I began playing RPG’s in the summer of 1976 with “Empire of the Petal Throne”, a D&D spinoff published by TSR. In the fall of 76 I began playing Original D&D (with the original 3 booklets) and in the spring of 77 I began DM’ing D&D in a hobby shop in San Jose, CA. During the next few years I tried various D&D spin-offs, Tunnels & Trolls, Runequest, Traveler, Metamorphosis Alpha, and Pendragon to name a few. When Original D&D branched out to Basic/Expert D&D and Advanced D&D I tried both and decided I preferred the AD&D version. I upgraded my original campaign (which was still going on) to AD&D and moved ahead.
In the fall of 1978 I volunteered to run a tournament dungeon for our local game convention, Pacificon. I created a low level tournament called “The Dragon’s Crown” and ran 5 teams through it, one after the other. The convention provided prizes and it was a big success.
After the convention the Fantasy Chairman quit saying it was too much work and the heads of the convention offered me the job as Fantasy Director for 1979, I accepted. At this time “Fantasy” included all RPG’s, fantasy, futuristic, horror, western, etc.
In 1979 Pacificon moved to the Dunfey Hotel, a larger, 4 story, U-shaped hotel designed with the motif of a medieval castle. It was perfect for the convention. On the San Francisco peninsula it became the 4th largest convention in the country that year with over 2500 attendees. Besides acquiring volunteer DM’s, scheduling their games, building up a support staff, and creating an event booklet, I had time to create another tournament dungeon called “Operation Ogre”. I had some DM’s help me run it, so we had even more players go through it than the year before. It was the hit of the Fantasy part of the convention and I was asked by the convention heads to continue as Fantasy Director indefinitely.
We grew even more in 1980 to 3000+ attendees, going ahead of Michicon to 3rd largest, only Origins and Gencon were bigger. One of my DM’s for Operation Ogre volunteered to make the tournament dungeon for 1980, so I turned that over to him and the other tournament DM helpers.
In the fall of 1980, the heads of Pacificon bid on hosting the massive Origins convention and got it. It would be the first time Origins had been on the west coast!
I wanted it to be special and broadened my search for DM’s. I got Dave Arneson (co-author of D&D), Steve Perrin (author of Runequest), Greg Stafford (author of Pendragon and owner of Chaosium), Prof Barker author of EPT (Empire of the Petal Throne), and Sandy Petersen (author of the Call of Cthulhu game) among others to DM events.
I had several tournaments scheduled but the main one was a LIVE Action Fantasy tournament using the hotel as a setting. I created the “Dunfey dungeon” using staff rooms which would be vacant during the day as my dungeon rooms, had 5 assistant DM’s, who had practiced the dungeon extensively with me across a table, created a scoring system for the player/monster teams, and got a game manufacturer to provide prizes and gift certificates. On the day it ran we had 7 rooms available and people could sign up to be either monsters or PC’s. We ran over a dozen PC teams of 5 total. Each wandering about the hotel, with their own DM, looking for doors with a sign “Live Dungeon Room”. Each team had 3 hours to explore, fight monsters, and collect treasures. The monsters stayed in their own rooms for 9 hours, but were awarded prizes too, depending upon how well they did. It was a huge success and set the standard for live dungeons held at Pacificon in the years that followed.
Pacific Origins (as it was called) itself was massive with over 4800 attendees, staff, and security. It filled the huge Dunfey, the Burlingame Hilton (or maybe Hyatt, I forgot) which offered hourly shuttles to the Dunfey, and most of the smaller hotels and motels in three cities. I had over 300 scheduled Fantasy events and had to turn over the operation of the Live Dungeon Tournament to my DM’s, who ran it without a hitch.
I continued as Fantasy Director of Pacificon until 1988, when I moved to Washington.
Around 1981 I discovered a Fantasy RPG called Dragon Quest, published by SPI.. It gave more variety to the characters than AD&D did and I switched to it. Even after SPI folded and was taken over by TSR, we kept playing it. I also ran Traveler, Cthulhu, Pendragon, and several other campaigns on and off during this time.
When 2nd Edition AD&D came out I tried it and found it much improved. My DQ players did not want to quit, so I began GM’ing 2 campaigns. DQ on Tuesday nights and 2nd Ed on Friday nights. My DQ campaign finally ended in 1999 and I switched my 2nd Ed campaign to a 3.0 D&D when it came out.
After buying all the 3.0 books, 3.5 came out (ARRUGGGHHH....), so I switched. Then came 4th Edition (ARRUGGGHHH.... again). We moved to it. It was NOT D&D (WoC owned the name so they could rename any game they wanted to D&D), but it was fun so we played it for a few years.
Eventually we tired of it and wanted to go back to D&D, but we had heard about Pathfinder so I decided to look into it. I went to a home game, really like it and soon began my own home campaign. I also restarted a 3.5 campaign I was GM’ing to PF.
After about a year I heard of Pathfinder Society and went to Gamer’s Haven in Spokane Valley to try it. I found the PF Society rules limiting, but liked the people there and really liked the pre-made scenarios. So I became a permanent resident on Friday nights at Gamer’s Haven in March 2013, missing only 2-3 Fridays since.
I have had the honor in the past of playing D&D in a game DM’ed by Dave Arneson and talking with him about the creation of D&D. Playing Runequest at Steve Perrin’s house in his game. Playing EPT in a game DM’ed by Prof Barker. Having an extended conversation with Sandy Petersen about Call of Cthulhu. DM’ing Gary Gygax in a 1st Ed AD&D game at Gencon (getting him to sign my DM Guide) and placing 13th in TSR’s worldwide Dungeon Master’s tournament .
I also wrote free lance for Judge’s Guild and had the following published by them. The Dragon’s Crown, Operation Ogre, Survival of the Fittest, The Nightmare Maze of Jigresh, and the Book of Ruins. I also had a room I designed put into a Master Dungeon in The Dragon magazine (around issue #36 I think) by TSR.
Besides Friday, I currently GM 6 times and play 3 times every 2 weeks. We run a lot of games that only meet once in 2 weeks. Some PF Society, most not.
I’m retired, 67, and am content to enjoy the rest of my time GM’ing and playing the games I have loved for so many decades. That is where I am today. 10/20/14