Judges Guild: Do you do much playing of characters as opposed to Judging?Common sense would, of course, dictate that what Barker meant was that he'd never had what we typically call a player character in his Tékumel campaign. Certainly, he's played characters -- non-player characters -- over the course of his campaign, many of them in fact! However, he's never created a character who was his rather than part of the world in which other people's characters adventured.
Barker: I've never played a character.
What's interesting is that Professor Barker's answer is the one I'd generally give too. Back when I first started gaming, we all considered it a no-no to both play and referee in the same campaign. That's why we generally had several campaigns running at any given time. If I wanted to play D&D rather than run it, then I'd do so in someone else's campaign, not the same one I was running for my friends. When I read about the Lake Geneva Greyhawk campaign, I always thought it odd that Gary Gygax was both a player and a referee in it. Somehow that seemed to be "cheating."
In the early to mid-90s, I did play in several campaigns where referees also had characters of their own in the same campaigns. The results were uncongenial enough that I continued to feel the practice was one to be avoided rather than embraced. One of the biggest issues I encountered was the tendency of the referee to treat his PC as an important NPC and use him as a central element to an adventure -- a way to have his cake and eat it too, so to speak. Looking back on those campaigns now, I honestly don't think they were improved by allowing the referee to pull double duty; indeed, I think just the opposite.
Now, like all such practices, I don't know that this has to be the case. I'm sure there are many examples of campaigns where the referee's also being involved as a player hasn't had dire consequences. Still, I can't shake the feeling that there's something wrong with it. I guess I just prefer a stronger separation between the roles of referee and player (in the sense of player-of-PCs anyway) than this seems to provide, but perhaps I've just been very unfortunate in this regard.