How Not to Attempt Murder

By YiMin F.

     It’s always annoying when your friend stabs you. But it certainly adds spice to any D&D session.

It was a Sunday in February when my friends and I had our first D&D (Dungeons and Dragons, a paper and pencil roleplaying game) session. The sun shone bright and warm that day, but it didn’t matter because we were about to have hours of fun isolated from the outside world. I biked to my not-boyfriend Will’s house with a backpack full of hardcover books and a paper map, excited to finally have people to play D&D with. I had read over the rules of the game and played a few sessions by myself with my dad serving as the Game Master, but now I was going to be in a party with other people.

     We sat on the floor around a rectangular table in his living room, and Will passed out character sheets to the other players while I took out mine from my backpack. I also brought out 2 cloth bags and poured them out on the table. The plastic dice tumbled out, clicking together and knocking against the table. I marveled the different shapes: four-sided dice with triangular faces, eight-sided dice with triangular faces arranged over a diamond, and of course, the famous 20-sided dice. I loved feeling their smooth surfaces and the indents of the numbers. After they had been sitting in my house for so long they were finally all going to be put to use again.

     Our adventure started off as one would expect for a fantasy quest for beginners. Our party of a half-elf druid, a half-elf bard, a dragonborn sorcerer, and an elf wizard had been tasked with locating missing children who had been kidnapped by goblins, relatively weak monsters. We followed the goblins’ tracks to a tree by nightfall, where I decided to ask the squirrels where the goblins might have gone. I cast a spell that allowed me to speak with animals, and I prodded one droopy-eyed squirrel.

     “Mmm?” said the squirrel in a sleepy voice. 

     I froze. Will, the Game Master, was playing the part of the squirrel. What kind of voicing was he doing? We had broken up a few months back and I was perfectly happy with being just friends most of the time until this current moment. My face heated up. Stupid brain chemicals. 

     “Did you see any goblins pass through here?” I asked, trying not to let anything weird get through.

     “Dunno. I was asleep.” 

     Damn you Will, I thought. I really want to hug you. And cuddle.

     “Thank you for your assistance,” I said. Whelp, I tried.

     “Well, that was useless,” Randy, another player and friend, said. “Let’s kill the squirrel.”

     “No! The squirrel was doing his best. He deserves to live his life!” I protested.

     He laughed. “I cast vicious mockery on the squirrel.”

     If you attack the squirrel, I’ll attack you.”

     He shrugged and continued his spell. “I viciously mock the squirrel.” He rolled a four-sided die for damage. 

     “The squirrel understands absolutely nothing you said, takes two damage in confusion, and goes back to sleep,” Will said. Romance troubles could wait. I had some squirrelly justice to dish out.

     “I cast poison spray!” I yelled. He was not going to get away with this.

      Will sighed. “Randy, make a constitution saving throw.”

     Randy shrugged, letting a 20-sided die fall from his hand nonchalantly. He made it. Curse my bad luck.

     As we argued, a party of goblins ambushed us. We fought them off, slinging swords and spells. In the fray, Randy became injured, so I cast cure wounds and healed him. Maybe it was time to make amends.

     “I stab YiMin with my rapier,” he said. He rolled successfully. In the game, his character stabbed his rapier into my side. My blood dripped to the ground.

     “Hey! I healed you, and this is the thanks I get?” I said. How could he?

     “You tried to poison spray me!”

     “Because you were attacking an innocent squirrel!”

     The other players protested that maybe we should get back to saving those kids, but I was having none of it. 

     I tried casting poison spray again, but it did nothing that time too. Randy stabbed me again. Time to end this.

     “Thunderwave!” A wave of sound blasted out from my hands and flung his character back. His crumpled body collided with a tree and fell to the ground. I smirked. Now that the problem was dealt with, everyone took a long rest and restored back to full health. My emotions were running high and I felt so much more confused than when I first got here, but those were problems for later. We had some children to save.

 

War

By Batu B.

     War. A three-lettered word that inflicts pain, and suffering. War is defined within the context of a simple armed conflict between the two nations or groups. Over the course of history, wars were waged for a variety of reasons: some for resources, others for territory, and a few to overthrow tyranny and oppression. But in all instances, war has brought with it violence, social disruption, and economic hardship. Recently, war has been used as an excuse to spread freedom and democracy. This is not a way to spread freedom. War is a means to inflict pain and suffering among groups of innocent people. 

     I urge you all to think this quote from Gandhi “What difference does it make (...) whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”

     What difference does it make? People are dying. These people may never have the chance to hug their mothers and fathers, to kiss them on the cheek, and to tell them that they are loved. They may never have the chance to fall in love, to have children, and to watch them grow.

     Regardless of the positions within the war, the sounds of a drone, the blast of hellfire missiles, the sight of friends and family in true terror should not be routine. In parts of the world, bombs are frequent to such an extent that children are psychologically conditioned to similar sounds, flinching at the sound of a plane flying, or cars passing. Does the sound of a drone, the conditioning, the sight of death and destruction surpass as a good enough excuse for this terror?

     No. To the homeless, and the orphans this cannot be justified; to families who lost an active duty member, or a loved one this cannot this cannot be justified; and to all those who have died as a result of war, this cannot be justified.

     War could only be characterized as an injustice to the people who are impacted by it, and we can stop this. Looking forward, I urge all of you to recognize this injustice and end these practices of war.

 

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