D&D: A Man’s Game!

by Hober Short

My gracious host recently discussed all the poo that’s been flung his way by philistines (if I might mix metaphors momentarily). While I can easily believe and sympathize with the plight he expresses, I find myself lacking in personal experience to back him up. (Incidentally, I originally wrote “understand” along with “believe and sympathize”, but that’d be a lie; I don’t get those people.)

Maybe I’m too young, too lucky, or just too dumb, but somehow I’ve never managed to come up against a dyed-in-the-wool RPG hater. The closest I’ve ever come was through various wingnut websites explaining to my why I’m going to their hell because of my owning of such tomes as the “Monster Manual.”  They also chastise the fandom of Magic: The Gathering for wallowing in sin by holding pieces of paper.

In my life, especially early on, the two concepts of D&D and MTG were as well entwined as Gordon Freeman and his crowbar. Where one was, there was the other. When I came to be present at these confluences of geek, I found my yet-illiterate self at something of a loss. I had little inkling of what was going on because I was unable to decrypt the cypher of written language. The natural solution? I learned to read. So I could play Magic.

My parents were delighted with this. The same reaction was provoked when I joined their D&D group during the Second Age and began calculating THAC0s: I was elevated to a new stage of adulthood.

An interesting parallel is a friend of mine (who, I might add, I met when I joined his D&D group) that often goes by the handle Maticore, who found apotheosis where I found maturity. He began crafting worlds more interesting than his whitewashed suburban environ, and managed to sucker in few school friends to partake in some fantastic gaming.

Both his parents, and the parents of the eventual members of his party — myself excluded — had parents that only peripherally grasped the true nature of D&D. But the pearl of wisdom they did manage to prise from teenage ambiguity was that this posed no threat to them or their immortal souls. And so, out of acceptance, they relegated D&D to the place of shopping list, using it as a boilerplate gift when a need for such arose, purchasing any given book with the words “Dungeons” and “Dragons” on them and hadn’t been previously acquired for this purpose.

Returning to the thesis of this dictation, perhaps the most telling contrast between my experience and those stated previously is that of the intersection of ladyfriends and gaming. All of my former romances were untroubled by the games, even if they were only shakily familiar with what constituted a “dungeon.” Indeed, I once ventured far enough to bring along a woman formally of my interest at the time (and for some months previous) to a game, and figuratively hold her hand through the affair. She remained unscathed, if anything with her affinity for my dis-usuality strengthened.

I really hope I’ve made my point (I’m a lucky bloke because I have to deal with idiots infrequently), because I have to go prepare to vanquish an arrogant prince and prevent war between two militant caliphates.


~ by Hober Short on October 12, 2007.

One Response to “D&D: A Man’s Game!”

  1. I think your experience and mine honestly stem from a generation gap. Which is good. I guess it really is one of those things that I’ve carried with me since being a “Gamer from the ’80s”. Heck I was forced to prove to my parents and grandparents that D & D was not evil when they found out I played.

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