I've been a role-player since starting college in UCC in 1998. Before then, I had vaguely heard of the concept, but wasn't all that familiar with how it worked. I got asked to join a once-off adventure with pregenerated player characters, run by one of the taller members of the Wargaming and Role Playing Society, or WARPS. If I recall correctly, it was a Lovecraftian horror, in which I played the wife of a crackpot inventor who ended up being revealed as a clockwork automaton, much to everyones surprise, including myself! At that point I killed my husband and everyone else and escaped into the wastelands with my son who had been locked away in the attic.
Basically, I was hooked.
It was like reading a book with friends and choosing the outcome. Brilliant! I found out much later that those kinds of books existed as well! Amazing!
I spent the next several years playing and running various games, learning various systems and introducing more people to the world of tabletop RPGs, as well as making new friends through it.
Then that tall man with the twisted and uncanny sense of storytelling, who had gone on to write RPG's professionally, told me about a new game on the market, one focused more on storytelling and description than rolling bigger numbers. Gar laid out all the reasons why I should get excited about Spirit of the Century, then hit me with the homerun. It was a pulp setting, based in the 1920's and 30's, styled after the adventures of the Shadow, Indiana Jones, Doc Savage and, of course, the Rocketeer!
Once he got hold of his own copy of the book, he ran a few games, and I jumped at the chance to be in it. Before we were even finished the character creation section, which was most of a session in itself, I knew that this was going to be my system. The system I used for every game I ran. The system I stole elements from even if I was playing with a different rules set. The system I would love and support from this moment on.
I got the beautiful and low print run hard cover edition, read it cover to cover and ran my first successful campaign, including twelve sessions, guest appearances by other players and many, many happy memories.
So when Evil Hat annouced in late 2012 that they were Kickstarting their new edition of Fate, the rules system used in Spirit of the Century, I was stuck to it like gum on a Cirrus X-3! I watched as the Fate Core stretch goals were destroyed as the amount pledged shot through the roof. My own pledge amount rose as more and more was made availalbe as print add-ons. I became involved in the swiftly growing community around it in ways I have never done for anything before. I loved seeing the love Fate Core was getting, and sharing that love with others online.
Jump to PAX Prime 2013.
I'm wandering the main exhibition floor early on Saturday morning. I've decided to cross to the other side of the hall to check out a particular booth when I stumble across a guy chilling out on one of the complimentary seats one of the big booths has lying about its area. His head is stuck in a copy of the recently released print version of Fate Core. I stop briefly to comment on the book.
It turns out he's not a role-player! He saw the book and thought it looked like an interesting read, and already he's about a third of the way through. We chat briefly about the hobby and the book, and I suggest a few places to start, as well as answering a few quick questions he has. Before I leave, I suggest that he takes a look at Fate Accelerated Edition, a companion pick-up-and-play version of the Fate Core book, then I wish him well in his new adventure and keep on wandering.
Saturday goes by and Sunday rolls about. It's late afternoon, and I'm in the convention hall again, but this time I'm looking for my wife. I check my email and discover that she's on the sixth floor, in the Console Freeplay Area. That means having to go up the back stairs, a route I don't usually cover at PAX, as that side of the sixth floor is mostly for various panels.
I reach the fifth floor and sitting on one of the comfy chairs by himself is the guy from yesterday, still reading Fate Core. He's noticably further along in it. I stop and say hi. He recognises me immediately and we both get a good laugh out of running into each other again in a convention of over 70,000 attendees, especially here, as he picked this place to stop and read expressly because it was so quiet and out of the way. I ask him how he's enjoying the book, and he tells me, with much excitement, that he's thinking of running his first game tonight!! I wish him the best of luck in tonights game and many more beyond before leaving to find my wife.
I sit down with Claire and realize my brain wants to tell me something, so I relax and listen. It tells me this:
You have never been monetarily wealthy. You went to college away from home and had to pay for rent and food. Even with a job, you had to borrow money from your parents at times. You finished college with a degree and got a job doing something you love, but for only four hours a day, and you still had to pay for food and rent, as well as now paying back borrowed money to the bank and your family. Any time you thought you had money, an unexpected expense came up to take it all away. And then, you decided to move to Vancouver, so you had less money than ever to spend freely.
In all that time, from your first day in college to today, tomorrow and beyond, you have had amazing friends. They have shared with you all kinds of things, from cards to make your L5R deck better, to board games and books, from video games to comics, to food and clothing. You have long thought about how you haven't often been able to return that kindness to them.
But karma is a universal thing. Others do good things to you, you do good things to others, others do good things to even others. It does not have to be a closed loop. They do not have to be the same people. And
It's not the value, it's the friendship behind it.
You know what to do.
And suddenly I do. I get up and tell Claire I'll be back soon.
I race down three flights of stairs to where I know it will be and I buy it.
Then, I go back up two flights of stairs and find that guy again, still in the same place, still reading the same book. I interrupt his reading one last time and hand him a fresh copy of Fate Accelerated Edition, because I can do that now for someone. It's nothing, I say. It only cost me five dollars. This is incredible, he replies. I've never had a stranger gift me something before. I really appreciate it.
Enjoy the game, I tell him as I head back to my wife. It's the best hobby in the world.