Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wake for Weedbert

So I recently found out that an old friend of mine died not long ago.

He was the oldest of three brothers I became friends with long ago, and though we'd grown out of touch I'd hear updates now and then since one of those brothers remains among my closest friends, as much as I would imagine an actual brother.

Still, you aren't expecting someone who's just 51 to die of a heart attack.
But I guess it happens.

For most humans, I think the best we can hope for at the end is to have left people with some good memories, so it seems right to share some of those gaming-related memories of a fun, goofy guy who often was jokingly called Weedbert, after his favorite past-time which he often partook.

Now, of course this is Radagast, but the two fellows did have a lot in common, and the further along into life he got, the more Joe resembled Radagast! 

In my second year in University I transferred to San Francisco State and not long after living there, working in a cafe, became friends with a co-worker, and then his two brothers, who would come in for free coffee.

In talking to them, I discovered we had in common RPG gaming, though I hadn't had the time or opportunity to play since early High School.  After talking about it some we decided to get together to roll up some characters and give it a shot.  My girlfriend at the time had never played before but was interested, so we had 5 people: not a bad start!

We'd meet at the house and spend as much time joking and being off-topic as often as RPGing, but that's good fun too.  We started with AD&D 2nd edition (I still have those books) and after some time switched the characters and game over to the Hero system, using 'Fantasy Hero'.

To this day that party was some of the most memorable RPG characters I've ever known:

Calaban: the rather stoic, reluctant leader.  Elven ranger with dual fighting axes.
Beleran Chrystalfyre: the pompous, self-absorbed Elven Sorcerer.
Kievar: the half-elf,half-halfing master thief and trap expert who had a nervous breakdown.
Fauna: the stressed halfling fighter-thief who obsessed with guilt over any damage she inflicted.
Fenris: the halfling monk, master of throwing stars with a very open heart.
Door: the eager to please mimic.
Weedbert: the off-in-his-own-world human healer cleric who created some of the most unusual circumstances.

In the Hero system you start with a certain number of building points to buy your stats, skills and abilities.
You can get more points by 'buying' defects and disadvantages. So this is how his brain worked...

This cleric was something of a 'man of the common people',he'd put all of his points into healing... no adventuring party is going to turn that away are they?

In an urban adventure, filled with political intrigue, investigating who was behind a plot to spread a plague, then 'assembly-line' with vats of acid for the creation of enchanted skeletal soldiers out of the newly deceased, and the organized crime syndicate funding the project...

But Weedbert was off on his own personal side-story, trying to heal the masses of the plague, which is what you might expect from a devoted high level healer in the middle of a plague.
(Even plague doctors need a break now and then)

The characters had become pretty high level at this point, and this healer, the only one who seemed to have the ability to cure someone of the plague soon became something of a Messiah figure!  For this city, hundreds dying daily, rumors of the dead walking the streets at night, killing people while a war raged right beyond their land, the commoners believed it was the end of the world... but they had a savior!

In short order there was a new messiah-cult!
This cleric was followed by crowds of thousands wherever he went, completely devoted to him.

Nice guy right?


Turns out he'd used the disadvantage system to create his own mechanic whereby humans who were in his presence became increasingly subjected to the chance of contracting a fatal illness.  This would give the cleric energy points which he could then use to fuel his spells, such as *curing* the disease.

Yes, the cleric who was saving so many from certain death was in fact the source of plague itself.

The more the masses followed him, the more became sick, creating more healing power which he'd then use, triggering his disadvantage creating more plague.

If there's a more apt metaphor for much of the history of religion, I don't know it.

And then there was the time in the city riots when he was sure if he cut the bridges to the island in the river he could sail the island downstream to assault the merchant district...
Umm... well, he was often high so that might explain that.

He also made a pretty convincing Sewer Urchin!
(has to be a better picture somewhere, but I can't find it)

You know, the best thing about gaming is that it gets people together. 
It's a fun excuse: You build something, you enjoy the company, you create some memories.  

That's about all we leave behind, but it's something. 


Francis Lee said...

He sounded like a good guy, a sad loss to his brothers and others who knew him, R.I.P Weedbert!

Anne said...

You're right. The most important things we leave behind are not accomplishments, monuments to our abilities. It is the lives we touch and how we enrich those lives through love and friendship.

I think Weedbert would appreciate your honouring his memory in this way. And Ferret, I'm sorry for your loss.

Andrew Saunders said...

Sorry for your loss Weedbert sounded like a great friend indeed

Scott said...

Keep those memories alive for Weedberts sake... sounds like he was quite a guy!

Bill said...

Thank you Ferret.
That was a great tribute to a fun friend and brother. One of the true High Elven Lords. They don't get much higher.

Anonymous said...

My sincere condolences, and i concur that is a very touching tribute.

Now you've shared a little fraction of what was special about your friend with all of us, and thus spread the positive impact of his life even further.

And wow, very cool bit of cosplay of one of my favourite characters of that cartoon (i haven't read the comics yet)!

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