Dean EdgellDean Edgell is a very good friend of mine. I met him in 1998, when I went to America for the first time and attended Intercon 13.5. There I played in Intrigue in the Clouds, the game which Dean wrote with his brother Dana (whom I have never met). I can safely say that Intrigue is the game which, more than any other, has influenced my whole writing and gaming experience.
Since then, I saw Dean on a farily regular basis as I crossed the Atlantic to attend various Intercons. Dean also came to the UK in 2004 to run Intrigue in the Clouds at Continuum. Despite the physical distance between us and the infrequent nature of our get-togethers, I have always thought of Dean as a very close friend.
At the start of 2007, Dean was taken ill with cancer. I was very fortunate to see him twice that year, once on a visit to England and again at a friend's wedding in Chicago. At that point, Dean was looking as well as I can remember, but sadly, towards the end of 2007, the cancer returned and Dean died.
Running Intrigue in the Clouds is part of my tribute to Dean. It is a very tangible way to remember him and his brilliance as a writer. It also allows people who have never played the game to experience the wonder that is Intrigue. However, it is not without sadness that I run it, since I am running it only because Dean is not here to run it himself.
Dean has a wife, Ainslie, and two children, Aidan and Eileen. Providing for his wife and children was something that was very important to Dean and something that we talked about on his visit in the summer of 2007. Eileen is autistic and will need support all her adult life. Dean's family and friends have set up a charitable trust to provide support for Eileen and as part of our commitment to Dean, we will be holding a voluntary collection on behalf of the trust every time we run Intrigue.
Intrigue in the CloudsI'm not sure when Intrigue first saw the light of day. I first came across it in 1998, by which time it was already a well-established game with many successful runs under its belt. It had been run at a number of US Gencons as well as at Intercon, where it would be run at least twice more. It also made it over to the UK, when AJ Smith and I helped Dean run Intrigue at Continuum in 2004.
Intrigue in the Clouds, more than any other four-hour game, has had a profound impact on me as a writer and a gamer. I had had very little exposure to the four-hour game when I played Intrigue, having previously played mostly in weekend-long or day-long games. It is no exaggeration to say that it blew me away with its atmosphere and beautifully written characters, as well as with the complexity and density of the plotting. Here was the sort of game that I had been looking for since Home of the Bold.
Intrigue in the Clouds has taught me a lot about what makes a good character, what makes a good plot and what makes a good game. More than anything, Intrigue showed me what you can do in just four hours and inspired me to be a better player. It also inspired me to write games. Once I'd played Intrigue, I wanted to write something like that, something that would be as good, and give people as much fun.
Much of what I have done as a writer has been in tribute to Intrigue in the Clouds. Many of my games have been written in an attempt to produce something as good as Intrigue. Intrigue was a direct inspiration for The Man in Black, my first "big" four-hour freeform and also for House on the Hill. The Man in Black was written specifically with Intrigue in mind, even though it has very little in common with Intrigue in style or setting. In House on the Hill, I think I have approached something of the complexity and sheer richness of plot and story that is found in Intrigue.
Although I have played in many excellent four-hour games since that first run of Intrigue, it still holds a special place in my heart and I am very proud to be able to run it and help keep Dean's memory alive.