dungeon & dragons


When I was growing up the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons was popular. You created a character (I always enjoyed being a cleric) and then you set off on an adventure that the Dungeon Master or DM led. Me and my fellow adventurers had no idea where we were going to go next, a short distance could be illuminated by our torches as we crept along an unexplored dungeon or cavern or sometimes our light would go out.

But like anything popular with children or teenagers it becomes misunderstood and convoluted. Some adults thought we were practicing witchcraft or dark magic. I suppose using your imagination could be seen this way.

Essentially though we were told a story, a scenario or epic situation and then we participated in that story through our decisions and actions. We searched for treasures and magic which was inevitably guarded by monsters. Sometimes you went on solo adventures or a group of three which was best since everyone could lend their special skills of attack, defense and help each other out during dire circumstances.

The game was introduced to me when I was in the 5th grade by an 8th grader who lived down the street. His sister who was the same age as me played too, as well as Larry and a few other neighborhood kids. But I was really into it.

I know this because the DM killed my character – deliberately. I don’t remember the specifics but I had a character that I loved dearly. Unlike the other characters who died by the misfortune of the dice (that is how you battle the monsters through die rolling) this character (probably named Alexandria or Aja) lived for a long time and had grown to be powerful.

Well, the nasty DM who shall remain nameless (Thomas, his bloody name was Thomas) threw too many monsters and bad magic my way, too much for my character to handle and so she died. I sat there shocked and then I became angry. I grabbed my character (the sheet of paper) and went home. I seethed and simmered and paced my room before walking to his house.

I knocked on the door. Thomas answered.

“You killed her! You killed her on purpose because she was getting too strong and powerful. You were jealous. I can’t believe you would do this to me. To her. There was no way I could have lived through all that. And you knew it. Well, guess what? I don’t want to play with you anymore.”

He tried to say something like I’ll bring back your character. I’m sorry. You’re right. It was all nonsense anyway. But I wouldn’t be denied my screaming fit.

“No! No! I don’t want your pity,” I then dramatically held out my character and ripped it half, then in quarters, and then whatever is after that.

His mouth dropped open and I could tell he was trying not to laugh which only pissed me off even more. As I spun around to leave I caught him kneeling down and picking up the pieces of my character.

Later on that day, Thomas came by my house and offered my character back. He had taped it back together, it looked sad, “You’re right. I did throw Alexandria into the deep end. It was unfair of me. Please say you’ll still play, I enjoy having you around - at least think about it.”

I thought about it. I thought about how I loved the adventure as much as he did. I thought about becoming a Dungeon Master myself (which I ended up doing). But to be fair I didn’t resurrect my character. I decided to make the best of it and moved on.

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