RPG Creations and Musings.

Hello, everybody, and welcome to my blog! My name is Paul Mitchener, known as dr_mitch on most online forums I frequent, and I’ll be your host here. I will mainly be writing about roleplaying games (RPGs) here. I’m interested in the sitting around a table with friends, acting things out and following written rules to determine outcomes variety, rather than computer games. If you don’t know what I’m talking about- maybe you’ve been directed here as a cruel joke- there are many people far better at explaining the concept than me. The wikepedia article I’ve linked to is a reasonable start. In any case, explaining RPGs is not what this first post is about.

This first post is about me. I promise to get onto more interesting subjects later on, but what about me? I’m a university mathematics lecturer, which must impact my world view more than I’d care to admit. The mathematical sciences are one of my obsessions. My other obsession is what I’m writing about here…gaming! So enough of the general stuff- let me talk about my gaming history.

I first got into gaming when I was 13 or so, when a mate sold me the D&D Basic and Expert boxed sets and formed up a gaming group. After a couple of weeks of that I tried my hand at DMing for the first time, having created my own world to boot. I say my own world- it was a desert full of the undead and a magic item shop in the middle of nowhere, which the player characters promptly looted having knocked out the owner. I’ve improved since, though there was a fine cliffhanger when the magic user who owned the shop came back for revenge. Notes were passed around between the players all week at school with plans on how to get out of the situation.

I can’t remember how they managed it. The campaign died a couple of weeks later, though the group continued with a more experienced GM before I got another turn in the hot seat. My next game went on for quite a while too, before a total party kill ended it all when the party were level seven or so. Simpler times, but happy ones.

For years and years my system of choice when running games was D&D or AD&D. The main setting I used for my last big D&D excursion as DM was Planescape, which is still my favourite setting ever. Eventually, though, I got annoyed with some D&D concepts, and when I’d house ruled to get rid of classes and levels I knew it was time for a change.

Over the D&D years I dabbled in a few other systems, some of which I took to, some of which I didn’t I played Paranoia, Cyberpunk 2020 and Rolemaster. I ran Call of Cthulhu, Over the Edge, Unknown Armies and a couple of monstrosities I’d designed myself. I think I’d only gone to the effort of designing games in ignorance of the number of games out there that might have suited my needs. On reflection, nothing I’d written back then was usable by anyone who wasn’t me. Which was fine- I had no greater ambitions. Those came later.

Everything changed, and my gaming experience opened up immensely in 2007 when I attended my first convention, Furnace. It was amazing, and the number of games and play styles I’ve experienced went through the roof, both at the convention and later conventions, and with groups I’ve played with since. I do, if this isn’t clear, highly recommend the convention experience if you haven’t tried it. Not just for the games- I’ve made a lot of friends.

Since 2007 I’ve played and run more different systems than I can easily keep track of. Some of them I’ve now written for professionally- Wild Talents, Reign, Wordplay, Openquest, Fate and Crypts and Things. I’ve run campaigns of Call of Cthulhu, Reign, Openquest and Age of Arthur (the thing I worked on for Fate), played in Pathfinder campaigns, have just started a Night’s Black Agents campaign, and I’ve played and run too many one shots to count. Remember, that’s quite a few- I’m a mathematician. For me these days, variety is king, and the way I enjoy myself and keep things fresh.

I no longer build systems on the back of house-ruling D&D to get rid of classes and levels, and no longer design settings with deserts full of undead with lone magic item shops in the middle, but those are my roots, and I’m not ashamed of them. Well, not very much anyway.

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