There is a strong chance we've met in that reality of 30 years ago. My group play tested the expansion, but weren't name (some of that was fallout from me leaving for the Army, I think).Yeah, I played Synnibarr with Raven as well, as a teenager. Met him at DragonFlight convention at UW in probably '91 by randomly signing up for a session he was running, enjoyed it, played another, bought the edition that was then for sale (big blue three ring binder, all black and white printing), and signed up for sessions at another convention or two over that year/the next, and then joined his home group in '92, I think, playing regularly with him until my family moved back to NH from WA in May of '93.
Raven worked part-time at Wonderworld Books & Games in Burien, WA, which was the Seattle suburb where we lived, so my younger brother and myself often met up with him at the store so he could drive us over to his apartment for the session. Or my mother might drop us off, or sometimes another player would pick us up and bring us home on his way to/from his own place. If you look a the 1993 edition (or just the wikipedia page on it) you'll see it's printed by Wonderworld Press, which was the same company/owner as the game store. That was a pretty great game and comic shop, BTW. Still have my Tundra Press edition graphic novels of The Crow I bought there. I think I got my copy of Pauli Kidd's Lace & Steel there too.
Before we moved back, the 1993 2nd edition had been released, and both my brother and myself are in there named as playtesters, with our PCs named. Still have my autographed copy at home. Before we moved away, Raven made a point of accelerating his campaign schedule a bit to get us to 50th level and onto our God Quests, for our PCs to get the chance to win godhood. Which they did. I have a vivid memory of one of, or THE last session on the actual God Quest (we played a few times after, with our characters as deities, as well) in which Raven's RPing of a vicious, intimidating antagonist brought me (a stressed-out teenager whose parents were in the middle of a divorce and was imminently about to move away from most of my friends and back to the East coast) to actual tears. It was an intense and amazing session. I still retain some lessons I learned about GMing from him.
I think he told me that our PC gods were included in the one expansion/supplement book it got, but I never picked up a copy. Which I should probably remedy.
Raven was a wonderfully creative and charismatic GM (or "Fate" in Synnibarr parlance). He had fronted rock bands and made a living for some period busking on the street. I saw him wolf whistle at a woman across a street and throw her a grin, and she grinned back and waved. This was with him standing next to his crapbox rusty car and two gangly awkward teenagers, just as we were leaving Wonderworld for game night. But he was a pretty handsome fellow, with a muscular, gymnast's frame, a thick late-80s/early 90s black mullet and mustache, and a brilliant white smile flashing underneath the latter. He was a good and generous dude, and something of a pretty good mentor figure to me, a homeschooled teen, at the time. An example of someone trying to live a swashbuckling, creative, romantic life and be both friendly and manly, as well as generally kind.
I never heard of a conflict with Peter Adkison from him, as far as I remember, but maybe that happened in '93 or something after I moved away.
Raven and I reconnected on FB a few years ago, and he sent me playtest files for the new 3rd ed of Synnibarr by email, which I feel guilty over not reading yet.
I mean, it's hard to say what counts as the "first cross-genre game". IIRC Jon Peterson's work documents that 1977's Superhero: 2044 was the first superhero RPG, and that digging into the history, it actually started as the author's D&D campaign which transitioned to a modern/superheroes setting by the PCs passing through a gate, before becoming an actual "full" superhero RPG.
But definitely by the time I met Raven and bought that Big Blue Binder 1991 edition he had been working on Synnibarr and running it for YEARS, and a decade isn't at all implausible. I met a bunch of his other and former players. Mostly stoners and metalheads, and generally nice folks. They talked about the various iterations of the rules, including one where you could make up spells on the fly if you could compose a rhyming incantation at the table, and Raven would work with you on the spot for what it did.
Yup. Exactly. Seeing his reactions to BLM and CHAZ on FB since we reconnected there a few years ago have been disappointing. I've "debated" with him a little about some of his stuff, but I don't want to get into politics here. His crazy post about the Ensure seems related. Some mental health struggles, it appears, along with extended economic ones, combining with his longstanding penchant for dramatization and storytelling, to exaggerate what he's been through. I don't doubt that it's based on his reality, though. I know he's gone through some really rough years, a house fire where he lost most everything, etc. I suspect something similar is going on with the Adkison grievance. Dramatizing and exaggerating a real event to the extent of distorting the facts.
No, you've misread him. He's making a ballpark estimate of how long it would take to write all that IF one were to do it in one pass, to support his claim that he'd been working on it for many years prior to the publication of the 1991 edition, since the rules do indeed seem to have gone through several iterations prior to that.