While I still love the older versions of GURPS, I have not yet warmed up to GURPS 4th edition. I like the new language rules and the idea of talents; I also like that Advantages and Disadvantages have been made more easy to modify to fit a character concept. My big dislike, however, is the paradigm shift from characters having a number of skills to the idea that characters will only have points in their major skills - most people get by just fine on defaults most of the time accoring to this idea. I also don't like that Dexterity and IQ now cost twice as much as Stregth and Health (Oh, and by the way, Health is now almost a vestigal attribute) - I have read that this has something to do with a bunch of whiners who want all characters in their group to have particular niches and to be unable to take over another character's niche without a lot of trouble. But none of this matters anyway right now since I only get to game when I go to GenCon.

John's Home Page

Greetings to all.

I'm John. This page is devoted to my hobbies and obsessions: my wife Patty, role-playing games, science fiction, mystery, forensic anthropology, guns and Second Amendment advocacy, Cowboy Action Shooting (tm), fencing and whatever else I happen to think of at the time.

My Hobbies

Roleplaying Games

One of my main hobbies, ever since the Spring of 1981 (the end of my freshman year of high school) has been roleplaying games. My mother and grandmother were terribly worried that I would just go insane and kill myself, but I went ahead and started playing D&D anyway. By 1986 I had outgrown D&D (actually long before that, but I hadn't found a good replacement). I had met a nice girl (eventually to become the above-mentioned "lovely wife") and we found a game that beat AD&D all to pieces. It was called THE ARCANUM and it was published by Bard Games. Production value was low - they needed to spend the extra money and actually hire a proof-reader - but the rules were great. It was a lot like D&D, but with much more flexibility, and a simple yet dynamic combat system. Go out and find a copy. You can recognize it by its spell book-like cover with the right-side-up pentagram centerpiece (the first edition is black with silver details, the second is black with red and white details. The first edition cover is much more attractive, but the second edition has more character classes). THE ARCANUM was the progenitor of Bard Games's popular TALISLANTA (currently being republished by some other company. Wizards of the Coast published a version at one point, back before they bought TSR Games), but used with more D&D-like mechanics and a more conventional fantasy setting. A newer edition was brought out in 1998 or 1999 by Death's Edge Games. The cover was yellow and featured some rather lackluster art, but the game was virtually unchanged (a mixed blessing, since they included all the old typos as well). Go and check it out.

I'm still a big fan of THE ARCANUM, but ever since 1987, when I bought a copy of the First Edition Boxed Set, I have been a disciple of Steve Jackson Games' "Generic Universal Role-Playing Game" or "GURPS" for short. Since that spring day my wife and I and our friends have run an amazing number of games using the GURPS rules: Espionage (converted from T$R's old game Top Secret(tm)), Star Frontiers (converted from the T$R game of the same name), Modern Horror, Victorian Fantasy Horror, Fantasy, Dark Future, Fantasy/Dark Future, Imaginos (based on the Blue Oyster Cult album Imaginos(c)), Star Wars (c), Cyberpunk Police, Bureau 13 and Bureau 13 2020 (inspired by TriTac's Stalking the Night Fantastic and Bureau 13 Stalking the Night Fantastic), 30's Cliffhangers, V - The Visitors (from the mini-series and series V(c)), Dark Future Nashville, Anime/Mecha (with the help of R. Talsorian's MEKTON), Cynosure (from the First Comics title Grimjack(c)), and many more. They have more than 150 world books, with more coming every year, and they give out a free "light" version of their rules. Some people complain that GURPS must be difficult to understand if there are that many rule books, but the fact is that the basics of the game are quite simple, and everything else is just optional extra detail that you can use or not. Check out GURPS Lite.

In addition, I have also become a fan of R. Talsorian Games' CASTLE FALKENSTEIN (c). I love the setting and the feel of the game as well as the use of playing cards instead of dice. However, I like my game systems a little more crunchy than the FALKENSTEIN rules, so I am currently working on a FUZION (c) conversion.

Go to my Gaming Information page.

Cowboy Action Shooting (tm)

One of my other major hobbies is Cowboy Action Shooting(tm). That's me in my persona as Sebstian Cain, up at the top of the page. I shoot with the Bluegrass Rangers in Glasgow, Kentucky. I used to be an active participant on the Single Action Shooting Society's Bulletin Board, but I don't go there much anymore after some unpleasantness.


Still another of my hobbies is fencing or rapier combat. I have recently begun studying fencing with the local SCA at the Shire of Loch An Fhraioch here in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They meet most Sunday afternoons around 2:00 p.m. in Lampkin Park. Learning to fence has been a life-long dream of mine, probably the result of watching too many Erol Flynn movies

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