I stand accused of burning down the 23rd St. Shake Shack on August 23, 2013. I do not dispute that the arson occurred. The ashen husk of the burger franchise is still there for all of us to see. I’m sorry that the managers and patrons of Shake Shack had to endure that trauma. But I deny my involvement.
This four-page document represents my character in a college game of Dungeons and Dragons. Specifically, I participated in an attempt to complete the classic Return to Castle Ravenloft. The pedigree of the adventure module speaks for itself. Its challenging monster encounters and moody gothic atmosphere do justice to the Stoker and Rice novels that inspired the setting. It also has wolves that turn into humans underneath a full moon, which I think we can all agree is inventive.
My character’s name was Krull Ragtuk, a half-orc paladin of Hieronymus. Born in a clan of Gruumsh-worshiping raiders, Krull overcame his clan’s savage bloodthirst to become a champion of the light. While anyone can become a rogue or sorcerer, taking levels in the paladin class requires indisputable moral character. And Krull’s lawful good alignment is, as his character sheet demonstrates, a matter of public record.
A player character reflects its owner. In fact, it is often direct self-insertion. How could anyone capable of committing arson roleplay a paladin? You are ruining the life of an innocent man.
The order of paladins is unimpeachable. Their dedication to serving the gods of good grants them immunity to disease, divine spellcasting, and a daily smite attack that deals extra damage to evil-aligned humanoids, monsters, and constructs. They are one of the most reliable tanks in the game, boasting heavy armor proficiency, a large health pool, and flexible healing abilities. Paladins don’t start fires, they pull careless rogues out of them.
The partisans behind this circus might point towards Krull’s orcish lineage. They claim that orcs routinely get away with a level of aggression considered unacceptable among other player characters. That ugly smear is a product of the current moral panic. Every day, orc paladins put their lives on the line against beholders, balors, and spider-worshipping cults of dark elves. This accusation is an insult to paladins, an insult to me, and an insult to the memory of Gary Gygax.
Most importantly, it is an insult to Krull. On the day of the arson, Krull’s party engaged Count Strahd, the vampiric lord of Ravenloft, in single combat. Krull did not survive. He gave his life distracting the count as his party fled, falling to a well-placed disintegrating ray spell. Recall that Count Strahd is not only a vampire, but a wizard. Yet Krull stood firm. That is the sacrifice you are besmirching today.
Thank you for your time. I hope you take this deeply personal, painstakingly min-maxed evidence to heart. If we can move past this, I’d be honored to play with any of you. Or at least get some Shake Shack.
Blind Monkey: Husband, Player, and Dungeon Master
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