Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Gamer's Eulogy

My friend and gaming buddy Al was killed during a robbery at his shop this past weekend.  It was a real shock, and one of those terrible reminders that you should cherish the time you spend with friends and family.  I've known him for almost twenty years and he played in a number of my GURPS campaigns over that time.   As a geeky send-off, here are some of his most memorable characters.


Named for the Dragonlance character, Tanis was a half-elf fighter/fire-mage in the longest and most successful campaign I ever ran.  A decent enough fellow most of the time, but he was power-hungry.  That party ended up with the demon prince Pazuzu as an Enemy, but Tanis bargained his way out of that one (for himself, not the rest of the group.)  He even had a demonic familiar for about fifteen minutes, but the party Aura'd it, killed it, and warned him not to do that again.

Al played Tanis again in a reunion campaign (me and my oldest gaming buddies get together to game one week a year) a couple of years ago.  I use old PCs as NPCs for flavor, so since the last campaign he played in, Tanis found himself living on the Fire Plane, divorced, and armed with the "Chill Blade," one of my gameworld's Runeswords (exceptionally powerful weapons inspired by Moorcock, pretty obviously).  This was in a powerful group of Elf PCs that had been pulled out of retirement.  He ended up losing the Chill Blade to a Banish spell (it's native to the Fire Plane and can be sent back) and swore to get it back and revenge himself on those who took it from him.

Half-demon woman

I can't remember this character's name, and I think I lost my notes on this one.  The party she was in had three half-demon children of the same demon-lord in it.  Al's character was easily the worst of the bunch in a party formed mostly of neutral-to-evil characters.  I don't want to get to far into the details, but she was pretty darn evil.

At one point in the campaign Steve brought in another character, a Priest of Luck who had Ridiculous Luck that only worked on his allies, who rolled a critical success on an Aura on Al's character WITH THE FIRST ROLL THAT CHARACTER EVER MADE, thus revealing her demonic taint (and therefore that of her brothers) and changing the course of the campaign.

Sarig the Drider Swordsman

Al and Del made monster characters in another of our reunion campaigns.  Del played a Manticore and Al played a Drider swordsman.  Sadly, they were a bit rusty, forgot how important DR is in GURPS, and ended up being killed in their ambush of an adventuring party.  Granted, they did manage to kill four out of six before they went.

Usif the Duergar Bounty Hunter

Al's replacement character in that campaign was a Duergar bounty hunter.  The most memorable moments of that campaign came shortly after he showed up; this party of Underdark dwellers decided to hit the surface without any Survival skills and almost ended up starving to death on the side of a mountain in winter (best quote: "Let's go back to the Underdark where it's safe!")


Al was a good man and a good friend.  He had a natural likability that meant he could game with us, hang with his frat brothers, or even party with a bunch of rednecks in the same evening without missing a beat.  He always had fun when we gamed together, and other people enjoyed him being there.  I'm really going to miss him at our next gathering.  Rest in peace, my friend.