Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Origin of Zorcon

No, I am not referring to the breed of poodle. Zorcon is a moniker I gave one of my D&D characters, and eventually it became a common username, and is now sort of an on-line persona.

Way back in 1979 I was introduced to a game called Dungeons & Dragons by the son of friends of my parents, Kevin. I was immediately intrigued, and soon after I began spending all of my spare allowance on game books, dice and little lead figures. You see, even in 5th grade, I was a collector. I had to fit this "new" hobby into my budget - replacing the eraser robots and NFL team pencils found at the school store, the baseball cards and TV & movie cards from the grocery store, and the Star Wars figures & Hot Wheels from the department store. With an allowance of $5 per week , I was working with limited resources.

I soon found a local game night (25 minute drive by parental coach) at a book store in a strip mall named The Book Den. Looking back, I can't believe the tolerance that the neighboring stores had towards the every-Friday-night rush of pre-teen and adolescent gamer-geeks. Players were spread all over the floor of the book store. Then there was "the" game, a 3' diameter table in the back room. I quickly graduated to that table, and have many fond memories of "first contacts" with strange new creatures and races. This is the campaign that spawned my first long-term character. All previous characters were lowly underclassmen to this one - his name... was Garbage Gut. I was in 5th grade, so you shouldn't be surprised by the sophistication of the name.

I peddled "The Gut" over to other games as well, and as the popularity of the Friday night games grew, we expanded to a nearby Taco Time (my favorite place to play), and even in the back room of a Rodda Paint store a few doors down. I managed to play Zorcon all the way up to 6th level. When I hit 8th grade (sometime around 1984), I began to take gaming even more seriously, and dropped all of my other collections except comics and went full force into D&D . I looked down on my previous gaming as juvenile. Although I cherished my beloved Garbage Gut, the name stuck in my throat every time I had to introduce him to a new NPC. Something had to be done. Sitting in my kitchen, scribbling names on a piece of paper, desperate to come up with a more suitable name, I was struck upside the head by a name echoing in the background. Star Trek was on in the other room, and I heard (Kirk I think) refer to a King Zorcon. THAT WAS IT! Garbage Gut was re-dubbed Zorcon. From that point on, the character, and the name has always floated in and out of my gaming life.

Around 1985, I dusted the "retired" Zorcon off and leveled him up to 10th. But I only played him for a short time, as my circle of friends had moved onto other games. About a year later, I took Zorcon, and 3 of my other favorite characters (A human Magic-User named Baucis, a half-elf bard/thief named Laserin Monroe, and a human sailor named Molock) and battled every creature in the Monster Manual and the Fiend Folio in alphabetical order. After such an accomplishment, I designed an appropriate artifact-level sword for Zorcon. I also began to design Zorcon's castle, but never quite finished it. He was finally retired in a plastic page protector about 1988.

When Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition was re-launched by Wizards of the Coast in 2000, the first thing I did was dig up old Zorcon and convert him to the new system. It didn't work out very well, as the new system only handled characters of up to 20th level, and my beloved Zorcon had reached 47th level in 1st edition. But about a year later, the Epic Level Handbook came out, and I was able to properly convert Zorcon. He now resides in my previously running campaign, as a self-proclaimed King of a moderately sized parcel of land just south of the City of Greyhawk.

Right around the same time, I started using Zorcon as an on-line handle and gamer tag. When I decided to put up a gaming resource web site in 2004, it was all too obvious to me what it should be called.