“Hey, Richard. It’s Rich.”
It’s been an amazing year and I want to take a moment to thank you, the gamers and fans that have helped it be that way, and who continue to encourage all the writers, artists, designers, and producers of games around the world.
Today’s my birthday and it is a particularly special one. Not because of presents, or trips, or dinners, or any of the standard birthday fare. Today is a perfect snapshot of how appreciative I am of my life and much of that is thanks to you, the Tribality fans.
Six weeks ago my son was born. Almost 2 years ago my daughter was born. Bare with me, this isn’t a post about how much I love my family (though I’m happy to talk your ear off if you’re interested). The reason I mention them is because I decided to do a writing experiment over on my personal website. “Hey, Richard. It’s Rich” is a short letter to myself on my birthday 30 years ago (I’m on the left of the header photo in my tiny track shorts and miss-matched running socks, with my dear friend and brilliant DM, Steve Magan, reading the AD&D Deities & Demigods).
The summer and fall of 1985 was a particularly emotional time for me; it was the height of my personal teenage hormonal wackiness, and there is much about that time I carry with me today. The letter is cathartic (and uplifting, I promise) but it’s also a letter to my newly-minted children. I’m lucky to have my parents still be alive and active in my life, but I grew up in an age where photos and video were a hilariously tiny blip in anyone’s life compared to now. I’ve since snagged photos and video of my dad and me together, and both recordings and video of him doing one of the many things he does best – teaching.
I have the opportunity to record for posterity my thoughts, feelings, and experiences for my kids in a way my dad never could and I intend to make the best of it. This letter is to myself, but I’m also hoping my kids will relate to it and use it to help them through the rough times that teenage-hood brings to all of us.
On a parallel note, my relationship to the gaming industry over the past few years has changed dramatically. Thanks to Christina Stiles, Owen Stephens, Wolfgang Baur, Steve Long, Shawn Ellsworth, and far too many others to list here, I’ve moved from a home-brew-posting GM to connecting with gamers around the world in a way I couldn’t have understood back in 1985.
Though I’ve been attending the San Diego Comic Con for decades, my first GenCon was only last year. I remember sitting in the audience of the ENnies wondering what I could do to be a more active participant in this community that has shaped every…single…part of who I am. It’s a year later and this website I am incredibly proud of has a solid chance of being a Top 5 contender for that same award (we’ll find out June 29th if we’re in the running). Whether or not we make it, Tribality has given me the opportunity to spread my love of gaming farther and wider than I ever could on my own.
So today is special because I’m a guest on not one, but two of my favorite gaming podcasts.
[EDIT: I just got a note from Mitch and Chris that the episode is having some editing challenges and will be back up tomorrow, 6/16]
I discovered the Dungeon Master’s Block during a conversation with Shawn about how I couldn’t find a gaming pod that resonated with me. There are plenty out there and I’ve listened to oh so many. I’m not saying these pods were bad, I’m just saying I wasn’t their target audience. What I wanted was a pod that discussed game theory and real behind-the-screen examples. A pod that gave me new encounter seeds, pointed me to new resources, and took gaming seriously, or as seriously as we ever get, anyway.
“You really need to check out the Dungeon Master’s Block,” Shawn said, and I did.
DMB was exactly what I was looking for and with my columns at Tribality as a platform, I decide to reach out to the hosts. I threw down the gauntlet a few years ago to expose more gamers to the untapped wonders of aquatic campaign settings so I was excited that Mitch and Chris were up for having me on. The feedback was amazing. We had so many excellent questions after that pod we were compelled to do another. I’m so grateful to the fans who constantly amaze me, and to the guys for continuing to have me on, not only to talk about my aquatic geekery, but about all aspects of gaming.
Whether or not you’re a gamer, if you’re interested in learning a little more about me, this is the pod for you.
The second podcast dropping today is a little more personal. Michael and Caleb from the brilliant and prolific RPG Academy asked me to come on the show for an interview. Though I talk about my history in gaming in the DMB podcasts, this is the first pod to interview me for being, well, me. And I had an incredible time.
If you’ve ever been around gamer geeks, and I can assume you or someone you know has if you’re reading this, you know that no matter what part of the world, language, place of employment, culture, religion, or educational background, when two geeks meet for the first time it’s likely they’ll be talking like old friends within a few minutes, and I felt like that chatting with Caleb (and he talks about that exact experience in the pod).
Just $1 a month to a handful of your favorite artists, writers, film makers, cartoonists, and creators of fun can make a huge difference in their lives. Financially of course, but also in seeing that fans love what they do and want to see more.
- Rich Howard
- The RPG Academy
- The Dungeon Master’s Block
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