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For those who want to know where the madness started.



For those who are wondering: this is where it all started.

By that I mean that this campaign chronicle was the first, and after this one I found that I couldn't stop. There was a day in my life as a gamer when I merely took notes during game sessions—jotted down names and clues, doodled in the margins, and that was it. One day, during my tenure as Webmistress at the Harvard Book Store, on a day when there wasn't much to do and we'd just had an eventful session ("Hunting the Eye of the Storm," I believe), I began expanding those notes into narrative, exploring my character's reaction to the revelation of her origin.

I showed this to the rest of the group, and they seemed to like it. Eventually, along with other game materials, it formed the nucleus of the first incarnation of this Web site. And then it began to grow. For the first few "issues" of the story, I was relying on memory of games we'd had many weeks before. For a further dozen issues I simply got up early the day after the game and wrote furiously, trying to get all the details down before I forgot them.

Finally, frustrated at forgetting so much dialog and feeling somewhat guilty about the omission of scenes for which Needle wasn't present, I bought a tape recorder. I tried looking back once, so to speak, during the Pendragon campaign, but found that I just couldn't do it. The compulsion to archive, once given in to, was too strong.

Here on this site are the fruits of these labors. And they are labors. I put a lot of time and a fair amount of money into this quixotic attempt to deny the emphemeral nature of gaming, and I consider the result well worth it. To my mind and, I think, those of the other players, it's helped the story to have a consistent reference we can all fall back on when memory fails. It provides me with considerable pleasure to read back over old adventures and bring them to mind that much more vividly. Judging from the mail I get, other people enjoy them, too, which is something I didn't even think about hoping for when I first put this stuff on the Web.

I should emphasize that this is not a novel. I've tried to capture the flavor and intensity of the game experience, and to resist the temptation to make us look better than we are (especially me). We overlook clues, make dumb mistakes, don't always stay perfectly in character, and emit the occasional verbal blooper.

Nor of course are these strict transcripts. I've done some cleanup on the dialog, trying to find the line between in-character and out-of-character remarks, and eliminating the usual ums, ahs, stops, restarts, and sentence fragments except where it seems they add something.

A note on the titles; they're all Brian's, except for "Night of the Weird Shit" (forever and always Phoenix Talon's) and the individual episodes in Patchwork and The Dying Year, which I came up with since Brian didn't have any.

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson