Me and my early RPGs, or... How finding I had a complete boxset of Everway was like a bonus birthday gift...

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Summary: Everway was a different sort of RPG that came out in the not-quite-acceptable-to-play-RPGs 90s. I thought it was a great game, but never got to play, and convinced myself I had lost a portion of the game. A recent look, though, suggests I have a full set, and that makes me happy.

BLOT: (23 Jun 2012 - 01:19:15 AM)

Me and my early RPGs, or... How finding I had a complete boxset of Everway was like a bonus birthday gift...

I first became exposed to roleplaying games in the early 80s, at the release of the "red box" Dungeons and Dragons set (top of my head, I'll say '83). I would have been six or seven, but took to making a character and reading the rule books over and over. I even had a couple of the first edition Advanced books—though I think I was missing the Dungeon's Masters part of the core set. However, I did not actually get old enough and get enough willing-to-play friends to actually run a game until about '88 or '89. We lived way out in the rural world, so our bus rides were something like an hour and a half, which meant we could play about 45-minutes on the way to and from school (the rest of the time, the bus was too crowded and, for several months of the school year, too dark to play since we were getting on the bus before 6am and getting home after 5pm). The upshot being that I became a more full-on RPG convert during what is probably the darkest decade of RPG fandom: the 90s.

While the younger players of the 80s were leaving tabletop games behind for the ever-improving videogame format [and the potential young players of the early 90s never started the hobby], I was buying an absolute random collection of RPG manuals. The first post-D&D game for me was Wizards, based on the Bakshi animated movie of the same name, and it introduced me to concepts like point-based character creation, disadvantages, and d20 skill rolls. Somewhere in there was a storm of Palladium products bought by scraped up allowances and a couple of less legitimately earned twenty-dollar bills. Eventually I had Shadowrun's second edition, the revised (and final) edition of West End Game's superior-to-the-d20-edition Star Wars, and Cyberpunk 2020. Sadly, I got to play few of these since my bus-trip buddies had learned to drive and had grown out of playing, and a second wave of "RPGs will devilfy you!" was growing.

During this time, though, I did manage to snag a still (over a decade later) fairly unique RPG. You see, Magic: The Gathering, now such a geek staple that it is simultaneously a slur against geeks and an element of geek pride, was then just hitting its third edition and was finally starting to get popular, and was even outpacing RPGs. Hardcopy sales of roleplaying sourcebooks were drying up, smaller bookstores that might carry them were going away (and big-box bookstores only cared about, maybe, TSR's products), and the buy-lots-and-play-many mentality behind collectable card games was driving sales up through the roof. I eventually had a sizable, and probably now valuable if I had not just given it away, collection of M:tG cards and was heavily fan-crushing on Wizards of the Coast when they dropped Everway.

It was a different RPG, at least to me, because it did away with dice by using cards from a fortune deck [and a separate vision deck] with symbols and themes that you could decipher to suit the situation's in game. Characters had stats and powers, but they were much more open to interpretation and design. The world was imaginative and weird—infinite worlds with strange fable like characteristics—and the quests discussed in hobbyist mags were much more like weird fantasy than anything else. You can read the Wikipedia entry for Everway if you want to see some more, and it has some decent links.

Alas, I never go to play it, and somehow managed to convince myself that I was missing pieces from it. Since it has fairly unique and all-necessary elements—the deck could be played without all the cards, but why would you—missing even a small amount is essentially missing all of it. I kept the box, though, kept sort of hoping to get a shot at it in the future. And kept being wistful, wondering if I should pony up the cash to get a not-quite-new, not-quite-cheap, copy off of Amazon. I eventually, this last birthday late at night when I couldn't quite sleep, sat down and broke out the box to find out what I was missing...counted out the cards...and...

I was missing NONE of it...

Holy crap. I have a complete box of Everway, the game I have been pining for a complete box of since...hell, my high school graduate or so. Oh man, this makes me so happy, because this means that sometime, soon, I can run at least a single Everway game and have a good old time. How soon? Who knows, but I am game to find out. Pun intended.

Now, why did I think it was missing? Well, I have a couple of theories about this. I'll round it up to three for an even baker's double...

I'm going to assume the first or second is actually the real happening (especially since I know I am missing the promo cards) and frankly, if I worried about every little stupid thing that I worried about...which is to say...if I freaked out because I freaked out...or something like that...well, feedback loops can get out of hand, right. I have my game. I am happy. And that is good.


Written by Doug Bolden

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