Roots 2: The origin of the beast.

10 02 2010

I tried to use a 'mind bondage' spell to keep my parents together.

Love of rockets is one thing, love of the mysteries of the magical world is another.  My cousin Chad was a special kind of outcast. A tenth grade Star Wars junkie and metal head. His cloistered bedroom in an upper corner of his families vast woodland home was decorated with Iron Maiden and Megadeth posters. The shelves were covered with copies of Elfquest comics and D&D tomes. There were also the figurines- scores of tiny pewter knights and elves and ghouls. We had moved to Kentucky from Florida and the loss of the endless scientific distraction of the subtropical space coast left me feeling lost and out of place. I remember going to my aunt and uncles house and being sent up to Chad’s room to work on my homework. I did nothing of the sort. How could I worry over fractions when a Monster Manuel with pictures and statistics of the critters of myth and fairytale were right in front of me? So as soon as I could, I convinced my mom to get me some of those great geometric dice, a couple of incomprehensible manuals and a few pewter figurines. After a couple of years and with the introduction of heavy metal, I was well on my way to a life of murder-suicide and satanism…. not really, but you have to remember  this was the middle eighties at the height of D&D/Heavy Metal paranoia. I miss that. What a wonderful and simple world it was when sitting down with a group of outcasts and throwing dice and telling stories while drinking Crystal Pepsi or Tang and listening to ‘Peace Sells’ was the height of evil. John McCain, John Glenn and three other senators were betraying Senate ethics rules, Olly North was blowing off the Boland Amendment, and the height of darkness in the land was none other than myself. It was awesome. Oddly enough I didn’t engage in actual property damage until I got into punk rock- the real evil in the land.

My friends and I playing D&D until 'Alf' comes on.

What did I get out of this experience? Story telling for one thing. I think the old D&D was the last great communal story circle in American culture (outside of some stinking hippy commune). I loved writing from an early age, but I started telling stories with D&D.  I spent hours drawing maps, setting up charts and weighting the odds and probabilities of multiple variable randomizers (dice, fancy huh), and all this had to dovetail with a compelling and entertaining story.

I looked up “Dungeons and Dragons is satanic” on Google while prepping for this post. There is still a few people out there singing that old saw, but for the most part they’re folks who missed the advent of online gaming and video games more broadly.

I miss D&D and the very impulses  that made it fun for me are the same impulses that make me a fiction writer today. World creation, character interaction, and narrative are creative outlets for me that really find their best roots in a game from Wisconsin that me an a bunch of secretive nerds played around a kitchen table. I drank my tang from a tankard.

That’s the science of fiction.

Andrew C. Porter

Enjoy the stats below. I think they’re telling. Next up: Why originality is your enemy, innovation is your nemesis, and only by writing like Arthur C. Clarke can you ever hope to find your fortune in the world.

warcraft evil
1.00
harry potter evil
2.20
d and d evil
0

As you can see, Harry Potter is the new face of evil in the world, much more so than Warcraft. D&D, sadly, is no longer evil.

harry potter evil
1.00
hitler evil
0.80

In recent years however, Hitler- the former benchmark for evil, has been making some gains on the wily scarred wizard and his telegenic cronies.

sy fy
1.00
everything sucks
0.90

And of course we can see that in comparison to “Everything Sucks,” the sy-fy network has maintained a modest lead.

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3 responses

10 02 2010
maggiedot

I dunno… I think Birdsnake III will really bring the viewers back to sy (*snicker*) fy.

10 02 2010
silverstairs

Ooooooh, just you wait. I got a supplemental birdsnake post coming very soon. Just wait. Imagine an FBI agent going through flashbacks of his time in a Navajo sweat lodge ritual where he sees visions of the birdsnake as he tracks the lethal birdsnake cult in NYC…. they really have a birdsnake.

15 02 2010
maggiedot

Oh lord. I can see the movie poster now. @.@

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