Dark Tavern Press, Inc. 1026 Woodflower Way, Clermont, FL. 34714 (407) 429-5170
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Randy Miller - President of Dark Tavern Press
I was born in North Carolina in the small town of New Bern, the supposed birthplace of Pepsi (it was originally called “Brad’s Drink”). Edward Teach or Black Beard, as you may know him, had a house in my town because of the two large rivers, the Neuse and Trent, which fed directly into the ocean. It was rumored that his home had a secret tunnel, which led to the Royal Governor’s palace. This tunnel was used, as the legends say, to bribe the Royal and keep the politicians at what was once the state capitol, quiet.
The big hangouts when I was growing up where the Sonic Drive-In, someone’s farm or any large empty parking lot. There wasn’t much to do, except play sports, my Colecovision or Intellivision, (Remember there was no internet!), read or nothing. I was always an odd child, independent and able to entertain myself very easily.
Rod Edwards - Vice President of Dark Tavern Press
I was born in Sacramento, California and moved to Miami when I was three years old. As a child, I read a lot of books and I was into watching the Six Million Dollar Man and reruns of Wild Wild West and Star Trek. At the movies, I devoured sci-fi as soon as it arrived at my local theater. I remember seeing Star Wars twenty-five times over the summers of ’77, ’78 and ’79 (remember there wasn’t a home video retail market then).
I discovered role-playing games back in 1981. My friend, Alex, and I would get together after school with our Players Handbook and Monster Manual and run some of the best adventures ever (Village of Homlet, Oasis of White Palm). Sure, it was little rough playing one-on-one (and I was usually the GM), but we had a great time.
Someone, I cannot remember who, introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons around my tenth birthday. They were older kids who kept telling me that my character had the initials ‘C.F.’ on our shields. Only later did I discover the meaning of Cannon Fodder. Regardless of the numerous characters that I went through, I was hooked.
I have played everywhere I have lived. If there wasn’t a group, I started one. I would rather have a brand new role-player to mold than a few of the old hats that never want to try anything new. I joined the Marine Corps in 1990, went to Arizona than to Okinawa, Japan. In Japan, we would have typhoon lock down for days at a time and role-play almost 20 hours a day. Showers, we don’t need no stinking showers! And stinking is what we did!
I have played role-playing games for over 25 years now. About 80% of my time is spent behind the screen. From the Morrow Project to Villains and Vigilantes to Twilight 2000 to Battletech to Deadlands to Amber to Palladium to Rolemaster to Vampire to Call of Cthulhu to Tales of the Floating Vagabond, I have played all over the world in nearly every setting and nearly every game system. During the early to mid eighties, we spent a large amount of time playing Warhammer Fantasy Role-play.
I moved to Florida in December 1994. I met my wife at Valencia Community College and have been married for over nine years know and now have a son and a daughter. Needless to say, my role-playing hours have all but disappeared.
Rod and I met after I answered a call to play Champions (hey, it was the only game advertised on the local comic board). That was many years ago. He is like my brother. Our styles of play are very similar and we both enjoy the creative process behind role-playing.
We started actually penning Shroud of the Ancients a little over two years ago. As we continue, we see how the industry is changing but we believe that a strong story line, with room for others to change things, will provide the basis for a setting that can be enjoyed for years to come.
Good luck and remember, it’s just a game and sometimes, you’re supposed to miss.
Eventually, we discovered a store called Hobbyland in Miami (and when one of our parents would take us, we would go to a real gaming store, the Complete Strategist, in the Davie/Ft. Lauderdale area). Soon, I met a group of players including a few guys named David, Alan and Chris (solid gamer names). It was then, that they introduced me to new genres and systems. We played Champions, Villains and Vigilantes, Call of Cthulhu, Gamma World (my favorite), Rolemaster and others. As it always seems to happen, that group disbanded and a new group was formed from the remnants. The new team got quite large at some points, but for the most part, it consisted of Chuck, Calvin, Jay, Mark, John, Alex, Mike, Mike and Stacey. The game was back on. I must admit, these people became some of my closest friends and though we do not keep in contact as much as I would like, I still consider them as such. Thus were my early halcyon days of role-playing.
Well, years passed and another group disbanded. We had gotten older and our responsibilities began to interfere with our gaming. I eventually moved to Orlando with my friends, Mike and Alex. Life was good, but something was missing. I went to my local gaming store (Enterprise 1701) and responded to a notice someone had put up on the board to play in a long running Champions campaign. My girlfriend (and future wife) wasn’t crazy about these strange guys that occasionally gathered at our dining room table and yelled, “I attack with my energy blast!”, but she was understanding. With this new gaming group, I met Bill, Marc and some guy named Randy Miller.
With Randy, I had found a kindred spirit. We were like-minded individuals and we enjoyed letting each other run our various campaigns. We started our own group at Coliseum of Comics in Orlando and meet a whole new bunch of players. There was Jon, John and John, Kristine, Tristan, Ed, Eric & Marilyn and numerous others who came and went. We played for years, slowing developing aspects of a fantasy campaign we enjoyed.
A few years back, a call went out to gamers across the world, Wizards of the Coast wanted a new campaign setting. Although we did not win (congrats to the Wizards in-house winner, Eberron), we had developed enough of our campaign world to have it start itching to get out. We would send e-mails and make phone calls that started not with “hello”, but with “What about this new race?” or “Here’s a new key point in our worlds history”. We began developing our campaign setting and finally decided on Shroud of the Ancients. We soon met up with a very talented artist named Albert Debnam during one of our play-tests at MegaCon in Orlando. Little did we know then that he would help us visualize our world and become our partner and future art director. The rest, as they say, is history.
Dark Tavern Press, Inc.
Dark Tavern Press started as a crazy idea in 2003. We wanted a company created for the sole purpose of releasing 3.5 compatible adventures set in our nascent campaign setting known as Shroud of the Ancients. SOTA was originally envisioned for Wizards of the Coast's campaign setting contest search and soon evolved into an exciting game world with a rich history and lots of options. Our first published adventure, Terror in Twinleaf, was a huge success at the conventions, so we quickly decided to follow that up with our next one, Whispers from Wellcourt. As we developed each new adventure and began to explore the concept of gaming accessories, we quickly discovered the incompatibilities between our world concept and the 3.5 rules system. We didn't have a problem with the 3.5 rules, it just didn't fit our world. So naturally, we decided to make our own system.
Well, we quickly learned that this was much easier to say than do. Needless to say, we threw ourselves into development of what soon became the unique D5 System. We quickly printed a "pre-release" version of the basic rules, which met with a great deal of support from our fans at the conventions. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, we are focusing exclusively on D5 product (with a few exceptions). Our goal is to keep enlarging our campaign setting and producing D5 material for our fans and ourselves.