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Creation Date: March 1st, 2010 07:15 PM
Blue Ghost Blue Ghost is offline
Musings of a Knight of the Imperium.
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In Moot Member Blogs Dear mom, D&D memories Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #568 New June 16th, 2019 12:13 PM
Mom, in case you're reading my prattle, courtesy of Marc Miller, the Administrative staff of the COTI, and an annual stipen of a few American dollars every year, here are some demonic Dungeons and Dragon's memories. Facsimilie of demon --->

Role Playing Games are a far cry from War Simulations, but are akin to one another in that both have extended rule sets to simulate "real aspects" of real world interaction, such as combat.

My first introduction to Dungeons and Dragons was in my middle school math class courtesy of Misses Peterson, an overweight WASPY American who wore horn rimmed glasses, a page boy haircut and what is commonly referred to as a "moomoo" (an unflattering term used to describe a tent like garment that covers overweight females; called "moomoo" because of the derogatory term of "cow" as applied to such women).

I had never heard of Dungeons and Dragons until she mentioned it in Algebra. And she went on to describe a lot of variations and some social apprehensions regarding the game. Apparently at one time underneath UC Santa Cruz there was a network of catacombs where the university students would LARP (Live Action Role Playing), where people dress up in costume and play real life D&D in the engineering causeways for the schools heating and cooling system.

A year or two later a good friend, a Catholic by the way, in fact a very die hard Catholic from the local church which you asked the Feds to connect me with, introduced me to the game. A game that was popular with a lot of brainy type, Catholic and non-alike.

Some years before I bought a ziplock bag version of a game called Star Fleet Battles, which was based on the then not-very-old Star Trek TV series. It simulated aspects of space ship combat. From there I looked at and occasionally purchased games based on the Second World War and then contemporary naval combat. One such game was War in the Pacific, another was Seventh Fleet. There were others that I did not purchase, but wanted to, but the fake mother unit would only spend so much. And so I spent my allowance on other games; The Creature that Ate Sheboygan by SPI. Various supplements for Traveller, the very game whose forum I make use of, Car Wars and Ogre, one of which was given to me by my good friend, Ray.

But, let's get back to D&D. D&D is a fun game, but my issue with it, if you've read previous logs, is that it takes all kinds of historical elements from the classic age of human history, to the high middle ages and early renaissance, and puts them into an idealized pure fantasy game that doesn't care what it does with weapons, armor and other things from the pre=industrial age of human society, and adds magic, monsters from mythology such as dragons (ergo the name dungeons and dragons). I have issues with this because it did disseminate poor education to kids who played the game, and got their education about military history from a fantasy game. And when I would talk with other D&D players at school they really had no clue as to what they were talking about when discussing things like knights, armor, weapons, castles, and whatever else. D&D, like all games, is a poor platform to gleam information, and yet like a lot of people the world over, it and TV offered just factually inaccurate information for the purpose of entertainment. And the D&D types, unless they read about things on their own, as I did, spread misinformation. I remember one kid having watched John Boorman's "Excalibur", and then talking about armor, swords and knighthood based on what he had seen in this fantasy film (a film for which he was too young to see in the first place).

But, it is a game, and you can't take it too seriously. But as I was reminded by a security expert who specializes in fighting terrorism, people aren't dumb, but they are lazy. And it's not just the hack and slash D&D players, but everyone world wide. But, D&D players, on average, tended not to be the academically lazy types, but the smarter students at school who could appreciate history and myth. Yet the "never mind about the history, just let me kill something) type of players were the ones who tended to give the game a bad name.

My first D&D session was in fact with a group of catholics, one of whom was part of the church you signed me up for, another who was on my soccer team. And where we didn't meet up with any dragons in the game itself, we did explore a haunted and enchanted underground complex that was filled with all kinds of monsters and traps. It was a lot of fun. And it was no different than playing one of the big well known "family" board games; Monopoly, Life, Clue, and whatever else.

One of your concerns is (or was) with the violence in the game. Well, it's not really any different from any other violence in any other game, notably the American military games, where tanks, naval ships, combat aircraft, engage, shoot and kill one another. Each of those things represent a vehicle that is crewed by, presumably, human beings. But it's game, it's not real, and so you can vicariously blow things up to your heart's content. And so it is with rolling dice to see if you can hit that dragon with your sword.

I can't remember all of the session, but it was pretty harmless and fun stuff. It's no different than reading an adventure novel (good or bad). And for what it's worth, even though the ill-educated D&D player may have issues with educating himself on the historic and mythical aspects of Dungeons and Dragons, the authors of the game and game modules are very scholarly.

The dice; the polyhedral dice are mathematic constructs that have known about since the time of the Ancient Greeks and, for that matter, the Persian Empire. Your standard cube form die is limited to the number of and types of percentages of chance it can yield. When you play a game of Dungeons and Dragons, or any other Role Playing Game, like Traveller, there is a chance of success and failure of what you do in the game. This is what makes the game a game. Because otherwise you're just vocalizing a narrative story (as I'm fairly certain has been your objective this whole time). Example, if you have a 50% chance of say kicking an adversary, then you role two six sided die to achieve a result that is either greater than or less than "7". The more refined the percentage, the less that those two cubic shaped dice can accurate reflect the chance of you hitting or missing your target. I bring this up because in years past uneducated people in American media, who were riding the D&D scare trend, made an issue of how D&D dice were not six sided cub form dice, but 20-sided, or the infamous pyramidal four sided die, or even the infamous 12-sided die, and commentators would somehow connect the number of sides a die had to the occult or new age or cultish like practices. Well, mom, the only reason D&D dice have more sides is because Gary Gygax, the late author of Dungeons and Dragons, wanted random chance in the game to more accurately reflect the chances a player has of attacking or talking or performing some other task in the game.

Casting Spells; this is essentially the most imaginative factor of the game, and reflects the mystical power of either angels, demons or creatures who have no affiliation with any gods, but are otherwise "magical" for lack of a better term; i.e. an elf or a Leprechaun from Ireland. The concept is that someone who is talented in the use of magic can by either reciting phrases or making gestures, again in the game, or some combination thereof, can call upon unseen forces to create water, start a fire, throw a dart (magic missile) at an attacking enemy, and so forth. But it's all fiction. It's all in the game. No one at the gaming table actually casts a spell. It's all stuff that's part of the game. Now, having said that, there are nut cases out there who get involved in the occult or new age beliefs because they read one too many D&D books, or just took the game way too seriously. Those people tend to have issues in real life to begin with. One such individual that I knew was the brother of a guy in my Tae Kwon Do class. He called himself "The Wizard", and was involved in X-number of new age "things". He was about five foot two inches tall, had a full beard and moustache that went down to his chest, was supremely overweight, wore glasses, and wore plaid shirts buttoned up all the way to the collar. He was not a well adjusted member of society, but was mostly harmless. Contrast him to the nut case in the late 70s who killed his parents because his group was dysfunctional and abused drugs.

Spirits, Ghosts, Angels, Demons; again, all manifestations of the game. It's no different than telling your kids about the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy. And the adopted mother unit played all three of the big fairy tale fibs on me as I grew up. As a child I believed that. I even chased the Easter Bunny out the garage. It was of course my fake extended family voicing the oversized rodent, but I was convinced I was on his "bunny trail" as I heard his voice just around the corner inside the house. And wouldn't you know it, when he hit the garage, and when I was hot on his cotton tail, he proved too fast for me once outside. That is to say the only person who thinks that the demons, dragons, angels, spells, ghosts, and whatever else is real in the Dungeons and Dragons game, are either the delusional people who have issues with the world in the first place, or the ignorant idiots of the world who live in perpetual fear of the supernatural. That is to say Gary Gygax and various other writers made up the tales and borrowed from classic myths to create the game.

In short, it's all myth. It's all a combination of ancient Greek myths regarding Perseus, Jason, Hercules, or the Germanic and Nordic myths about Odin/Wotan, or gremlins or elves, or any other thing from myths from a variety of cultures. It's all imaginary. It's all made up. And the only thing you have to fear, like FDR stated all those decades ago when addressing the American public, is "fear itself".

In short, the only demons are in your head. And when you have a bit of good luck, then that's all it is. No angel smiled on you, because if that were the case, then that means that it didn't smile on all the other deserving people in the world who have to fight to survive, or are abused over seas in some den of inequity.

But, as I've stated before, I tend to dislike a lot of fantasy games, notably D&D because it does mix and otherwise blend myths, historical periods, and historical societies to no good end. It's my opinion that if you're going to make a fantasy game that has a kind of historical basis, then you ought to stick with the society from which the myths originate to try and maybe impart some good well grounded education. Japanese Samurai do not belong in Dark Ages London, nor do knights from the high middle ages fight Vikings who had disappeared from the scene a century or two before.

Mom, before I end this web log entry, I'd like to add that I've always been oriented towards technology and science. Apparently there was an element within the family that didn't like this. Well, too f_cking bad for them. Science explains all, and the more we know, the more we can improve our technology to improve society and solve our problems. That, and it's a pretty cool game.

Maybe you can tell your guard and other hangers on to stop bothering me on game servers.
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