Bio, they asked for a bio. What do I say that would be interesting to you? All the normal stuff like being 53, a married father of 3, and a career Union Carpenter doesn’t mean much to the average gamer.
So how about this.
In 1978, I was 13. My brother, 10 years my elder, called the house one Thursday and asked me if I wanted to go and play a game. He called to see if his kid brother wanted to play a game with him!! You bet I did. He drove down and picked me up and off we went to some house in the woods of Taunton. There were people dressed as wizards and fighters and we sat around a big table, I was a dwarf with an axe and darn I died three times that night but we killed that dragon! And that was it. I was hooked. Forever. And that really means until I’m done.
I played all throughout school, read anything fantasy I could get my hands on (my book collection at one point numbered 10K, awesome but ridiculous to move), joined the SCA, joined NERO, started several community gaming clubs, ran or played in every 2nd edition module published, designed numerous “real physics” systems and greedily consumed everything remotely fantasy-related whole and kicking.
By the time college ended with a bang, I was deep running my own game system, I was pretty darn good with a sword, my apartment was teaming with dragons, gargoyles and fantasy ephemera and life was right around the corner to put a screeching halt to it all. During my first and second marriages my gaming life was subdued and more of an addendum rather than a headline. No regrets, it’s just the way it was. But I still believed.
Jump forward a bit right to the end of my second marriage. After years of working retail I had begun a new career in construction and one day at work, a thousand miles away from anything remotely fantasy, a strange thing happened which began an entirely new phase in my life.
My partner at work (let’s call him Vinnie) went away for a long weekend. When he got back I asked him where he had gone. He said “Gaming Convention”. I was the only guy who ever said “You play D&D?” A month or two later, after finding a piece of paper “ Looking for Gamers” tacked to a bulletin board in a very missed game store in the Providence Arcade, we were standing on a porch in the rain, right back in Taunton. A guy (let’s call him Jay) opened that door and it might as well have been to Narnia, because ever since Gaming has back in my life and those two guys are still my best friends on this rock.
At the first convention I went to with the both of these guys (Totalcon), I was playing D&D and looked across the tables in the hall to see a beautiful woman dressed in a burgundy blouse and leather pants. Jump forward to today as I write this and that woman, Petra Jackl, my wife of 17 years, is in the other room working. We’ve raised our kids to be gamers and surrounded ourselves for years now with amazing friends and family that all are gamers. Next story.
About half a dozen years ago, Petra and I were sitting around thinking about what the future held. The kids were getting older and less interested in what we were doing and we thought about when they moved on and what were we going to do. We decided that night that we would surround ourselves with the most excellent group of gamers and amazing people we could meet and together we would live in interesting and exciting times of our making as we got older.
And we did. Dark Phoenix Events was born of our efforts to meet great folks and for five years now it’s continued to get better and better and we’ve had some incredibly adventurous, side-splittingly humorous, downright just the best experiences of our lives with those folks and we are proud and honored to call each and every one of them our friend and family. Our Tribe.
Our newest endeavor, Rising Phoenix GameCon promises to be another great step in the path we have chosen. I hope to instill that sense of gaming that I still have, from that first night a lowly dwarf fought a dragon to stepping foot in our own Convention for the first time and all the amazing possibilities gaming gave me to live the incredible full life I have so far.
Hello Gamers Old And New!
My name is Petra Jackl and I have been playing role-playing games since I was 16 years old and still love it in all its variations. I love tabletop as my favorite form but also LARPs, murder mysteries, and pretty much any form of storytelling games with a more recent foray into miniatures.
I run many private gaming events with my husband and we are co-owners of our own gaming business called Dark Phoenix Events where we do event planning for gamers.
Gaming has been a huge part of my life as my siblings game as well as most of my children, nieces, and nephews. I love roleplaying and one of my favorite systems to run is Fiasco which is a hysterical storytelling game run almost entirely by the players, if you like role-playing check it out!
The gaming community has always been so warm, supportive, and accepting and helped shape who I am today. The support for our new venture by other conventions and fellow gamers has been amazing and I thank you all!
I have helped build worlds, create new systems, and helping to start a Convention seemed like the next perfect step so here we are! We have learned a lot about how conventions run... the good and the bad and we are hoping to take those experiences and put on one of the best conventions you have ever attended.
If you see me or have any questions please feel free to ask me I would love to chat!!
I got into gaming as a freshman in High School.
My brother wanted to use me and my friends as guinea pigs for this new thing he was doing (my brother is Alex Jackl and my sister is Petra Jackl– so I have a pretty amazing family there). After the first game I was hooked.
I believe that I learned so much from gaming. I also gathered around me some of the finest human beings I have had the pleasure to call my friends. This community of gamers has its problems, of course, but the quality of people regarding open-mindedness and intelligence has been astounding. We have a lot to be proud of.
I attribute some of my professional success to gaming as well. It taught me to be able to think quickly in pressure situations, find different ways to approach both people and problems and, how to handle an enraged Orc – because you know, that happens.
I would love to talk to you about my experiences and yours. I believe that we can make the world a better place, one game at a time.
Ogmios Is An Artist With A Passion For Creativity And A Flare For The Dynamic.
He aims to create his art like it is a key to unlock emotions in the observer. Ogmios is an artist, author, game designer and the publisher for OTB Comics and Games. He is the art director for Rising Phoenix Game Con as well as NECON, a 40 year running horror writer's conference. Art by Ogmios can be seen on many published book covers and interior illustrations including several releases by the New England Horror Writers. He has a strong background in graphic design, has run his own multimedia company, and was an art director for a memorabilia company where he worked directly with clients like Disney, the NFL, Macy's and NASA. He has created comics, poster art, band CDs, tattoos, t-shits, TV commercial animations, video graphics, software graphics, game art and much more. Ogmios works with pencil, ink and digital paint to bring to life subjects like fantasy, sci-fi, mythology, and especially monsters and creepy things. Current projects include his table-top game, Lightning RPG, and the fantasy comic, Age of Ragnus, with his company, OTB Comics and Games.
Starting when I was 17 I played D&D very sporadically with some people from School.
None of the groups lasted more than a few nights, I guess because the others just didn't get the game. Then one day while in college there was a guy sitting at the cafeteria table with the AD&D rule book and DM guide. I introduced myself and asked him if he played the game. Lenny, said he'd been playing for awhile and that he had a group that met every other sunday night. After a few minutes of me asking all kinds of questions he asked me if I wanted to join his group and BOOM for the next ten years or so I was gaming on a regular basis. Well as all good things come to an end so did this particular run on gaming but one day one member of the group, Pete, came across a registration form for Total Confusion gaming convention and for the next 6-5 years the con was the only role playing I had.
Then one day after returning to work after a weekend at TotalCon. My partner asked where I went for my vacation, upon hearing me tell him I was at a gaming convention his head snapped around and he ask "You play dungeons and dragons?" It was from that moment on Scott Legault and I were instant friends. One day while checking out a games store near where we were working, we saw a note on a bulletin board, from a fellow named Jay, looking for member to join a gaming group and once again I was playing D&D regularly. The next year, and for the next 15 years or so later Scott, Jay and I as well as a bunch of other people were regulars at TotalCon.
Then not to long ago Scott told me about how he and some others were starting a con of their own and asked if I wanted to be a part of it to which I immediately answered yes and am now sitting on the board of directors for newest con in New England.
Hello All, I’ve Been A Gamer For Over 30 Years.
Oh Wow, Did I Just Type That?
I started my life as a gamer in my freshman year of high school, back in 1981, with the D&D Blue box and a group of new friends. I had just moved into a new neighborhood and was invited to play this “new” game that one of the guys had just gotten. I knew of D&D before then, I had a friend in middle school that said he played, but no matter how much I asked, he would never invite me to play or teach me how. I was so new to the whole experience, that when given a “Cleric” to play, I wondered what this magical race looked like. Since there were dwarves and elves, surely a cleric must be an equally fantastical being.
It’s been a long time since those humble beginnings, I’ve played countless game systems, created dozens of fleshed out, in depth worlds to run campaigns in, modified rule systems so they ran smoother at the table and tried my hand at designing games from whole cloth. I helped co-found Move Rate 20 Games, creating the successful crowd funded game “Master of Spies” before branching out to follow my own plath. Rising Phoenix Game Con is the first time I’ve gotten involved. with anything this big, but the rest of the board is talented and supportive, so I’m not panicking, yet. 🙂
Professionally, I’ve been a graphic artist for most of my career as well as having marketing experience, but between the two, graphic design is my real passion. Like most people who work with computers I have a love/hate relationship with them, but I certainly wouldn’t want to layout a con program by hand (though I could in a pinch).
Who Is Alex Jackl?
Alex Jackl has been involved with TableTop Role Playing Games since 1982. He has run thousands of sessions, created his own game (Bardic Tales), and been the New England Iron GM Regional Champion two years in a row. He is one of the GMs that are part of Dark Phoenix and is one of the directors for the Rising Phoenix Gaming con. His professional expertise in education and storytelling combined with his experience in gaming make his games and his master classes fun and exciting.
I was introduced to gaming with 2nd edition D&D by my uncle when I was 7.
I was hooked from the beginning. I began running games in my early 20’s mostly because no one else wanted the job and I wanted to roll dice. It wasn’t till I became involved with the Dark Phoenix Events crew that I saw the level my gaming could go to. I was good, they showed me how to be great. Ever since then I have been creating new games in systems, I have never dreamed of trying let alone running games made from my imagination. My ideas for games come from all over. Sometimes they come to me out of no where while driving. My son has gotten more than one phone call starting with “Quick right this down…” I like to challenge players while entertaining them. Sometimes it’s the problems in front of them, other times the challenge could be the characters themselves. I love seeing what the players make of what I give them. Whether its Kobolds ate my baby (every group has “made” an artifact type weapon so far) or answering the age old question of what would Gonzo from the Muppets be like as a sorcerer. My players have never let me down.
Role-playing games have always been there in my life in one form or another. I have enjoyed some more fantastical board games and minis games, but putting on another more exciting persona has always been my attraction to the hobby. I encountered Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in a 7th grade school program, I was given a Gollum figure and told “that’s what an illusionist looks like”. I soon found my friendly local gaming store and secured my “geek cred” by playing everything available in the RPG market in the mid 1980’s. Yes; Boot Hill, Gamma World, Starfleet Battles, Car Wars, Champions; I have tried and enjoyed them all. Clearly I won my parents over to the idea of that being how I spend my free time; my father helped me move a pool table 3 stories, on the outside of the house! All in an effort to give me a dedicated gaming room in the attic, where my Mom said, “At least I know your not getting in trouble up there” I realize is was lucky they were supportive. Their yankee pragmatism, certainly helped me as I lived through the “Satanic Panic” of the ’80 when Pat Robinson convinced many mothers that the D&D Player’s Handbook was an open mouth to Hell just waiting to swallow junior’s little soul.
Once I left for college, I became busy but never left the hobby far behind. The real revelation was in the early ‘90’s when Vampire the Masquerade appeared like a cloud of bats in the night. The game was different; it did not care about your encumbrance, you got to talk more than roll dice, the character sheet was simple and you played the monster! Clearly this evil sorcery must be investigated further. Soon the truth was revealed, it was popular because, girl’s liked vampires, apparently there was another gender and they gamed too! I know that because I married one of those girls, certainly worked out for me.
These days I have transitioned into more free-form “Hippie” games; ones that provide minimal rules structure but encourage wild imaginings. I still maintain a solid footing in the D&D and an old-school “retro-game” Dungeon Crawl Classics, my current favorite. As I grew older I soon became comfortable that the rules are the tool to build the house or story. I am thankful for my varied experiences so that I can determine the story I want to build and select the right rule system for that story. While I love to hybridize my rules, I have seen that there is no one “right game” out there that fun can come in various forms.
Hope to see you at my game table!
Is it terrible if I admit that I got into gaming because my husband loves it? It’s true, and since that first trip to Carnage a decade ago we have found an amazing extended family of fellow gamers who enrich our lives tremendously. You will meet most of them at Rising Phoenix Game con.
Gaming gives me a chance to be creative and outrageous, to indulge aspects of my personality that would not otherwise get much of a chance to come out and play. I love getting spooked by Call of Cthulhu, taking my Druid on D&D quests, and diving into indie storytelling games.
I swore I would never GM, then I did, and had a ball. I never thought I could possibly write a game and then I did. Then wrote another, and another. I couldn’t imagine putting together a gaming convention either, but here I am, with a bunch of my best friends, putting on a con. Thanks for joining us!
With the expected childhood games of Candy Land and Mouse Trap, endless games of Backgammon in college, Scrabble and Monopoly while her children were growing up, and a recently acquired love of more eclectic games like Lanterns, Paku Paku, and Fire Tower. Playing Pathfinder board game in front of the fireplace with husband Stephen Price could be the perfect way to spend a winter evening. The best way to spend a weekend afternoon? Playing a legacy board game with friends Jen and Ben Gerber.
Naomi first learned the existence of Dungeons & Dragons when her friend Scott invited her to join an adventure set in their high school, but somehow not in their high school. Memories of the game are very blurry, but the sessions (though long) made an impression as definitely being fun.
Naomi is hugely proud to count herself one of the beta testers for the Lightning RPG system and loves her twice-monthly “test” sessions with Ogmios, Petra, and other wonderful friends.
Naomi stayed in touch with Scott long enough to have a memorable adventure hitch hiking alone from Clark Univ. to Syracuse Univ. for a visit when they were both college freshmen. Scott eventually took the last name McCloud, claimed to have included her somewhere in his graphic novel series “Zot!,” and wrote the iconic book, “Understanding Comics.”
Naomi has a grown son Ben who thoroughly enjoys gaming and jumps in on Lightning when in town, and a grown daughter Hannah who has zero interest in games, RPG or otherwise, but appreciates the fun her mom and stepdad have and suffers through listening to endless tales of adventure.
In her professional life, Naomi is conference content director for two large, annual electronics conferences and regularly travels to California, Michigan, and other destinations where engineers seeking education can be found. When not working or gaming, Naomi stretches her body with yoga and relaxes her brain gardening and reading murder mysteries and historical novels.