(Technically, I'm a few days past my tenth anniversary, but whatever! I am sure my procrastination comes as no surprise to anyone.) So anyway, Peng and Ramza have very graciously OK'ed my creating an oldskool-style anniversary thread. They didn't, however, specify exactly what was meant by 'oldskool-style anniversary thread' had to mean ... The Traditional Method is to do shout-outs. You know, thank people one by one. But that's not very interesting, so while I have the soapbox I thought I'd tell you guys a story. We'll call it Xani's Ten Years At The JC: I didn't start in the RPF. I started, somewhat randomly, in the EUC. I was fourteen years old and kind of bored and with a new obsession with Star Wars that nobody IRL seemed to appreciate, so I hopped online and stumbled upon a group called the Expanded Universe Defence Force. The EUDF was one of those sprawlingly hierarchical groups of yore with an organization structure to rival some corporations, a full wing of "pilots", and an Admiral at the top. I don't remember who it was. But it got boring after a month, and so I moved on to the JCC and joined another group, the Dark Lords of the JCC. (In those days groups like the EUDF and the Dark Lords were everywhere, and it was nigh-impossible to post on the JC without being a member of such a group. Or several. Loads of people had three or four signature lines just devoted to declaring group membership.) I lasted longer with the Dark Lords, a couple of years all up, but most importantly they had a RPG. The first RPG I ever played was thus a game called (funnily enough) The Dark Lords RPG. We played entirely through secret socks and it wasn't very interesting otherwise. (Which is something I have always wanted to implement in a game but have never done successfully - I tried it with a Halloween game once, but it was short-lived and my heart wasn't really into it. Didn't work out. One day, though ...) That game fizzled, but I was hooked. So I went trolling around for a new RPG, and I got two recommendations: Balance of Power and War of the Galaxies. WOTG was run by a triumvirate, had a "bible" that was fifty pages long in Word, demanded a character sheet that was longer than my screen, and was on its fifth incarnation. By contrast Balance of Power was new-ish, smaller, and stipulated a five-line CS. So I joined Balance of Power. Within six months Balance of Power became Integrated Balance of Power, and my character Darth Krasus was head of the Sith Order. That made me its de facto sub-GM. Those were interesting times. You all are probably tired of hearing about this game by now so I won't wax poetic, but it was truly one of a kind: no game before or since has had such a large cast of sub-GMs (I think there were at least twenty at one point), or such a sprawling universe, or the number of factions/threads, or hell, the number of players. And it was all run by that one guy, LightSide_Apprentice. Segue: the oldest friend I have on the JC is GrandAdmiraIJello. It's an oddly unlikely friendship as we haven't been regulars in the same forum since literally 2004, but perhaps it takes an oddly unlikely friendship to survive that long, eh? Jelly and I go way back. We were the two youngest sub-GMs in Integrated Balance of Power - okay, fine, I was the youngest by six months, and to this day he still calls me 'kiddo' for it - and pretty much bonded over mayhem-making, plotting galactic domination, and trying to kill everyone and each other. In character, of course. Always in character. There aren't many of us left from that era. CmdrMitthrawnuruodo still posts sometimes, and of course the lovely Saintheart and Winged_Jedi and Ktala are still around, but that's pretty much it for the IBOP gang. LightSide_Apprentice, greyjedi125, NaboosPrincess, HandmaidenYane, AdmiralZaarin, Protege-of-Thrawn ... they've all long left. Anyway, IBOP. And then - well - life happened, I graduated high school and moved to university, and posting at the JC sort of fell off my radar for a few years. About three years in fact. I never really made a conscious decision to leave, I just stopped logging in ... The person who convinced me to come back was actually Ktala. She'd gotten hold of my MSN nickname somehow (I had stopped signing in to AIM along with the JC) and just sort of kept chatting to me about stuff. Not even the JC, a lot of the time, just stuff. The EU, books, old times, cosplay (Ktala makes fantastic costumes, although I don't think she's ever posted any pictures on the JC) ... and then she remarked offhandedly that she was making a new game about ancient Jedi, and did I want to take a look? Coming back to the JC was strange, initially. I had been in high school when I left, and now I was a 20-year-old final year university student trying to get into the Honours program. But the JC was pretty much exactly as I had left it, and Dark History was full of familiar faces - Ktala, obviously, but greyjedi125 was also there, and there were also names I recognised like Saint and Wing (both of whom had also been in IBOP, but in different parts - that game was just that huge). And there were a bunch of new people as well. Sarge221 and I bonded over roleplaying a series of long scenarios in exceedingly minute detail - which was fun, mind you, just ... long. Chukles38, Imperial_Hammer (whom I had not known before but had apparently known of me - my reputation having grown in my absence, or something), blubeast1237 ... and likely more I've forgotten. That game petered out after a while, but it was a brilliant while it lasted. I still have fond memories of it. I joined a few other games. I won't bother you all with a full list, but these are the highlights for me - HanSolo29 and I played Han and Leia opposite each other in BobaMatt's game, As Father And Son (and it's ridiculous, but it took me a good ten minutes to remember that game's name. Good god I'm getting old). That was also my introduction to LordTroepfchen (who was Palpatine and trying to kill my character) and DarkLordoftheFins (who was K'Kruhk and also trying to kill my character, under the belief that what didn't kill Leia would make her stronger, or something ). Winged_Jedi's Man Cubs was where I got to know Ramza, Penguinator, SirakRomar and JediMasterAnne. (Anne is one of those players whom I miss; she's one of those fantastic but very quiet players who deserves far more recognition than she got.) Lea Monde gets a honourable mention here too; that was a fun game. Having a cameo role as essentially the final boss of the sequel was fun too, although I'm not sure the Lea Monde II folks would describe it in quite the same way as I think I wound up killing them all... Over in the NSWRPF (which doesn't exist anymore! It didn't exist when I left, and now it doesn't exist again ...), Saintheart cooked up a D&D game. A Tide of Flames - that that game is still going after all these years is kind of amazing. Livi-Wan, Peng, Ramza, Rilwen_Shadowflame (though I think Rilwen and I crossed paths yoinks before this, I just can't recall exactly when), cassie5squared, Ktala, Mitthy, and of course LightWarden whose D&D knowledge is all kinds of amazing. And I could never forget Fin's Sins of the Saints, the first time I ever played a traitor. Nobody suspected me until the reveal, too! It was amazing. I have to do that again. Not sure if TheGoodImperial ever forgave me though - his character had a heroic sacrifice for mine and everything. And of course, while all this was going on, I became a RPF moderator for a while. That was an interesting gig, I'll tell you what. I'd watched and/or befriended a fair number of moderators in the preceding years, so I had a fairly good idea of what made a Good Mod, but even so it took a while to figure out (1) what the right note was, and (2) how to strike it. You have to take a hard line with some things and a gentle hand with others; work to change rules you don't believe in or be stuck enforcing them (*cough*slashfic*cough*); grant sensible requests by users you don't like and deny outlandish requests made by your friends; and field any number of strange conversations and things that people contact you for because you're a moderator and your username is at the top of the forum. Impster was fantastic, both as senior RPF moderator and a friend. I pestered him for advice for quite a while even after he stepped down. I didn't always do things right. There was one memorable AIM chat, fairly early on in my modly career, when I told a certain user to shut the [CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION] up because he was being a toerag and I had had enough. (Now, it was offsite, but that was still not cool coming from a mod and I knew it. I apologised publicly in chat the next day, much to his surprise.) There was another time when a different user accused me of Keeping Watch on him off-RPF and basically lying in wait for him to screw up (I wasn't; or at least I wasn't keeping an eye on him specifically; I merely had a fairly good idea of where the RPF regulars posted across the JC and monitored accordingly. In hindsight that probably appeared very stalkery.) What I tried to do, most of all, was make the RPF an open and welcoming place to be - not just for new people, but for the rest of the JC. This was an ideal started by Impster, so I can't take credit for it, only for continuing it. I ran joint contests with other forums, some more successful than others, and argued in MS that we were the JC's RPF and all the RPGs should be run to us (and then tried to help other forums set RPGs up, again to varying degrees of success). I spent a memorable month running a daily drabble contest open to all, no signups required. And I generally sort of made it my business to know everything everyone was doing, whether in the RPF or elsewhere. (Another unlikely friendship: s65horsey! We disagreed on just about everything when we were mods togther in the MS. But Sey is one of those rare people whom you can respect absolutely despite disagreeing with, is generally all-around fantastic, and SHOULD PLAY IN MORE GAMES *hint hint*.) My modly stint ended roughly around the time I stopped globe-trotting. I graduated right when the 2008 financial crisis hit, so I had wrangled permish from my parents to travel instead of twiddling my thumbs waiting for things to get better - but things got better, I landed a job, and it had proven more demanding than I thought it would be. (It still is.) Thankfully I'd also spent some time over the previous two years cultivating possible successors, so things worked out rather well. Ramza has been a far better mod over the past year than I would have been. I wound up helping with various techy bits related to the move anyway, but not nearly as much as I would have had I actually been a mod for it. What else ... things I couldn't fit in anywhere ... oh, meetups! Meeting up with other JCers is always awesome. I met up with Sinrebirth (and there is another guy who needs to play more, although in his case I should say more frequently. ), darthhelenith, Livi, Wing, and Sith-I-5 in London. Adalia-Durron is a name most of you probably don't know, but we've been good friends since my JCC/EUC days, and I got to meet her when she came to visit Melbourne for a con. And I nearly met up with Solo and Sarge when I was in the US, but we couldn't manage to find a suitable date. One of these days I'll make it to a Celebration and meet the rest of you lot. So ... if you've made it to the end of this novel, I am shocked and amazed! (And if I have forgotten to mention you, I'm sorry, I don't mean anything by it! I will send you e-brownies instead.) But really, all I have to say is this: Since I signed up at the JC I've gone from a high school student, to Honours candidate, to a globe-trekking wanderer, and now to IT consultant. I've gone from RPF n00b, to faction leader and sub-GM, to GM, to moderator, and I'm back to being a regular user noodling around in RPGs. I've made some fantastic friendships that have somehow lasted through my many disappearances, I've learnt a great deal that I would never have otherwise, and I think I'm a better person for being here than I would have been otherwise. It's been a long, strange, exciting ten years. Here's to the next ten.