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Grumpy Old Grognard

3 years on StartPlaying

45 games hosted

Highly rated for: Knows the Rules, Teacher, Storytelling

About me

Well... This isn't a living for me, it's a hobby but my wife won't let me DM more than once a week unless I get paid so... here we are... I studied acting in college and was an incredibly unsuccessful professional actor in Chicago for two years. This is another way of saying that I was a bartender who spent every breathing moment of my off time doing community theater and trying to find a real paying gig. No time for girls. No time for D&D. Big ol' gap in my resume, there. Eventually, after having earned a whopping $3000 as an actor over two years, I decided I wanted to start doing normal things like dating, smoking weed, and playing games again so I moved back to NYC, got a job as a restaurant manager, and never looked back. Well... Maybe I looked back once or twice. Life as a businessman was good to me, and the gaming was even better. My experience as an actor may not have paid dividends, but 2 years of doing Shakespeare in the park certainly had upped my DM game. My experience in commedia dell'arte (a medieval comedy tradition from Italy) has been surprisingly valuable, allowing me to hone my improvisational skills. Even back in my 20's I was cast as Pantalone (the dirty old man). Like most 80's nerds, I eventually wound up in tech where I became VP of a fortune 5000 company called CPA Site Solutions that got bought out by a capital investment company. I stopped dating (something I was never particularly good at, anyway) and got married. I took a few years break from TTRPGs when we moved to New Orleans for my wife's job. Instead, I began running an online Neverwinter Nights campaign. I became quite proficient in both the DM Client and the Aurora Toolset and eventually became a Hall of Fame DM on the old Neverwinter Connections website under the name UrKnightErrant (My friends call me Urk). Several of my builds are still available on the Neverwinter Vault under the name "Urk." We made a baby. I kept working as an independent business consultant for several years and retired at 54. Now I'm 57. My son is 10. I have time to enjoy my life, and I'm doing just that. I'm throwing myself into my gaming the way I wanted to when I was a teenager. I prefer to play classic tabletop roleplaying games, some of which are not on the startplaying games standard availability list including: Mechwarrior (the original Battletech RPG) Star Trek the Roleplaying Game by FASA Doctor Who by FASA White Box: OD&D emulator OSRIC: 1E AD&D emulator I do have a 5E D&D campaign. It's the edition everyone has. It's the edition everyone knows. I can fly it. I can fly ANYTHNG. My players are happy as clams but, to be completely honest, I think 5E is a pretty mediocre RPG.

GM style

Many of my games are not suitable for gamers who are less than 18 years old. If you are 18 or less, please disclose this information immediately so I can direct you to a suitable event on my schedule. I run a game that isn't afraid to explore adult themes, but I am not an edge lord by any stretch of the imagination. My worlds explore themes like racism, sexism, slavery, sex work, drug use, and human depravity, but I do force certain limits on the narrative. Certain events can only happen off-stage, in the tradition of the Greek Tragedy Ob Scena. Torture and sexual acts, for example, will be treated with a fade-to-black where players will be expected to use their imaginations to fill in the details. I don't consider myself a "storyteller." I am a DM. I am not going to write you a novel and walk you through the pages. My job is to provide you with an epic setting in which you can write your own story. I will put before you a world full of lore, NPC's, and events. You will make the choices that will drive the story. I rarely do voices and accents unless it's for comic effect, but I do dialog. I prefer to concentrate on character, motivation, and relationships. I am a fairly skilled actor, but I have yet to plausibly voice a barmaid. More to the point, you are going to run into hundreds of NPCs over time. Even I can't do that many voices and, even if I could, I wouldn't be able to keep them straight. I run games in an OSR style. OSR games are distinguished by higher difficulty levels and fewer, if any, social skills. In OSR elements like persuasion, diplomacy, intimidation, and seduction are usually handled by actual roleplay rather than dice play. Encounters are NOT carefully balanced. In an OSR game, fleeing is often the best survival strategy. In difficult encounters you will need to use strategy to win. These systems are generally rules-light. The DM makes rulings where rules are absent and will often use direct attribute rolls instead of skill checks to determine success or failure of various actions. Combat is deadly, player mortality is high, and level advancement is slow. Morale and loyalty rules are important elements in combat. Followers are not blindly loyal to players, and enemies rarely fight to the last man. Finally, many OSR games include mass combat systems that allow players to fight alongside or even command large armies in epic battles. There are a few elements of 5E I like and have incorporated into my favorite systems. Advantage/disadvantage rolls are one. Spell slots are another. I've toned down save or die poison effects. Now it's save or probably die, slowly. Likewise, I use a custom death system. 0hp equals dead is too brutal and doesn't make sense narratively, but -10 is too generous for low level characters. We will use a compromise based on system shock rolls. My very favorite games are campaigns played in AD&D (OSRIC) and Classic Traveller. My favorite systems for one shots and short campaigns are D6 Star Wars, classic Top Secret (in 80s period play) and Boot Hill. My favorite modern systems are Basic Fantasy and Castles & Crusades. I have 5E on Fantasy Grounds, but it's not my favorite system. If you're looking for a 5E game, there are hundreds of DMs on this site that will be happy to host you. Please consider contacting one of them. It's a pretty safe bet they need the money more than I do, and they can offer you a degree of passion for the game system that I just don't share. Beyond that, I find my gaming style doesn't sit so well with a lot of 5E gamers.


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