I'm a Level 20 Mage Half-Elf. And You Are...?
Article ID: 13163
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: March 15th. 2009
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Roll up a character! Itís D and D time! Oh, you prefer Champions? Okay. Or perhaps some Deadlands for some flavor? Yes, Iím talking about gaming, table-top role-playing. If you donít know what it is, itís basically pretending to be someone youíre not and imagining a storyline thatís not really happening (save for inside your own mind) . You can fly, fight, and throw fireballs at people. Itís fun, really. But, itís not reality, or is it?
Depends on what you consider reality. Is imagination reality? Well, who cares about the mindís eye, hmm? OhÖdid you say, we do? Well, this isnít an article about gaming, but it is about power play.
In gaming though, we have something called the ďpower gamerĒ or ďmunchkin.Ē They know every tiny detail of every single edition known to man. They brag about it. They pull out the book and quote the paragraph and page number. ďNo, you canít be a such-n-such in 2nd ed. Itís in the rules!Ē Anything to make someone feel down. More importantly, to make them feel superior and get their way.
Why do people do this? People in the magical community do it too.
ďIíve been practicing for 10 years now, how about you?Ē says the older Witch to the newbie.
I say this because I caught myself saying just this. (I just did it now in the article, but never mind that. It was for the point) I was talking to someone a few weeks ago. We were discussing more in depth about how we worked energy and craftings. I have been somewhat reclusive lately so I was honestly a little overly excited.
I realized I said this exact phrase to someone even though I knew he hadnít been practicing too long. I wanted him to recognize that I knew what I was saying. I didnít allow myself to be heard on my own merit, and I really wanted him to listen, so I said it. I knew itíd get his attention. It was pride. It was also manipulation of a sort. It is also a lesson I had to learn.
But, did I say it automatically with no real focus on wanting to feel superior? Thatís also possible. Just an innocent comment. What else do you say when youíre trying to explain what you do and how you got to where you are? I seriously donít know for certain whether I said it just because I wanted to share something I was proud of, whether or not I wanted him to feel on a lower rung, or it could have been just some sort of random bit of information that flew out of my brain onto my hands and into my keyboard where it was sent threw AIM to another personís attention.
Iíll never know for sure. I can conjecture. I think I wanted attention, and that is a dangerous thing. Pride. Pride and fear. I was afraid that I would be rejected by someone whom I had a chance of being able to Work with. Reaching out is a frightening possibility when you know what it feels like to be discarded by others.
We all know this feeling, have felt it at some point in our lives.
ďIím a 2nd level Gardnerian Wiccan.Ē
ďIíve been practicing Reiki for 25 years.Ē
But, I ask you, are you good at it? I say this because what I said to someone made me start thinking. Well, it made me continue thinking on something that Iíve been pondering for a while. Thanks to my friend Jason J., I started contemplating the idea of ďThose who know do, and those who canít, teach.Ē Or in this case blab.
Iím not a High Priestess of anything. Iím just me. I donít want to be on a high horse, I donít like me there. Iíve found that those who know do. So true this. They donít explain how they do it. They donít need to. And as Terry Pratchett says, ďThe natural size of a coven is one.Ē
I suppose thatís why there are so many solitaries. People want to do what they want to do, just like in everyday society. However, thereís prestige in fancy names. Hence the title of the article. ďIím a Level 20 Half-Elf Mage, And You AreÖ?Ē Right smug if I should say so myself.
Now, people in covens arenít like that. Iím talking about the magical munchkins specifically. Every coven, every Witch, every Practitioner should be rated on themselves. Every Witch is a solitary in the end, because weíre all alone in the end. Itís not sad either. We are social animals. We like being with others, sharing other ideals. Thatís why religion is such a big deal. People want to feel supported.
More people to travel with on this journey called life. Or, they want to know that they are right. They want to feel a feeling of ďIím not alone.Ē Well, itís nice and all, but itís not forthright. Not entirely. The reason itís not a sad thing to be alone is because it is a neutral thing. It is just a fact of life and death. Only you can live your life. Only you can be what you are. If youíre loud and rude about what youíre doing, maybe youíre doing it wrong.
But when to speak up?
Well, that is a question. Weíre supposed to keep silent about our ways, even if there are books about it and people eating it up like the next new thing. Still, I think, that you should help those that need help. Iíve said it before, and Iíll say it again. Sometimes itís good to get out there and dig in the trenches.
I made the mistake of saying what I did, because if he needed help he would have asked. Still, people arenít smart creatures. You know we arenít. Individuals are at times. So, take it slow. Donít be all ďI know this becauseÖĒ Itís just talk.
Lead by example. Itís bound to sink in sometime that you know a little somethiní when it comes to whatever youíre good at. Despite the fact that people want to be straightforward, it doesnít work that way. We have to use social cues.
Donít volunteer information so freely, or youíll look desperate. People are suspicious of free things. Basically, donít-give-it-up-on-the-first-date type of mentality. Listen. You learn so much more by listening. But now thatís out of the way and youíre not going to go out of your way to explain how much knowledge you have, lets deal with those who do.
Well, you have options, which is good. The magical munchkin likes attention. Take that away and you take away their power. Your absence is their kryptonite. Well, at least itís a start. Others might not be so aware that what their saying is just for attention and not helpful in any way. Or is it?
I suppose munchkins have their place in this world. If you do want to know something that you just donít want to look up, you could ask them and theyíd most likely know (if you trust them as a good resource of course) . A property of a rock, astrology sign, Horusí favorite flower, etc. So long as you expect them to try and reel you in with their oh-so-spiffy image as all-knowing, you can nip it in the bud. Short and sweet is how Iíd recommend.
Also, donít let them drag you down. They may be the loudest of the crowd, but there are others out there like you just looking for someone to hang with, discuss technique with, or perhaps perform rites and spellcraft with. So, just remember, weíre all humanÖbut allow yourself to be picky.
But, what about the munchkin in question? Should we leave them in the wind? Alone? Iíve always figured that we are sponges of a sort a great deal of the time. We mirror others. Would you want to mirror someone that was so smug? If you are by chance friends with one, you can only be yourself and hope that some of you comes off on them. Just keep yourself in check.
Now, in gaming, munchkins are laughed at. In the magical community, it is somewhat the same. People are suspicious of free things, remember? But, remember that not everyone is seasoned. Not everyone in the community knows that a magical munchkin is a pariah of sorts.
Yep, Iím talking about those new to the Craft with more naivety than street smarts. They would most likely go toward a person who seems to know the most. That would either be a) the loquacious munchkin lacking practical knowledge or b) the charismatic mystical leader (that is a munchkin in his or her own right only concerning how to Ďhandleí a coven and look cool) . Either way, this isnít exactly very good.
I know; who are you to choose friends for them? Itís just good to not let their only options be a power-hungry/drama-filled priest/ess or someone that could drain all of their excitement for learning by force-feeding them superiority-filled gloat. Theyíre new, they donít know.
Wouldnít it be nice if you were the normal friend? The reliable friend? Or maybe just add to your reputation as a good guy? Instead of being larger than lifeÖermÖ 20th level whatnot, just say, ďHi, my name is _____.Ē
Compassion, by far my favorite virtue. What? Itís not on the list? Oh well. StillÖ
Pride isnít confidence, and to be good at what you do doesnít need a title to make it true. And prestige is overrated.
Terry Pratchet "Witches Abroad"
Copyright: "Witches Abroad" - Harper Collins Publishers, Copyright 1991
Location: Kernersville, North Carolina
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