundays), and he failed his course and dropped out! That’s not to say my studies were unaffected by gaming – in my third year I would regularly go to a Vampire game run by Ali on a Tuesday evening, play until 2am, then go home and work on my project until my nine o’clock lecture in which I would frequently fall asleep!

I also played a lot of different wargames at BWRPS, including various historical games, something I still find interesting but don’t really get a chance to do any more. I kind of stopped playing any wargames after a while, I never really intended to, it just happened that way.

After graduating I lived in Bangor for a few more years, it’s a very pretty part of the world and I had good friends there, but eventually I managed to escape and moved to Manchester, where i stil live. Here I fell in with Vague, Manchester Metropolitan University’s gaming society. Here I’ve played and run a lot of different RPGs as well with a lot of very good people over the last decade or so.

But to bring things full circle rather nice, I’ve recently finished playing in a Warhammer Fantasy Role Play (second edition) game, and the latest edition of 40k has got me back into the game as well – my Space Marine army even has some of my brother’s old models in it! .  

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Gaming History: Ali

Ste suggested we talk about ‘our first game’ That’s tricky. First played, first rpg, first time GMing?

 

As a kid, I remember two gaming moments distinctly. One was my sister deciding the way to win at Monopoly was to be the banker. The other was the summer I decided to ‘solve’ the Choose Your Own Adventure book I’d been given, by going full on decision tree. Two months and lots of computer paper later, I discovered there wasn’t actually a path from start to win. Several endings where you died or failed or some such. But the win didn’t track from the start. Moral: plan your games. I still don’t entirely, but i generally have a shape to how I expect things to pan out.

Fast forward to Uni, and I joined the RPG society. Sucked in by the ‘Have a Go’ LRP (technically LRP was a sport since you needed insurance) I turned up to a roomful of fellow nerds – some of which were even girls! No longer the Only Nerd In the Village!

My first proper rpg was Whoops King Arthur there goes the Round Table! I played Sir Bruce Sans Pitie, pretending to be Lancelot, and later pretending to be several other knights. The line I remember was the closing one. Most of the PCs crashed through the ceiling from Guinevere’s room into the Great Hall, where Mordred was looking forlornly at a lone cupcake. Arthur extracted himself from the pile and said “Happy birthday, son, we got you a sex-scandal-o-gram!”

The following week we had Whoops Sauron there goes the One True Ring. Totally sensible starting point. Moral: have fun. Now I work in gaming, some things I play are not necessarily what I would choose to. But there’s a joy in sharing time with my mates, in taking turns to play different people’s ‘most fun’  If I didn’t enjoy making game for other people, I’m in the wrong career!

Then I settled down to a Discworld campaign – playing an Ex-Sacrificial Virgin, and a Shadowrun campaign, playing something magical I think, but that didn’t last all that long, because we ran into a problem. Mike wouldn’t play in Alvar’s game, Alvar wouldn’t play in Mike’s game, Ian didn’t want to run two games in a week. So the group suggested I could GM. Mike had a load of the adventure modules, and I stumbled through most of them over the next couple of years – including one summer where we played five times a week. Oh the halcyon days of youth. Moral: try to maintain a work /game balance

Since then I’ve played several Vampire games; a long running Werewolf campaign set in Canada, full of epic poetry and snow; and a lot of DnD 4th. I’ve dipped my toe into most of the big systems, and had more indie and oneshots than would be feasible to namedrop. – last Nationals it was easier to tell them the categories I couldn’t run for! Long campaigns I’ve run include a lot of WOD – often crossover. All of those are firmly in the “action and antihero with horror elements” category – I don’t do well with true horror.  Moral: find what you like, and explore that. Until it gets old, then find something else.

After a long time of playing the local linear LRP,  a bunch of us went to try this new fest called Maelstrom. I had five characters over a decade of play, and loved each one. The perfidy of betrayal, real tears at loss, the joy as schemes came to fruition, the anger at invasion of our lands, and finally being on ‘the winning (surviving) side, leading a procession of converts into the sunset Moral : throw yourself at games hard, and they will reward you with experiences. I still play the next game from the same company , Empire. After six years,Sofia i Del’Toro i Riqueza has quite some depth, but I haven’t finished her story yet. The clan is growing, and we’re starting to be a political powerhouse.

I’m currently in a 13th age campaign, although this year I’ve dipped in and out of other short games as work and health dictate. I’ve been doing a lot more boardgaming, and recently dug out the cardboard crack which is MTG – and discovered that some of my cards are valuable, but most of my decks can’t play in anything other than casual. Moral: variety is the spice of gaming

So there you go. A whistle stop down Memory Lane. Why not share your weirdest gamer story with us? If we get enough, we might even publish some of them!

 

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