The Platypus, my Opinions and Me 3

I wrote this in response to a friend who posted a blog entry about heroes and memes a few days ago:

The answer is no, I don't play D&D. Not anymore. The reason: I did not have the attitude for it; which is more important than any other reason I can give.

I believe that when pursuing anything in life, you need three things to experience every aspect of any activity you're engaged in: attributes, aptitude and attitude; I've ranked them by importance from least to most important. I believe that if you're missing just one of these A's, your experience (from raking the leaves to having sex), will be greatly hindered and/or impaired. I'll start with attributes.

Attributes--I've often entertained fantasies about being everything from a rapper to a pugilist to a pro basketball player; this last example should suffice. I do NOT have the attributes to be a pro baller, barring great balance, better than average ball handling skills and the ability to shoot a jumper under pressure. The average height of an NBA star is 6'5. Six FREAKIN' five! That's just nuts! That's nearly a foot taller than my current height. Let's say for the sake of argument that I was determined to be a player...and the year was 1993. No matter what sacrifices I'd have to make, I would do them and then some! Day and night, hammer and tong, NBA or bust! Well, that would be the right attitude. Aptitude? Sure. I could study all the rules of the game while I'm not physically pushing my body to peak condition as well as memorize the team playbook. In the end, I could do it; I wouldn't be the first vertically challenged NBA Player. Even though I physically lacked the attributes to be an NBA player, with the right attitude, I could've made it 1993. But, being 5'7 is a definite hindrance when it comes to pro basketball, in the NBA, height matters. If I really applied myself, I could overcome 5'7, but that's a big IF! Attributes for D&D? The ability to roll dice and pick up a book. That was not the issue.

Aptitude--Let's use the same
basketball analogy; if I had the right attitude and I was 6'5, but couldn't grasp the the basic mechanics of basketball, I still would've played in the NBA simply by being around my teammates and coaches; I would've learned from them. Would I make horrible mistakes? Yep! And the fans would never let me live it down. I'd make the highlight reel on ESPN constantly, and not in a good way. I would go down as the worse player in NBA history. But, at least I'd be in NBA history. Good, bad or indifferent, I would've made it to the NBA, but I probably would've sucked at it. You can only travel, double dribble or foul out so many times before people start calling you the worse. Aptitude for D&D? Open the book. Study the book. When the DM says level-up, apply said EPs to your character and modify your character accordingly. Not hard.

Attitude--Even if you lack the attributes or the aptitude, if you have the attitude, you can soar to great heights! You may not make it to the pros if you can't learn the rules, can't dribble and you're only 4'11, but you'll play somewhere! If you have the attitude, you wouldn't care where, you'd just play whenever you got a free moment! You may even quit all of your other activities to play; if you're a student, you may even find time between classes to shoot some hoops. Even if you never make it to the NBA, your hard work will pay off! My attitude towards D&D? Meh. Yep, simply "meh". I didn't want to do the work that it took to play D&D. No mystery there.

Okay, it may be a little more complex than that. For starters, the first time I rolled a natural 20, I was 31 years of age. The DM at the time was older than I was and had been playing since he was 11. As did Dragonmarks. Eleven is a good age to start. Thirty-one, not so much. I was already set in my ways insofar as learning a new gaming system. If I had a better attitude, I would be DM'ing my own games at this point in life. Also, I saw that my attitude was no where near that of a gamer. I lacked any real passion, I never cared about any character I created and played as. I actually gamed with a guy who, when things didn't go his way, would go red in the face and throw a temper tantrum; the DM would respond in kind resulting in shouting matches. To an average D&D gamer, this is normal. Not. For. Me.

I got pissed!!!

Seriously??? You two GROWN-ASS MEN are getting upset 'cause your 7th level rouge elf got taken out by his 5th level human paladin? THIS??? This is the gibberish that I'm WASTING MY FUCKING TIME ON??? Are you fuckers yanking my crank??? Really? Can you see the cops showing up for THIS domestic dispute, slowly drawing their night-sticks and beating the shit out of us for wasting their fucking time? Reno 911 and Patton Oswald got it right! Yes, I know that LARP'ing is different from D& gamers. But everyone else could care less!

Phew! I'm glad that I got that out of my system. I'm not trying to insult D&D or D&D players, but this is NOT the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you believe that D&D preceded sliced bread and need it more than air, then pick up your 20 sider and roll away. It's just a game to me, though. Some people love it and others don't. Period.

Other gamers wanted me to stay on because I would come up with funny characters but I just couldn't get into the semantics of the game. Anyone who knows me would never describe me as studious or bookish so naturally, I never cracked the D&D book open to update my character. Consequently, when the party I was with got into combat and everyone else leveled up to level 8 except me (I'd be at least 3 level behind), I would be the dead weight in combat and once, I got someone else's character killed because of it. That was one of the reasons I left the Army (that my negligence would cause the death of a comrade); it's not the same, but unprepared is unprepared. If you're not ready for combat, others can suffer because of that. Often times, I found myself fumbling through the book trying to find answers to questions the DM would ask me causing one DM to ask with mild disdain "Will someone please help Tony?". It was at that moment that I realized why D&D was not a good fit for me, it reminded me of school.

I hated school.

As I stated earlier, no one would describe me as bookish or studious. And school was not so much hard as it just didn't hold my interest. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy school, I totally enjoyed the classes that I liked. The one's that I didn't care for ie, Algebra, Physics, Geometry, Trigonometry, I just kinda zoned out on. I barely passed anything math based. Luckily, most of these classes were heavy on homework, light on tests so I passed 'em with average marks.

D&D is like math to me.

In the end, I would pick up my D&D book, slide said book under my right thigh leaving 3/4 of it jutting out to my right and use it as a make-shift mouse pad for my desktop computer, furiously clicking from porn site to porn site.

Others have offered to make characters for me, but my heart simply wasn't in it.

Loved the cartoon, though.