Thursday, June 16, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Archi and the Hoyce

Another pic back to East Stroudsburg University, circa 1999.
Archi (left) and Hoyce in TOWN's room 
Like all good stories about friendship, this one ties into a girl, although I winced when I just typed that.

A late attendee of the college lifestyle, with a January start to boot, I tried my best to absorb all cheap beer, stale chip, and dirty laundry lifestyle that dorm life had to offer.  My roommate, a Bangladesh ladies' man named Sam, was in a fraternity, and since I was old enough and a pauper, five bucks for cheap beer sounded like a great option.  Still trying to gauge things, I tacked some of the younger underclassmen to the house.   I observed a particularly obnoxious girl carefully balance a game of one-upsmanship with a girlish "You were in theatre, me too me too!" pitch that made dogs whine.

The poor recipeint of her attentions was Steve, soon nicknamed Archipelago, shortened to Archi (Ark-ee).   For the next few weeks, Steve and I would hang out in "The People's Room" watch wrestling, South Park, and trade amusing anecdotes that were well above the level of the "Room."  He also played Axis and Allies, so I knew he had some other redeeming qualities.

This girl was also a regular visitor to the Room and other group functions.  One day I walked with her to the male dorm to visit her friend. who was also named Eric.  As I entered his dorm room, I realized that she knew the Trenchcoat Cthulhu guy.  Life was getting better.

The other Eric, who went by the charming name Hoyce, was the odd fellow I kept noticing in the cafeteria.  Trenchoat, fedora, and Cthulhu Tequila t-shirt.  I wasn't one for propositioning men, I mean possible gamers at lunchtime, but soon Hoyce was part of the group (The ESU Chapter of the Society of Neffs), along with his friend Nate (Balls).

After a fall semester of our groups merging and evolving, I added a new two elements the following January:  Steve became my roommate on a way-too-convenient first floor room in the same dorm and I started up an AD&D game in the basement... and invited my "real" (aka.. non-school) gaming friends to join.  The rest is glorious history.

Hoyce has been known to have a temper (I regularly mention to peak of such activities, a dice-chucking, board tossing 3am game of Samurai Swords), but he actively takes part in combat, role-playing, and all the intricacies.  He even ran some Last Unicorn Star Trek which I enjoyed.  The most ironic thing is, for all his love for Lovecraft and Chaosium, we never played any Call of Cthulhu together until I ran a session at his bachelor party, more than a decade after we met.

Archi?  Steve drives me bananas.  I originally thought it was his character concepts (Ozark, the 4th level half-orc cleric who maxed out their level 52 years prior might have been the worst.)  but after years of him playing his 1920's avatar, I realized he relishes on the eccentric person who only begrudgingly becomes a hero.

Fifteen years ago this month, I made a promise that I would try to get my optimal playing group together for my next fantasy campaign.  The campaign quickly evolved into Hackmaster and Steve and Hoyce were on the short list of invitees.  As the Burning Trogs Rule! Actual Play denotes, Steve was able to join the game until the final storyarc of the campaign, but he came in with guns blazing as "General" Fonzy Schlepprock, a competent character with a thick veneer of workable schtick.

Whether it's the Burning Trogs Redux, a different Cthulhu campaign, or any other idea in my deranged mind, these two guys are on the top of the list of invites to the game... even if Hoyce moved back to #$%@#% Boston.

And I have no idea what happened to the girl after that first semester.  I would normally want to thank her, but she was such a petty and miserable wretch that I wouldn't want to curse myself.

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