Dicing With the Devil


I bear the mark of Cain. A profane predilection, darker than the deepest dungeon and more closely guarded than a dragon’s hoard. (Fret not, it doesn’t involve presenting seventies children’s television.) However, in the hope of catharsis, if not forgiveness, my name isn’t Monsieur Le-Quoi and I’m passionate about roleplaying.

To clarify. I enjoy games where one adopts the personae of an adventurer, in my case, hobbit thief Nathan Shallowford, and are guided, by the Dungeon Master, through a quest to, say, rescue a princess from frost giants. Not the other type. Wearing a thong, gown and mortar board, while a Rosemary West lookalike, squeezed into a gym slip, declares she’ll do anything for a better grade wouldn’t arouse a twitch.

Nerdy? Definitely. Subversive? No. Of course not… well, unless you’re a fanatical God-botherer. Forget predatory, paedophile priests, in the eighties pretending to be a dwarf mage was the biggest moral threat since hula hoops: a gateway to Satanism, magic and suicide.

Poppycock. Summoning demons is best left to the professionals, Crowley, Daniels, Cooper. Devils are renowned for their cunning and cruelty. I had trouble saving my lunch money from Ram, who made Hulk look like Hawkins. Hardly a Machiavellian opponent, but, unfortunately, like Banner’s alter ego he loved to SMASH! If this evolutionary throwback was too much, how would I enthral Azazello?

Similarly, the game’s spells were descriptions – Knock: opens doors – not incantations. If they’d altered reality, every player would’ve cast invisibility and hotfooted it to the nearest girls showers. Seriously, there wouldn’t have been room for the rightful occupants. The sound of tittering would have been deafening, and the B.O. approaching lethal levels.

Thankfully, this faux, manufactured moral panic failed to interest the rational, as prohibition would have proved problematic. The safest place in my bedroom was under my mattress, and that’s where my other fantasy materials were stashed. There was no room at the inn. Rather than discarding an illicit passion, my desire was to combine them. Playing Dungeons & Dragons with a selection of Playmates was adolescence fantasy numéro un. If forced to choose, biological necessity would have prevailed: a bushel of rain-damaged Razzles wouldn’t hinder my slumber, while the encyclopaedic rulebooks would’ve made a fakir slip-a-disc.

Or did these hege-maniacs have a cunning plan? D&D keeps virgins occupied ‘til they’re IT consultants, whereas God wants people to procreate (once married, obviously). It’s always a badass that makes a girls’ heart beat faster, so the Chosen Ones obviously ‘thought’ that by associating the game with He-Who-Walks-Backwards, teenage girls would have found players as irresistible as the latest, pre-packaged, pop eunuch. No dice. Girlfriends remained as elusive as the hoard Nathan lusted after, or so it seemed. Allegedly, currently ‘two-fifths of players are female, and that proportion is growing’*. Really? Even a Jesus freak would question such an outlandish claim, and they believe Jonah took a staycation in a whale.

More astonishing, it’s even popular with porn stars… Kimberley Kane alone puts the saucy in sorcerer. Bitterness leads to ulcers, so I’ll be happy my adolescent fantasy came true for someone. Anyway, they probably don’t wear latex lingerie while playing in reality.

If Madame Le Quoi finally realises that Rohypnol is not a sweetener, and I’m once again looking for love in all the wrong places, my love of role play will be declared loudly and proudly. And, just to clarify, either sort works for me. My elf magician is rivalled only by my stern headmaster… just saying. I have a cane. Oh, and, in case you’re wondering, I didn’t commit suicide.

* https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/jul/13/no-more-nerds-how-dungeons-dragons-became-cool-stranger-things-game-of-thrones

Words: Monsieur le Quoi

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