And now for something completely different. Regular programming will resume shortly.
I’m sitting in my living room on a Saturday night and I’m listening to my son tell me about Pathfinder. Pathfinder is one of the most recent iterations of the Dungeons and Dragons franchise, and is described in many heavy, rather expensive books that lay out all the rules, characters, classes, spells, monsters, treasures, and other things that make up this flavor of fantasy role-playing.
“I’m going to be a sorcerer,” he’s telling me, “and since I’m also going to be Dungeon Master, I’m going to make a rule that any character who wants to have more than one class and wants to be a sorcerer for one of them has to start out as a sorcerer. Because otherwise it doesn’t make sense.”
Believe it or not, the phrase “doesn’t make sense” has probably been uttered more often in the context of fantasy role-playing games than in all the articles about the government shutdown combined. This is because D&D is all about internal consistency, about creating a world, about figuring out why orcs are so grumpy, why gnomes are without doubt the best character race, why only magic swords glow and not magic maces. This is also because D&D is played, largely, by geeks who love to argue about esoteric things.
As my son continues telling me his theory about how the initial appearance of a sorcerer’s powers would have to occur before a character starts adventuring, I find I’m only half listening. And that’s because I’m remembering back to when I started playing D&D, when I was his age, growing up in Hawaii. Continue reading