The other day, I was drinking cheap beer in a smelly basement at a card table with a half dozen sexless friends of mine. Unsurprisingly, I was reminded of old AD&D playing days.  For you squares, that stands for "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons."

I'm sure you're wondering how much more "advanced" you can get when you're already rolling 20-sided dice, pretending you're an elf, and saying shit like, "If I fail my saving throw, I'm going to try to escape these orcs by casting Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion - no wait, Charm Monster! CHARM MONSTER!!!" But trust me, AD&D was heads and shoulders above regular D&D.

Truth is, it was just the same as regular D&D with a different set of rules and some new math formulas to memorize; nothing more than really confusing arithmetic.

A couple of days ago, I was browsing a website with palm pilot software and I found a program that could calculate all that dice-rolling and THAC0 equations (if you don't know what THAC0 is, don't ask) on your PDA. This would have been awfully handy back in my day. Only half of the time playing AD&D consisted of actual roleplaying; the other half was made up entirely of rolling dice, scribbling utterly illegible figures down onto pieces of scrap paper, trying a quick stab at addition, subtraction, or multiplication (rarely division), giving up, and taking your best guess at the answer.

In AD&D, there is a 9th level spell (the highest attainable, thus making its spells the most powerful) simply called "Wish." It worked exactly as you would guess - you cast the spell and make a wish.

Despite its Ockham's Razor-esque simplicity, sadly enough, the spell had several drawbacks.

1) Being a very powerful spell, it took a very powerful wizard to cast it, which meant it took lots and lots and lots of time rolling dice, pretending to add numbers, and killing orcs.

2) The practical effect of the wish was determined by a terrible person called the "Dungeon Master" or "DM" for short. The DM was the person who sort of "steered" the game as the others played it. He decided when it was time to enter a dungeon, fight a bunch of orcs, drink lots of mead, etc. The DM also decided various outcomes of events and actions taken by the game's players.

Because of him, the wording of the wish would inevitably come back to bite the wizard in the ass. Let's say you wish for world peace. The resulting effect might be that every living thing in the world 'peacefully' fell into a coma and 'peacefully' died of starvation. Or maybe you wish for a million gold pieces: they might appear right in the air above your head, crushing you.

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### Article Author: Tim Greathouse

During the week, Tim Greathouse is a freelance writer, father and homemaker. Each weekend he dons a suit and performs wedding ceremonies for remarkably cool couples all over his home state of Ohio.

• ### 1 - Deano

Nov 02, 2006 at 4:35 pm

Obviously your AD&D buddies never went to the Homer Simpson School of Wishing...

I wish for a turkey sandwich on rye bread with lettuce and mustard. And
-- and I don't want any zombie turkeys, I don't want to turn into a turkey
myself, and I don't want any other weird surprises -- you got it?

-- Homer Simpson

• ### 2 - Timothy Greathouse

Nov 02, 2006 at 4:45 pm

Good Ford... I'm really ashamed. I'm a freaking 10th level blackbelt Simpsons fan and that connection never occured to me. Excuse me, I'm going to go flog myself.

Nov 02, 2006 at 4:55 pm

Would not work actually. Homer's turkey was "a little dry" and still a bad wish for him.

• ### 4 - Baronius

Nov 02, 2006 at 7:06 pm

A list of three will require careful thought. I know what one of my wishes would be: to be able to make small talk with dogs. According to your rules, it would have to be completely inconsequential dialogue:

"Good bone, huh?"
"Yeah, it's a Milk-Bone! Thanks for asking."

• ### 5 - Joan Hunt

Nov 03, 2006 at 2:06 am

Timothy, I don't like you. You made me think of all sorts of silly things. It ate up hours of my precious time. Time I could have spent doing something fun, like working.

1) Every perfectly suited bon mot from a book, movie, or TV show would magically fly from my mouth at the appropriate time. I would no longer be the stammering idiot in the corner, but the entertaining woman her friends actually enjoy having around. I hate being a socially retarded oaf.

2) Magical mad skateboard skillz. When my body gives out on me, a skateboard would magically appear and I would be able to climb on, zip around with ease, and wow folks with my killer old school tricks. You know, the ones like not falling off and being able to stop without crashing into something.

3) All powerful built in remote control. No longer would I have to fight anyone for the remote for the TV, VCR, or even the lights in my home. I'd have the ultimate ability to override channel choices, music, and, in the blink of an eye, I could light my path as I try to get from the bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night and avoid stubbing my toe. Sometimes, I'd even be able to see if my son remembered to put the toilet seat down and prevent a rather unpleasant accident.

• ### 6 - Timothy Greathouse

Nov 03, 2006 at 10:26 am

Joan: you don't like me? Well, I don't like me either, so I understand your sentiment. We're kindred spirits, you and I. Please marry me.

Ultimately your wishes are pretty damn silly-bravo!-but in the end I fear that our funky fresh genie would deny out of hand wish #1 as it clearly violates the utilitarian rule. You would have to consult a regular genie for those, not a specialty "silly" genie like this one.

I came to this conclusion because I asked myself: how many times would the collective witticism of my reading and media consumption, regurgitated verbatim in the right social settings, get me laid? The answer is: zero. For you see, I myself am patently loathsome, no matter how smart. Most other people, however, could make it work to their advantage. Therefore, wish denied. Point, set, match.

• ### 7 - Joan Hunt

Nov 03, 2006 at 11:39 am

I will only marry you if you let me have the remote. Or, if you have a large enough TV, I'll share.

As to wish #1, can I change it to something more superfluous? Like being able to fluff pillows into the perfect configuration for ultimate comfort at will? I'm all about comfort. What about random La-Z-Boy appearances when I'm fatigued? You can't beat a good rest in a recliner. Preferrably one with a drink holder and back massager.

• ### 8 - Joan Hunt

Nov 03, 2006 at 11:41 am

Now that I think about it, could I just have the ability to summon a cabana boy to serve me and my friends when I'm too lazy to get up off my ass? I'll share the wealth.

• ### 9 - Baronius

Nov 03, 2006 at 8:05 pm

I don't know, Joan. It still sounds too practical to me. How about making skateboards randomly appear under other people's feet? Or making sexy cabana boys appear every time a straight guy tries to impress a woman? There's a lot of potential mayhem in the world, Joan; embrace it.

• ### 10 - Joan Hunt

Nov 03, 2006 at 11:43 pm

Baronius has a point. Skateboards for others, whisking them away...Cabana boys as saviors...it could work.

• ### 11 - RJ Elliott

Nov 04, 2006 at 8:00 pm

"Damn, they're both dead." Yep. Both this year, too.

RIP - squared... :-/

• ### 12 - RJ Elliott

Nov 04, 2006 at 8:01 pm

Oops! John Ritter died on the 2nd Anniversary of 9/11, back in 2003...

Mea culpa! :-/

• ### 13 - RJ Elliott

Nov 04, 2006 at 8:27 pm

Anyway, here's my three:

1 - At a snap of my fingers, I can make any lightbulb burn out. You know, you're in the bedroom with a gal, the pettin' is gettin' kinda heavy, and you don't wanna ruin the moment by getting up to turn off the lights...but you also don't wanna ruin the moment by letting her see your beer belly/surgical scars/third nipple/oozing chancre sores/hideous conjoined fetus. Or whatever. Who's with me here? (And no, I don't have any surgical scars...) :-/

2 - Whenever someone says something akin to "How are you" or "How ya doin'" or "How ya been" ... you can give them a wink and their knees will temporarily buckle and they will trip/fall to the floor/ground. Then you can say something witty like "Better than you!" and get a cheap laugh out of it.

3 - You have the incredible ability to pick the EXACT final score of any football game (college or pro), but only after the third quarter is complete. While this would be utterly useless in gambling, it would be great weekend fun while watching games with friends/family. "Dude, Miami is down by 8 right now, but I guarantee they come back and win this thing by three in OT!" And when it happens, they will look upon you with confused awe...

• ### 14 - diana hartman

Nov 10, 2006 at 11:51 am

Diana Hartman
Culture Editor
Melita Teale
Asst Culture Editor

• ### 15 - Timothy Greathouse

Nov 10, 2006 at 2:01 pm

Diana, Melita-thanks! I see you received the dufflebags full of cash I slid under your doors last week. (Tangent: What the hell is a duffle? Do any of you keep duffles in a dufflebag? Discuss.)

RJ-brilliant! You so got the spirit of the exercise.

Your first wish made me think of how useful that would be in a getaway scenario. Which then reminded me of the final episode of Chapelle Show Season 2, the Black Bush sketch, where Dave knocks over a pitcher of water during an interview to dodge a question and the whole room flees in confusion.

THAT would be a new wish of mine... to be able to knock something in a room over (table, pitcher of water, work de art, hot dog cart, etc.) and cause the whole room to flee in panic!

Personal attacks are NOT allowed.

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