This is a bit of an esoteric blog, relating to the Wizards of the Coast Community forums. If you’re a poster or lurker there and have not heard the news out of the, check out this blog post and this forum thread.
Seriously, stop reading this now, check out those links and then come back.
For those of you who never ventured into the WotC Community, Mark “Wrecan” Monack was frequent poster in the community. Prolific really. He seemingly posted daily and contributed numerous blogs. He wrote house rules and speculated on the design of the game, blogged about the past and future of the game, and for fun he penned haikus related to each week’s Rule-of-Three. The bulk of his personal rules can be found under “Unearthed Wrecan”.
Wrecan did not just write blogs, he read them. A lot of them. At the end of every month, Wrecan would compile a list of the best blogs of that month, drawing attention to lesser seen authors not on the “Featured Bloggers” list. And he ran and judged contests for DMs on the message boards, generating content for everyone to use in their games. This summarizes Wrecan nicely: he wasn’t content with writing content, but wanted to highlight the excellence in the community.
When WotC started interviewing members of the community for their regular Playtester Profiles series, Wrecan was one of the first interviewed.
He was well liked by the entire community for his wit and intelligence. Even those that disagreed with his opinions and views liked and respected him. Which is what made Wrecan so special and important to the community: he was never afraid to let people know what he thought and disagree with them, but he never let his posts get personal and argumentative. He was always respectful and polite.
Okay, the above statement is not entirely true. Wrecan did get personal once. Personal and hurtful. And I totally deserved that little kick in the bum.
Suddenly… he’s gone. I’m surprised by how much his death has affected me. I can’t even remember when I started talking with Wrecan. It must have been in early 2009, after I’d been blogging for a few months. We linked to each other’s blogs, read each other’s work, and commented on what each other wrote.
Wrecan made me try harder and think more about what I was writing. Inspired by his blogs, I began to edit much more and used headings to break-up my blogs into sections. Wrecan set the bar for what it meant to be a Featured blogger.
No matter how burnt out I was feeling over Edition Wars or cyclical debates, I always wanted to see what he had to say. I cannot even guess at how many forum threads I read and participated in because I saw Wrecan had commented on the discussion. I’m not even sure I would have continued blogging had Wrecan not kept bringing me back to the forums with his blogs and thoughtful posts.
This is my 275th blog, a milestone number. And while I wish the situation would be happier, I’m happy to to dedicate it to Wrecan.
There’s already talk on the boards about doing something in memory of Wrecan, such as dedication in D&D Next or an in-world tribute such as naming a lizardfolk god or tribe after him (due to his prefered avatar, the lizardman from the 1st Edition Monster Manual). I’m personally fond of the idea of naming some part of the forums after him.
Regardless of what anyone else does, the legacy of Wrecan on the boards will be the deep respect he earned from all he interacted with. An excellent reminder of the value of being diplomatic and polite, of avoiding rudeness and not being argumentative.
I think we should all try and be a little more like Wrecan and honour his memory through deed and action rather than through a token reference in some book. He showed us that it was possible to make your point without being insulting, that it was possible for us all to get along. He reminded us that first and foremost we are a community.
He loved this place. We should make these forums a better place to post.
Goodbye Wrecan. I had hoped one day to bump into you at a Convention somewhere, shake your hand, and offer to buy you a beer; although we never met in person I considered you friend.
I will miss you.