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Final HT Roll

I just got news earlier today that an old friend and fellow gamer died unexpectedly last night. He had been, so far as I know, in reasonably good health and was only perhaps a year older than me (which is grown-up, but not old enough that dying is an expected short-term outcome), so we're all rather in shock.

I'll be talking to friends about this more, but since this is my gaming blog, I'll talk about him in a gaming context. Al (I'll call him Al here; you didn't know him) had a tendency to get into...predicaments. Well, he was one of several people who did that, but with him, it was usually unintentional. In one of our early fantasy campaigns, he took a memorable hit to the head with an axe, taking absurd amounts of damage but surviving. In our long-running space mercenaries game, his character took another memorable hit to the head. With an antitank rocket. I think he survived that one as well. Good armor, that.

But for me, at least, the most memorable gaming was with Paranoia, a game I could play for years in pursuit of Zen-like mastery. There was a particular adventure which comes to mind when I think of Al. Our noble band of Troubleshooters was put under the orders of a high-ranking official and had to spend the rest of the evening following him around. Being inept came naturally to them; when the officer ordered them to line up and count off starting with 1, they immediately, without hesitation or consultation, chorused "One!" Gear issuance in Alpha Complex being what it is, the group of N Troubleshooters was issued a vehicle with N-1 seats. Al's character was stuffed into the trunk, and he spent about half the adventure there. Every time he needed to say something, he had to knock on the lid to get attention.


The culmination of all this involved the Troubleshooters sneaking up on a nest of commie mutant traitors, maneuvering to make a lightning attack to wipe them out. Everyone was getting into position, using a maximum of stealth. Even around the table, everyone was speaking in whispers. And then...

*tap*tap*tap* "sir?" *tap*tap*tap* "sir?"

Al leaves behind a son who recently started college, his mother who along with his late father came over from China to raise their kids in the US, a sister, and a sizable extended family.


Sorry to hear this. Pour out some Cold Fun on the ground in his honor next time you play Paranoia.

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