Shaking the cobwebs of the holiday season and stepping out into the good, D-vitamin possessing light, I recognize I'm free to write.
Hm. On the subject of clichés.
I am a D&D player. I have been one for quite a long time. Most readers of this blog know this.
I do not live in my parents basement. I actually have a rather pleasant downtown residence, with plenty of disposable income and a comfortable lifestyle. I'm not dependent upon my parents in any way. I haven't actually been since I was still in high school. Most of my friends were living away from home by the time they were 20 because they were hard-working fellows attending university and mostly living in apartments they paid for with their part-time income. I have run at public spaces both at game stores and on the local university campus, and of course in the cafeteria during high school ... but in fact the total times I've run in a semi-public place would be about 3% of all my sessions played over 30+ years. If you take out high school, that drops radically, to less than 0.5%. MOST of the running I've done has been in a space I owned, that I paid for, on my table and in my kitchen or living room. The cliché therefore does not apply to me.
I don't particularly like Mountain Dew. Coke, yes, I like the sort of sharp flavour, but most of my actual gaming is done on strong tea or coffee. I tend to eat vegetables, fruit or sandwiches during a game, and not cheezies. I did once, of course, when I was a kid ... but that was also 20-odd years ago and while occasionally some snack like that turns up at the table, I don't eat it. Too salty.
I have never owned a cardboard sword. I have never dressed in any sort of costume to run a game. I don't play creepy music during my games because it is distracting. The lights are usually on, since this makes it easier to see to write. I've never liked the games of people who have dressed up. It seems to be more about them and their ego than it is about the actual game, so that those campaigns are mawkish and pretty ridiculous. Virtually every person I've ever known who has played the game would tend to agree.
I don't know where this thing started about D&D Players having little or no experience with sex. I kissed my first girl at the age of 8; Barbara and I used to hang out on Saturday mornings and watch cartoons. I had dates right through my teen years, and by 17 I was engaged to be married. I'll never forget the girl and I being caught in flagrante by her mother when experimenting with bondage; that would have been the winter of '82. Intercourse has been institutional with me all my life, as it was with the other fellows AND girls who played in my campaign ... very often, with each other. I don't remember anyone playing my game, even in those early days of youth, who had any problem with sex, either the opposite or the same gender. I've had a number of gay men in my campaign, and just now I run two gay women offline. So I don't think this cliché applies to me or anyone I know, either.
The Lord of the Rings made a good movie, but really, the book is overwritten shit. Virtually everyone I've known who's read it tells me they would rather not EVER read it again. It's hard to find a page in the book that isn't a prepositional explosion, the characterizations are wooden and subverted constantly to manage the plot, and there are staggeringly long build-ups of 120 to 150 pages leading to a 2-page dramatic climax. Total number of words to get Sam and Frodo across the plain of Mordor to Mount Doom? About 30,000. Total number of words depicting the actual destruction of the ring? About 625. The book gained its appeal because of a certain association with beatnik politics that was picked up by the drug-addled 60s movement ... and it continues to be worshipped by a sort of fan-boy clique that clearly eschews actual literature. I don't think the book is necessary to the game of D&D, I don't think anyone who has played D&D without having read the book will find themselves playing differently or better if they sit down and plow through its pages. The Lord of the Rings is superfluous. It is dismissible. It has nothing of value to add to the matter of role-playing. The insistence that it does speaks volumes, I think, about the piss-poor worlds being run by these people. As a cliché, it is probably the silliest.
People who make comic videos or who write songs about D&D never seem to know anything about the actual game. This video, for instance, seems to think it's possible to "lend charisma" or that the 12-sided die is important for ... anything. It also seems to think that "rank" or "restrictions" are words that have meaning related to the game. And of course, the figure with the mage hat identifying itself as a "warrior who terrifies" is equally off center. The vid also can't resist a stupid association with summoning demons, which is the trope leveled against D&D by Christians. I'm sorry. Is this a video about D&D, or about everything D&D isn't? Like every media representation of the game, oops, missed again.
Oh, I know, it's supposed to be funny. But 'funny' for me is, like, when you hear something you didn't expect. Clichés aren't funny. Clichés USED to be funny. Now they are just pathetic and sad.
Humour is when you take an ACTUAL thing about the game and demonstrate how that is funny. You make a joke that doesn't leave the listener thinking, "You don't actually play, do you? You're just a dumb musician."