Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Farewell Richard

I am at a bit of a loss how to feel at the moment having heard the news that my very long time friend Richard Pulley passed away the other day following a long battle with cancer (multiple myeloma). Obviously wishes go to his family, but I feel there should be more that I could be doing - so here is a little blog post recounting just a few fond memories that I will be able to look back on later through the long memory of the interwebs.

Where to start? How about thanking him for my first real introduction to roleplaying games, yes this quirky little hobby that has such power to create long term memories with friends and of shared storytelling adventures. Back in those days with AD&D and a sporadic but long running campaign he was a grand GM for us. I still remember Oldrin the Organon and some of his adventures leading our party deeper into the dungeons - battling Orcs, Drow, Giants and Dragons. I even remember him getting a limited wish spell and being reminded of a distant promise to turn our ranger into a donkey (which Richard and the party were happy to remind me of). So we had a pack-ranger for a little while. Shooting a fireball into an unknown room only to have it blasting back at us and more. It may seem silly to have these memories, but friendships that include those long hours around a table armed with polyhedral dice can be very strong. Playing together with common purpose to have fun, flesh out a fantasy world in partnership and enjoy each other's company.

Yes, there were also lots of games of chess (and variants of it) in our time in High School and College after that, plus other cool board games, but those AD&D games are a cherished time for me and I have Richard to thank for that.

While we are covering games, may as well mention computer games where I can also thank him for things like Bard's Tale - what an eye opener that was - being able to adventure into a digital version of a fantasy world. Sneaking down to his room for a 'quick' game has evolved to today where I find myself exploring the epic world that is Dragon Age Inquisition and am going to think about him as I play now.

Sharing our love for fantasy games and worlds with other friends like Mark and Ashish also covered novels, comics, TV and film. We would talk for hours about the adventures of Frodo, Thomas Covenant, Tin Tin or Belgarion - let alone Dr Who. Richard even formed a Dr Who club in High School that had a newsletter and membership cards, I was always keen to get my issue and liked contributing to things like the surveys most.

I am writing this after I just came back from watching the final Hobbit film with the family and it was quite emotional for me. Seeing these characters coming together as enduring friends and their loss was cutting rather too close to home for me. That said, it did feel appropriate. I generally don't have a very good memory for all the people and events in my life - but Richard is a solid part of many memories I do keep.

How about something lighter, he was always very skilled at wriggling his ears and scalp, something I didn't learn until much much later - it was quite the party trick. I can imagine that this would have really amused his kids as they grew up.

I should mention his talents wielding a violin, simply stunning! I didn't appreciate it as much at the time but he could do wonderful things with his violin right from when we first met. I loved what he (and other musically inclined folk in college) would be able to do. Writing music for each other or jamming along - joy to behold. When I go with the kids to see the Sydney Symphony I think it would have been extra cool to have him up there bowing away like mad to some John Williams.

Pic of my ancient Dr Who ID Card
where my Official Name was apparently Stygrron
(A Kraal from The Android Invasion)


Farewell mighty Richard...

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Donations are encouraged to the Australian Leukaemia Foundation.

Funeral Details: A service to give thanks for Richard's life will be held on Wednesday 7 January at 10:30am at St John's Anglican Church, 339a Maroubra Road Maroubra. In lieu of flowers, we ask that a donation be made to the Leukaemia Foundation.

Plus there is the sketch I did.

2 comments:

Eleanor said...

Thank you for sharing.

mike finch said...

Graham, wow. Thanks for writing and posting. You're another person I've lost touch with, but had such a great time with at school. Although I was never in the inner circle of D&D, I did play a few rounds, and I WAS a member of Richard's Doctor Who club, and, in my low-brow way for me his ear-wiggling was a stand-out highlight of his many abilities.