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You are standing in a 10×10 foot room. There is an orc guarding a chest.

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By Mordenkainen’s beard, Dungeons and Dragons turns 30 this weekend!! For details and commentary, I direct you to this piece by some dude from the National Review whose reminiscence sounds uncannily like my own teenage years.

Wow. When I got into the game, it was barely ten years old, and the “Advanced” game was still in its first edition. I think my grades in Ohio History suffered because of all the time I spent in class poring over the difference between a glaive and a bill hook in “Unearthed Arcana.” (My wife just read that previous sentence as “eatoin shrdlu gibber flark Ohio History dang fang artango mash Arcana.” But she knew she was marrying a geek and I love her for it.) In fact, I’m quite certain that D&D rules learned 15 years ago are still cluttering up vaulable mental real estate I could be putting to better use. From time to time random stats still bubble up from my unconscious at inopportune moments, like when I’m trying to concentrate on the real-world implications of changes in Social Security indexing. “The answer is GDP + inflation = a THAC0 of 17, Bob.”

Now the game is up to Edition 3.5 (.5???), and is owned by big-time toymaker Hasbro, so I suspect it’s neither as geeky or as weird as it used to be (not that geeky and weird are aspects of the old rules I necessarily treasure. Could someone please explain to me why becoming a millionaire made a character harder to kill?)

God help us. As NRO guy says, “I’ve long harbored a secret notion in the back of my mind: Wouldn’t it be awesome to get a game going again?” Yes it would, NRO guy. If that asshole from Columbus hadn’t stolen every single one of my manuals back in 1996, I’d do it tomorrow. The more I learn about history, geopolitics, economics, human behavior, war, physics, and, hell, everything, the cooler I find the idea of D&D. The older you get, the richer your imaginary worlds become and the less you have to rely on tired Monty Haul crapola to get your characters through a night of role-playing. I would give body parts to set a D&D campaign in a setting adapted from the France of Louis XIV and the thousand little postmedieval German dutchies, now that I have an idea what those times and places were all about.

Of course, the only Spaniard in the works is the time commitment. I suppose I could set aside a D&D night like hepper cats do poker night, but I don’t think that would work so good what with the being married and all. I cherish my Friday nights with the spouse, even if we’re just having a pizza at home, and Mrs. Johno, having never played D&D, is understandably cool to the notion.

I’ve got it! Here’s my plan, and it’s a good one and cunning too. A Dungeons and Dragons retirement community. I’ll buy the land now and start a normal “retirement village,” and when I get close to retirement age market it exclusively to ex-gamers. Think about it. People will live for decades after “retirement” 30 years from now. That means like 20 years to do nothing but sit around and putter with funny dice, drawing on the infinite knowledge and experience of a lifetime to create the greatest campaigns the world has ever known! And, when someone starts to go a little senile, it’s cool. They’re already living halfway in an imaginary world already! (Was that crass? I think that was crass.) Who here doesn’t think my idea is the greatest idea in the history of ideas? Huh? Huh?

Also posted to the Ministry of Minor Perfidy. Visit the Ministry. Your compliance is appreciated; indeed, it is compulsory.

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About John Owen