An Answer for George R. R. Martin about D&D, Dice, & Getting Lucky
Dearly Beloved You Geeks:
If you’ve been around me lately, you’ve likely noticed that I’m glowing. Literally. Turn out the lights, my head would be a faint ball of pale light. This isn’t because I am extremely bald and white (both of which, with bad hair genes and a name like Blake Randolph Charlton, I am). This is because I am so effing happy that I might be slightly radioactive.
Why the radiant, and potentially carcinogenic, happiness? A few days ago I sat on a panel at the American Library Association’s national conference with the right and honorable Lois McMaster Bujold & George R. R. Martin. I managed to avoid having a fanboy meltdown around ether one of them. Clearly, it was a highlight in my career so far.
Anyway, during the Q&A session, a reader asked if D&D influenced our work. George talked about how his role-playing game lead to the start his Wild Cards series. I talked about how D&D allowed me to participate in storytelling when I was illiterate. I also, briefly, reprised my argument that D&D provided an excellent preparation for medical school by requiring probabilistic thinking. Deciding to toss a 7d6 fireball into a room of orcs or to load a febrile little old lady with vancomycin & piperacillin-tazobactam…well…the result of either comes down to a roll of the dice, to getting lucky.
George, to general laughter, remarked that it was too bad it didn’t work that way with our personal lives. “You can’t just roll the dice to get a date.”
Just to be a consummate snot, I said “You sure about that, George?” It got a brief laugh, GRRM included. But later, when I was lucky enough to attend dinner with George, he laughed and said, “All right, Charlton, one day, you really are going to have to explain how you can roll dice to get a date.”
Well, I have to admit my D&D game is rusty; I had to put aside many of my favorite hobbies (videogames, TV, & movies included) when I started chasing this MD novelist star. But, if memory serves, George, I think this is how it still might work.
1) Shop around for a good co-ed game.
2) Treat the girl who’s caught your eye with three times more respect than geeky’s generally chauvinistic culture treats her.
3) Ask her out to dinner and then put a d20 in her hands and ask if she’d like to roll for a saving throw against your charisma.
So there you go, George, that’s what I got. I’m probably forgetting my AD&D rules. But, regardless, if Parris is ever playing a paladin and you a snarky halfling hand of the ki…err…thief, and you want some backup, just send a line my way. I’ll be your wingman anytime. </fanboy>