Greetings and welcome to my website. My name is Michael Surbrook, and I’m the sole owner and operator of Surbrook’s Stuff. I was born in Sanford, Florida in 1967, and presently make my home in Columbia, Maryland. I was a Macintosh computer technician for well over 15 years, but am now trying to get out of the desktop support field and break into web development and contant mangement. That said, I'm currently working at Johns Hopkins Hospital as part of the PC deployment team. I first got on-line in 1994, and have been maintaining this webpage since around 1996 (or there abouts). My interests are varied, and include art, anime (i.e. Japanese animation), manga (i.e. Japanese Comics), Hong Kong/Korean/Japanese action cinema, role-playing games (specifically the HERO System/Champions), collecting foreign currency, and the Society for Creative Anachronism (now retired.)
I first encountered RPGs back sometime in 1978 when I was introduced to first Dungeons and Dragons and then Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. From then on, I messed around with things like The Fantasy Trip, Rolemaster, and Traveller. I first started playing Champions in 1985, when a friend of mine taught me the basic rules so that he could start his first superhero campaign (which came to be called Nightwatch). The campaign was a success (I think it topped out with over 100 PCs of various types) and I went on to play my inital character, a sorcerer by the name of Avalon, for almost eight years. After a while, I tried my own hand at Game Mastering and ran a very successful campaign of my own (known as the Justice Alliance) for around five years. Eventually though, I grew tired of the campaign and ended it, before burnout and boredom destroyed my enthusiasm. At this point, I had discovered something that was to change my gaming perceptions considerably: anime.
“Anime” is the Japanese term for what we here in American normally call “cartoons” (It is also used to refer to any type of animation in general, no matter the nation of origin). It can be of almost any subject matter, from serious crime dramas to utterly absurd and farcical comedy shows. It also covers a wide variety of genres, such as horror, romance, science fiction, fantasy, martial arts, and so on. In any event, anime opened up a whole new world for me, one that quickly replaced my interest in most Western comics, and I rapidly became hooked on various anime and manga titles. Unable to resist the temptation, I began to craft a new campaign, one that combined elements from some of my favorite anime and manga series, and thus, "Kazei 5" was born.
Kazei 5 (a.k.a. “Small Military Force Five”—doesn’t that just sound like an anime series?) is an anime-based campaign that draws heavily from the “anime-cyberpunk” genre (such as Appleseed or Bubblegum Crisis). I ran the intial game in a face-to-face format for a number of years, and it proved successful enough to be produced by Hero Games as a PDF-only product in 1999. I then ran Kazei 5 as a PBEM game, and much of the material you can find on the PBEM page can be considered canon for the setting as it exists today. Finally, in spring of 2010, Kazei 5 was released as a 320-page sourcebook for HERO System 6E.
Since writing the first version of Kazei 5 in 1999, I’ve branched out and have worked on a number of books for several different RPG companies. While most of my work has been for HERO Games, I’ve also been part of projects for other companies. You can find a full list here: My Bibliography. I also have branched out in regards to the RPGs I play, having participated in 6-8 session runs (or more) of Fantasy Craft, Iron Claw, Mavel Heroic Roleplay, Qin, Savage Worlds, Shadowrun, Unknown Armies, Wild Talents, and more.
Currently I&rsquot;m working on various projects for BlackWyrm Games and D3 Adventures, and am engaged in several different RPG campaigns on the weekends. At the moment, none of them use the HERO System, but in the spring of 2013, I intend to run Shadows Angelus IV: Training Day, which will use HERO System 6E as the game engine.