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I need to acknowledge another inspirational RPG source to my long-running campaign. I was a real fan of Fritz Leiber’s stories about Faffhrd and the Grey Mouser. When I looked at Judge’s Guild’s  City State of the Invincible Overlord, there it was! Looking at the maps and the accompanying materials, it is obvious that the creators were very familiar with Leiber’s city of Lankhmar, and the City State goes for the same feel, doing creditable homage to Leiber’s setting. 

I wanted that so bad for my campaign. A large sprawling city by the sea, from which adventurers can go anywhere by land, sea, or assuming an obliging dragon or pegasus, by air.

But what to call it? I wanted it to be the capital of an empire that has declined. Something like Rome but  with a two-syllable name.

I moved the last “e” from the end to the front and the City of Erom was born. Adjective: Eromic. People: Eromi. Yeah—it sounded just right.

Armed with the AD&D books, the City State, and plenty of graph paper, I designed my first scenario, tried a few trial runs with various friends who were patient considering I had no idea how to run a game in a lively manner.

So finally I was ready to roll (literally). But who would be my players?

This part is a bit vague in my memory. I was about 18 or 19 and I don’t remember how I met them; but it was probably my girlfriend’s brother’s friend’s sister and her friend. Lisa and Lisa (though she spelled it Lhesa and has since changed it to Madeleine.

Lisa and Madeleine were 14 but lots of fun, quite sharp, and willing to give the game all they could. And we had fun. We would play for a few hours, then when we quit for the night, we might smoke one and then watch SNL. Lisa usually conked out early, but Madeleine and I would stay up. When I was good to drive, I would drive Madeleine home, and then go home myself. Fun, but I was forming a habit that would later cause a bit of trouble.

Given this, of course Madeleine and I became friends. She was a good person, with a bright spirit. I saw her about 15 years ago, but have since lost touch. I miss her. She was fun.

After a while we discussed getting more players, so I invited a guy named Vincent, who added much to the game. Then there was his sister, Marianne. Then a high school classmate of theirs and a college friend of mine, Esha (who was sometimes forced to be the adult supervision), then Karl and mostly people that I knew from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, or their classmates from University High (I didn’t go there, but I knew a number of people who did). And then whoever they knew that they thought might enjoy it. And eventually we had quite a crowd.

It’s interesting to note that my absolute best friend, Kevin, did not play. I got the feeling he wasn’t enamored of the idea. We never discussed it. I always assumed he would not want to, and that he thought it would be silly. He certainly would have been welcome.

It was big, and sometimes unwieldy, but it was a great bunch and we had fun. And it went on a year or two until it wasn’t going on anymore. And I am not sure what led to that; I don’t remember all that well. The post game toking might have had something to do with it—I need to point out that he overwhelming majority of the players did not indulge.

It might have had something to do with being really busy with school; it definitely had something to do with having my first serious girlfriend, and it was probably not helped by my increasing dependence on marijuana. I had grown up into a nervous wreck, and the weed really helped with that. But eventually took more than it gave. My girlfriend dumped me, I started to get lousy grades in college, and I was having trouble making sense. I decided I was going to have to quit the weed, which made it difficult to hang out with people who still did that. My campaign had ended and now I was trying to get my act together. I still saw my players around, but we never really had any more of the big Saturday game gatherings.

To Be Continued…