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Reliable Source: Death to Dwarves

Marion Cox | 6 Feb 2010 10:00
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Having been recently reminded of a box of D&D books buried somewhere at my friend's house, I suggested to my friend Jim that we play the time honored RPG again, if only for nostalgia's sake.

Among the wide assortment of hobbies at which he wasn't very good, Jim was a natural DM. He was inspired to start DMing in the 3rd grade when he saw some older kids playing the game in the library, rolling these mystical pieces of dice and shouting things like "Natural 20!" Jim tried to play with us making up his own rules, rules like "if you went off-mission, you'd be eaten by a dragon that shot lasers from its eyes."

Eventually, he conned his into mother buying him the Dungeon Master's Guide, because it would enhance his reading comprehension skills. We lived next door, and shared a love of all things containing swords and/or sorcery, so it was only natural that we started playing.

When I mentioned playing again after so many years, Jim was more than happy to DM, even though we weren't pimply-faced teenagers anymore. His only request was that I call up the guys we used to play with in high school.

I called Thomas first. His parents came from the East Coast, where Thomas had spent most of his education in private schools. He was sorely out of touch with his African heritage and the other black kids regarded him as an outsider, but perhaps that was because he grew a ponytail and wore a cloak during his senior year.

Thomas was always a mage, even when it made no sense. When we graduated from slaying orcs to tabletop Robotech, he still described himself as a powerful elderly Gandalf-esque character complete with a long white beard and flowing white robes. It was during one of our Robotech sessions, after his first character was pulled by his robes into a jet intake and he was working on a new character, that we learned exactly how deep Thomas' disconnection to with his heritage was. Jim prompted Thomas to pick a name for his pilot, and Thomas replied, "White Power." We were dumbfounded. Jim just stared at him for a few moments, and then diligently transcribed it into the tome of records without saying a word. I later asked Thomas straight up if he knew what white power was, just to see if wasn't some ironic joke. He said, "It's what I call the fire of my rockets. White Power. Pretty cool, huh?" I sighed.

The second person I called was Tennyson, which was in fact his first name, and no reflection of his ability as a poet, much to the chagrin of his mother, an English major. Tennyson had a disease that kept his torso from growing to a normal length and caused him to have a massive hunchback. The kids in high school were particularly unforgiving and he suffered all sorts of terrible nicknames including: Tennis Shoe, Tetanus and Penny-son. I once overheard a wood-shop instructor call him Penishead.

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