One of the first sessions of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) that I remember playing with Mike was back in the early 1990s. In normal D&D games, players stay together as a group and are bound by somewhat rigid rules as to what they can and can not do. I learned early on that this type of gameplay was not going to work with Mike (as the powerful wizard, Hitlow) and the other players.
I modified the rules to suit our needs while still allowing for gameplay to be fair and fun for everyone. For example, in the rules of the game, magic users have to memorize the spells that they want to use at the beginning of each day and would have to memorize the same spell multiple times if they wanted to use it more than once during that day. The trade off is that they can cast a spell with absolute certainty that it would work. In our D&D game, magic users could cast a spell at any point as long as the spell was written in their spellbook. However, for it to be a successful casting, the player had to roll a 20 sided die and I would determine if the spell was successful or not depending on the circumstances and the outcome of the dice roll. Using this method, I could specify different spell effects based on the dice rolls. Also, we agreed that magic users were somewhat rare so that their abilities set them apart from the rest of the world.
In an early instance, the players were in a town where they were supposed to buy supplies. While doing some shopping, one of the shopkeeps angered Hitlow by trying to overcharge him for some items. An argument broke out and the guards were called to the scene!
After a brief attempt to explain the problem, Hitlow realized that the guards were paid to side with the merchants and that he was in trouble. The rest of the group was on the other side of town and could not help him. However, Hitlow was very resourceful. He had some powerful magic spells and was not timid about using them!
Live chickens were being sold in a stall nearby. He managed to avoid being taken captive long enough to make it to the chickens where he successfully cast a spell of enlarge on a chicken. However, Mike rolled a high number on the 20 sided die and the spell was much more powerful than normal causing the chicken to grow much larger than had been anticipated. Quickly, he seized the opportunity to turn the situation to his advantage and hopped onto the neck/back of the chicken causing the chicken to start heading out of town.
He cast another spell… This time it was fireball! A ball of fire left his fingertips and headed straight towards the pursuing guards! They scattered out of the way and Hitlow was able to make an escape by riding the giant chicken out of town and hurling fireballs back at anyone that dared to pursue him!
This scene began his reign of notoriety throughout the D&D world. Obviously, a magic user that used his abilities in such a manner would become the talk of the town. Soon, guards in other towns had heard of the incident and were on the lookout for the wizard called “Hitlow”…
Below is Mike’s orignal character sheet from Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) for Hitlow and a pencil portrait of Hitlow drawn by Mike from circa 1992.
I always served as the DM (Dungeon Master) when we played D&D and Mike was an excellent player. Mike’s favorite character was the evil, insane wizard, Hitlow. Mike’s understanding of how to role play such a compelling character made the game both fun and challenging for the other players and especially so for me as DM.
As Jay pointed out in the “Inside Mike’s Head” post, Mike always had a unique perspective on things. His limitless imagination made playing D&D with him some of the most memorable times. I will be posting some of these memories in this thread over the upcoming days.
Mike tried to describe Plank to me so many times, but I couldn’t get the point.
Anyway I still keep the picture that he sent to me long time ago. I love this picture not because of Plank, I love it because it was from Michael.
Last Sunday night, I was stuck in D.C. because of bad weather.. They cancelled all flights coming into or out of Dulles airport. I managed to get a room at Embassy Suites after hours of waiting around the airport.. I was totally exhausted.
I went to sleep pretty easily. I usually do a decent job of remembering my dreams when I wake up. Dreams are something that Mike & I used to discuss often. Mike often said that he was a good dreamer because he was always in control of his dreams and could pilot them to outcomes like a director making a movie..
Anyway, I had a weird dream last Sunday night/morning… In the dream, I was in Westerville, Ohio and something had happened to cause the dead to rise from the grave, but instead of normal zombies, they were like punk rocker zombies. weird, I know..
They had taken over a large section of land between Huber Village & Westerville Rd (where the Bob Evans is) and Dempsey & Westerville Rd (where the Shell gas station used to be).. My friends were on the other side of Bob Evans and I had to fight my way through the Zombie Punkers to get to them so that I could take them to safety… There were army men running around fighting the masses of zombie punkers which kept them busy enough for me to sneak through to the other side. When I made it to my friends, I woke up.
Ok.. So what does this have to do with Mike, right? Well, Mike was a huge fan of the ‘Living Dead’ movies.. He made me watch several with him and our old friend, Rich, even though I never really had the enthusiasm for the movies that him & Rich did..
Suffice it to say, this is not a normal dream that I would have.. I haven’t seen or thought of a zombie movie in a long time and there was nothing that I remember from the previous several days that’d trigger a zombie related dream. When I awoke from the dream, I thought about how weird it was and thought about how much Mike would have enjoyed a dream like this..
Here’s where I go off the beaten path… I think that Mike was somehow responsible for this dream… Like, he was playing around in the after-life and figured out a way to tap into my dreams… It would be just like him to decide that it would be cool to send me a ‘Living Dead-like’ dream.
I am hesitant to say with certainty that the dream had to have been influenced by Mike, but it definitely had all the markings of Mike Wuebker production!!
Has anyone else had a similar experience? If you have trouble remembering your dreams, you can train yourself to remember them by using a dream log. Keep a pad & paper near your bed & write down the dreams as soon as you wake up. They will fade quickly, so you have to be fast!!
Maybe Mike might send you a dream.. Hmmm, Mike The Sandman… Pretty weird, eh?