'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

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About

The Journey So Far


I'm a 40 something-year-old living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I do not come from a writing, artistic or game design background. I am just a fan of sci-fi and fantasy with a blog. If you are interested in more about me and the journey that brought me to where I am now, please read on. If you just want to get back to reading some sweet articles on various RPGs, well that is ok too.

In my youth, elementary school till the end of high school, I was a pretty avid player of RPGs. My shelf was lined with AD&D, AD&D 2nd edition, StarFrontiers, four of the D&D boxes, various modules (especially DragonLance) and numerous games from Palladium. In addition to this I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books as well as, or perhaps it is better to say, I ESPECIALLY loved Fighting Fantasy. I picked up Dragon magazine whenever I could and managed to convince my parents to allow me to get a subscription to DUNGEON. Like many of you, I had binders of graph paper with maps and notes scrawled on them, adventures and characters waiting to be brought to life.

One of the things I have always loved since I was little was movie magic; miniatures and models. RPGs allowed me to collect figures that I could and paint with my little pots of Ral Partha paints, and tap into an artistic side of me I never really embraced as a child. As I grew older I moved from RPGs to wargames where I got to use more miniatures. I largely played Warhammer 40k, then "Rogue Trader", but also managed to play some Warhammer Fantasy. During this time I also played a fair bit of Starfleet Battles, which is critical to the path that brought me to where I am now. Although wargaming survived longer than RPGs in my life, both eventually faded into the past as I grew more and more involved in the SCA.

Why did I want to pretend to be a great fighter when I could put on armor and go hit people with sticks? RPGs went away and for the next 20 years, they stayed as a footnote in my life. The SCA took over a HUGE part of my life. I met lifelong friends, I learned new skills. I eventually excelled at rattan combat, being Knighted and finally winning a tournament and getting to be Prince. It has been a fun time in my life and I certainly do not regret it. It will remain a part of my life for a long time.

As I grew older I grew nostalgic for the old days. Initially, I just looked at photos of miniatures, eventually, I started to browse sites like Terragenesis, and watch youtube videos by the likes of DM Scotty. Remember when I said I played a lot of StarFleet Battles? I wanted to play spaceships again. I also knew that SFB was a pretty complex game, and if I wanted to convince some others to play I had better find a simpler ruleset. How or why I ended up on the 15mm sci-fi page on Facebook, I don't recall. But I did. On this page I found a plethora of people building all kinds of cool vehicles and terrain from scratch, it was how I remembered Warhammer in the old days. It was SO cool, these guys pointed me at Full Thrust, which was probably the answer to my problem, but alas Spaceships never really came to fruition. What did come to fruition was getting back into wargaming with 15mm sci-fi. A huge variety of rules and miniatures swept me back into gaming and I was hooked on buying and painting my little men and making some terrain. I even played a few games.

But how did that lead me here? If I didn't mention it, I was also a HUGE fan of the 1982 film, Conan the Barbarian. I hadn't read the comics then, and the full force of my fandom hadn't blossomed yet. With the release of the new Conan movie I decided I wanted to judge it on the original source material, and not against the '82 film. I felt that was fairer. I had a long road trip ahead of me, 16 hour round trip for a weekend SCA event, so I joined Audible and downloaded the Del Rey Book, "The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian" and started my drive, once the weekend was over I had got through the majority of that book. It was sometime before I realized there was 2 more.

I still didn't much like the Mamoa Conan, but this did push me into the Conan Gaming Group on Facebook and it did push me into not just Conan fandom but into Robert E Howard fandom. Continuing along this path Monolith kickstarted their boardgame, and I was thrust back into a more regular scale of miniature, moving from 15mm to 28mm+. Then Modiphius kickstarted, "Robert E. Howard's Conan", and I jumped onto the Kickstarter. This would be what I consider the true beginning. My shelves that were empty of RPGs, suddenly began to fill with RPG core books, followed by sourcebooks. I gathered some friends and we started a 2.5 year long monthly campaign playing Conan 2d20.

I started this blog around the time I got into 15mm and at that point it was a chronicle of my gaming life as I took my first few steps into playing and building. That first post was back on January 12, 2014. From there the blog grew, although I posted haphazardly at first and tried new things here and there. In November of 2016, I expanded my offerings to Youtube and shot my first test video, which unsurprisingly is dark, has bad lighting and not very good audio. That video has a WHOLE 623 views. Youtube has not been hugely successful for me. I still post now and again, and enjoy making videos, they are simply a LOT more work than writing a blog article, for a lot less exposure.

At the current point on my travels, I have met new people withing the gaming community here in Calgary, and even GMed at several conventions; The RPG Alliance and Calgary Comic Expo. I am of course still involved with the SCA, and do a lot within the context of that society, but I have learned having multiple interests is a good thing, even if one of them is playing with toy soldiers.

The most significant thing this journey through the SCA and gaming has taught me is that I am a creative person. I may not have embraced this part of me in my early years, but I should have. I had this impression that I was not good enough in art so I never pursued it. I never dabbled in it seriously. I drew occasionally, but never enough. I had people all around me who were artists, and I still never figured out that side of me. If you end up reading this and thinking you aren't good enough to be an artist, I tell you with all sincerity: It doesn't matter, get out there and try something. Having a form of expression is an excellent thing, even if you are never Frank Frazetta.

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