Friday, April 15, 2022

Okay, Mario doesn’t work in D&D

 One of the dangers of years of playing D&D (or probably a bunch of other games) is the urge to figure out what the class and level of a fictional character would be. I remember watching Brotherhood of the Wolf with gaming buddies and we were constantly adjusting our stats of Fronsac as we watched.

Of course, TSR was as bad as any of us. An early column of Dragon Magazine called Giants in the Earth was literally just statting out whatever fictional characters they thought they could get away with. (No Lord of the Rings because the Tolkien estate was known to be litigious but I did find out about Karl Wagner’s Kane because of it)

For the most part, I’ve grown out of this tendency. But I’ve found myself thinking about how D&D would interpret Mario.

Since he jumps around and kills his enemies by landing on them unarmed, he’s clearly a monk. End of story. That’s not why the Shaolin plumber fascinates me as a D&D concept.

No, it’s the fact that Mario has been in literally hundreds of games. The guy has to have crazy experience points and shot past epic levels long ago. That’s the only explanation for why a plumber monk has taken the time to devote skill points to go kart piloting.

Obviously a first edition Mario just has to walk into the same room as the Grand Master of Flowers and he’d automatically get the title. Mario is the Perry Rhodan of video game heroes. (Yes, that means I’m telling you all I know about Perry Rhodan is that he’s been in over 400 books)

And yes, this whole train of thought is nonsense. Mario has no relationship to Dungeons and Dragons and makes no sense in the context of it. His abilities and limitations are defined by the technology used to implement him and the challenges the designers have him overcome. He can wrestle a turtle dragon into submission but an armless mushroom goblin can kill him with one touch. No edition of Dungeons and Dragons can justify that.

What this entire exercise actually shows is one more example of human natures desperate tendency to explain things and explain them in a format we can claim expertise in.

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