A Tribute to D & D: We Were Heroes
by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)
Back before it was cool to be a nerd, before the days of the geek, we lived in secret, gathering weekly to enact ancient rituals. In the days when it seemed the world could end at any moment in a fiery, nuclear conflagration, even in the days of grunge and self-pity and indulgence, we carried on the traditions of our forebears. We gathered, we sat, looked one another in the eyes,and told stories. Oh, the stories we told! Stories of fell dragons, hideous demons, of insurmountable evils, all of which came flowing from our minds to be mingled and formed into new legends. Yes, we told stories. More importantly, and significantly, for a world that gave no thought to us, we told the One Story.
There among us was the Paladin, the party leader, and righter of wrongs, wielding the polyhedrons like a +5 Holy Avenger, and guiding us into shadowy dungeons, secure in his divine fervor that we would make it out alive again. But even if we didn’t, dying for a just cause would secure a divine reward and a bardic commemoration.
Next came the Cleric, the source of succor and healing, the spiritual center of the party. He kept us alive, and through his example of caring for the poor and insignificant souls we encountered within the story, we learned to fight for something bigger than ourselves. We came to know that there were people of all races: humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, and so on, who needed defending. But when his ire was raised, the Cleric was not hesitant to enter the fray to crack heads, destroy the demonic, and turn the undead to ash by brandishing his holy symbol.
In the next seat around the table of stories came the warrior. As she was the mightiest among us (having the most hit points), she was the one who fearlessly waded into battle ahead of everyone else, heedless of the danger. Even faced with certain death, she did not fear. She was not one for schoolin’ or spellcraft, eschewing everything that would distract her from her focus on her sword.
But even the warrior, with her myopic focus on her weapon, could not deal as much damage as the wizard. The wizard was built to stand behind the Warrior, the Cleric, and the Paladin because of his weak constitution. But even though he had the fewest hit points (a d4 does not yield very many hit points), he always kept a stack of d6’s at the ready for the spectacular display that is Fireball. Fires, bangs, and smells are child’s play, however, next to the ability to Power Word Kill–assuming he lived long enough to cast it.
Rounding out the troupe, is the lovable trickster known as the Thief (now more commonly referred to as Rogue). Sometimes, sometimes–especially when the Paladin was otherwise distracted with helping the downtrodden or praying–the Thief would be called upon to employ her particular skill set to pickpocket, pick locks, wriggle out of manacles, or chains, or sneak around to spy. And lest we forget her martial prowess, the Thief could quickly remind us how dangerous she really is with the all too sneaky Back Stab.
Gathered together with a well-rounded party, each member contributing something to the whole, we created stories. More than mere stories, we created myths, we became those myths, and to this day we recall the exploits of those characters whose physical makeup consists of nothing more than paper and scrawls in pencil. Nevertheless, they are part of who we have become, and we are better for it.
When many of our contemporaries were involved in the vain pursuits of popularity or sexual conquest, and all of the social pressures that follow these exploits, we were saving the world. We were heroes. We are the Knights of the d20.
-Drayson the Quick, Elven
Thief Rogue Hero
Photo Credit Marc Garrido