Timothy Connolly on TSR Games, Legendary Realms, East Rockaway, D&D and more
I first encountered Timothy Connolly around a decade and a half ago while writing and editing for Long Island Entertainment. Tim was a focal point of the Long Island music scene, leading the now-defunct LongIslandMusicScene.com. He was a regular at the Munchaba Lounge in Levittown, often performing on-stage there with his band Suck It Easy, which was infamous for its long sets and revolving door lineup. Tim was also frequently heard on WCWP. Alas, time passes and people lose touch...
Back in November, Tim reached out after seeing the No Place Like Long Island post on Adam Weiser. A reconnection was made as I learned about some of the great projects which Tim is a part of. He is an editor and writer for TSR Games. He is the Dungeon Master at the Legendary Realms hobby shop in Plainview. He also still performs with Suck It Easy, who can be seen on Jan. 22 in Ronkonkoma. Upcoming events at Legendary Realm include "Maps & Minifigs" on Jan .12, "Do-Over Day" on Jan. 15, and "Worldbuilding Day" on Jan. 19; more info on these and other events can be found at www.legendaryrealmsgames.com.
Where on the Island did you grow up?
Timothy Connolly: East Rockaway was my home for 22 years, on Long Island's South Shore. Graduated from high school there. Fell in love there. It's a beautiful place. Many of my favorite people still live in that community today, and I always enjoy my visits to the old neighborhood.
I first met you when you were running a Long Island music website and promoting shows at the Ultra Sound Lounge. Are there any accomplishments from that era that you are especially proud of?
TC: Great question. So many things come to mind. Meeting all of the wonderful people who are still in my life today is definitely at the top of that list. Being with Mike Ferrari and the Aural Fix Transmission on WCWP radio at Long Island University, and being able to help Long Island recording artists enjoy the thrills of radio airplay. As a kid, I often dreamed of being a radio personality. I miss being on the air with Mike. Radio is still a passion of mine.
Even with my having had severe hearing loss since childhood, being comfortable in front of microphone just comes naturally. Even as a stage performer, I held my own. That was another dream-come-true. The Suck It Easy band's first three studio albums on compact disc -- recorded at the award-winning Dare Studios in Deer Park -- went on to appear in the hands of lucky listeners on six of seven continents. Antarctica is next. We're coming for you, McMurdo Station!
Why did you transition out of the Long Island music scene?
TC: Being a reader, a writer, a martial artist, a qigong instructor, a meditation enthusiast, a student of Asian chess styles, a Dungeon Master, a tabletop RPG hobbyist, a colourist of fantasy art, a painter of fantasy miniature figurines, and a fellow who craves sensory deprivation more often than not...it's near-miraculous that I ever accomplished much of anything in the Long Island music scene. Having more time to myself these days really agrees with me. The inward journey, you know? You can see it in my eyes. You can see it my smile. This inner light of mine never really went away. It just been shone in other directions.
How did the transition into the RPG world happen? Were you always playing D&D?
TC: My first exposure to that world occurred in 1978, when I was introduced to the hobby by three brothers on Davison Avenue in Lynbrook. I was young and impressionable. As for why, of all hobbies, it was this hobby that ensnared me in its tractor beam, who can say? It went on to become a colorful thread, winding all throughout the tapestry of my decidedly non-conformist life.
When do you feel it stopped being taboo to play D&D?
TC: The funny thing is, my parents and my school teachers always encouraged me to enjoy the D&D hobby, so I never really understood that whole taboo thing. I was aware of it being considered a taboo in certain ultra-conservative parts of the country, but I guess that I just never really understood that. I was raised by anti-establishment blacksheeps, and raised without politics or religion. As such, D&D didn't go against-the-grain of my own personal beliefs. In retrospect though, if I had to guess when it stopped being taboo for society-at-large, I'll say 1997, if only because it usually takes a generation -- 20 years or so -- for society-at-large to accept quantum leaps in anything.
During the 1970s, D&D was a radical development in the gaming industry. I'm sure most folks erroneously thought of it as just another passing fad. Meanwhile, those of us with open minds -- and a passion for role-play -- knew that D&D would be here to stay. We also knew that this hobby has the potential to bring out the very best in us. As a creative outlet, it's just marvelous. It involves writing, teamwork, painting, coloring, mapmaking, collaborating, thespianism, and so much more.
Besides being a Dungeon Master, you also write and edit for TSR Games. What is a typical workday for you like?
TC: Being with TSR Games is another dream-come-true, and not a day goes by when I take it for granted. A typical day for me at TSR Games involves reading (comic books, adventure modules, RPG supplements,) playtesting (gaming accessories, adventure modules again,) brainstorming with colleagues, setting goals, accomplishing goals, leading by example, inspiring my teammates, writing articles, proofreading articles, and proofreading them some more. I may not be a great writer, but I've become a good writer who's also an effective proofreader, and that makes all the difference sometimes. Whew!
When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?
TC: I've been catching up on A LOT of reading these days, and that's been a real delight. I'm affiliated with the GP Adventures Book Club -- on social media -- and it keeps me in a reading zone, where I am almost always at my happiest. It's not uncommon for me to read five or six books at a time. 16 years ago, Stephen King told me he reads 80 books a year. If it's true, that's astonishing. I'd love to get on that level someday.
Just finished a read of Dan Brown's Inferno. I'm not the biggest fan of Brown's writing style, but I did enjoy the subject matter. Would I re-read it again eventually? Probably not. I'll stick with Steve Berry and Daniel Silva if I'm ever in the mood for that sort of fiction.
Do you have tickets to any upcoming concerts?
TC: I wish. I almost had tickets for Donna and I to go and see The Monkees at the Tilles Center, but unexpected car bills prevented that from happening. Tripside recently had a reunion show at Revolution [Music Hall] in Amityville, and that was a great time. Dec 84 and Stage opened for them. I even got to hang out with the headliners backstage. Just like old times. I'll always love live music, and Long Island has so much of it to offer.
Do you have a favorite restaurant on Long Island?
TC: Until it closed its doors forever in 2012, my favorite was the 56th Fighter Group in Farmingdale. I'll never not appreciate a theme restaurant done well, and that place was the best that I've ever seen. I miss it dearly. I can still taste their parmesan-crusted chicken with angel hair pasta. My favorite restaurant these days is Cabo in Rockville Centre. Tess and I enjoyed a dinner there just the other night. Their taco bowl salad is the stuff of dreams. Mexican cuisine for the win.
What do you wish more people knew about Long Island?
TC: Morgan Memorial Park in Glen Cove. 30 acres of awesome. The sign on the gate says its for Glen Cove and Locust Valley residents only, but anyone can go. I love the variety of trees there, and the view of Port Washington from across Hempstead Harbor. The sunsets are spectacular too, and, if you're lucky, you'll see me strumming a ukulele there during the warmer months.