Trevor Strnad’s Deadspeak: A Fantastic Confession
Dear faithful followers,
There’s something I’ve been needing to tell you guys, of which I’ve been a little ashamed. I have been carrying this secret like an anchor around my neck, an albatross of indignity; the further I go without telling, the further down into the pits of sorrow I do sink. My faithful cronies, there is simply a void in my life I cannot figure out how to fill again without outside help. There is a chasm in my heart so deep no woman nor out-of-print death metal CD could ever begin to fill it. Alas my friends, I stand before you begging your forgiveness, and more importantly, if you have the contacts for a decent Dungeon Master. Ladies and gentlemen, I fucking miss roleplaying.
I’m not talking about the fiftieth installment of Dragon Quest for Nintendo DS, ’cause I still do that. I’m referring to the old school pencil and paper shit, the meet-up-at-sports-card-mania-on-a-Saturday-night-with-a-bunch-of-dudes-who-look-like-Stephen King kinda roleplaying. Have you ever rolled the polyhedral dice of chance? I assure you, 20 million nerds can’t be wrong.
It began the first day of fifth grade. I was sitting in the back of the classroom in a new school when a tall gumpy kid with a few colorful-looking books under his arm approached me and began to speak. “My name is James, do you play man?” Play what?, I thought. “Dungeons And Dragons man, do you play?” I must have been flying my nerd flag pretty high that day with my blue and red tiger-striped hammer pants and giant tortoise-shell glasses weighing down my 10-year-old head. He knew from one look at me that I had at least drawn a picture of a fantastic realm or creature at some point, and probably would serve as a good ally to align himself with.
“No, I kinda know what it is but I have never played. Is it hard?,” I asked. “Nah, man, it’s just like Dragon Warrior for Nintendo, but better!,” he responded quickly. Big talk, but he had definitely stirred my interest. “You’ll like it, I swear. Meet up with me when the bell rings.” Fair enough. That Autumn day, under the old oak tree in the corner of the Cooley Elementary School playground, a role player was born.
Throughout the next few years I would experiment with a few different roleplaying games (Rifts, Superheroes Unlimited, Shadowrun to name a few) but none of them would steal my heart quite like D&D. I have been away from it so long that I haven’t even played since it was owned by TSR (any of you nerds out there know that Wizards Of The Coast — the creators of Magic: The Gathering — bought the rights up several years ago). As a youth, I immediately fell in love with its images of barbaric violence, mystical Tolkein-esque creatures, and it served as the escape I was looking for from the ailments of nerddom at school. It lead to the discovery of heavy metal, as my 10-year-old mind couldn’t help but draw a parallel between the two because of their similar themes and artworks. My involvement in metal has lived on, while I sadly haven’t rolled a polyhedral in years.
I want to be a fighter class (you know, the warrior type) with some kind of shitty black metal name (haha, how many black metal characters are there out there right now, I wonder?) and thumb through the second edition AD&D Offical Arms and Equipment Guide, scrutinizing over different glaive-guisarmes for hours, while we listen to Nokturnal Mortum’s Goat Horns and smoke weed til our eyes bleed. I want to see my adult friends impersonate the voices of the most honorable Paladin, or the eldery wizard, and try not to piss my pants laughing. I want to sit atop my sleeping bag in the back of Black Dahlia’s van while my dream tour manager/dungeon master paints so eloquently an amazing adventure chock full of blood and guts that would make the drive from Seattle to buttfuck Idaho seem like dog dick.
I stand before you in the falling rain, shaking and cold, begging to paint pewter figurines shaped like a gnarled, battle-torn Warlord of some type, wishing oh so badly to bend bars and lift gates, to draw maps, to roll a natural twenty and annihilate an orc with one swing of a claymore sword. Just please, I beg of thee my faithful minions, don’t tell anybody.
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…and if you like Trevor’s take on things, check out Autopsy drummer Chris Reifert’s column Psychotic Drivel and Perfectly Reasonable Insanity.