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The Wandering Monk

Post Number:#1  Postby The Keeper » 06 Jan 2011, 21:35


My name is Erik Youngren. The Wandering Monk Rolemaster Forums are my site. Welcome!

I have a few posts on this site that briefly explain who I am, the reason behind the name of the site and so on. But I wanted to take a little bit of time to cover more in depth some of the history of this place. Both my own personal gaming history and the story (such as it is) of the website. Oh and yes, that's me in the photo. For real.

About me
I started gaming in late 1983. I made up my own game and ran some of my school friends through this elaborate dungeon I had created with traps. It was fantastical, illogical and completely predictable but we had fun. At least anyway, until characters started dying based solely on my say so. Eventually that kind of broke up and I was left wondering what else was out there. Well apparently a friend of mine had seen all this and in September of 1984, for my 14th birthday he bought me the old Basic D&D game (the red box). We had fun with that for a could of years until late 1986 when I was in high school. I got started on FASA's 2nd Edition Mechwarrior. It was a great game and was how I met my best friend Matt Wines. We gamed MW straight for 6 years! Our characters were elite and most nothing could touch them. Eventually though that became a drive for me to try something else. Around 1990 I picked up FASA's 2nd Edition ShadowRun. I still love the concept of that game and think that it's mechanics were the best out of all the versions. Some will accuse it of being dice happy, but hey, I have a lot of dice!

In 1992, Matt and I started gaming with some younger kids and we both got AD&D campaigns started. I had to go buy the 2nd Edition hardcovers for AD&D and realized that this was a much different beast than the Basic Set had ever been. About two years later things kind of broke up with that group and Matt and I moved on to some friends he knew. That's when I found out about Rolemaster.

Rolemaster (2nd Edition) was everything I imagined AD&D could be. And it had been there the WHOLE TIME! I devoured the books and own every one (except for the NPC bios books and the Shadow World stuff (I have my own worlds).

That's pretty much a condensed (although longer) version of the story than I have previously told. But it's not the end. In fact I need to back up back to 1984 again for some other things. in '84 I got hold of a Commodore 64 computer. One of the very first games I played on it was Telengard. I got both the computer and the game in the summer of 1984 so there were quite a few sleepless nights. That experience amped me up for my birthday present of the D&D Basic Set that year. Well, as things happen, my mom somehow got me and her involved in what was then called the San Gorgonio Pass Users Group. (SGPUG). I have NO idea if it's still around, but there was one VERY important introduction I got from this group and that was the Bulletin Board System. SGPUG had a BBS! Oh man! You mean I could call up on my computer and engage in posting messages and chatting with the SysOp of the BBS! That totally blew me away and was THE event for me that cemented my passion for computers.

I asked questions. I pestered people and I found out about BBSs. In 1985 the SGPUG either broke up or we left, but my interest in bulletin boards never waned. Eventually I found out about CNET and WWIV and ProBoards and on and on. CNET I was able to run on my C64. I found a 300 baud modem that worked with my C64 and voila! in late 1985 for one hour on Friday nights and 2 hours on Saturday and Sunday nights, The Gauntlet BBS was born! I researched and found other websites in the area. And then. In 1986 through a friend of mine who actually had it, I discovered the All American BBS by Nikolai Smith! I felt as if I had died and gone to heaven because SOMEONE out there had dreamed up and implemented COLOR on the C64 for a BBS! With whatever little money I had I saved and I bought! I still have the original paper of which Mr. Smith wrote my serial number: 0222! The Gauntlet BBS immediately went color! And I stuck with it as it was my choice in BBS software. When Smith finally released AABBS128 I bought it. By that time I had a C128 with two 1581 and three 1541 drives. You can see AABBS here. But sadly that platform came to an end in 1990.

All through 1986 and in to 1989 I ran The Gauntlet. My online username was The Keeper. Why? Because I was The Keeper of The Gauntlet BBS! It was mine, I maintained it, I kept it up! Sometime in 1989 I added a 1200 baud Hayes modem to my C64/128. 4x the speed! That was sold to me by Roy Hubbard of Banning, California. Roy ran the Home Place which was a genealogical BBS that was the largest in the San Gorgonio area. He had at one point two lines for the BBS running off of two US Robotics 9600bps modems! For some reason he liked me and kept selling me stuff for reduced prices on monthly payment plans. He even allowed my friends and I to have separate areas on the Home Place that had zero to do with genealogy. And. Roy Hubbard introduced me to DOS. In 1990, I bought my first PC from him and part of his deal to let me buy it was that I had to sit with him while he showed me DOS. He was very thorough and as I was (and still am) a book hound I learned it very well.

So here I was with this PC! This big 12mghz boat sitting on my desk. Well, I connected my modem and found PC versions of BBS software and off I went! The Gauntlet remained alive until about 1992. 1992 was when I got a job at UPS and also started gaming AD&D again. Now, this was right around the time that BBS's were falling out of favor. Most of my time and effort turned towards gaming and my PC became a tool to write for gaming. I kept up in that vein all throughout the 90s. I heard about the internet at some point of course, but didn't really care as by that time I was playing RM2E, using my PCs for games (Wolfenstein, Doom, Doom II, Myst, etc) and for writing. Well, in 1999 I had gone back to school to finish up my AA degree in Graphic Design and then attain a Multimedia certificate. I was not really interested in the web stuff, but learned the HTML anyway and I think I did ok. But that also forced me to get my very first email account (which I still have, btw, including the original Welcome email). The email address as well as using Fetch for FTP forced me to use the Internet. All of a sudden I saw it's value.

Well, by 1999 I had gotten married and had been working at a daily newspaper for about a year. California was slowly squeezing us out and so we moved to Phoenix in 2000. All of a sudden, gaming dried up! But in the first job I found here in Phoenix, internet use was part of the job. That kept me running around to various web sites and guess what I found one day? Forums! And not just any forums! Forums at Quark.com! Forums about my favorite layout application. People, posts, community, discussion about my favorite program. I had found the replacement to the BBS!

Well, I stumbled around trying to find people to play for about 4 years or so. Had a few false starts. But in 2004 we finally got broadband at our home and all of a sudden, domain ownership opened itself up to me. The very possibility that I could claim a domain and put up my own forums there was exciting. So I bought two domains. One for myself and another called wanderingmonk.net for my forums.

I've explained the history of the name Wandering Monk here in other posts so I won't go in to it again. But I set up my forums, designed a site and had a grand time. No real users, but a lot of fun. That was until I lost the domains I had because I could no longer afford to keep them. That was some time in 2005. Well, I had about two years of frustration then trying to find players. My final experience was a bust and so having heard about Skype at that point asked my friend Matt in California if he wanted to try doing this via Skype. He said yes and we have been gaming on Sunday nights via Skype since then. During late 2005 and last year I had found a freehost that would host my forums so I stuck them back up and used them. I even had a few posters from England on there for a while as I participated in THEIR forums. Last year I was able to get internet back and bought another domain and then because wanderingmonk.net was not available, bought this domain rm2e.net for my forums. I transferred the forums from the freehost to here. Which is how you can see some of the older posts by members who never came to this site where it is now.

From July 4th to now I have been trying to get the site noticed. If you have read thus far, well, it worked! I have been monitoring the status of wanderingmonk.net and knew that earlier this year the previous owner had let the domain name lapse. I bought it back this week. It links here, so you can access the forums either at forums.rm2e.net or forums.wanderingmonk.net.

Wow! That was a lot. But well, now you know the history of the place. I hope we can offer you something here. Let me know if I can do anything for you!

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Real Name: Erik Youngren

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