Our gaming community has lost one of its most talent members. And I have lost a friend. Guild Artisan and Illuminated Member Mike “Moose” Diraffaele died on Saturday May 11 after a long period of very poor health. I didn’t get the news until a few days later and it only was yesterday that I got all of the details. Diabetes, kidney failure and liver failure plus all of the myriad issues those conditions bring with them finally pushed past the last of Moose’s defenses and stubbornness. As with any death after such a long and dark journey, I am sad, angry and relieved in equal measure. He is not the first friend to have passed on and, as I get older, I certainly know that he won’t be the last. But it is a loss none the less and I feel it acutely at the moment.
Many of you associated with the Guild today may not know Moose but some of you who have many years with us may remember him. If you were a regular customer of The Fantasy Factory during the years it was open, you likely met him and had a conversation or two with him. He was the person who named the Guild’s periodical publication The Sword & The Quill. He only made it out to a few Guild Gaming Events but was fairly regular at our earliest convention road trips to the HMGS-South shows in Tampa and a few in Orlando. He was one of the most creative hobbyists in our community and an incredibly talented miniature painter and cartographer. And he also had a very sharp wit and acerbic sense of humor.
A few of us had the privilege to game with him as a fellow player as well as a GM. GURPS was his primary rule system and the original campaigns he drafted were unique and colorful. BattleTech probably was his favorite miniature war game and he and I spent much time developing scenarios, talking strategy and creating alternate timelines for that game. Despite his growing ailments, he remained actively creative until his final siege but a lot remains unfinished and it is a mighty loss that folks won’t get to see this material in the exact way that he envisioned.
So, with that, this week’s e-newsletter is a day late and will be slightly incomplete. We’ll be back to full-speed next Saturday. Our next Guild Gaming Event is on Friday May 24 and we look forward to seeing all of you then!