Special thanks to Dan Sutter (who couldn’t post the article himself,) for the incontrovertible proof that the Ancients had table-top role-playing games…right after my silly sketch:
“You enter the Academy of the future. Books are everywhere, but there are these, things, that are like uh-hundred books, even though they’re the size of one, and you can flip back and forth between them just by touching it.”
“Shut-up, this is my game.”
“It doesn’t make any sense.”
“Yeah it does, you guys are jerks.”
“Dude, do your dice have the Greek alphabet on them?”
“That’s fuckin’ awesome.”
“Are you kidding? None of you idiots even read Greek. What’s the point of having dice you can’t read?”
“Hey, I’m gonna get some wine, you guys want anything?”
“I’ll take one, but don’t touch that mummy, dude. It’s my dad’s; he’s says it’s, like 1,000 years old.”
“Pshhh. No it’s not.”
“Dude, just don’t touch it alright?
“Greek is a dying language anyway. Alexander totally kicked their ass.”
“Alexander IS a Greek, you butt-sack.”
“Then why did he take over Greece?”
“Macedonia is a Greek city-state.”
“He didn’t take over Greece! His dad was king; his dad died; now he’s king!”
“Whatever, dude, calm down.”
“I heard Alexander’s gonna take over Persia, and then he’s gonna sell Greece to the Persians and make everyone wear Persian clothes and speak Persian.”
“Can we get back to the game?”
“You mean you stupid future Academy that doesn’t make sense.”
“Yes. That one. Except it does make sense, and you’re a dick.”
“Fine. But it doesn’t make sense. How would you smash 100 books into one book?”
“Maybe they write really small.”
“Maybe they don’t use giant hieroglyphics.”
“Low blow, dude.”
“What if they don’t even have language in the future?”
“No, seriously, man. What if they’ve figured it all out by then? What if there’s nothing to think about any more? What if that’s what’s wrong? In the future they’ve solved all the problems and people don’t talk to each other. There’s no war, no disease, but there’s no culture either! They just wander around like a bunch of soulless atoms, action – reaction, dude. And we have to save them!”
“Atomic theory rears its ugly head.”
“At least I can read Greek.”
“You guys suck.”
And now for a 2,000 year old d20. Click through for the full article.
“The other players are your team. Presumably your friends. If someone ever seems upset about your brilliant role-playing move, whether you’re a player or the DM, start with, “I’m sorry. I totally didn’t mean anything by it personally.” After that, you can discuss your choice and move on.
I’ve been thinking a lot about “nerd culture,” (white) male privilege, cheesecake, and cultural norms surrounding fantasy, myth, and the way that we tell stories.
Consider this the first post (repost, really) in a series on the matter.
The article discusses women’s fantasy armor from the vantage of an armorer. It is especially fresh for me as I’ve been re-reading all of my old 2nd ed. AD&D books in preparation for a game. I got those books at a young age (starting when I was 8) and I have very sharp memories of the art.