So, I just dumped a few bucks into starting this up. This is effectively a place for me to share my thoughts on whatever random thing pops into my head that I feel like writing about at the time. Take much of this as a stream-of-consciousness type thing.
Let me start with an introduction: My name is Clark McVey. I am an attorney by profession, but my passion is tabletop role-playing games, which this blog is primarily dedicated to.
The first time I played I was seven years old. My brother, who was eleven at the time, had a friend coming over to stay the night. That friend brought a backpack containing a game new to my brother and I…Dungeons & Dragons. I played an elf. I had to fight a living statue that looked like a goblin. I don’t recall much else. Over the next year, my brother would get the red box Basic set, and I would sneak looks at it when he was off hanging out with friends. I was already familiar with “The Hobbit” thanks to the Rankin/Bass animated feature. I was obsessive about “Star Wars”, “Transformers”, “G.I. Joe”, and “He-Man”. I was fascinated with the “Robotech” toy line, although it would be another year before I saw a single episode.
When I was nine years old, I would start 4th grade at a new school, in a new town after my parents’ divorce. The first kid I really made friends with was a bit unusual. We bonded over Transformers, but he would introduce me to Marvel Comics (The X-Men in particular), Night Flight, and most importantly to this blog, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.
From there, friends moved, became not friends anymore, and new friends were made. I moved my first year of high school to a new town, started over, made more friends who played tabletop role-playing games, and then a few months into my senior year would move back to my prior town after my mother divorced her latest husband, where I was welcomed back with open arms by my old gaming crew. AD&D would become 2nd Edition AD&D. I would discover new games, like MERP, Paranoia, TMNT, Battletech, and the Star Wars RPG!
And other than a few years here and there when I did not have an active group, I have continued to purchase, read, play, and run these games.
My groups frequently ignored setting “canon”, and went our own way. Most of the time, we made our own settings. We didn’t even learn the term “homebrew” until the early 2000s. It was just what we did. If a rule didn’t work well, we threw it out. We weren’t playing in RPGA sanctioned games for points. What did it matter if we followed the rules as written? We used systems for settings they weren’t designed for. We had EPIC story-lines. We had feuds. People got booted from groups (including me, during one particularly odd coup).
I made life-long friends. I lost friends. I’ve had friends die way too young.
Tabletop Role-Playing games brought us together. Those games made the memories I will cherish forever.
But as I’ve gotten a bit older, and a bit grayer, and a bit more experienced in many facets of life, I look back on the things I love with a more critical eye. What I once considered progressive now seems a bit damaged. It will never change the memories I cherish. Memories of our games together are all I have left of Lance, Greg, Chamberlain, and others.
And I want to see that next batch of kids be able to pick up games, and enjoy them within the current framework of society. To not tell the one girl at their table, “Well you can’t play X, because girl characters get a -Y to stat Z.” Or to say to their one Black friend, “You can’t be an Elf, unless you play a Dark Elf, because they’re the only Black Elves.” (Seriously, these are things I remember hearing when I was a kid, and we got this stuff because of the game books and the artwork contained within those books.)
So, this blog is going to contain a lot of that type of criticism, issues that I’m able to recognize now that I wasn’t able to see as a kid, and how the TTRPG community seems split in twain by those trying to make it a better place and opposed by those who will defend that which they loved in the form they fell in love with it, because, “I grew up playing it that way, and I turned out fine!” (No. You did not turn out fine. Far from it.)
Buckle up. Call me out on my shit. I don’t sleep much these days.