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.