Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Life as a D&D Character

I don't normally dwell on my own past.  In fact, most days I would be hard pressed to tell you what I was doing just a few days ago, except in a general way, and it would be the skull-sweat work of several minutes to try to reconstruct it from what dim memories I might dredge up.

I'm simply not that interesting to myself.  It's not that I lack self-regard, quite the opposite in a certain operational sense.  However, mine is a life of ideas and grand visions, and the day-to-day nitty-gritty of living it out just doesn't register much.

I collect, even hoard, ideas.  A friend who was into astrology once told me that this was because I was a Taurus with Mercury conjunct the Sun in the sign, or first house, or something, and that the typical Taurus tendency to collect material things therefore accrued in me to concepts instead.  It seemed apt.

Anyhow, be that as it may, from time to time I do become interested in myself as myself (rather than as instrument or way to get from here to there) and tonight is one of those introspective nights.

I'm not an astrologer. I know enough astronomy to know that astrologers, whatever they are doing, are not actually talking about the real sky. And I know enough astrologers to know that what they are doing (some of them) is not nothing.  (Too bad they are such headstrong jerks about not taking themselves seriously the right way: do science to it sillies!)

The best astrologer I ever met could tell you things about yourself from reading your chart that would just blow your mind.  This was with a "cold" start, walk in off the street, give her your birth-data and WHAM! Get ready to grow or freak out!  Strange thing was, her chart program had been set to the wrong timezone when she first set it up so all of the charts she ever ran with it were "wrong". Go figure.


What I have been in the past is an avid AD&D player (usually as DM but also as a player.)  I understand that the WotC people have acquired the system from ye olde TSR and have not completely wrecked it, is that right?

Whatever.  Read Gygax and be knowledgeable.  The old DM's guide was a freaking education in itself.  There is all kinds of stuff in there: the old flower language for instance.

So, I've been thinking about myself and how I would describe myself as an AD&D character.  Sort of an autobiographical sketch in RPG space. Without further ado...

I started out thinking about my alignment in AD&D terms.  Just to refresh your memory the alignment system was a simple two-axis grid with Good-Neutral-Evil as one axis and Lawful-Neutral-Chaotic as the other.

Angels and Devils would be archetypal Lawful-Good and Lawful-Evil, respectively. (Devils are evil but they will keep a contract or bargain.)

Good and evil, and neutral, are pretty easy to understand. Lawful referred to the tendency to obey laws and keep one's word, while Chaotic characters were unreliable or unpredictable.

Okay, so, when I first stared out, as a wee little kid, I was lawful-good. By the time I got to high-school with the trauma of childhood I had become chaotic-evil. Then during high school I finally found some cool friends and started smoking marijuana and that really helped me cope, and I swung to chaotic-good.

Finally, after much work on myself and twenty years down the line, I'm back to lawful-good. Whew!  But it is a much higher-order ("wiser" is the word I'd like to use here but that would be pretty pretentious, wouldn't it?) form of lawful-good than when I was a young child.

I don't know why exactly but it feels kinda good to map this out this way.

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