I've been attempting to collect all the magazine articles printed for the old Avalon Hill multigenre rpg Lords of Creation. This task is not very difficult, as I can find no evidence that anyone ever cared a hoot for the game, other than AH's own rag Heroes. I just got my fourth issue of Heroes in from the eBay today. That leaves 3 more issues out there with LoC material.
Anyway, like many magazines of the era Heroes has a player classifieds section for folks looking for gaming groups. I was amused by a particular "Opponents Wanted" entry from this most recently acquired issue (volume 1, number 5). Seems that back in 1984 a Mike Strathearn of Urbana, Illinois was looking for players and/or a GM for RuneQuest, Lords of Creation, and Powers & Perils.
Urbana, Illinois has been my home for about a decade now. So of course I immediately began looking for Mr. Strathearn. Finding missing people is part of my day job, so I thought that reaching him after 20 years was not an impossibility. The contact number Mr. Strathearn left in his ad had a prefix that belonged to the University of Illinois, so odds are pretty good that he was a student at the time. The local phonebook has no Strathearns listed and a quick check of an online phonebook revealed no Strathearns in the state of Illinois.
Casting my net a little wider 'cross the intarweb, I found a computer geek in Ayrshire, England by the name of Michael Strathearn, but he seems to be too young to be the guy I'm looking for. His resume is online and he doesn't mention the U of I either. This Michael Strathearn may also be "Chopper", a participant in organizing a British e-wrestling federation called the T.F.W.F. Don't ask me what that stands for. I don't know.
There's also a Michael Strathearn from West Simsbury, Connecticut who finished 186th in the 1999 Maple Leaf Half Marathon, held in Manchester Village, Vermont and 920th in the 1999 KeyBank Vermont City Marathon. Also, a fellow named Michael Charles Strathearn seems to have graduated from West Point in in 1975. I suppose that -might- be our man. After all, the kind of games the Hill made were pretty popular with members of the armed services. I think the marathon man and the West Point grad are one and the same, as I found a Michael Strathearn of West Simsbury, Connecticut who participated in a Marine Corps marathon in Washington, DC. Sure sounds like this Mike Strathearn kicks ass!
I'm pretty sure I'm on the right track when I find Michael Strathearn on a list of people who helped out at RuneQuest-Con. (Interestingly, I recognized some other names on the list: Shannon Appel and Lawrence Schick.) Looks like RQ-Con was held in '93 or '94, so a decade after putting up his classified Mr. Strathearn was still an active participant in the hobby. Thumbs up to him.
It looks like my best guess is that the RQ-Con Michael Strathearn and the fellow in my ad might be a chemistry professor at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California. My online phonebook gives two home numbers for him and I'm sure I could reach him by calling the college. I would greatly prefer to email him, but I'm not finding an email address for the guy. Maybe I take a guess based upon other faculty email addresses I can find.