Many (many) years ago, I discovered role playing and Dungeons and Dragons in one of the after school clubs. It showed me a universe that allowed me to flex my storytelling muscles and enjoy a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi, and fed the escapist dreamer inside. Over time, I played many systems including Call of Cthulhu, Shadowrun, Middle Earth, In Nomine, Bushido, Chivalry & Sorcery, Chill, Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Gammaworld, Hawkmoon, Stormbringer, Immortals, Marvel Super Heroes, Paranoia, RuneQuest, Vampire: The Masquerade, and a couple of my own making. I explored live action role playing – eventually running my own club – and usually found myself in script-writing or game-master duty.
Some of the systems were simple and offered a distraction, while others held complex mythologies at their central core, and yet others provided a platform around which you could wrap your own mythology. It was the latter types of systems that appealed most – allowing for most creativity around a structured mechanic.
With a curious nature, these systems allowed me to explore human dynamics and interaction in a number of areas, from social to conflict, from political to emotional. They also allowed me to explore human history, mythology and religion and frame my fantasy worlds with real-world influences. I studied Mesopotamia and its various religious beliefs – a land dating back before Christianity and thought to influence subsequent Babylonian and Egyptian beliefs – and spent many days in libraries reading what others had deduced from their studies. It was very confusing as things were not written down in ancient times so it was like a spaghetti bowl of possibilities and conjecture from many ‘experts’. However, I built a cohesive framework and created a fantasy/sci-fi opus within it.
More often it was the myths from the religions that fed these stories, and not their central ethos. As I studied, adapted and integrated other religions, beliefs and philosophies as the characters travelled the worlds I created – beliefs as wide ranging as Zen, Confucianism, Taoism, Shamanism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Egyptology, Babylonian, Rune Lore, Tarot, Witchcraft, Paganism, Magic, Science – the central ethos of all religions became clear: be good to one another, treat others as you would like to be treated, and look after the planet. Essentially their message was benevolent and caring yet the worlds seemed to exist framed only with conflict and strife.
I started to formalise my creative side and studied short story writing back in the 90s. I received good feedback from Interzone when I submitted a short piece. I have also written numerous fantasy adventures for the LARP clubs I co-founded and also developed a number of interactive murder-mystery plots. I have also themed a lot of events – large and small – over the years, mainly to frame the stories that I wrote, and also worked a little in special effects for both the Lorien Trust (“The Gathering”) and Curious Pasttimes (“Renewal”).
In terms of formal roles, I was artistic director at the Hallowe’en Horrors production at Fort Amherst for 2 years which required me to oversee and manage the artistic aspects of the charity production which raised essential funds for the fort and entertained 2500 visitors each year over a 5 night performance run. I was also the south-east England editor for The Adventurer for 2 years – a leading LARP publication covering all aspects of the hobby. I ran my own LARP/events club originally called Fools Gold, and later Dream Conquest for about 12 years. I went on to organise corporate events for a few years after this also including annual dinner dances.
This is my personal blog. A blog of musings on and topics I find interesting for various reasons. I don’t have a publishing routine, so articles may come and go at different times. I hope you enjoy them, and feel free to comment on anything that inspires or incites you!