Wednesday, May 29, 2013

10 Questions - Randy "Randal the Light" Gordon

Randy "Randal the Light" Gordon

How long have you been playing?
I was a freshman in  high school when I saw an ad in the paper for HAUG (Hartford Amiga User's Group).  Marble Madness was an amazing game for the time.  By chance I met Aaron Ravenberg at the meeting, who in turn introduced me to Rob Riley, Nana Prom, and the rest.  That was when John Wrisley and Glenn Slate were running Lost Chest, before Shannon or Lance were household names.  Let's just say that jelly bracelets and colorful leggings were popular...for women that is.  Eventually, we started heading north to beat on those Folkestone teenagers like Brendan, Jarrod, Dave, Paul, and company. 

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
I can't claim that I'm as connected as many of the other people that have been interviewed.  I was extremely active in the 90's, but then have had spurts of involvement and energy over the past ten years.  It's hard to maintain a balance between the things we enjoy and the lives we live.  Family and career make us choose our time wisely.

Perspective is a key that makes this is a tough question to answer.  I often feel the rush of something new, whether it be a new larp, a great video game, or a new game campaign.  The challenge is when you continue in a world and the new innovative ideas are things that you've seen time and again.  I remember so many exciting moments that I think had a positive impact on my out of game confidence.  I worry about when games become more rote and less emotional.  People should have passion, feel love and hate, be heroic, and challenge themselves to be more.

Depending upon which version of history you read, I may have held the first event holders' meeting.  I was nobody but a player with a heart that called up who I thought were the key players in this loose network of games.  Shannon, Lance, and Clarinda were really the soul behind the games for a while.  Terry and Terri were there along with many others.  I was a kid running a meeting with a bunch of more experienced gamers.  I remember losing my cool and throwing a plastic bottle at Lackey.  It wasn't my finest moment, but I cared and was trying to get a bunch of individuals to agree to some basic concepts like weapon length rules and other minutia.  

I had role models that impacted me.  If I did things right, I may have had some positive impacts on others.  It's almost like some of us are grandparents, since many of those that were my players have grown into event holders and leaders of the game.  I can't be bothered to worry about the weapons or the plots.  In the end, we have a game that continues to live because their are always people that love it and will help it stay strong. 

Who have you learned the most from?
This is a tricky question.  As a player in the early Realms, I learned a great deal about events from Shannon indirectly and Lance more directly.  Carrie Dolph was one of the people that I enjoyed seeing at events the most, whether as pc, npc, or event holder.  Back in the day, Folkestone meant family.  I miss that.  I stayed honorary member but never joined.  I brought back some souvenirs from my trip to Folkestone in England.  There's no question that Kathy Journeay, Clockwork, and Lackey were a formidable force in the game and its hard to imagine that they didn't make an impression on me.  Maybe I learned the most from many of my players that were willing to jump through the silly hoops that I put in front of them.  Sometimes they even smiled.  So, Lars, Shane, McKrye, Quick, Meerkat, Blak, Ragnar, and the rest.  

Of course, collaboration is always a challenge.  Early on with Rob Riley and Mike Palumbo (Panther).  Later with Kyle (Kaz), Matt (Zula), Dave (Amergin), and Leanne (Faellin).  I encourage people to try working with different people. It changes your perspective and if you don't kill each other can make magic. 

What was your best moment IC?
How can you just pick one?  Not going to happen.  Random stream of memories commencing in 3...2....1....

Out in the woods of Glenndale, I was running so hard from a monster I ran through the boundary line.  They were telling me to come in but I was nodding no.  No chance was I going back in there.  Real fear.  That is sweet.

During a Queen of Hearts or Duke of Glenndale competition being held in Periden a master chess player was bragging about how he couldn't be beaten.  Pure instinct, I called out Knight takes player and killed him.

On a quest to find the name of the Nameless One, I looked at the puzzle and got the answer right away.  People said that I couldn't have figured it out.  Hours later they got to the end of the dungeon to find out that I was right.  Sometimes Carrie and I think alike.  It is very scary.  If we didn't kill each other, she'd be my choice for a collaboration.  At the same event, everyone else was dead.  There were guards patrolling.  I crawled around until I found Thomas Althorne's body since I knew he had a "By My Voice" healing power.  At my instruction, he quietly called it out to the 15-20 bodies on the ground.  Stealth recovery.

Three Liches- "Jarrod, you have to trust me."  This might have been my most emotional character moment with Randal.  Long story. It ended with friendship trumping fear.

Fighting Pathos.  I didn't have a clue who he was but knew he was the villain.  Groups of three were going into a castle mod at Chimeron.  I pushed past the demon companion (Steve Johnson I think) to be in a group with a misguided pc working with Pathos.  I was Randal the Thorn in his side.  I couldn't win but I made it as difficult as I could for him.  I killed the girl.  She was an annoyance and a distraction.  When I realized that I couldn't hurt Pathos (Steve M) with my own weapon, I grabbed hold of his.  Steve is a big guy.  I couldn't really grab it from him, but he rolled with it.  It didn't matter that I was breaking the combat rules.  It was right for the moment.  I hit him a few times with his own weapon before he pulled it back.  We were on the top of the castle and had a crowd watching.  I still remember Queen Meg's cheer.  I called Knight.  I used a special rage power to be invulnerable for a while.  In the end  it was my most epic fight.  It didn't matter that I lost.  It was awesome.

I suppose I should mention the KoEF and Knight of the Realms ceremonies, but not really.  It wasn't the badge at the end that mattered.  It was the journey that mattered.  Okay, story time is over for now. 

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
Call me sentimental but I like playing The Champion, taking one soul at a time.  In the end he couldn't be beaten. There was always an escape plan.  The mask is still in that magic basement of mine waiting for one last hurrah.  You didn't really think it was over?

Burying players alive.  

I loved the Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz events.  The pc warps that merged characters with literary icons was lots of fun to manage and to see.  Kathy Horn as Dorothy, Niko as the Tinman, Callin as the Scarecrow, Jarrod as the Lion (back when he had the fro).  It was really chaotic.  I used to have all the ideas in my head and make a bunch of it up as I went through.  I was like Santa with my bag of schlock.  People can joke, but everyone loves getting real treasure walking in the woods.  Sometimes I'd be putting out stuff until 2 am the night before, which explains why I was a little scattered before the event even began,  Who can sleep the night before their event?

I started the Order of the Magi.  The Knights of the Realms thought we needed to recognize mages and so I did it.

Much of the most rewarding experiences that I've had as an event holder happened when I had direct contact with a player.  I liked to challenge people, sometimes pushing them to the edge.   I'd like to think that I had some positive influence on some of them.  Event holders rarely get the feedback that they really desire, the thanks for the hours they prepare and run quests.

Many of the things that are memorable aren't scripted.  Dave (Callin) and I got into a wrestling match as key npcs.  It just sort of happened and it worked.  We couldn't have done it for a second group.  It wouldn't be natural.  Sometimes the things that happen when you aren't planning are the once that are the best. 

Being made a Knight of the Realms

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game? 
One of the difficulties with the Realms is that it has a hard time playing nicely with other larps.  Variety is a good thing.  It doesn't have to be only the Realms.  There are many games out there that people could benefit from playing.  Steal the ideas and bring them back.  I always struggled with getting enough npcs.  Many of the other larps have a character point exchange system where you npc for one game and get character credit for another game that you play.  They never have a shortage of npcs because of this.  The combat isn't really that different.  Theater style is another thing that I think more people should try.  Intercon, Brandeis Festival of the Larps, RPI Dice Bubble, WPI SLAW, and more.  I was at a game recently and had a KOEF fireball as a part of my costume.  The Realms newbie who was at the game looked at me and asked if I was a KoEF.  I met some great people that happen to be good friends of Gideon and Mouse.  Open your eyes to other things, try them out, and use them to make the Realms better. 

What advice would you give new players?
Find a balance.  Love the game but don't make it your life.  When you have a better job, you can afford better garb.  That doesn't mean you'll wear it.  

Play fair.  It is okay to lose.

Find friends.  It's tough to be independent in the times we live in.  Our realms groups are the people that we hang out with out of game.  They are our families.  Choose wisely. 

What do you love most about the game?
I love the potential that is always there.  The freedom that anyone can create a story and make it happen is great.  We have many talented minds and its nice that they have access to a world we share.  

There are many people that I've met over the years, friends past and present.  Who could ask for more? 

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
Jeffo is one of the silent architects that helped forge our boffer world.  Jesse Perry just made the game nicer.   


  1. The three liches and burying people alive, and in one case, a claustraphobic. Two of our finest moments. Kill each other or not randy, we did make magic and I so appreciate having worked with you through it all.

  2. What was the quote?

    "Randy... RANDY! We can't make people FLY."

  3. Yeah, bury the claustraphobe, after Mike pulls a knife on me, and tells me to stay very, very still.

    I trust you guys, Randy, and what do I get? Oh yeah, only some of the greatest weekends in my LARP career.

    I know you cannot go back. Hell, I'm unsure how many faces I'd recognize if I did, but these ten questions bring a lot of memories back to an old man. Thank you for these.

    1. Whoops, forgot to sign this.
      //jesse / Lars of Clan Curiadh / Barrett, Mercenary of the Eclipse.

    2. Advertising and executing permanent effects for characters, means permanent memories for players, whether good or bad. Take no notice of the word execute, you're still healthy if not unaffected ;)