The roots in Everlaen began with Darkwalker on Moonshae, a Forgotten Realms novel. I had previously played basic Dungeons & Dragons and was captivated by the realistic world described in the novel. One day, back in about 1987, I happened to stumble across the original 1st Edition, Forgotten Realms Campaign setting which bore the same cover as that novel. On the strengths of that alone, I forked out my hard earned pocket money and purchased it.
Devouring the fascinating campaign information and falling in love with maps, I read and re-read the books, cover to cover and came to know the maps intimately. It did not take long for me to begin developing stories of my own set in the Realms and sample adventurers, in some cases trying to adapt my basic knowledge of D&D to this Advanced setting.
In 1989, I came across the 2nd Edition Player's Handbook in my lunchbreak. It appeared to hold the key to all the game information I had not been able to fully understand up to that point, and once more paid up. As it happened, that afternoon I spotted the very same book in the open bag of a fellow student in my art class. We got talking and discovered that we were both lacking fellow players. Coincidently, another student in that same class was painting a scene based on St. George and the Dragon, and was using a metal figure of a dragon for a model. It looked very like the kind of models found in the same kind of hobby shop I had bought my PHB. As it happened, he too had played basic D&D and lacked fellow players. He became Mydran Silverglade and the three of us formed a group which lasted over ten years and had many additions, including Selenne, and spanned many games, but always came back to my Forgotten Realms campaign - the longest running, most detailed and most continuous of them.
At university, the game took on a new evolution. I began running a weekly game for my gaming society, WARPS. This became popular with a whole new cast of players and characters, including Silver and Kurgeon's brother, Kurgeon and the player of Shadowcusp. I would run the university game while there, and at home continued to run my old campaign. The two rapidly began to overlap and interconnect leading to two or three memorable cross-over games which gathered the players from around the country and brought them together for mammoth long, 'one off' adventurers.
After graduating from university, the games at home dried up and I began hunting around for a new source of players and in time found and founded a group of young proto-roleplayers who would eventually become known as the Knights of the Church Crypt for our habit of meeting in the local church hall for our weekly games. Once again a new set of stories began to be interwoven into the now rich tapestry of my, by now long standing game. From here came the character Bob, and the players of Andril and Cadian.
Moving to Japan in 2001, I was left without my long time, and by now very addictive hobby. After some initial nosing around I found that the chance of getting a group in my local area who I could actually link up with was very poor to none. It was then that I decided to found the site, Everlaen, named after the settlement founded by my original group during the university cross-over days. The idea to form a PBeM came about after I had joined my first one, Children of Ranma, based on characters from a popular anime and manga series. The enjoyment I got and the friends I made from that site were instrumental in helping me to set up the Everlaen PBeM game, and after thirteen years my game actually had a name. It was from the CoR PBeM that Coren, Miriel and l'Eliel joined the game along with interested parties from my previous gaming days.
And so, now in 2006, Everlaen is entering its sixth year - more than twenty years after I was first given my Red Basic D&D Boxed Set. I never expected the game to last this long, in any of its incarnations and I never expected the PBeM to last five years. However, it has grown from strength to strength and been a source of deep and satisfying enjoyment to me, a way to make new friends and stay in contact with old.
I hope to still be playing Everlaen in another twenty years time and look forward to all that it brings, the unfolding storylines which surprise and facinate me and above all, the society which it knits together.