Friday, February 28, 2014

"The Colour of Magic" as a Dungeons and Dragons Campaign

As I read The Colour of Magic, I found myself consistently being reminded of listening to a group role playing Dungeons & Dragons.  (I listen to RollPlay, which is a great starting point for anyone interested in D&D.) The Colour of Magic starts with our protagonist Twoflower being introduced as the first tourist of the Discworld.   The character's motivation for beginning a quest is very important, and the idea of being a tourist is a lovely and simple way to open doors to all sorts of adventures. Upon beginning a D&D campaign, I had to create a bio for my character, which I found constricting because I didn't really think about how each choice would affect my character's motivations during each encounter. In The Colour of Magic, Twoflower is open to all sorts of new experiences and really just trying to get acquainted with the new world.  That makes for a great introduction for the reader to this new world, but also would be a solid foundation for why a character might set out on a D&D quest.

Apart from introducing the world and character motivations at the same time, I had fun imagining other elements from the novel as D & D characters might respond to them. There are fantastically magical items introduced in the novel, such The Luggage, which is essentially a trunk with legs that behaves very much like a pet.  Even the way that wizards have to memorize spells for hours and hours in the Discworld is similar to the way that magic casters in D & D must announce that they are working on memorizing spells.

Though there were many great humorous lines in The Colour of Magic, I narrowed it down to one that really stood out to me. Even Pratchett's characters feel the frustration of pushing a language to it's limits when talking about travelling dimensions and time and how that thoroughly confuses verb tenses.
Notable Quotable: “It is at this point that normal language gives up and goes and has a drink.”

Since The Colour Magic is a British novel, I couldn’t help but make a Doctor Who connection when Pratchett describes a dryad as a tree that is a multi-dimensional universe being bigger on the inside.  In Doctor Who, many humans had the same reaction upon seeing the inside of the T.A.R.D.I.S., which looks like a Police Call Box on the outside but is very spacious in the inside, with lots of machinery and plenty of space for multiple people to move around.

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