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Off-the-cuff Forge cultural analysis

Started by Clinton R. Nixon, December 05, 2002, 02:53:34 AM

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I'm Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer and there's very little I can talk about myself that you can't learn by examining stuff I already have on the 'Net. (be sure to look at my user info, lots of raw data there) (don't post to this, it's an old thread)

The only thing not covered there is I grew up in West Virginia, went to high school in Pittsburgh, PA, went to school in Iowa, and have lived at various times in my life in California, North Carolina, and most recently Maryland. I work as a subcontractor for NASA; you can look at one of the projects I maintain and stuff about the contract I'm on.

Edit: I found the Forge during the "great Gaming Outpost exodus"... I'm your basic Western Civilization white male, only I'm not dead and I'm pagan. I'm always looking for new gamers in Salisbury, MD.
love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT

Matt Snyder

I'll bite ...

I'm Matt Snyder. I grew up in (and ended up in) Carlisle, Iowa, though my "home away from home" is Iowa City, where I attended the University of Iowa -- go Hawks!. Iowa boy through and through. I'm 27. I married my high-school sweetheart five years ago, and we now have a wonderful 2-year-old daughter. We all live in an old blue house on Elm Street (no nightmares). My wife is a teacher. Our only "church" is academics and education, though I was raised Methodist. In Iowa, that's mostly like saying "I breathed as a child". All in all, we're about as middle-of-the-road as you can get in nearly all respects, with a healthy dose of liberal academia for good sense.

Living where I do keeps me close to family, and old friends, nearly all of whom are much the same as me -- easy-going Midwesterners who enjoy a good laugh and polite company. I still mostly chum around with guys (and a few gals) I knew in high-school, and we game pretty frequently, though we've also met some new friends and gamers along the way.

My day job is basically that of a multitasking journalist. I work at an agricultural magazine, and I'm spend most of my time editing web pages, creating special projects and features, and doing lots of graphic design, both for print and online media. That experience, naturally, pays off big time when it comes to doing layouts for RPGs!

I've got all sorts of time-devouring hobbies. I'm a huge music fan, particularly of classic and psychedelic rockers (the usual retro kicks: Zeppelin, Hendrix, Cream, Jethro Tull, Dylan, Neil Young, etc. etc.). That love spawned a love for _playing_ the music, and I play my ivory Fender Jazz bass in a "power trio" -- strictly garage band fun (pretty analagous to gaming groups, as Ron has already pointed out  many times!). Can you who know me imagine me wailing as lead singer to, say, Rockin' in the Free World? Yeah, go figure.

(I still want to do a classic rock-related RPG thingy, most likely a psychedelia-laden Sorcerer supplement called The Sleeping People -- a reference to a Jimi Hendrix interview on Dick Cavett Show (sp?) Far out. Some day ...)

I've got a veritable library of reading materials, as well; favorites include: Michael Moorcock, Homer, Joseph Conrad, Don Delillo, Gene Wolfe, Kurt Vonnegut, George Martin, Tolkien, Lovecraft, Leiber, Leslie Marmon Silko, Alan Moore, Philip K. Dick, John Gardnerand others I'm forgetting . . .  I'm also a stark-raving mad news hound, having picked up the habbit from my newspaper journalist days.

The wife and I also have a healthy collection of mostly "mainstream" VHS and DVD movies that we enjoy. Some of my favorite films include mostly the usual round-up: Apocalypse Now, Fellowship of the Ring, The Big Lebowski, Unforgiven (Dust Devils -- go figure!), Blade Runner, Braveheart, Heat, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Ghost Dog, Bond flicks and many others.

Far too infrequently, I do some fiction writing and the occasional op-ed piece for  the newspaper. I'm also, like many previous posters, a big video game nut -- currently playing Splinter Cell on X-box, and whatever I can get my quirky, "frigid" PC to run.

I've been playing RPGs in one form or another since the third or fourth grade when my older brother ran AD&D for me. At the time, that was sort of like getting to go to batting practice with Joe DiMaggio, you know what I mean? Anyway, I was hooked. I played RPGs like a fiend all through high-school, and mostly through college as well. As friends moved away, marriages ensued and so on, gaming went a bit off and on, but we kept it going throughout, despite a couple dry spells. My gaming history revolved around a lot of games, but primarily of the D&D variety.

Now, I'm having a great time with a new group of old chums, and my experience here on the Forge has really opened my eyes to what I like in gaming and how exciting (and sometimes, what? Sophisticated?) the possibilties are. A veritable RPG rennaissance I also really enjoy doing game design work, and have had a blast with Dust Devils and my current project Nine Worlds. There's something about the game-design bug that just gets me going.

Also, for those who don't know, I have done all sorts of freelance graphic design and layout for fellow Forgers and other small-to-mid size RPG publishers. That's been a real treat, getting to see "sneak peeks" of great games, and especially building relationships and friendships with the people I work with. Forgers I've worked with include: Cynthia Celeste Miller, Ron Edwards, Jared Sorensen, Ralph Mazza & Mike Holmes, and Scott Knipe. Great folks and wonderfully creative minds, all.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Shreyas Sampat

Mmm, tasty profiling bait.

I'm Shreyas Sampat.  That is in fact my real name; it's Sanskrit and not really that difficult to pronounce.
I was born in the outskirts of Bombay, but moved to northern Jersey shortly afterwards.  Grew up there.

I was raised Somewhat Hindu, which means that we played out the rituals and went to the parties but didn't really take them to heart.  I've had a lot of interesting discussions with Mom about the significance of various holiday traditions.  Eventually, I settled on a firm agnostic viewpoint.

At the moment, I'm nineteen, a student, studying linguist and amateur costume designer.  I used to responsibly update my Elfwood gallery...  Occasionally I'm a writer in the Surrealist vein of Murakami, or a mythologer.  I listen to punk and folk fusion: SR-71, Garmarna, etc.  I cook when other people eat comfort food.

I used to be a dissatisfied D&D player, then shortly afterward a bored Amber player and an excited Mage: the Sorcerers Crusade player.  I soon fell to game design  as the only route to finding my Dream Game.

I plan, sooner or later, to find a place to live where I can get good Belgian chocolate and leave my door unlocked.

Jared A. Sorensen

Okay, for real since we're all playing "getting to know you."

My name is Jared A. Sorensen. Holy shit, I'm thirty years old. I grew up in Western Massachusetts and Southern Maine, moved to San Francisco for five years and am now back in the pillowy busom of New England (New Hampshire) where I work as a tester for Infogrames Interactive. My girlfriend Rebecca and I bought a 158-year old house on Halloween. It has a dog buried in the backyard, true!

My ethnographic would place me squarely in region of "Euro-American mongrel" (French-Canadian, German, Italian and possibly Martian...still waiting on the DNA test). Religiously, politically (same thing, really)...I'm not -- and I question the motivations of anyone who prefaces any statement with the words, "Well, as a ________..." be it a religious affiliation, sexual orientation or political ideology. So there's my bit.

I have a gaming group! Mike Mearls, Dave Turner and I get together to play Magic: the Gathering and RPGs (as well as hang out, watch movies, yaddah yaddah). And I even have a gaming room in my house where I store my RPGs, bass (the guitar, not the fish) and other bits and pieces. We're playing Mutants & Masterminds right now...possibly looking for additional players to join out merry band?

I like to read cool superhero comics (and any other good superhero-related material), novels (Jim Munroe, Andrew Vachss, Chuck Palahniuk, JG Ballard, weird kids' books, Neal Stephenon, etc. etc. etc.) and watch movies (almost anything, the weirder the better). I'm a big ol' metalhead and have a pretty nice collection of metal CD's (lotsa German stuff). I also like surf, goth, industrial and new wave.

And in case you've been living under a freakin' rock, I run Memento Mori Theatricks ( My latest creations were released in April and August of 2002 (InSpectres and octaNe). I'm on the design team for the Decay RPG by Studio Ronin and have my mitts in other pies as well.

Yes, I spelled bosom wrong but I'm okay with that.
jared a. sorensen /


Hey hey-

Chris Chinn, 24, currently unemployed, although I spent a few years in human resources, with a college background of graphic design and computer animation.  Ethnicity of Chinese/Caucasian(English and Irish).
I grew up in Seattle, spent college in Vancouver BC, returned for a while, and just a few months ago moved out to Detroit to study a rare martial art.

My earlier game group consisted of close friends who I knew from high school years and whom I socialized with a lot outside of gaming.  As folks moved away, got busy, got married, I formed a few new groups which failed to work out as well.  Coming to the Forge, I later hooked up with Clinton, Dan Root, and James Cunningham for a few months and had a great time(Wassup guys?)

Currently without a game group, as I've just moved house(again), but looking to start again soon.  I'm also in the midst of working on several game projects which I may or may not publish, but what the hell, I'm having fun.

I'm big into hiphop, HK movies, some anime, gangster flicks, comics in general, tea, and philosophy/spirituality.  Think of me as a cross between a chinese warrior scholar, an otaku nerd, and a westcoast gangster and you won't be far off.


Chris Passeno

My name is... Christopher Glenn Passeno.  I was born in a hospital which is no more in Sandusky, Ohio to a Farmers daughter and a Marine.  My ethnicity is the typical American Heinz 57 Varieties, though mainly French-Canadian and Scottish.

I am 31 years old, raised as a military brat, and have lived in a lot of the States, as well as year in Okinawa.  I've been married to my High School Sweet-Heart for 11 years and have a son who should be starting school next year.

I've been in the printing industry since I was a Junior in High School.  I learned Typesetting prior to Desktop Publishing being invented.  I graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh 11 years ago and am the Manager of Colortech Graphics and Printing Westerville location.

I like Sci-Fi/Fantasy and have an undiagnosed Television addiction.  Seriously... I'm like a deer in headlights.

I game every other Sunday, much  to my wife's chagrin.  We are currently running an Earthdawn campaign.  I've been gaming since I was 15, with a brief hiatus for college.

This past Origin's I met Ron, Jason, Mike, Ralph, Jacob, and Jared.  I hope to see them all next Origins along with other Forgers.

"I guess that's about all I gotta say, 'bout that."


Raven Daegmorgan. Everyone knows me as either "Raven" or "Orm," excepting family and old friends from high school, all of who still call me by my "real" name. Raven is not actually my legal birth-name, but I don't like my actual, real, legal name. At some point, I do plan on having it changed. Hence, I consider Raven to be my real name.

On-line I've used the handle "the GreyOrm" for more years than I can recall...and yes, Orm is an actual, real-world name, straight from the Norse sagas, though that isn't the original reason I chose it. Though I understand it, it never-the-less bugs me to no end when someone references me as "greyworm" (suprisingly, something that has only happened here on the Forge).

I was born and grew up in a small tourist town in Minnesota about six miles, by canoe, from Canada; population ~4000 (the town, not Canada...though there's a good joke in there!). I only recently moved to a larger city in the same area. I use the telling phrase "ay?" in speech. I have a slightly younger sister whom I am only now appreciating. I have more cousins than I can count and am related in some distant fashion to many of the people in my home town.

I was raised Roman Catholic and was devoutly faithful, including hard-ass preaching to the sinners and consideration of joining the seminary, until a September night back in '92. Jon's (quozl) statement precisely contains my beliefs up until that time. I still ended up becoming a priest. I am quite literally embarrassed by and disgusted with my former "religious" attitude and behavior.

I'm a computer technician/programmer/web designer/consultant by day and a dark avenger of justice by, wait, that last bit's wrong. I'm also a professional editor, a writer (of fantasy, poetry and philosophy/commentary), an artist and designer, a licensed pagan minister and a father. I'd like to go back to school to pick up an advanced physics degree.

I have three kids -- one boy, 6, and two girls, 3 and 10 mos. -- Galen, Anastastia and Alexandria, and am-not-married-but-might-as-well-be to their mother, Jenny, whom I've been with for eight years. We eventually plan to get married, but see no pressing need -- we're already as married as one can be.

Tech stuff is what I do for a living, but an artist is what I consider myself. People who believe and act as though there is some tremendous gulf between artistic and technical people bother me; much the same with people who can't fathom anything but a divide between spiritual and scientific people, as though individuals must be or can only be one or the other. I think people with this viewpoint are seriously missing out on a big part of life -- skeptic tech geeks and New Age eco hippies both.

I'm presumably Wiccan, but definitely fringe eclectic, and deeply immersed in the ways of my cultural heritage (Norse Asatru) as well as a student of the Bhudda's teachings and Zen. I see no conflicts therein; when you get right down to it it's all about making decisions about how one chooses to live their life, exploring the best way to do so and ecstatic shamanistic journeying.

I'm Caucasian, skinny and pale (I burn easily, unlike my sister) with dark hair that I wear long; and though I'm mostly Finnish and Norse (followed by Germanic and Slavic), I'm quite often mistaken as having Native American blood. I'm also often mistaken for a woman, even with obvious facial hair (my sometimes moustache and Shaggy-style chin-fuzz). My wife comments she is jealous of my long eyelashes.

I always wanted to be six-foot tall with blond hair and blue eyes. Given my genetic bloodline, I ought to be.

I'm told I sound older than I am and look younger than I am. I'm 26, mistaken for 45 and 16. This is probably a good combination.

People who've only read me describe me as a balding, 40-ish professor in tweed...apparently they think I'm Ron...just kidding, Ron doesn't wear tweed (at least I don't think he does). As stated, people who've met me in person think I'm either 16 or a girl. I never go into bars or buy cigarettes, so I'm never carded.

I can multi-task, much to the chagrin of employers or instructors over the years who have wanted to catch me off-guard "screwing around" or "not focusing." I have been known to do more than five things at once without missing a beat: writing e-mail, chatting, listening/studying, in-depth writing, reading, answering questions (immediately & correctly), and often eating or watching a movie. Anything less is often a waste of my time, since my focus doesn't usually "improve" by doing fewer tasks.

I was the second youngest person in my high-school class...the youngest was the girl born a few minutes after me in the same hospital. I barely graduated from high school, but I was part of the Honor's Society every quarter during college.

My IQ tests in the 135 range, or near-genius.

I've been a vegetarian for six years. Previously, I was an avowed carnivore, and still believe if you are going to eat flesh, particularly steak, the only proper way is red, rare and bloody. My wife thinks this is disgusting.

My wife is in school for Nursing, and plans on a Master's degree as a Physicians' Assistant (a Doctor who cannot perform surgeries). I, on the other hand, faint at the sight of blood or the thought of needles and scalpels (you do NOT want to be the one giving me a shot, as I kick and bite).

I can read/speak Deutsch (German) passingly and am looking into learning Japanese. Languages fascinate me, and I have a hobby even more obscure than designing RPGs: Model Languages; I have actually created about three basic languages in my spare time over the years, and various fits-and-starts of others.

Thought-processes and the study of behaviors (and society) also fascinate me.
Well, nearly any scientific branch of study fascinates me, except medicine.

I have a temper, which I'm often chided for by my wife. Nonetheless, I don't believe in violence as a means to solve any problem, gun ownership or the modern army. I am almost a pacifist.

I call Jenny my "wife" because...well, I have no other word to describe it, and "domestic partner" just doesn't have that affectionate ring to it.

Most of my friends are and always have been female, and I'm not into sports, hunting, fishing or similar activities. I've studied Tae Kwon Do, though I'm badly out-of-shape and out-of-practice currently.

I don't sleep enough.

I'm usually between jobs, most often due factors beyond my control (ie: state budget cuts, crazed satanic-conspiracy theorists and similar).

I'm a communist by belief and willing to explain the often ignored pitfalls of capitalism and why it isn't the best thing since sliced bread, owing to various issues, especially and particularly humanitarian ones. I am easily annoyed by ill-read people who mistake communism for "what they had in Russia (or China)."

I'm never on time.

I watch cartoons.

I find Americans, as a group, too provincial for their own good -- that is, unworldly, ignorant and yet self-assured. I more than suspect this is not true in Europe or Canada.

Some of my favorite movies are "The Whole Nine Yards," "My Blue Heaven" and "Alien."

I'm slightly paranoid and suffer from clinical depression. I'm too much of a bastard to give in to my darker, more self-destructive urges, however, which the only reason I'm still alive.

I've recently begun to realize not everyone who disagrees with me is an idiot.

I am nothing like the person who attended high-school. I am more outgoing, less concerned with acceptance or fitting-in, less hot-headed and wiser. I generally realize my faults, like taking things too seriously or arguing past the point of reason.

I have an agenda for the human race, and I think they're failing to live up to their potential. They're also surprising and better than they realize.

And that honestly only scratches the surface.
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio

Matt Machell

Since we're all joining in...

I'm Matthew Rupert Machell (rhymes with Rachel), born 26 years ago in Southampton (UK) to a marine engineer and a teacher. My ancestors came across with the Norman conquest, so I'm about as white as you get. I live with my girlfriend of 5 years, Frances, in a flat in Birmingham. I'm agnostic.

I work for a publishing company as a technical editor. I used to be a web designer/developer, and still dabble with that role. I have a degree in computer science (but studied Literature and Art at college), and spent most of my university years playing RPGs.

I'm about 6ft, have long dark hair, and tend to wear black. Unsurprisingly I like Rock, Metal, and Punk. In my spare time I read (Iain M Banks, Pratchett, any fantasy without the words king or sword in the title), watch movies, play the guitar (badly), write, and learn Tai Chi.

I've been roleplaying since I first read a Fighting Fantasy book at age 9. Fortunately Birmingham has a thriving roleplaying community, and there are more games than I have time to play. I am currently addicted to the Lord of the Rings trading card game.



Quote from: Chris PassenoJason, Mike, Ralph, Jacob, and Jared.  I hope to see them all next Origins along with other Forgers.
Ahem. Am I that forgettable? :P

Kester Pelagius

Greetings Mike,

In the way of blurbs this sentence is, perhaps, amongst the lowest rated and ranked blurb which will ever be read.  Thank you.  (+2 INT points for reading this far.)

Quote from: Mike HolmesWhat does it matter what I envision?

Just curious.

Quote from: Mike HolmesUm, average height, slim, long brown hair, glasses. Wearing a dark colored jacket, even while typing at the computer.

Not bad.  (For the me of about a decade ago.)

Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri


Hmm, well.  My name is Gareth Martin, I'm 31 and living in a shared house in London.  I'm descended from Normans and then English combined with Welsh.  My maternal grandfather was an infantry officer in WWI and I have inherited his rapier.  He moved to Kenya because of the consumption.  This side of the family was a branch of an English aristo line with a history of Colonial service, but was pushed south through successive insurgencies, passing through then-Rhodesia and settling at Cape Town, in South Africa.  

I was born in Brighton (the UK one), though, and my father was Welsh, although both lived in SA.  However I now little about that side of the family as my parents divorced when I was 2 and he was then killed in a car accident, so I never met him (or two half-brothers in Australia, as it happens).  My mother then returned to her mothers house and I was raised in the garden-plot suburbs of Cape Town.  They were tacitly Anglican, but I decided that god was improbable pretty early on.  When I was about 12, I was brought to the UK to meet relatives and see the Old Country, and chanced upon a box of D&D, which went home with me.  I played D&D and then AD&D through half of secondary school and highschool, most of which was unremarkable.  As I got older of course other things began to impinge, and a limpet mine was once planted at the petrol station opposite my school.  Also at highschool I was introduced to feminist writings by a friend, and in strange way the eloquent description of discrimination and how it operates outlined there enabled me to see the ugliness of SA which I, in line with my peers, had hitherto been ignoring.

I knew several people who have died in bombings, and many who fought in the border war.  At the end of highschool we all got conscripted, one of my mates to Angola and one as a riot policeman.  I avoided the draft temporarily because my mother put me through a computing diploma, and eventually I moved to England when I ran out of stalling time.  My freidns had had a pretty rough time of it, and I felt I couldn't fight for the SADF because I felt that we were creating the problem; they kept saying the country couldn't afford water or electricity in the townships, but there were too many Mercedes and BMW's on the roads, I just couldn't buy it.  The juxtaposition of master and servant was too obvious.

When I came to England I got shit jobs like packing boxes in factories.  Eventually I managed to edge my way back into the IT field but never did get a programming position.  Now I work, one way or another, for an international networking company as a major crisis response coordinator. Coming to the UK also gave me access to the works of Karl Marx, which had been banned in SA.  Marx' is the only analysis I have yet read which explains to my satisfaction the presence of squatter camps and mercedes right next to each other, and thus I have been a member of a revolutionary Trotskyist organisation for several years.

The other week I went to see orcas in the Tysfjord in Norway, and it was the coolest thing I've ever done.
Impeach the bomber boys:

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci

Kester Pelagius

Greetings greyorm,


That was... very comprehensive.  Makes me feel bad I didn't do up a introduction good and proper.

Thanks for sharing.

Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri

Chris Passeno


Sorry Adam.  Congrats on the job, BTW.

I thought I was missing a few names.

There was Adam, Bull (though he probably wouldn't remember), Ben (Jacob's friend and artist), et cetera...


Quote from: greyormI was raised Roman Catholic and was devoutly faithful, including hard-ass preaching to the sinners and consideration of joining the seminary, until a September night back in '92. Jon's (quozl) statement precisely contains my beliefs up until that time. I still ended up becoming a priest. I am quite literally embarrassed by and disgusted with my former "religious" attitude and behavior.

Please don't respond if you feel uncomfortable about this but if you don't mind, I'd like to hear what happened to make you embarrased and disgusted in order to get to know one another better.

To share a little more about me and perhaps ease your possible discomfort, I don't consider myself devoutly faithful (although I wish I and everyone else who calls themself a Christian would be) and I don't do any "hard-ass preaching".  I have had horrible experiences with "Christian churches" and Christians in general and had a long period in my life where I hated eveything to do with Christianity.

If you feel it might start some heated discussion on religion but still want to talk about it, please email me privately.  From the rest of your post, I think we are a lot alike.
--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters

MK Snyder

Hm. So far I am the oldest (42), longest married (18 years) with the oldest kids (11 and 17).

Female. Degrees in Anthropology and Tech Writing. Currently working in the gambling industry/ and private investment. Published poet.

Excuse the telegraph style; I am working on two reverse mergers today.