‘Phoenix has the most creative, enthusiastic, friendly gamers that I’ve ever come across.’
‘One of our greatest pleasures remains role playing together.’
‘I’ve missed it terribly and am so looking forward to returning.’
One of the people who stood at the base of getting the Phoenix roleplaying site off the ground in 2010 was RPG veteran Deborah Leighton Plom. After an absence of six months she is now back on duty on the forums.
Deborah: ‘When Phoenix came into being I was six months pregnant, and working full time, so I didn’t take as big a role as I had always taken in AJJE, and since then I’ve had my son to run around after, so I’m still not as heavily involved as I would otherwise be.’
It immediately becomes clear that Deborah’s involvement with the Phoenix site has a history. That history started in 2006, when she began role-playing online. She was looking for a Firefly-based game, and found and joined the website AJJE Games. She spent nearly four years there learning the ‘trade’ from other players and enjoyed holding my varied roles, including webmaster, director of tech support, operations leader, and public relations officer. Apart from these tasks, she was also always an enthusiastic player, CO and GM.
A new website
However, her time at AJJE Games came to an abrupt end in 2010 when she, along with many other players, objected to several overbearing actions by the site management. A few months of online roleplaying silence followed, but after a few of the old UK players, among which Deborah, decided to have a meet up in August of that same year to play some real-life Firefly tabletop RPG, the group agreed that they should set up their own RPG-website. Thus, Phoenix was born and it houses a community that Deborah feels closely connected to: ‘Phoenix has the most creative, enthusiastic, friendly gamers that I’ve ever come across. The opportunities for simming in any genre you care to name are second to none, although the Firefly ‘verse is my lasting favorite. The integral structure of Phoenix is democratic, its processes are transparent, and it is responsive to members’ needs and wants. It really is the best simming site out there.’
For Deborah, the joining of AJJE Games also had some major impacts on her life. She and Ash Leighton-Plom met through the site: ‘Ash and I met online at AJJE Games in 2007, when he was GMing the Firefly sim ‘Prinz Eugen’ where I was playing the ship’s doctor Shane Howard, a character I still play now on the Jeri-cho. We got on famously, but lived 200 miles apart, so when my work took me to a conference quite near to where Ash lived, we decided to meet up. The rest, as they say, is history. We married in 2009 and had our son Alfred in 2011. One of our greatest pleasures remains role playing together.’
Of course, having a toddler running around the house takes up a lot of time and Deborah also works nearly full-time, meaning that her time to herself is limited. However, after an absence of six months she is determined to pick things up again on the site: ‘I wanted to prioritize some other creative writing for a while, and decided to take a sabbatical from Phoenix rather than do both things badly. However, I’ve missed it terribly and am so looking forward to returning.’ Rather than taking things one step at a time, she is adamant to take off where she left: ‘I’m going to throw myself back into all the role playing, and follow up over a week or two with the administrator roles I’m stepping back into.’
Catching up on sims in which one hasn’t been active for some time, can be hard work, but Deborah doesn’t see that as a problem: ‘Currently I only have one sim that I’m GMing plus two other characters on other ships, so I’m hoping it won’t take too long to catch up. I certainly won’t find it hard to catch up, as I’m already excited at the idea of having to read all the back posts! I’m also a keen reader of other sims, and I’m looking forward to reading them too.’
Not only is she determined to take on all her roles at Phoenix again, but Deborah also has big plans for the future: ‘I have lots of plans to develop my characters. GMs permitting, I have plenty of notions for shaking up Cydonia when I’m back, and lots of enthusiasm to con-tinue helping to build the site and make it even better than it already is, for example in making the Cortex thread a key hub of information for all Firefly sims.’ (mb)