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New Jersey Nomads

Welcome to the Front Lines

by Reverend Mother Sean Benjamin Jaffe
August 1, 2001  
"Time to go to a heavy place, to a heavy place
We can feel the pulse of time
Naked in the wake of lies that suffocate and blind
We may burn, but we will shine
Let's strip away the nausea and rise above the night..."

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, "13 Above the Night"

Part 1: Welcome to the Front Lines

Welcome to NetNomads Caf.

Situated on Baker Street in Maplewood, New Jersey, NetNomads is a cozy Internet Caf that sells fantastic coffee and high-speed internet access at reasonable prices. Owned by musician and former Stock Market maven Deanne Landress, it's purpose is to serve as a creative center for the artistic community in the comfortable, suburban township of Maplewood. There was just one problem.

Maplewood, New Jersey, is also the premiere stomping ground and spiritual headquarters the game company/ record label/ revolutionary junta/ streetgang/ short bus we call Synister Creative Systems.

So everything didn't go quite as planned.

Shortly after the place opened in December of 2000, Deanne watched a short, hyperactive, Ecko-slathered techno-freak and a taller, long-haired leather-and-vinyl-drenched Jedi wannabe walk into her establishment with their comparatively clean-cut artist friend and ask about DSL.

"An internet caf?"

"In our town?"

"Yo, can she do that?"

She chose not to kick this trio of cartoon Characters out of her establishment, instead, welcomed them and offered coffee. And so the intertwined story of these two different but nearly symbiotic start-ups began.

Flash forward.

It's 2001 and I storm in, sweating bullets, with my single greatest accomplishment in twenty-five years on this earth, a caseful of The Last Exodus, under one arm.

"Is Deanne here?!"

"No" comes the retort from Animal, the bushy-headed Linux worshipper who maintains the computers. He barely looks up from his game. "She went home."

"Call her up! Bring her in here!"

"She's watching Jonny play baseball."


Content that Deanne and her son will return soon, I plop down in my permanent seat at the counter and crack my silent protest- surrounded by IBM machines, I work on my trademark blue Ibook with a sexy red Coop Devil chick on the case. And here it is that I begin work on this column.

TLE is probably in your game store or at least coming soon. It represents the culmination of the past five years or so of my life, a surface I barely scratched in the twenty-part monster "A Place Beyond Shame" on Gaming Outpost. But that's not why I'm here. You're sick of hearing about game design, and I'm sick of talking about it. What's more, I'm not really a game designer in the first place. I've never been a systems wizard or probability genius. I'm a professional GM. I run games. And I love doing it so much I wanna do it on a global scale.

So welcome to NetNomads Caf in Maplewood, where every Sunday I get together with my buddies and do what creates the core of this industry. We game. I find it nightmarish how many people in this industry- big names- show me new games and products and give me blank stares when I ask how often they play. "I'm too busy to game," They say. Being a game designer who doesn't play your own game is like being a chef who's too busy to eat your own cooking. Eff that. Every Sunday night I'm down there in the trenches with you guys, running a game, and the day I can no longer do that is that day I pack it in and find another business that grants me more time for my passion.

I'm a gamer, dammit, and I have a psychotic superiority complex because of it. We are the last real artists and revolutionaries on Earth, living gods, stronger, smarter, sexier, more creative and better looking than anyone else on the planet. We swordfight like medieval knights, create legends like tribal shamen, dress like rock stars and copulate like wild animals. We are unified and we are unstoppable. The monolithic potential we have only begun to untap will make the Earth tremble when we finally get our momentum going.. If you're reading this, hold your head high, you're among the elite, here. We're the best of the best.

(I'm not being at all facetious or sarcastic, by the way, I genuinely believe this. If you wanna show me the stereotype of the three-hundred-pound nacho-stuffing woman-fearing gamer nerd I'll happily refer you to the stereotype of the three-hundred-pound nacho-stuffing wife-beating sports fan and ask you how many of each you can find in a given square mile. We're doing just fine, people.)

Deanne, God bless her, has bought into my propaganda and worldview, even volunteering her own son to the cause-(Jonny runs Underworld for his buddies at school.) In her cooperation, she has granted me what could have been the single greatest deal any gamer has ever enjoyed. Sunday night, NetNomads closes down and it is given over to us- the gamers. Sixteen Exodus-crazed maniacs, at last count, role-play in the beautiful caf until we're too tired to go on. We have access to soda, and sometimes coffee, excellent lighting and acoustics, the works. I have no end of gratitude for this gift, which has had a significant positive effect on the final release.

So I'm going to use this space to relate and report my own North Jersey Sunday Night Series. I'll ask you all questions and tell you how I solved some of my own. I'll also keep you up to date about the Interactive Story Arc here if you're a TLE fan. After all, that's what we're playing here at NetNomads. I'll be hanging around these forums and I wanna hear about your own campaigns. If you're not running one, start. Let this be your inspiration, Gamer. Exercise your superiority over the masses!

Game on! TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

What do you think?

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