John Finnegan - The Best of Us All - Rest in Peace

This may seem strange, but when I was writing to my plot team to encourage them to keep going - to run a great game in John's honor - this song came to mind. John lives in all of us.

Colleen, it is so good to see you posting here. I know that everyone loves you and is concerned about you, but we don't want to put the burden on you to reply to every phone call, e-mail, and card you receive. It's a way for people to know that you are close by and getting all the love and comfort we have the ability to send..

Unfortunately I have been hit hard by the horrible flu that has been circulating here, and I wasn't able to make it down for the funeral. I know I will regret it forever, but I am comforted by all the stories people have been sharing on this board. It sounds like it was exactly as I'd imagined it - the funeral home must have been overwhelmed with people, and the amount of love and grief certainly made the earth shake.

I would like to extend love, comfort and condolences to everyone - John's family and friends, and everyone here on the boards. I think John would have been pleased that, despite his tragic death, he was able to bring so many people together. He was able to mend broken relationships, and make us all pause for a moment and realize what's important in life.

The coming days, weeks, and months are when John's family and closest friends will need us the most, and I have no doubt that everyone will be there to help lighten the terrible burden of their grief.

With love,
Ezri said:
This may seem strange, but when I was writing to my plot team to encourage them to keep going - to run a great game in John's honor - this song came to mind. John lives in all of us.

Michelle & those at HQ in general:

Have you considered running a special benefit game, and send the proceeds to the charity that Colleen requested? I'm sure all the old-timers and current players, as well as newbies would be thrilled to do something like this in memory of John. I'd definitely come down.

I remember the "one more pun" moment, and the glint in John's eye when asked for it. That was early in my NERO career but it sticks in my mind to this this day.

Knowing John, and all of you, for so long in the LARPing area I have seen us all run through the gamut of emotions at events. I remarked on Friday that I'd seen Colleen looking much the same in a deeply emotional moment while playing Azura. Much like Gee's wish for "one more pun" there was a small part of my brain trying to play off this whole thing as a piece of plot that would be over when Sunday night came around. That I would see Colleen and John smiling and it would be over. It didn't really sink in for me until Saturday after the prayer service when I was in the line to pay my final respects. Each step closer to the front I could feel the tears welling up. After giving Colleen the biggest hug I could muster I stepped over to John and, mimicking his greeting at the start of events I just said, "Good-bye, buddy".

I am all the more resolved now to make this coming season the best ever in order to honor John's memory and what he brought to the game. Whether in life or at an event I'll keep in mind what several people mentioned over the weekend. Co-opting a current, popular, religious catch-phrase, my new motto is "What Would JTF Do ?".

Mike E.
heh I remember telling John "PLEASE NO MORE PUNS" lol When Dimsdale turned and John passed the mantle of Jester to me I told him he would never have to worry about me doing Puns. LOL Insted he gets word of the pants ripping incident and the accidental flashing of the Baronial court. I remember the next time I saw him and we talked about what happend he said "You might want to learn some Puns" LOL.

I was thinking more about the first time I interacted with John in game and it was my first weekend and he strolls up to me as this big barbarian guy looks me dead in the face and says "Gather all the barbarians". When he walked off I ran to Dennis and said DUDE WTF DO I DO!!!. I saw such a fish out of water but John made sure to make sure I had a good time and felt needed.

I also remember the night we sat in smokers guild and imagined what would it be like if a Nero person went on that old blind date show. Which went right into Creepshows dating game which sounded pretty funny at the time but then again things always do at 3am. hehe. I remember talking to John that night and I was laughing because I got to play Herb Alpert over a radio at NERO. He looked at me with that look I got so often. lol

Lastly I remember playing Homer Cyle and the whole Fenny Fen thing at Nero NJ. I remember being escorted back to monster camp for my honeymoon with my swamp hag wife and hearing John say "Ok you don't remember anything" and Colleen saying "John, the retard wants to be here" I then broke in Gomer Pyle voice talking about I wanted a woman just like dear old mom. I then promtly asked for a lock of her hair from her biggest wart. John smiled at me and just said "Spare, Roleplay whatever you see fit" and laughed his *** off.

So many great memories of hanging out with him in smokers guild and just talking about nothing between breaks in the weekend.
I just can't believe it. It's been many years since I saw John last, but it seems like just yesterday when I was Paste of Stickiness-ing his foot to the tavern floor.
Wow. I just can't believe it...

Well, John, I never got to tell you what a blast I had playing the bad guy opposite you and the rest of Ashbury. I always knew that the mere words "unscaled module" would never scare you away, and that if an undead-spawning monolith just HAPPENED to appear in the main field, you'd be one of the first to scope it out. Although we never really got to be on the same side, I always had a good time going head-to-head with you. I'll never forget your battle-cry of "Fight evil without cessation!" and I'll always remember field-creating you as a Greater Mummy. ;} Good times!
I could always count on you to make it a challenge. You made it fun, and you made it fair.

John, wherever you are--rest easy, my friend.
And in the immortal words of Creepshow: "Shabba! Shabba! Shabba!"
I'd like to pass on a little note sent to me by Jonathan Farr:

"While I did not know John as well, nor as long as anyone else, I do remember a very charismatic man, welcoming of new life, and teeming with ideas. It was hard, as a person who shies from strangers, not to immediately feel part of this fantasy made reality.

There was a lot to see, so many personalities, and willingness to give in to the fun of imagination - and that was just being in the room with the man alone and talking on-end.

I wished I had known him better and earlier. Please convey my sympathies to family and friends.

Colleen, I know you have so many people saying this, but if you ever need someone to talk to, I am here for you.
I've given alot of thought about posting. What on earth could I say? Just what I was thinking, I suppose.

Walgar was the one who told me about John. I only got to meet John once and I'm -terrible- with names. It only took a brief desciption of the character I'd seen John playing to know exactly who he was talking about.

The time I met John was at my second NERO event and my first in NJ. The event was great and John was memorable, even if I couldn't remember his real name. I remember looking forward to seeing him at another event. I remember being disappointed to learn he wouldn't be at the next NJ event I was able to attend.

I feel privileged to have gotten to meet John, and I am jealous of all of you who had the chance to know him longer.
You always think you have all the time to reconnect with someone, but you don't.

I can't tell you how shocked and saddened Scott and I are to hear that John is gone. Our hearts and prayers go out to Colleen, Patrick, The Finnegan Family, The Capuano Family, and all those hit hard by John's loss. He was a good man, and the world is truly a better place for the time he spent in it. It's been many years since we've seen most of the old-timers reading this post, and our names will mean very little to the current Alliance population, but we couldn't let the moment pass without saying how much John meant to us. Times change, and people too-but memories have a way of growing sweeter with time. We will always remember all the good times we had with everyone back in the day, and we're grateful for all the happy memories of John in his many NERO incarnations.

I remember John always making me sing the same Enya song-over and over. If I tried to pass on it, he'd sing it in a key no man should ever attempt, just to get me to make him stop! He had a good voice too (just not in the nosebleed register... ). It's a silly memory, but it will always make me smile. Good people have a way of doing that.

Colleen-please know that no amount of time or distance is too great to call if you need something from anyone posting here today. For my part, I'm still at the same AOL address (Kitteryann) and we still have the same phone number if there's ever anything Scott or I can do for you. Everyone loves you and is there for you. Never forget that. And never forget that there's a loving god out there who will see you through until you see John again. You were blessed to have that love in your life, and those memories will never leave you.

Love to All,
(Kristie Raynor and Scott Wilson-AKA Dame Kittery and Sir Konrad)
Another famous John Story.

I was cooking dinner in the tavern for 60 people (Oh those were the days...) anmd John, Colleen, Justin and my friend Mike who just came into nero show up at the tavern. They shove mike forward and he asks me to put the hot frying pans down and wont talk to me until I do. Irritated I do and im like WHAT I have to cook. and he tells me... "Something happened to Duckie" and I start freaking cause... what happened tomy husband. And then hes like "No... I mean something happened to Aldric... he did a Perm?"

Now im totally confused... Aldric got his hair permed? He did a perm... OH HE PERMED! Im like WHAT and then I hear John Colleen and Justin go... oh he told her......

Then they go in line to get food and John is looking down... he wont make eye contact, at all. And im like John... come here... And John is like "Can I have some food please" and im like JOHN COME OVER HERE... and he holds out his plate and in this tiny voice "Can I eat please?"

Then Colleen wacks him on the side and says "Go over there and tell her what happened."

So John shuffles over his head down looking sooo sad. And Im like John WHAT HAPPENED TO ALDRIC? John then looks up and in a rush of words "wecheckedanditwasalegitimatedeathandweweregoingtoadjud"

I tell John to STOP, and he looks back down. "What happened?" I ask again...


John.. STOP I say again and taking a deep breath look him in the eyes and ask one more question.

"Did my plotline kill my husbands pc?"

At this point John is utterly confused and cocks his head to the side and thinks about it. "No I think it was Brians plotline...."

"Good then I can sleep with the man tonight without guilt... what do you want to eat?"

John is stunned and when he realized im not going to beat him senseless or close the chapter, relaxes and says.. "wow Erica, youre a champ."

.... meanwhile somewhere in the background Brian Bender is running through Camp saying "Erica is gonna kill me, I permed her husbands pc...."

I remember years later talking to John about that story and he laughed so hard. He told me he was so sure I was going to loose it and how he had told everyone to let him eat dinner first before he told me, cause he was afraid Id dump the pan of food on his head.
John, John... I don't know what I should feel.
I heard the news from Maryan just today and I'm not functioning right ever since...
Myriad memories flashes through me as I think of you and one scene plays itself again and again.

It's you smiling at me.

That's what you always gave me John. Big gentle smile.

When I started Playing the game and didn't know left from right even the language itself was still much to handle for me You were there, smiling at me asking if I'm enjoying... if I needed anything...

You definitely are living inside of me John. cuz I feel you so strongly now. You are one of the key essence of what makes my life. I love you John.

You are engraved in me.

Colleen, Patrick, I wish you feel me. I'm hugging you right now from the other side of the earth. I want to see your faces so baddly but I can't, so my heart's hugging you so tight wishing I can feel your thoughts and feelings.

We'll meet again right? You too John.

Colleen, my sincerest condolences.

John was a great guy. He will be missed.

I never thought this would be the thing to bring me back to NERO (at least online anyway). I've been reading this forum everyday for the last week, since Karl told me John died in a 1am email. In that time, I've loved every story that was told about John. Each one brought a smile to my face and a great memory to my mind. And each day I considered writing something myself, but not really knowing what to say especially since I hadn't seen him in almost 8 years. Yet, in spite of 8 years, I can't help but want to cry each time I think about his death. So here are some of the thoughts and memories that have popped into my head over the last week. They are completely random, in no particular order, and from the heart in honor of a man who I know always spoke from the heart.

A lot of people have talk about John in relationship to the game, how much the game meant to him, how much he meant to the game, etc. I say this having not seen him in years, but I don't really know that it was about the game for him. Simply put, John loved people and with his creativity and humor, the game was the perfect vehicle for him to express that love. John gained so much joy from keeping us entertained, engaged, and happy.

From a deeply personal experience, I know that John had a knack for finding people who were in need. He came into my life at a very weird and awkward time. I joined NERO in 1994 as a fifteen year old kid who lied about his age on a waiver in order to playing a few months early. (Sorry Mike V.) I was a socially awkward teen with self-esteem issues and these played out very clearly in my interactions in NERO. There were several people who took an interest in helping a lost kid, one of them was John Finnegan. He would pull me aside during the game, sometimes to give me advice on how to interact with people, other times to check in and make sure I didn't implode from sitting behind the logistics table for hours. It meant the world to me.

With that said, I have more silly memories of John then anything else. First, John could write a top ten list like no one's business. He used to write them after every event and I looked forward to the moment they appeared in my inbox from the Ashbury listserv. I am proud to say I even made the list a couple times myself. Second, in the early days of Ashbury, a "Finnegan Monster" was its own special designation. It meant it was as likely to keep you laughing as it was to kill you. Ichorax and Fangthorn stand out in my mind mostly because they were among my first experiences at NERO. I still remember John with the Fangthorn head with the glowing red LEDs for eyes.

Those are some of my memories of John. I hope they were reasonably coherent, but I'm not sure. For a guy I haven't seen in 8 years I miss him more than I can express right now. I count myself as lucky for knowing him.

Chris Fiorello

Anakin Varados Winterbrook from Ashbury
I've returned to this board many times wanting to write something more, to share a memory or some sentiment as I feel I am lacking. I've even typed out a few lengthy posts only to close the page before posting it. I still don't know what to say, everything feels so substanceless, if that's even a word.

Dear John,

I am so mad at you for dying.

All my love always,
- Jen

The only thing I have to share is a song that I've had repeating itself in my head since I learned of John's death. It's one of my favorites.

Oh Very Young - Cat Stevens

Oh Very Young, what will you leave us this time
You're only dancin' on this earth for a short while
And though your dreams may toss and turn you now
They will vanish away like your dads best jeans
Denim blue, faded up to the sky
And though you want them to last forever
You know they never will
(You know they never will)
And the patches make the goodbye harder still.

Oh Very Young what will you leave us this time
There'll never be a better chance to change your mind
And if you want this world to see a better day
Will you carry the words of love with you
Will you ride the great white bird into heaven
And though you want to last forever
You know you never will
(You know you never will)
And the goodbye makes the journey harder still.

Will you carry the words of love with you
Will you ride

Oh Very Young, what will you leave us this time
You're only dancin' on this earth for a short while
Oh Very Young, what will you leave us this time
I read posts like most of you everyday since Johns passing. But the Song that was posted tonight really hit me hard, and I was inspired to write this. I am sure it is not the best thing ever written but it comes from my heart and I know that John would have appreciated that. That is truely all that I really care about at the moment....I borrowed a few lines from other posts I hope you all do not mind, but they captured the sentiments that I felt were true. I hope you can appreciate it.

Finnegan Has Gone

The world truly is a darker place today.
This was what my friend Juan had to say.
John Finnegan was an experience not to be missed.
There are many left behind that will always be pissed.
We let life split us apart from our good friend John.
Many of us cannot believe that he is truly gone.

The world truly is a darker place today.
John was invested personally in all of our play.
He helped to bring together people from worlds apart.
Johns laugh, his smile, and his enormous heart.
These were the things that I see in your posts.
They are the things that I will miss about him most.

The world truly is a darker place today.
What else does any one of us really have to say?
From the outpouring of love from all his many friends.
It is sad that this all has been saved to the very end.
John truly was one of the best of the best.
He will for all time be above all of the rest.

Original Poem By Michael Manning (Inspired 100% by John T. Finnegan)
Dear Colleen,

I just found out about your loss. I send my thoughts and prayers to you and your family on this sorrowful occasion. I haven't seen you guys for many years, but I know that for so many people to surface after so long is a testimony to the legacy that John left. There is little more I can add to what has been said here by many others. You wrote that these posts are comforting to you, so I can but add a few of my memories in hope that they provide you with some small measure of solace.

My earliest recollection of NERO involves John. I remember the first night of my first weekend. I was a newbie and as I wandered out in the darkness, I came upon my first field battle. An NPC must have recycled and simply tossed their treasure on the ground because there at my feet was a small pile of coin and what turned out to be a component. Not seeing where they came from (weren’t NPCs supposed to lay there until searched?) I reached down to pick them up, when suddenly an authoritative voice accused me of looting his kill. I looked up and materializing out of the night was an intimidating figure in armor, his face obscured by chainmail. "Don't you know who I am?" he boomed. Newbie that I was, I actually didn't. As I mumbled something about not knowing that it belonged to him and handed it over, he imperiously introduced himself as Duke Bryan. As he headed back into the fray, he warned never to let him catch me looting his kill again. I passed John later on in the bathroom, and he recognized me and apologized OOG. I laughed and told him it was cool. Nevertheless, the next day Duke Bryan sought my character out, apologized IG and forced me to accept the things I had picked up.

One of my regrets is that during most of the timespan John and I were IG together, I didn't get to roleplay much with him. I was simply too low level and mild mannered (i.e. not evil) to be noticed. I remember jealously watching the constant stream of nobles going in and out of the Ashbury Ducal Manor and wondering what went on in there. I did have one intense roleplay session with John that involved biata abilities and the suppressing a memory. Given that it was an unplanned, unscripted spur of the moment incident, I was amazed at the level of his roleplay skills. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Years later, when my character became an NPC, I thought back to how much I enjoyed that event, and I came up with a plot sequel to it. A group of stone elves went back into my character's mind to try undo this mindblock. In there they got to roleplay with his memory of Duke Bryan during which everything I could remember about that previous encounter and John’s portrayal came flooding back. Four PCs, and one NPC sitting in the dark in a cabin for two hours, yet it ended up being one of the most vivid experiences in my NERO career, enjoyed as much by the PCs.

It’s trite, but they say as long as someone is remembered, they are never truly gone. Colleen, as you can see there many hearts in which John is held, and many minds in which he is remembered.

I rember last year at the opener. The Pcs needed a way to get a gate opened to the plane of shadow. So many people tryed to help my pc walgar get one so I wont not have to ask Calamar(spelled) to do it. But the whole time I was trying to make that happen thinking " I really want Calamar to come out tho ". And i was happy to fail oog because when John came out to make me beg him of a Cecestal Rit it was the funnyest thing ever. For 20mins or so he came up with the best lines ever right there on the spot. Its was so hard not bust up ( because Walgar HATES Calamar ) that i almost peed myself. And then the next day when it was go time he came in agen with a leg bone rep. "this is the wand i made just for this in honor of the tree monk.....barba....folkfolk leaving!" then on the way back out when he would not let me out of his CoP till i said Thank you.

I really going to miss you John
Till that day
Tim Gailey
9 days; 197 posts. So, averaging once every hour, one of us is posting. A lot of us have said we are inspired to be more like John, and to me that seems like it must be so hard to do because he was so good and so patient. But in some ways it may be simpler than we think. This forum shows that we can do it, and we are doing it... just being here for each other. Thank you, John, and everyone here, for giving me the chance to be a friend to people I remember so fondly.

Collen and Patrick... you are always in my thoughts.

Maryan (IG: Petra)
Ezri said:
And I'm sure John was smiling down on us as he watched old friends reconnecting; bridges being mended and old grudges forgotten. He always had a knack for bringing people together, and that is one thing that didn't change. Even though he is no longer with us physically, his spirit will always be there in the relationships he helped us build.


And in that spirit, and in John's memory, I've cast out any and all grudges I had left. Today no one is my enemy; today, I have nothing but friends.

Thank you, John. It took 12 years, but you finally got through to's okay to let people in and give them the benefit of the doubt.

I love you, buddy.

Patrick Von Raven
I was driving on the way to work yesterday morning when this song came on the radio; it reminded me very much of John:

Lifehouse: From Where you are

So far away from where you are
These miles have torn us worlds apart
And I miss you
Yeah, I miss you

So far away from where you are
Standing underneath the stars
And I wish you were here

I miss the years that were erased
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face
I miss all the little things
I never thought that they’d mean everything to me
Yeah, I miss you
And I wish you were here

I feel the beating of your heart
I see the shadows of your face
Just know that wherever you are
Yeah, I miss you
And I wish you were here

I miss the years that were erased
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face
I miss all the little things
I never thought that they’d mean everything to me
Yeah, I miss you
And I wish you were here

So far away from where you are
These miles have torn us worlds apart
And I miss you
Yeah, I miss you
And I wish you were here

After the song was over, I got to work, and reread the posts on here; everyone's right.

He's really still here in our stories, and our little moments during the day.

We love you John.