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Folks I Admire: Will Hindmarch

Let me tell you a couple things about Will Hindmarch (@wordwill). I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago at Gen Con So Cal in the early/mid 00s, back when that show was a thing. He worked the White Wolf booth, of course, as Vampire: the Requiem‘s line developer. He developed the only Vampire book I currently own[1]: the Requiem Chroniclers’ Guide.

I figured noticed him because he did what I foolishly thought was impossible: he got me interested in Vampire. Being a GURPS-head hanging around game-snobs, I looked down at Vampire and larpers in general[2]. So I was predispoed to hate. And Will forged this idea anthology that blew my fucking mind.

We talked some at the bar, along with folks like Jeff Tidball, Paul Tevis, Ken Hite, etc. I was a friend of Paul’s and well, this was long before I was “Ryan Fucking Macklin,” so I’m not even sure he remembers those conversations. (To be fair, there was a lot of alcohol involved, so I barely remember that there were conversations.)

I have heard nothing but praise for Damnation City, which I need to pick up at some point. I’ve heard it referred to as the best Requiem book by a number of folks. But this is Will Hindmarch, so at this point I’m unsurprised.

Enter Things We Think About Games. Again, mind blown. (Enter this post’s theme.) I had a response to most of them on my Livejournal some time ago. The whole Gameplaywright project is amazing. He’s changing how many people think about games and stories. That is an uneasy task.

So, yeah, I’m a goddamned fan on the dude Paul Tevis & I call The Wolf.[3]

Over the years, I’ve gotten to know Will-the-person. He’s one of the hardest-working people I know. He’s hard on himself in the way I’ve come to expect of the most brilliant people — never feeling they’re brilliant because they live inside their heads all the time. They see the polished effects of others, and while intellectually they (or we?) understand that it’s polished and refined, still they hold themselves up to a lofty goal. The difference between Will and some others I’ve met, though, is that he rises to that internal challenge, and keeps making beautiful, mind-blowing things.

When Will Hindmarch makes a book, a game, a story, I check it out. I’m not a blind fanboy; I wouldn’t just buy is grocery list on OneBookShelf[4]. But he’s not yet failed to impress me, and I doubt he will.

He often expresses his doubts on Twitter. Some people (including me, at times) brush this off and tell him that he’s fucking badass. But I also understand the desire to say “sure, okay, but I still have doubts, you know?”

Just as Will holds himself to the standards of the refined effects of others, I hold myself to the standards of his work. If I am half the creative badass Will is, that’s still like being a sorcerer-king of awesome. I would like to consider myself a peer of his. And that he expresses his doubts, his fears, his humanity — more than I’ve been willing to[5] — I feel like maybe I am a peer. If one of the sharpest minds, a mind that can distill a wide range of ideas, has doubts, fuck it, I can too.

Will Hindmarch gives us all permission to vocally doubt ourselves, so long as we never let that doubt cause our inaction. And while he has doubts, he still pushes forward, still churns out words. I admire that he puts himself out there like that, both in his works and in his humanity.

Here’s to The Wolf.

– Ryan

Edit: I forgot, Will’s the very inspiration for this series.

[1] That including not owning the core book. I have borrowed it and others, though.

[2] If someone had told me at 21, “Ryan, larping means getting laid,” I would have had a very different take on that.

[3] Which is its own story, and has nothing to do with White Wolf.

[4] But I would offer to playtest it.

[5] Which is an even longer story, and has nothing to do with Will, so it’s one to be told over drinks.

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6 Responses to Folks I Admire: Will Hindmarch

  1. Rob Donoghue says:

    Seconded. A lot.

    -Rob D.

  2. Fred Hicks says:

    AAAAOOOOOOOOOO

  3. Rob Donoghue says:

    However, this does make your 5th Post-it point a little bit creepier.

    -Rob D.

  4. Brand Robins says:

    I remember thinking while working on the Chronicler’s Guide that it was a moment of shift for White Wolf. Will brought on a bunch of big names (Stolze, Laws, etc) but also went out of his way to bring in a bunch of indie folks, some of whom didn’t have the best history of public discourse about White Wolf.

    It made for an interesting mix, and really marked a moment where I thought the ludicrousness of the indie/trad divide was visibly and substantially demonstrated.