Letter to My Deceased Dungeons and Dragons Character, Who I Ordered Into Certain Doom


Dear Zardoz the Destroyer,

Despite the feelings of resentment and loathing that grew in me over the past few weeks, a tiny ripple of regret pulsed through my veins as I ordered you through that gargoyle-guarded door. I knew you’d get smashed — you were a puny little gnome with a negative three Dexterity Modifier ( -3 ! ) — but I didn’t realize Duncan, our Dungeon Master, was going to get vicious and command the beasts to eat your eyeballs. Sorry you had to leave that way.

I’d never played D&D before, so despite my best intentions I wound up arming you with a laughable inventory of spells. Your ‘Grease’ enchantment came in handy when we cornered that rabid badger on a dingy barroom table, but mostly served as fodder for ridicule by the rest of the guys. I didn’t know when I picked it for you, but the Grease spell is lame in the world of goblins and bugbears. It wasn’t your fault that your Charisma level was so minuscule — I rolled the dice — but it almost got us killed when I sent you to negotiate with those lizard men. Zardoz, You have to realize how much it hurts when a crew of the geekiest USENET-savvy nerds you can imagine starts teasing you at work. I joined the circle to ingratiate myself to my boss, so when he commented that you were as useless as a zero-level troll I realized I had to take measures.

Remember last week, before I’d resolved to kill you, when I had you spend 150 gold pieces on that specially trained dog you could ride, so you could keep up with the rest of the party? I bought you that nice saddle too, for twenty gold pieces. I even paid Brett forty in silver to use his Craft skill to carve “Zardoz the Destroyer” onto your leather armor, with a rendering of you riding Snoopy, raising your crossbow in one hand and waving a ghoul’s decapitated head in the other. Remember how awesome you looked? It was my last attempt at making you ‘cool’ to the rest of the group. I thought my makeover had worked, that you (and me) were finally making inroads. The next day at work I overheard Duncan telling Rachel the secretary, “You should’ve seen him handling his dog last night.” Then and there I sentenced you to death. I know you loved that mutt, you poor excuse for a wizard illusionist — that’s why I ordered you to jump off your steed moments before charging the gargoyles. Thad the Halfling is taking care of him now.

I don’t know if Dungeons & Dragons characters go to heaven or Valhalla when they die, or if their spirits gets shredded with their record sheets, but you’ll live on with me for a while. It’s probably little consolation since I’m the one who damned you to gargoyle mutilation, but I think there’s a chance the group will realize how wrong they were about you in a week or two. If you think about it, you were kind of like Jesus, marching to death at the beckon of me, your God and Father. The gargoyles were a lot like Roman soldiers if I remember straight. You were misunderstood in your time but maybe the rest of the group will realize how valuable you were, now that you’re gone. It worked once!

Missing You,

Jonathan Holley

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