An accomplished actor, musician, martial artist, and philanthropist - there are the many facets to Max Davenport. For over 25 years, Max has brought an unparalleled passion for the arts that few can match. His deep spiritual roots are an integral part of his movies, his music, his martial arts expertise and his genuine love and care for others. From humble beginnings in Detroit, Michigan to finding his cultural center in Japan, to an acting career launched in 1988, to a flourishing music career and his involvement with numerous charities - this is Max Davenport.
Let's hear what he has to say about RPGs...
Eventually I got into a semi-regular group with the son and nephew of one my teachers. They lived one town over, but we got together for overnight D&D marathons when we could.
What drew me into the hobby the most was the creative aspect of making up characters and monsters, drawing dungeons, dreaming up adventures -- the solitary side of the hobby. My most vivid memory of actual play in the first few years I gamed was a tantrum I threw when I couldn't get my players to stop cracking jokes. Tears were shed, threats to take my toys and go home were made.
Let's just move on.
2 - Tell us about your first ever character.
3 - Have you been playing regularly ever since, or have their been long gaps in your gaming?
Last January I found out about the impending Fourth Edition of D&D, and that piqued my interest again. But the more I read about 4e the less it floated my personal boat. I found myself drawn to the old school and the retro-clones -- and got a huge crush on the retro-mutant Encounter Critical.
Then of course the death of Gary Gygax was a memento mori -- for me and many others I'm sure. I asked myself, "If not now, when? You like gaming -- go find some gamers and roll the dice!
4 - What do you think attracts you to the hobby? Why this and not, say, cross-stitch or ice hockey?
And let me add that while I never took to sports or needlecraft, gaming isn't my only hobby. I do a fair bit of cycling in the warmer months (which gives me lots of time to brainstorm gaming ideas).
5 - Is there anything about the hobby you strongly dislike?
6 - How would you introduce a newcomer to rpgs? Have you ever done so?
7 - Do you hide the fact that you game, or do you live an "I am who I am" geek dream?
8 - What would your 'desert island game' be? (That is, if you were marooned on a desert island with four other rpg players and you only had one set of rulebooks, which books would you choose?)
I'd also smuggle in Risus, nestled safely between my ears.
9 - Have you ever toyed with the idea of writing rpg material for money? Ever tried to get anything published? Ever self-published?
10 - What would be your ideal soundtrack to a session of your favourite game? Pick three songs.
Aw hell. Where to start?
Rather than playing the Conan soundtrack or Dead Can Dance in the background, I like the idea of matching atmospheric music to specific encounters. Cue up some barrel-chested Georgian choral music for a meeting with dwarven elders, or wild Romanian fiddle tunes when they party goes astray in the haunted forest. My wife and I are big fans of he brilliant viol player Jordi Savall, so we have hours of amazing early music in our collection as well. And every dead D&D PC could be honored with Motorhead's "Deaf Forever."
Beyond D&D I feel like skronky modern jazz and Gamma World / Mutant Future go together like flies and candy. Might just be me though. If I were running something spooky I'd put the 12" version of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" on repeat. I could listen to that bass line for hours.
But this isn't what you asked. You asked for three songs for a favorite game. I'll do you better and direct you my Encounter Critical playlist on Youtube: http://mbenign.blogspot.com/
11. So Encounter Critical. What on earth is the attraction?
Oh, now you've uncorked the bottle.
As Louis Armstrong said, "If you have to ask, you'll never know." But I'll give it a shot. To quote another legendary jazz trumpeter, Jeff Rients recently said "EC was like a pulling a blindfold from my eyes and being able to really see the impossibilities of roleplaying for the very first."
12. You're into horror then. But it's interesting that you don't mention much horror roleplaying. You've never dabbled in World of Darkness or the like?
Lest anyone think I trying to knock WoD, I freely admit I don't know what I'm talking about. I've never read a WoD rulebook. What little I've gleaned of the milieu, Vampire in particular, just doesn't interest me enough to pursue. I have no doubt that there are GMs out there running campaigns that would prove me wrong. But I'll just say this: It's Peter Cushing I root for. I like my vampires stalked, staked, and sun-baked. Stuff their mouths with garlic, beat them with a crucifix and chop their heads off.
As for other horror games Call of Cthulhu interests me, but I don't currently own it. I'd play it gladly though!
13. You wanted to move on, but I'm going to ask anyway: You threw a tantrum because you couldn't get your players to stop cracking jokes, but you like Encounter Critical, Risus and 'playing the fool'. Seems like a bit of tension there between the serious and comedy Maxes. Would that be a fair comment?
Hell, if you're lucky somebody will film it and it will go viral on Youtube.
Hopefully Max will let us know how that face-to-face game goes... He blogs semi-regularly at Malevolent & Benign, so watch that space.