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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gary Gygax, RIP

Today's a sad day: co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax, has passed away.

Bloggers remember:
He will be remembered by many geeks of a certain age for helping making long-lasting painful celibacy seem almost hip and cool (almost), and also, sadly, for undermining Israel's ability to defend herself from her enemies.

Yes, I was a D&D geek in grade school. ... If Joe Duffy, Jim Gregory, Eric Markley, Jenny Smith, or Lori Dolquiest of the Absecon D&D gang happen to read this, know that I remember those weird days with fondness.

Seriously--the vocabulary building for me when I got these books at, like, age 6 was phenomenal. I could never figure out what "misc. magic" meant and I went around telling my friends their gnome had found some "misk magic". Had no idea what that was until I was forced to learn the word "miscellaneous". ... Yes, D&D made me the pathetic geek I am today.

I actually used to play D&D in elementary and middle school, when I was firmly ensconced in Geekdom. As I got older, I grew out of it, but there was a time, loathe as I am to admit it, that I was another one of those "weird kids" playing D&D.

Michelle gives us a link to a quiz to discover what kind of D&D character you are -- here are my results.

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Cleric (4th Level)
Ability Scores:

Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron's vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity's domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric's Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.


Steve said...

You're only a "weird kid" if you kept playing D&D past say about 16. At least when I was growing up, (I'm sure I quit D&D before you were even born!) pretty much every male played it at least occasionally. I'd say from age 8-14, it was considered "normal."

Say what you want about the inherent geekiness of D&D, but name just one other activity where middle school/junior high age kids voluntarily engage their imaginations to the level that D&D required. In the days before video games, we actually used graph paper to draw the maps as we explored the "virtual" worlds. We even created back-stories for our characters.

Gredd said...

Never got into D&D growing up cause no one I knew played. In the past few years I've read up on it and I think I missed out. Seemed like my kind of game. :(

Carl said...

I don't think there's anything "weird" about playing D&D beyond high school. I still do it myself. It's a game that encourages imagination and creativity and unlimited choices for adventure, rather than just merely clicking a mouse button while on a limited quest with your pointy-eared warrior.

True, some may look down on D&D and its players, but I just look at it this way: why is it that playing with dice and your imagination makes you weird, but playing with a ball and a stick makes you sexy? True, some D&Ders are nutcases, but so are some sportsfans, and I don't judge either group unfairly as a whole.