Unofficial Avlis Interview: Brock Fanning

Interviews with various players

Moderator: Event DM

Post Reply
User avatar
Demigod of Posts
Posts: 13261
Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 12:33 pm
Timezone: GMT -8
Location: California

Unofficial Avlis Interview: Brock Fanning

Post by Deider » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:46 pm

Unofficial Avlis Interview: Brock Fanning

I'm not a team member and can't post in Chats, but it's been several months since the last interview was posted, so I figured, why not just interview someone myself? If the team wants to move this to Chats, great, if not, that's fine too :D

Anyway, I decided to interview Brock Fanning. Older Avlis players will remember him as the player of Hargas Steelhead. I know him as the person who introduced me to Avlis! And now, on with the interview...

Deider: What brought you to Avlis?

Brock Fanning: This is reaching a bit too far back into my hazy memory. Clearly I had bought Neverwinter Nights. I remember being much more interested in multi-player "persistent worlds" than in the actual single-player game. I believe I shopped around until I came across Avlis, and from the description it sounded like my kind of place.

Deider: Favorite race?

Brock Fanning: I have always leaned towards the little folk: halflings, dwarves, and gnomes. I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's something about my personality - rooting for the underdog; flying under the radar; always the outsider. Or maybe they just get better stat adjustments...

Deider: Favorite class?

Brock Fanning: I actually don't have a clear favorite, but like many players I tend to be drawn to the most unusual and seemingly illogical race/class combinations. A good example of this is my second character on Avlis, which was a dwarf bard (insert spit-take and/or record-scratch here).

I do find that I'm most interested in classes that don't need to constantly rest... This pretty much rules out wizards, priests, and the like. The mechanic of "resting" in computer RPGs has always seemed kind of contrived to me - and I think it ruins my immersion.

Deider: Hargas Steelhead was a paragon of barditude, and was mentioned by Orl as recently as this year (2017). Could you explain the character, for those newer players who never had a chance to interact with him, and how you came up with him?

Brock Fanning: My first character on Avlis was really a power-build type of thing. After getting that out of my system and learning more about the Avlis community, I was ready for more role-playing and less hack-and-slash. So, since I was more interested in a role-play gimmick than in a powerful build, the dwarf bard was a clear choice.

That's not to say I didn't pay attention to stats/feats/etc with Hargas. I think he actually turned out to be a pretty powerful build, and somewhat unique, as a "tank" melee bard. He wore heavy armor, which meant no spell-casting in combat. He would strip naked, cast a bunch of 1 hour/level buff spells, and then slip back into his plate mail. (Often in the middle of a dungeon, of course.)

Most importantly, Hargas was an outlet for some humor around Avlis lore, via limericks and a Scottish accent. Hargas was the first character I'd ever played where my down-time was not spent pouring over rulebooks looking for loop-holes, but instead was spent coming up with funny rhymes. When I had enough material, I'd schedule a performance at a tavern, where I'd copy/paste the limericks into the chat box, and enjoy lots of laughs and tips.

I wrote at least one non-humorous "epic" work, which was a long series of limericks recounting of a particularly awesome DM-led plot. That made it into an in-game book, which was a great feeling. Hargas eventually joined the Order of Gorethar, lending some street-cred to all those stuffy paladins. :)

Deider: Hargas was the first ever runner-up for Roleplayer of the Month, way back in January 2003. I guess I should have a question here: do you remember that? :D

Brock Fanning: I do remember that. It was another happy moment. I don't think I was ever a great role-player though, to be honest. Hargas was splashy and gimmicky, and so he got a lot of attention, which tended to translate into Roleplayer of the Month votes. But there were a lot of other players on Avlis (most of them in fact) that did a much better job of authentic, consistent, and atmospheric role-playing.

Deider: Did you have any characters aside from Hargas?

Brock Fanning: Several! But a couple stand out in my memory:

Timo Piddleton: My first character, a morally-challenged halfling, power-built to be an assassin type. I think his classes were rogue/ranger/fighter. Timo was not a team-player character, and mostly he would sneak around causing trouble. I remember finding an NPC that dropped a REALLY powerful magic item - as in, too powerful to be in circulation... I believe the NPC was a head priest in a temple, surrounded by acolytes. Many clerics lost their lives in my quest to get that item... But I eventually got it. And then a DM noticed, and I promptly lost it.

Herschum Herschweissenbach: The logical extension of Hargas, Herschum also involved a lot of writing and preparation. But instead of limericks, it was satirical news stories. Herschum was a gnome, but I honestly can't remember his class. I would guess rogue. Essentially Herschum was an Avlis version of "The Onion". I would log in, position Herschum in a well-trafficked spot, and deliver fake news, mostly spoofing Avlis lore. When the Avlis team implemented a custom book-making feature, Herschum was all over it, and actually distributed countless copies of his newspapers as in-game items. Looking back, Herschum was not the most immersive of characters, but was a whole lot of fun.

Deider: Do you have a favorite plot from back in the day?

Brock Fanning: I can't remember the details, but it has to be the plot that inspired Hargas' epic. I wish I'd kept a copy, because I'd love to read it. I remember it being a very interesting DM-led plot.

Deider: Do you have any other favorite memories of Avlis?

Brock Fanning: Other than Hargas and Herschum, I credit Avlis with being the first step towards my current career and favorite hobby: programming. Prior to Avlis I was a humble musician, but after some building on Avlis, and more building in Neverwinter Nights 2, I found I enjoyed programming a hell of a lot. And now I get paid for it. Thanks Avlis!

Deider: What games are you playing now, if any?

Brock Fanning: At the moment, none. Any free time I get these days, I spend reading.

Deider: What are the top 5 songs on your playlist these days?

Brock Fanning: I don't really have a playlist, but when I listen to music by myself, I tend to start with something like John Coltrane, Camaron de la Isla, or anything that Mike Patton was involved in. Mostly though I listen to music with my daughters, which usually means soundtracks like Frozen, Annie, and Trolls.

Deider: What is something that people would find interesting about you that has nothing to do with gaming?

Brock Fanning: I'm incredibly handsome.

Deider: Any chance of seeing you back in Avlis sometime in the future?

Brock Fanning: There's always a chance, but currently it would be tough due to the time/energy constraints of having three young kids. But, this stuff gets easier, right?
Calzier wrote:Deider's right
Plethora wrote:and his left!
There is a 95% chance the purpose of this post is to increase my post count.
User avatar
Head DM
Head DM
Posts: 31218
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 11:46 pm
Timezone: +10
DM Avatar: Verossa
Location: GMT +10

Re: Unofficial Avlis Interview: Brock Fanning

Post by Plethora » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:07 am

*moved to Chats* <[8)
It takes strength to be gentle and kind...
Cameron Klym
Roleplayer of the Year 2015
Posts: 1911
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 3:34 am
Timezone: -0700 GMT
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: Unofficial Avlis Interview: Brock Fanning

Post by Cameron Klym » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:18 pm

Great interview and talk about a blast from the past! Brought back a lot of memories that is for sure.
Post Reply