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From The *Somewhat Twisted* Mind Of Dulux-Oz

Play It Again, Frodo - Part 1

Rating: 3 votes, 3.67 average.
Still confused about role-playing? Having trouble convincing your “serious” friends that you don’t dress up in a frock and wave around a foam-rubber sword? Dulux-Oz (your esteemed and humble Game Master, Ruleset/Extension Author and Tutorial Video Producer) shows how closely role-playing and literature are entwined…

***

My awesome assignment is to say a few words about the joys of role-playing. “Some burks out there,” mentioned our esteemed and not-so-humble Forum Moderator, “think role-playing games are nothing but throwing hordes of complicated dice and sticking four-foot broadswords into innocent bystanders.”

“Aren’t they?” I asked. “Ouch”, I added. “Of course I’ll write about role-playing”, I concluded, laughing heartily at the way his four-foot broadsword wittily pricked me in the jugular.

We’ll pass over the regrettable fact that my most impassioned role-playing efforts are the (not yet perfected) sobriety simulations that I act out when the pubs close. Let’s approach the subject in a roundabout way:

Have you ever joined in audience shouts of “Behind you!” as a pantomime villain twirls his mustache behind the goodie’s maddeningly oblivious back? After reading a comic in which Superman diverts the orbit of the Earth, uproots mountain ranges and burst noisily through the light barrier, only to fall victim to dreaded kryptonite… have you sniffed, “I could do better than that”? Are you irritated when the heroine of a traditional thriller obeys the mysterious unsigned note saying ‘Meet me next to the bottomless well at midnight, don’t tell anyone where you’re going and be sure to tie a 58-pound weight around your neck’?

The essence of role-playing is to scratch this particular itch by entering a ‘narrative’ and doing it your way (of course, the resulting fantasy, though fun, may not prove as artistically plotted as Tolkien’s). Here are some familiar scenarios as they might (and have been) perverted in role-players’ hands. Your Forum Moderator, never responsible for his underlings’ excesses, considers himself especially irresponsible for these.

***

“Hellfire!” erupted Thomas Covenant, his raw, self-inflicted nostrils clenching in white hot, stoical anguish while his gaunt, compulsory visage knotted with fey misery. His lungs were clogged with ruin. A hot, gelid, fulvous tide of self-accusation dinned in his ears: leper outcast unclean… To release the analystic refulgence, the wild magic of the white gold ring he wore, could conceivably shatter the Arch of Time, utterly destroy the Land and put a premature, preterite end to the plot!

Yet what other way was there? The argute notion pierced his mind like a jerid. Only thus could the unambergrised malison of Lord Foul be aneled. Only thus. Hellfire and damnation!

At that point he was struck by a swift, sapid lucubration. “But I don’t believe in the Land,” he shrieked with a sudden caducity, lurching and reeling as though from an overdose of clinquant roborant. “So even if it’s utterly destroyed… what’s the odds? I’m a leper, I can do what I like.”

With an effort, he unclenched his teeth and took the aegis of his cynosure. On his hand, the white gold ring began to flare darkly… “Hang on a moment,” said Lord Foul nervously. “Perhaps we could negotiate on this?

***

“G’rot gazed up lovingly into the whirling, polychromatic eyes of his great bronze dragon. “You can do it, can’t you, Filth?” he said proudly.

“Do what, G’rot?” asked Vanilla suspiciously.

G’rot gulped a flagon of Benden wine before answering. “As we Dragonriders of Pern have discovered, our wonderful dragons are not only telepathic and able to fly instantly between from one place to another, they can also fly between times.”

Flattery… I love it, said Filth smugly.

“Tell me something I don’t know or I’ll scratch your eyes out,” snapped the lovely but peevish Vanilla.

G’rot sighed. “Well, you remember our song The Ballad of Moron, Dragonlady of Pern, in which the lovely but wilful Moron comes to a sticky end thanks to flying too much overtime. My idea’s this: why don’t I and Filth fly back in time to prevent this stupid tragedy by kidnapping Moron just before her last, fatal flight?”

“Take me with you, G’rot, or I’ll kick you right in your underdeveloped masculinity,” retorted lovely but bitchy Vanilla.

“All in good time,” said G’rot. “Ouch!”

“The only problem,” mused lovely but foul-tempered Vanilla, “is that if we do this to her great tragedy plot, Anne McCaffrey is going to be a bit upset…”

***

Fifty plate-armoured men confronted him at the door of the throne room, but Conan struck full upon them with as deafening crash of steel and spurting of blood. Swords leapt and flickered like flame. His blade tore through bodies as it might have torn through a doner kebah, ripping them open from spine to groin to broken breastbone to shattered shin. Then Conan was through, leaping over the steaming welter of blood and entrails that scant moments before has called itself the picked guard of the Supreme Emperor. Only one torn and rent survivor howled like a dying wombat as he clawed at the crimson stump that had been his nose.

Then it was the Emperor’s turn. Cravenly, Ming the Merciless cowered back against his throne as Conan’s blade sang towards him. His foul sorceries and mirror-mazes were of no avail against the avenging Cimmerian!

“Why, why?” the Emperor wailed as the sabre sank to its hilt and far beyond in his vile, overfed belly.

“Dialectical analysis of historical change inevitably predicts the decay of lickspittle capitalist imperialism and its replacement by enlightened socialist collectives,” Conan grunted.

***

Despite the wonderful sunshine and their wonderful victory over the terrible White Witch, Edmund couldn’t help talking about some things he’d learned in Scripture class at his progressive school.

“It’s like this,” he said, thinking hard. “According to the consensus of modern theologians, God never actually shows up in person (except for movies like Dogma), because if you know God exists, then having faith without actual proof wouldn’t be much of a virtue any more. In other words, providential manifestations are actually detrimental to religious faith!”

“It’s very clever of you to remember all that,” said Lucy.

The great, golden Lion gave a worried growl. “I really hadn’t thought of that, child. I’ll have to check with Head Office about current policy…”

And Aslan slunk furtively out of Narnia.

***

Continued in Part 2

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Updated April 8th, 2016 at 06:00 by dulux-oz

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Comments

  1. Niles's Avatar
    Dulux-oz, you're a kindred spirit. I chronicled all of my groups adventures in narrative form when we went through the Dragonlance campaign. My players enjoyed them very much. D&D can inspire so much more too. I made some video slideshows set to Dragonforce music (a melodic speed metal band), also made a soundtrack for the campaign, picking out songs that were relevant to each of my players. Yeah, geeky I know, but I like my campaigns very epic with grand storylines. I want to make my campaigns very "cinematic" for my players. I think in terms of the DM being the director of the story while the players are your actors, helping the DM tell his story. I unashamedly used elements of all the wonderful stories that influenced me growing up in my campaigns...Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Star Wars, Edgar Allen Poe, ect...the soundtrack mentioned above was music from Led Zeppelin, Queen and Meat Loaf. These are artists trying to do the same thing...tell a story through music. So yeah, D&D is so much more than just rolling dice. So much more than just "get quest, kill monsters, get treasure and level up" like many of the MMO's have turned into. D&D is, like Shrek said, " like onions." It has layers. You just have to peel them back.
  2. dulux-oz's Avatar
    Cake! Cake has layers!

    Or parfait - I like parfait too - and WAFFLES!

    (God, I am such a Geek!)

    I'm glad you like the blog post, but I can't take credit for it: as I said at the end of part 2, its something that was written by someone else - still, I liked it enough to share with people here.
    Updated July 6th, 2015 at 01:43 by dulux-oz
  3. Andrepartthree's Avatar
    dulox-oz I'm thinking that whoever wrote this is a player either in your FG campaign or in some sort of forum play-by-post game you are moderating? Either way I envy you, this is a player I would LOVE to have around as a GM ! :P

    (got curious about Niles after he sent me a very nice PM so started checking his posts - I know I know, total stalker :P .. and came across this gem )
  4. dulux-oz's Avatar
    Actually its from a Fantasy Author who wrote a piece for White Dwarf Magazine (where this is from) back in the mid-80's when White Dwarf was a serious contender against Dragon Magazine for the best (general) RPG-based hobby mag.

    Alas, those were the days - DnD was only 1E, WFRP was just released, RuneQuest3 was out, Middle Earth Role-Play had hit the shelves, Traveler was the top SF RPG with Star Frontiers and Gamma World nipping at its heals, Star Wars was d6 from West End Games, Twilight 2000/Merc 2000 was blowing us out of our minds for our Modern RPG, Call of Cthulhu was sending us happily insane, Paranoia was happily chewing through our 6-paks (of clones), and Shadowrun had just knocked Cyberpunk off the top spot for most popular cyberpunk RPG - and White Dwarf (& Dragon) covered them all, along with movie and book reviews (Terry Pratchett's 2nd Discworld novel The Light Fantastic was the first book I ever bought from a review, and now I've got the whole Discworld set) and a whole lot more. <sigh />

    You should read the rest of my blog posts - you'll enjoy them as well
  5. Chuvak's Avatar
    Dulux-oz, you're a kindred spirit.

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