I’ve been playing games now with Mike for over 10 years and was very sad and shocked to read your post. Mike will be much missed.
As a fellow gamer, I think (and hope) it is fair to say that Mike often held fairly strong opinions about particular games and this led to lively discussions and debates. He was also often kind and considerate and I have benefited from many lifts over the years. It is sad to think that I will never hear his often repeated speech (or can I say rant?) about the inadequacies of character generation in 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons again or indeed his insistent but well meant teasing of me choosing church over a full english breakfast on all-day Sundays!
As a GM he created interesting stories which were well thought out, detailed and carefully plotted. Like all of us, he had specific story motifs he enjoyed including but he made sure to keep us guessing. In particular, he had a talent and commitment to letting players run with their own ideas and a notable ability to adjust his story on the fly to help the game live. Choices made in his games always had consequences in the story. His prep for running stories was always meticulous and his NPCs created with care and detail, making his characters memorable.
But it is as a fellow player that I will remember Mike the most. There is a strange alchemy that happens in a roleplaying group, where stories start to live and breathe and players create the right mix of silliness and yet commitment to the story we are telling together. Mike had a particular talent in playing his characters such that they could get increasingly bemused and then entertainingly exasperated when other characters made bizarre and stupid decisions. I have many excellent memories of this, mainly because my own characters often make bizarre and stupid decisions. Mike would play along most gratifyingly in these moments, reducing me to giggles as his character and mine would get stuck in an ever increasingly silly argument.
Mike, thank you for all the many fun games. I’ll never forget the ‘fireballing the horses’ incident but, as you know, the plan had gone to pot again, (as usual) and it seemed like a good idea at the time…..