Call me Jack. I’m a computer consultant by trade and live in Virginia with my wife and two daughters.
My first exposure to Role-Playing Games was Palladium’s Robotech RPG quickly followed by RIFTS, but my understanding of the games was coarse at best; my brothers and I still laugh at how absurd our early fumblings were. At the end of high school a friend invited me to join in a game of White Wolf’s Werewolf: the Apocalypse, which fell apart after a session or two. Toward the end of college I was finally exposed to Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition, but I had some of the worst DMs imaginable (from the “it’s my job to kill the PCs” school) and I quickly decided that D&D was kind of a crap game. Afterward I got in with a loose group of gamers and played games of Changeling: the Dreaming, D&D Eberon, Burning Wheel, Unsung, and a slew of other “alternative” systems.
Around that time I was introduced to an idea from The Forge about the sorts of role-players that exist: Narrativists (story is the most important aspect), Simulationists (simulating the world is the most important aspect), and Gamists (engaging with the game is the most important aspect). Until very recently I would have put myself squarely in the Narrativist camp, but I think I’m slowly-but-surely moving away from that and towards Gamist. I still think story is an integral part of RPGs, otherwise I’d be playing Chess or Go, but I’m starting to view RPGs are games first and foremost and I think that’s helping me run and play them better.
In 2009 I jumped feet-first into D&D 4E as the cure for everything I saw wrong with 3rd Edition. I was surprised to find that I was pushed in the exact opposite direction after only a very short time, repelled by 4E into the arms of “more traditional” D&D, where the world made sense. Since then I’ve generally chosen Pathfinder as my preferred system, but I still play others when opportunity or inspiration presents. The ultra-traditional Grognard faction still seems a little bit extreme, but more and more I think they’re sitting on something great. I currently have little interest in any of this DNDNext nonsense, but for the sake of the blog and dialog with the community I may start following it.