Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Repost: In Honor of Gary Gygax

Gary Gygax, one of the chief creators of the original Dungeons and Dragons, and hero to ten million nerds, passed away today. In his honor I'm re-posting a D&D post of mine from January 25, 2007.

Dungeons and Dragons Theology

I'm a little embarrassed (but not very) to say that I've been playing D&D again. However, it has recently given me a profound and powerful theological insight, and it's only fitting that I share it with the internet.

So, in Dungeons and Dragons, one person tells the story of what happens to you, and you decide what you want your character to do. It takes place in your imagination, and in your friends' imaginations, but you roll dice to see how well you do at a given task.

You get to roll a 20-sided die. When you get a "1", you do really, really poorly at a given task. When you roll a "20", you do really, really well. For example, I tried to hit a giant ant with my mace, rolled a 1, and knocked myself out.

So, our party of adventurers, "played" by myself and a couple of friends, found ourselves at the end of our two-night adventure. We were facing a huge monstrosity, namely "PRAETOR, TITAN OF THE UNDERDARK!" This guy was like, 25 feet tall, had crazy magical powers, and wielded a giant, flaming battle-ax. Whoa. I was pretty sure that we were all going to die. Which would've been a real bummer to finish a couple of nights of great adventuring.

In the first round of combat, my character ran madly towards the giant beast, foolishly trying to him him with her mace.

I rolled a twenty. It hurt him a lot. Huge, angry mace to the abdomen.

Then, my friend rolled a twenty as well, and it hurt him even more. Crossbow bolt to the face.

Then, it was his turn to attack. The first time he attacked, he took hurt us all with a magical wall of un-dodge-able fire. He tried to hit me with his fire-ax, which would have probably killed me.

He rolled a one. And hit himself in the leg.

We defeated him within, like, thirty seconds, and the crowd of rabble we brought with us surged over him with their pitchforks and hoes.

That was not supposed to happen.

So, here's the important theological point, and I think the reason why I woke up this morning feeling pretty darn happy.

In the struggle against the forces of evil and oppression and empire, it often looks like they have the upper hand. Indeed, it seems that when I and my allies go in against the forces of empire, we often, well, lose.

But sometimes.

Every once in a while.

When you dare to confront the forces of empire and oppression, on behalf of liberation and justice:

You roll twenties. And they roll ones.

And that's all it takes.

And things come together in ways you didn't expect, and your crazy ideas work, and their old ideas fail, and the Spirit moves, and walls crumble and people change, and transformation happens.

May you roll twenties.


posted by David Reese @ 2:08 PM

1 comment:

Doug Hagler said...

This is awesome. Very fitting, and very hopefully true.