Bunkers and Castles
By Lord Mhor
Greetings from the castle of Lord Mhor. A great wave of warriors returns from foreign wars, with hundreds of thousands trickling in as federal foreign policy shifts through its diverse permutations.
Many of these veterans are role-players with a unique grasp of what melee is really all about. Many of them will enter the role-playing community as a safe harbor, hoping for relaxation, catharsis, and closure. Some of them will integrate with civilian life quickly and effectively. Many will struggle for the remainder of their existence, trapped between the military and civilian worlds. A few will giggle at inappropriate moments to the end of their days.
I know. I was mentored by a series of Vietnam War veterans. One of them was David Hargrave, author of the Arduin Grimoire. Two were tunnel rats, less well-known. One had a wife who was compelled to poke him with a stick in order to wake him up. One morning she forgot, and the emergency room managed with great effort to restructure her nose fairly effectively. They went on with life, as loving and committed to each other as before. Such is the training and conditioning of real combat. Be careful.
The old terms “shell shock” and “battle fatigue” have given rise to the politically-correct “post-traumatic stress disorder”. New names will be invented, but the issue is the same. The treatments are many, but they all have one thing in common – they take time. Give our returning warriors this time. Know that their culture is alien to the civilian world, and watch out for your nose. Intelligence is the ability to adapt.
The structures of game systems and the gaming community can be levers upon which recovery from PTSD is hastened. Magic wands replace pistols. Alchemical jars replace grenades. Healing potions augment field dressings. The repeating crossbow is jammed, but makes a fine club in a pinch. Call in the dragon for an airstrike. Lock the door and grab your plasma rifle.
Citizens of the role-playing culture welcome this new horde of warriors with open arms. Some of you have seen them transform over their years of service. Listen and ask your questions with respectful caution. These veterans have much to teach, and much more to learn than they might willingly admit. Our hobby has much to teach, and a perpetual need to be as grounded as possible in the mechanics of the real world.
The sort of abstraction that is the daily bread of role-players can easily lead to a state of free-floating intellectual diarrhea, where much is said but little is realistically enacted – and I’m phrasing this kindly. Surviving veterans know how to cure this malaise, through action. Every profession and hobby has its risks. Cultural cross-pollination is of value to all of us.
For those who dive and roll behind heavy objects when a vehicle backfires, who wake up sweating from dreams that can’t be imagined by the untested, and whose grasp of the shady world of civilian life is not yet complete – I salute you!