#AprilTTRPGmaker Who are you?

29415856_177908456264412_4608036318428004352_nThere’s a ‘thirty-day challenge’ (these are popular in the TTRPG community) aimed towards tabletop game designers. I need content and am trying to recover from a long and nasty bout of depression, so this seems like a good way to try and get back on track.

The first question is ‘who are you’? Which is either a really deep or a really shallow question, depending which way you take it.

I’m James ‘Grim’ Desborough. The ‘Grim’ was originally an insult, directed at me at college where I was a mopey goth kid with a dark and sick sense of humour. The slang of the time was ‘that’s Grim’ for anything disgusting or awful, so with typical contrarianism, I adopted it as my nickname. Hence ‘Grim Jim’.

I’m a rapidly-ageing, semi-notorious game designer, known better for a rather thin gruel of supposed transgression than my work in game design and independent publishing – which is unfortunate.

I’ve had my toe in the game design waters since the early 90s, but my career really took off in 1999-2000, with the publication of The Munchkin’s Guide to Powergaming (which kicked off the whole Munchkin phenomenon and lead to a lot of freelance work).

Since around 2005 I’ve primarily been working on my own material, but I’ve been suffering from bouts of depression since 2007-2008 which have made work and freelancing rather difficult. Still, I struggle on and while my work is informed by my interest in history, old-school left-wing politics and my struggles with mental illness, it rarely dominates my work – with the exception of one or two projects such as ImagiNation and The Little Grey Book.

tumblr_ozzupxaSXr1qgh5aeo1_540.pngI occupy a design/writing space somewhere between the OSR and Indie scene, and most other sociopolitical armed camps, which means I end up pleasing nobody and being a filthy centrist! My work is also informed by my commitments to free expression, controversial (meaning, interesting) subjects, sexual freedom and the implications of science (and fantasy) on society.

Hopefully, that sounds interesting 🙂