Allow myself to introduce…myself.
I’m Richie Cunningham. This is my wife Oprah.
Kidding. Though I sometimes wish I was an international man of mystery, I am just Nick.
I have, however, been lucky enough to be invited to blog for Critit.
Full disclosure! I have not come here to reign over you. I am not here to preach or
express myself as an all-knowing, omniscient being in the gaming world. There are guys and gals out there who know way more technical stuff than I do. There are players who have been playing longer and certainly have more experience. That being said, I love the world of RPG gaming, and any outlet I can find to surround myself with it, I’m there. Also, with all the fascinating people that come through the Critit realm, I’m also hoping to learn a little something that
the books won’t teach you.
A little bit about myself: I am a husband to a rockstar wife, dog dad to an irresistible fluff ball of a golden doodle, and human dad to the little padawan in my  wife’s belly - or, as I’ve been referring to it, The Child. I am also a fourth grade teacher, though I prefer Jedi Master. I truly would prefer Sith Lord, but that would imply I have only one kid in my tutelage, and while that would make teaching easier, it’s just not practical.

I’m Here Because…
ANYWAY, the only thing I’ve been doing longer than gaming is writing. As a high school freshman I started hashing out an idea for a young adult fantasy book series. And, seeing as how I was a typical fourteen year old in that I knew everything, I started in on writing without an outline. Big no-no. Three “fresh starts” and almost ten years later, however, I managed to finally get the story finished and published in the Amazon Marketplace. Yay me.

My writing and creative streak is really what drove me into the gaming world. I spent (and still spend) so much time and creative energy crafting my own fantastical worlds and characters that I genuinely appreciate being able to experience those of others. In the late 200s I dabbled in the Dungeons and Dragons world. We played Fourth Edition. I created a High Elf Ranger named Salogel (crafty, I know), and it was wonderful. I got to play with two of my future
groomsmen and the woman who became my wife.
Alas, it was only a passing thing. Something to which we couldn’t completely commit.

And so I faded initially from the world of Dungeons. But I had already tasted of the fruit, and so the yearning for more lingered deep within me…

Slayer Origins
Fast forward to the mid 20-teens. I was about to begin an internship at a local
elementary school. As I was making my rounds of meeting all the teachers in the building, I met Steve, one of only three other men in the school. Right off the bat I could tell Steve was a very charismatic guy. He wore a weathered Pittsburgh Pirates hat with a brutally folded brim, so low that it almost covered his eyes. Palpatine style. As it turned out, I had just come back from Pitt the past weekend, so we hit it off right away. It turned out Steve was the Game Master for a campaign he was running with a few of his long-standing buddies. After expressing my interest, he eventually incorporated me into the game.
At that time, Steve and the group played Palladium. The gaming platform came around in the 80s, and, along with Dungeons had been the guys’ go-to adventuring outlet since they were kids. Like other fantasy games of its kind, you could choose from a variety of playable characters, practice lots of different magic and psychic abilities, etc. What Palladium lacked was the technical, “chess match” style of play that Dungeons and Dragons brought to the table. It
was fast paced and battle-oriented, and so it was boatloads of fun, but the time eventually came when Steve sought something a little more in-depth for us players. That was when we passed over into the world of Dungeons and became the East Coast Slayers. Over the last three years, I’ve been part of three mega Steve-written campaigns and dozens of one-offs. I’ve also dabbled in the role of Dungeon Master. We’ve met a handful of amazing people within the industry, such as the wonderfully talented Dominic Marriott of Critit UK, who has supplied us with some of the sweetest merch a gamer could have.

At school, I’ve incorporated the game into my classroom, and have run after school programs dedicated to D&D. Present and past students visit me weekly asking about their characters, or giving me drawings of their characters. When I can’t decide between two students, or whenever a tie-breaker is necessary, we have a d20 roll off. I award dice on birthdays or simply whenever a student is exceptional.

This game been woven into the fabric of my life, and I love everything about that. What I love even more is the idea that I get to keep growing within this world, and learn from the best that are out there. That’s all of you!

1 comment

Etienne Bontemps

Etienne Bontemps

What a thorough and well written blog! I don’t use the word great very often, but this may be the greatest blog in world history.

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