This group has been meeting weekly since April of 1991, although the individual membership has changed over that period. We've been running with 10 players now for the last few years, which is a pretty big group to handle. Campaigns we've participated in over that time include Shadowrun, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, AD&D/Dark Sun, AD&D Option System, Rolemaster/Middle Earth, GURPS/Middle Earth, GURPS/Warhammer, and Deadlands.
The group varies in experience from a number of 20+ year veterans to fresh gamers with only a few months experience. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, we're mostly computer software professionals, but there are a few folks in other vocations to round out the group. Although we've played a lot of D&D over the years, we're new to Forgotten Realms and are therefore able to provide a fresh perspective to the playtesting.
I'm a Test Manager for a computer software company and I'm the DM (GM, Marshal, etc.) for the group. I've been gaming since I was a freshman in High School in 1978. Like most veteran gamers, I started with D&D and it's still the old favorite that I always come back to. I love other games as well and have been collecting RPG material from a huge list of games for a long time now.
I've been totally excited about 3e since I attended GenCon in 1999 and heard about the Big Announcement. This opportunity to playtest the Forgotten Realms is a great way for me to be involved with this exciting new system and to put my professional skills as a software tester in to work helping out the hobby I love.
I have been gaming on and off since late elementary school. I started with Traveller, back when the books were still small. In the past year and a half I have played with Buck's group in Rolemaster/Middle Earth, GURPS/Middle Earth, GURPS/Warhammer, and Deadlands campaigns. My real joy in gaming is role playing (or "pretend games for grown-ups", as I describe it to non-gamer types although you could also call it improvisational acting, or for that matter collective story telling). I tend to play eccentric characters with <John Cleese> outrageous accents </John Cleese>. I love to make my fellow gamers laugh.
Among other time wasters, I play drums, race RC cars, write speculative fiction, groove on psych/prog rock, and drive a 1999 Cyber Green VW New Beetle, which says as much about me as anything.
Check my web page for more info: www.dnai.com/~kasumi
Scott Beyer, resident guinea pig (http://home.flash.net/~sbeyer/): I'm a software tester and sometime actor who was naively lured last year into a game of Deadlands, only to fall victim to the old Bait 'n' Switch. But hey, I'm flexible. I like trying new things. When it comes right down to it, I have never played a real game of D&D in my life. Ever. Well, not unless you count the couple of games we played in junior high-school where nobody paid attention to the rules, everyone carried a full arsenal of magic weapons and unlimited spells, and dice were meant to be rolled over and over until they told you exactly what you wanted to hear. I understand vaguely what a Paladin is, and I remember something about a portable hole that was pretty damn cool. Oh, and Ochre Jellies, jiggling down a hallway like an overgrown slug! Yes, some of it's coming back to me now. Most of the time, though, I spent drawing basilisks on the back of my character sheet and creating triple-stuff Oreos. I know nothing of battle mechanics, and the term "thaco" sends unpleasant shivers down my back. Though I seem to remember hearing recently that this will no longer be an issue for me.
That's a relief....
Jennifer was first exposed to gaming at San Diego State where she was majoring in Mathematics. Her first exposure to D&D was a game she played with her friends in the marching band who had been gaming for quite some time. She was quickly hooked on those games played into the wee hours of night. Upon graduation in 1993, Jennifer had to sadly leave D&D when she received her commission and moved to Orlando to teach at the Naval Nuclear Power School.
Three months before separating from the Navy in 1997, Jennifer and several other officer instructors found out they all like D&D. (We're everywhere!) She resumed gaming for a short while before leaving to move back to California. The departure was not so sad this time, as she was moving to San Jose to marry David Krull, a fellow instructor she had met in the Navy, whom she'd been apart from for two years. David's friends became Jennifer's friends, and soon David's friends' friends became Jennifer's friends as she started gaming with them in 1998. She is so hooked, on February 26 she attended a game with her and David's new baby, Kathryn, who was born on February 19th. (Although, I think it's fair to say she wasn't fully there.)
Jennifer is now a stay at home mom. She still enjoys playing the piano. In her wilder days, she ran the Walt Disney World Marathon, went skydiving four times (the first time a week before her 16th birthday), has bungee jumped out of a hot air balloon, and has been white water rafting on the Zambezi River in Southern Africa. The craziest thing she has done lately was go to Target where she stood in line and realized her entire purchase consisted of three 3-packs of pregnancy tests and two packs of Pop Rocks. Those moments where you can laugh at yourself are some of the best in life!
Patty and Clay started playing D&D in 1979 while in high school in San Antonio, Texas. At that time Clay was a part time DM and had actually gotten paid to give a seminar to local teachers to explain what D&D was. The original group from 1979 played regularly through 1983, mainly using the first AD&D rules. On occasion even Clay's mother would join us at the gaming table. After that point the group split up as everyone went to different colleges. Patty played a few games of AD&D at the University of Texas and Clay played RoleMaster games at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Clay then moved to California to work for Apple computer and eventually reunited with his first girlfriend, Patty, from high school. They married in 1987 and had a seven year gaming hiatus. In 1994, the two joined Buck's gaming group in San Jose, California, and they have played a variety of gaming systems with the group. In the most recent AD&D games Clay plays a human Psionicist whose primary discipline is psychoportation and Patty plays a half-elf Bard/Priest. They first attended GenCon in 1999, and are planning to attend all future ones barring unusual circumstances. In real life Clay is one of the two software architects at FileMaker, Inc. and Patty raises, trains, shows, and competes with Shetland Sheepdogs.
Syd Polk was first exposed to D&D while at a number sense contest in 1976 while in 7th grade. Soon afterward, he started exploring D&D. At the time, the original three books were very difficult to find, and the AD&D books were just starting to come out. He ran the Against the Giants modules with only the Monster Manual, Player's Handbook, and combat tables from Dragon Magazine to work with. The Dungeon Master's Guide came out in 1979 and revolutionized his campaign. Syd played AD&D, both as a DM and as a player, for the next few years. When he got to Rice Univesity in 1983, Syd took a 13-year hiatus from roleplaying games which lasted until 1997, when he joined two gaming groups, one playing AD&D 2nd Edition, and one playing AD&D second edition with Player's Options rules. Syd has since been very active in many different roleplaying campaigns, including ShadowRun, RoleMaster, and Deadlands.
Rick Reynolds is a marketing director for a dot.com startup but in his real-life he appreciates the critical lessons learned years ago in high school--mostly how to type and how to play D&D. Rick has been playing D&D since October of 1978 with the birth of a certain Fighter/Thief/Mage named Feanor. Today, Rick enjoys a variety of role-playing settings as well as PC games and videogames. Rick is already thinking about his retirement and which DM's he's going to live near.
Scott Walker treasures his well worn D&D Basic box set. His brother, Chip, ran him through the Keep on the Borderlands over and over again with different friends and different characters. Then there was the Advanced box set with the Isle of Dread, which yielded just as much play and replay. The Walker brothers continued to take turns running AD&D games, while running and playing a number of other classic box and roleplaying games, namely Boot Hill, Car Wars, Star Frontiers, Universe, and Starship Troopers. Scott continued to roleplay through college, when video games started competing for attention. In 1993, Scott joined the video game industry at 3DO in the early days of CD games, and shortly thereafter had the good fortune of joining the campaigns run by Michael Buckalew, as well as those of Michael Weller, who also plays in Buck's games. As a video game producer and designer currently with Infogrames, Scott is extremely excited about 3e and has a keen interest in the game design decisions that will be made in order to "upgrade" such a complex game system.
Michael Weller has been gaming a mathematically impossible length of time, given that he is not that old. Dungeons and Dragons, always. Also Traveller, Gamma World, Tunnels and Trolls, Paranoia, etc. Many different games have filled the "second game" slot. And every Gencon I try out several more. I was very lucky when a player in the game I DM for invited me into his Tuesday campaigns, where I have been a part of a wonderful series of adventures, with many game systems and variations, and always huge amounts of fun. My own Greyhawk campaign is over ten years old now, and the math does not work on that either. Oh well.
Career-wise, I have been a ditch digger, accountant, graveyard clerk at 7-11, poetry major, tire stacker, columninst, doorman, phone operator and many other things, but always a chef. I actually started as a cook, but I am a chef now and feel comfortable in backdating the title.
Most importantly, I am married to an amazingly wonderful woman and we have been blessed with a son we call Shane. Not to worry: he is being raised with dice in one hand and a character sheet in the other. I cannot wait to dig out the old books and show him where Dungeons and Dragons came from. Imagine explaining THAC0!