- "You all meet at an inn… Just kidding."
- —Steve Red, in Pulling the Strings
Steve is almost insanely dedicated to his games. He strives to make them into the perfect escapist experiences, and is extremely helpful when it comes to new players. Although he puts on an intimidating air at first, and acts very strangely when he is in the moment, he is one of the most genuine and honest people that one is likely to meet. He avoids romance whenever possible, considering his hobby a more reliable expenditure of time. He is something of a pushover, however, and a persistent or aggressive enough display (romantic or otherwise) can usually get him to acquiesce to another’s demands.
Steve was born in the unassuming lands of Central Canada. He lived the childhood and adolescence of a typical middle-class citizen, and was well on his way to a well-adjusted life when he encountered two things that would change him forever. The first was tabletop roleplaying, and the second was a beautiful girl named Maeve. Like a fairy tale, the two of them fell in love, and Steve found a kind of happiness that he had never before experienced. He didn’t care that his circle of friends was mostly composed of outcasts and the unpopular. He had the strength and self-confidence to handle any sour words.
Just before graduation, however, came tragedy. Maeve admitted to cheating on him and broke up, sudden as that. He knew that such things happened all the time, but Maeve was his first and truest love, and he found himself soured on the concept of dating and relationships long after ‘getting over’ the loss. Instead of moping for the rest of his life, however, he poured his creative energies into his other love. He took editing in college and made a reasonable living after that, but at 26, he came across a fateful advertisement. A highly-respected Japanese private school, Gakushoku Academy, was in need of an advanced English teacher and was looking to recruit from North America. The qualifications were few – a basic teaching course and the ability to speak English. Intrigued by the idea of visiting Japan for an extended stay, Steve spent some money, took a month-long cram course on education, and applied to the position. He didn’t expect much out of it; really, it was just an internal excuse to expand his skill set. Due to that, he was all the more surprised to receive an email saying that his flight to Japan had been arranged.
Before he knew it, Steve was unpacking his bags in the teachers’ apartments of Inochikage City. “Nervous” was the most mild way to describe his mood for the first few days of teaching. He had read up on as much Japanese culture as the internet and his contacts in the school could provide, but mistakes were inevitable. Thankfully, the children were pleased enough to learn from him, and any faux pas were met with restrained, polite laughter at the very worst. He taught for one semester before summer break started, and he spent that time exploring what he could of Japan and absorbing book after class after video of the Japanese language. By the time school had started again, he was able to hold at least a simple conversation in the nation’s tongue, much to the awe of the friends he kept in contact with online.
Steve’s love of gaming was not put to the wayside, either. Not a week after he began teaching, he had discovered that Gakushoku had no tabletop gaming club to speak of and was taking steps to remedy this. Over the course of the next couple of months, he identified students with the potential he sought, convinced them of the merit of beginning a gaming club at the academy, and applied himself as not only advisor, but de facto leader of the club (there was a student president, since clubs were meant to be run by students as an exercise in independence, but he was a puppet leader at best). Other teachers in the academy find this a strange way for one of the staff to spend his time, but largely chalk it up to his foreignness. Steve’s knowledge of American-made tabletop games and largely advanced English-speaking club members got him through the club’s first semester, but once the break came along, he knew that he would have to diversify. His previous group has mostly graduated, and the remaining gamers wonder what fresh meat will stand up to face his trials. Steve has prepared, armed with conversational Japanese and a number of apps that allow him to identify kanji in Japanese gaming rulebooks. Never has he felt so ready for so monumental a challenge.
Something bizarre happened to him recently. He found a ticket to a famous show in the Pleasure District of the city. Asking around, none of the teachers could identify the source of the ticket. He feared it was a student admirer, doubly so because of how expensive such a ticket could be. Still, why not go? Maybe the mystery would solve itself afterward.