John Reavis Character Memorial

John Reavis Character Memorial

jreavisJohn Reavis was a long time friend and great gamer buddy through the years I knew him.  We met at the UNCC Science Fiction & Fantasy Guild and started playing Star Frontiers almost right away.  Since about 1989, John and I have played in various campaigns from Star Frontiers to Star Wars, from Shatterzone to Babylon 5.  I am going to try and chronicle is characters as a memorial for John.  The more time goes on, the more I go through his stuff (as I was asked to by his sister), the more I miss him.  This is my tribute to him or at least the gamer he was.

LogoRed Blaze and {Bjora character} in various Star Frontiers campaigns – Red Blaze (with the wrist claws) went through several disjointed adventures with that character.  He also play a Bjora but I specifically remember him as a Sanchenzii (lion race from Other Suns , that I converted to Star Frontiers ). John not only influenced the integration of the Sanchenzii into the Star Frontiers universe (which later became the Halogai’, which he named for me when I removed all references to Other Suns from my web material), he also helped me bring in the Kzinti and much of the Larry Niven universe as well as the Jerry Pournelle universe into Star Frontiers. His passion for the Kzinti as a race was beyond description and when I think of the Kzin, I will think of John. He introduced me to these worlds, encouraging me to read Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. We even got to meet Larry Niven together.

From Chris Fisher: I remember the first game I played with [John] I was a lizard (Uquoi) and he was giant bear (Bjora) [both Other Suns races converted to Star Froniters.]. I sneaked up on him and got back handed and knock out. The clock I had didn’t help.

reichstarWILLIAM VON STERNHEIM in Reich Star – Another very memorable character.  In a game called Reich Star, John played a complex character in a world set in an alternate future where the Axis Powers had won WWII.  In 2134, he and I worked to devise a cool sub-culture in the southern US that modeled itself after the Confederate States of America, working with the Nazis but secretly helping the American resistance.  I remember him having a disadvantage that basically manifested when someone asked for his papers. “Papers please” and he went ballistic. I ran the game for a very short time but it had some of the greatest moments. We never really finished this campaign as my group slowly departed from the game system to something else.  I was developing an overall plan, I remember but I just remember falling out of “like” with the game and moving on to something else.

dc2ANDER TORVAL in Dark ConspiracyI vaguely remember this character. It was probably for the on-shot I ran that grew into a small campaign. John took a break from gaming with me, in part because he wanted to play more SFB and partly because of the people in the group. But he played this character for a short while.

szsmallBETA-RANK JULES E CAVANAUGH The Cyber-Knight in Shatterzone – A pseudo religious order of humans who were trying to merge with cybernetics in the most honorable and intelligent way, to further mankind for the better.  His write up on the Cyber-Knights can be read in my Shattzone section.  This was a very stereotypical character for John with a twist.  At his heart, Johns was a honorable knight and in every character he played, that part of him would come out in some fashion or another.  This one I remember seeing a lot of that coming out.

What I remember of this character in this campaign was his paralleling with one of the antagonists of the game –  Gut’Drel “Guts” Grownan – the disembodied spirit of a Chromrittern (cybered-up super soldier) that “possessed” their ship.  The parallels between his character and this bad guy drew out some great story although I do not think we explored them to their truest potential.

“HARRY”, the Roarugr Pack mate to Rosh, in Shatterzone – The one and only time John and I got to play in a long term campaign as players, we decided to play brothers – well, pack mates.  The Roarugr were wolf-like creatures with a strong pack mentality.  He and I played that to the hilt.  Although at times even John got tired of Rosh’s shenanigans, we worked together to try and overcome Neil’s challenges and complete his campaign.   A memorable moment for me was when we were separated. I was trapped in a dark room with another character (Chris Fisher).  John and I devised a new aspect of the Roarugr culture – a ritual that a single Roarugr does when he finds himself separated from his pack.  The lone Roarugr proceeds to defecate in a circle in a “marking of his territory” ritual in hopes that it would attract his pack mates back.  Chris Fisher’s character did not approve.

banner_swgs1kMISHAVEK the Shistavenen Scout/Engineer in Star Wars d6: Dragon Wars campaign – The Wolfman Mishavek, son of a once great Jedi Knight (now in hiding), longs to follow in his fathers foot steps in whatever way fate sees fit. He never showed much talent in the ways of the Force, and so he left his home world in search of his fate. He was hired by the rogue pair of corporate agents known as the Lovely Angels (aka Dirty Pair) as an engineer and a scout to guide them through Imperial Space. He had no idea of their reputation. He saw his destiny in the service of the Dirty Pair, but he soon found that he must serve a greater purpose- the purpose of a Dragon Rider. He would follow the Dragon Way, and destroy an old family enemy reawakened from his hiding place. He also discovered that not all Jedi powers are obvious, and surface at an early age.

This was one of my favorite characters he played because he and I worked so well together to develop the Star Dragon mythology, relating it the Star Wars Jedi mythology. We created some great stories back then.

LT. DARRYN THYTE (Human Bridge Officer)/KRUDAR(Duros Gunner)/COBB UNSER (Human Pilot)/SAMARION (Kalvessan Starwolf Scout/Warrior) in the Star Wars d6: Darkstryder campaign – The fabled Darkstryder campaign. D6 Star Wars was dying on the vine but I decided to try it one last time (so I thought). This was an immense campaign. The most memorable moments with John surrounded his amazing dice rolls. This is when his dice became truly legendary. But it also annoyed some people and this is the first time John and I had a bad moment. He tried to quit my game because people were accusing him of cheating. I knew he wasn’t and convinced him to stay.

This is also when he got his chance to play the Starwolf (from the book series called Starwolves by Thorarinn Gunnarsson) in Star Wars. I never got to read those books. I finally got ahold of them and plan to read them. When I bought them, I was really looking forward to talking with John about it. John, I will be thinking of you when I read them.

SIR TARSUS JARNACK in Star Wars d6: Shadows of Deceit campaign – This was the campaign I did not expect.  After running the intense and massive Darstryder, I figured my players would be tired of me, my game and everything else.  Inspired by a new setting of Lords of the Expanse, I decided to run d6 one more time and John along with many of the others returned..  John played another honorable knight, this time in the Tapani Sector, an amazingly rich and fun part of the Star Wars galaxy.  He was body guard to another character (Matt Homquist’s Ignatius Pyre) and I remember making his job very difficult.  Eventually, Jarnak was his own man pursuing his own goals.  This was the campaign where I played a character as well as GM’ed and my character was a Herglic, ” … Lord Rexilor Adrios, High Lord of Adrios Caradonus, heir to the Fourth Seat in the High House of Adrios, 22nd Holder of the 12 Stars of Caparan, 4th of the Caradonus Family Lords in line for the High Throne…” I enjoyed tormenting John with this character.

Jarnak was a sleeper noble for house Pelagia, cousin to Pyre, and a former admiral of the Pelagian Navy. He had a secret past that involved the Mecrosa and the death of his mother. His quest for justice lead his to a secret his family has held for many generations, one even he didn’t know. His parents died in a Mecrosa prison camp at his birth, by the hand of the man they new as the Judge. A lot of what Tarsus’s story revolves around is his quest for his past and his quest for revenge against the Mecrosa. In his quest, Jarnack faced the Sith on many levels, and but eventually over came the obstacles put in his way, including the trust issues with in the party.

This I remember was some of the deepest story I had gotten into with John and why I loved this setting.  One of my favorite campaigns with him.

GUSTAV GREYDRAKE  in Star Wars d6: Blood of Shadows campaign – Warrior Monk & Ambassador’s Assistant from the Lost Holdings of Pelagia

“In the Dark, as well as in the Light, there is order.”web_greydrake

“Balance brings harmony to the Force.”

“The peril of Chaos brings forth the Dragons.”

“One must choose ones own path, let none try to choose a path for someone else.”

This was yet another campaign rich in story and each character rich in depth.  John was very imaginative with this character and worked it into a pre-existing concept that I devised – the planet of immortals and the Lost Holdings.  Using some source material left over from Shatterzone, I expanded the Lords of the Expanse with a new region of space called the Lost Holdings.  John ran with this and we had a great time with it.  We loved the party so much we paid an artist to draw up the characters.  John created a whole new aspect to Jedi that I loved and he seemed to have a great time playing this character.

TELLARIS MEROTH  in Star Wars d6: Blood of Shadows campaign – Ship’s Captain and Pilot.
Species: Dashade.
Quote: “Where are we going and how much are ya gonna pay me to get there?”  This was the final Star Wars campaign for me, as the new movies destroyed my passion for the universe.  John was a real trooper during this time, rolling with the restrictions I was placing on the campaign (no Jedis, only rogues and pirates).  It had great potential but it ended before I could finish it.  I could tell from John that he knew my passion was gone for Star Wars and he was very gracious as were all my players when I ended the campaign.


HYRSS HRAK(Artathi Ranger/Rogue) in Dragonstar: The Mind’s Lost Legacy campaign – This was another short lived campaign not for any reason other than it was caught between D&D 3.0 and 3.5.  I was not comfortable making the transition and I really did not feel like I had a grasp on the D&D side of things, so this campaign withered.  John picked a feline race from a Fantasy Flight Games d20 expansion but that’s all I remember of this character.  The campaign was too short.


SIR JUSTINIUS HAWKWOOD in Fading Suns (d20) Shadows of the Holy Flame – Delving into a setting I absolutely love, John joined me in another story rich campaign.  There were times we disagreed about some of the concepts in the setting but it only produced lively conversation.  John’s character was an honorable knight of House Hawkwood – another very stereotypical character for him.  Memorable moments for this character was the banter between him and Chris Fisher’s character.


JOE MEANS (Human Soldier) in Babylon 5 – The final campaign I played with John, it was put on hold back in early 2011. I have a lot of regrets with this campaign because it was so tumultuous for the characters and my lack of time did not allow me to completely understand where John wanted to go with his character. What I remember was that his character was a former Earth Force marine turned mercenary.  His background involved a special marine division that was decommissioned at the end of the Earth-Minbari War, and that’s where I struggled with his background.  I was trying to make some kind of conspiracy surrounding the decommissioning but I am not sure he was liking my direction.  I remember several email exchanges about that.  I ended this campaign because the concepts I was exploring was way too involved for the time I could invest and the party was so fragmented that I was not able to ever unify the party around a single goal.  Plus there
were some problems with balance in the game system and their prestige characters that my players were exploiting.

Final thoughts

Through the years of gaming with John, we had some great times.  Not all campaigns ended well and some did not end at all, but through them, John stuck with me.  There was a time when I was running Dark Conspiracy and other horror games that John did not play in my game, now that I think about it but that’s was a very short time and I think it was because of a particular player more than the game setting or system.  That particular player brought that whole campaign to a halt and for the first time, I had to end a campaign in order to shun a player away from my games.  John was a very loyal friend, loyal person and great gamer. He and I seemed to click no matter what setting or system and created some great stories together.  This short memorial really does not do it justice but that’s mostly because of my poor memory.  He will be greatly missed by all those that played with him.

I miss you, buddy.  God’s Speed and May you always role critical hits!

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