I’m actually gonna be at ConBravo this weekend hanging out with the actual Big Mike from D20 Live! If you see us, don’t be afraid to say hi!
I’m no stranger to bullying. When I was younger, it was unfortunately what I had to go through. I didn’t understand it, all I wanted was to be friends with everyone. But because I was different, because I had an opinion, because I was the tallest kid in the class, because I wouldn’t abandon my only friend, I was a subject to be ridiculed.
It was kind of dumb too. People would challenge me to fights, they would call me names, tell me that they hate me and I should go die. Who does that? Who does that to an 8 year old? Who tells an 8 year old to go die? Who tells anyone to go die?
The one thing that I learned about bullying is that all it does is breed more hate. Sometimes it’s hate for others, and the victim turns into the bully. Sometimes it’s hate for yourself, because you couldn’t match their expectations of you, and you take that as an opinion of yourself.
I’ve seen it happen too. I’ve seen bullying happen for the dumbest of reasons. People getting bullied because of their gender choices, because they were the victim of something, because of the clothes they wear, because of the people they like, because of what their hair looks like, because they want to help others, because they want to succeed at something.
Why would any of these things be the cause of bullying? Why would wanting to recover from an incident cause others to immediately put them down? Why would someone wanting to express themselves in a way that makes them comfortable be the cause of ridicule? Why would wanting to do the thing that you love be something to destroy by other people?
The simple answer would be because someone else did it to them too. The simple answer isn’t wrong, but the simple answer needs to be longer.
All that bullying does is breed more hate. When you take out your emotions on someone else, you’re lashing out at them. Most people don’t understand the power behind their words. Most people don’t understand that one wrong word or sentence can send someone else into a spiralling depression. Most people don’t know that what they feel when someone else is attacking them that it’s not their fault. Most people don’t know that the feelings of sadness and loneliness that they feel only spreads to those that they hurt. Sometimes, most people are so blinded by the fact that they’re hurt that they don’t see that they’re hurting someone else.
Some people maybe enjoy that. Some people maybe want to see others hurt. I don’t understand why, I’ve been at the point where sadness envelopes you. I would never wish that upon anyone else, and I will never understand the people who enjoy others in pain.
One thing that I never did was confront my bullies. If they challenged me to a fight, I would defend myself, but I would never attack first. If they called me names, I would shut the world out and draw. If they made fun of the fact that I was always with my best friend and call us lesbians, I would just hold her hand more and we would go talk elsewhere. But I do wish that I had told someone about my feelings sooner. Maybe then it wouldn’t have been so hard.
For years I hated those memories. For years I was hurt, and I hated myself for feeling so weak and helpless. I believed the things they said about me, that I deserved to die.
But then I realized that they were wrong. I didn’t deserve to die. I had to learn to love myself, and tell myself that it’s ok to work towards something that I wanted to do. I learned that there was so much more in the world that I had to do, and no on is going to hold me back.
So to those who were my bullies, to those who tried to beat me down:
I forgive you.
Whatever your choices in life are, I hope that you’ll hear these last words:
Bullying breeds more hate, but the hate stops with you.
The reason why I’m writing this is because Justin Carmical, aka JewWario amongst his fans, took his own life on Thursday, January 23rd, 2014. I didn’t know him personally, I actually wouldn’t even call myself a fan of his work only because I never took the time to actually watch his videos, and I’ve only met the man once in person at a convention about half a year ago. From what I have seen of him, he was always someone people could rely on, and he always took the time to make everyone laugh. He had many fans, and friends, and he was greatly loved.
Even though I never knew him personally, I just…hearing about his death got me thinking.
I’m no psychiatrist, or a therapist, I’m just someone who gives advice. A lot of the advice that I give out is because of personal experience, and I’d like to think that at least one person who asks for my advice will avoid the things I had to go through. How does this relate to JewWario?
At one point in my life, I had such dark thoughts cross my mind, ones where I thought it would be best if I no longer existed. Thankfully, these are not recent thoughts, but they were definitely on my mind at one point or another. And honestly, it was because I thought no one cared about me, and I couldn’t see anything beyond that. I regret not talking about such things to someone, because I really feel like I would’ve benefited from talking to someone. But I didn’t. I was different in a world where being different was the absolute worst, and I didn’t want to be in that world.
The problem was, I was silently suffering as the years went on, being bullied, trying to conform, giving up on conforming and just trying to live to the next day. I would surround myself with tv shows and anime so I could at least pretend that I was somewhere else, even just for a little while.
I thank my mother for noticing my suffering, whether she knew about how bad it was or not, because she introduced me into my ticket out of that world: my high school.
I thank my friends and family for helping me getting into Cawthra Park Secondary School, because I couldn’t bear to live four more years with people who hated me.
I thank my high school friends and teachers for taking the time to make me feel like I was worth something. Regardless of the highs and lows we had in high school, I wouldn’t trade it for the world, because they helped save me.
Since high school, I moved on. I learned that suicide doesn’t have to be the only option to stop feeling pain. In my opinion, suicide is a selfish act, because really all you’re doing is depriving the world of you. Family, friends, loved ones, they need you just as much as you need them.
I’m not condemning JewWario for his decision, far from it. I’m just sad that he couldn’t find another answer for his problems. Mind you, I don’t know exactly what kind of situation he was going through, I can only speculate. But the one thing I do know is the thoughts. I know the thoughts that go through your mind when it happens. Thinking that you can’t get out, that you’re stuck, that everything would be better if you just weren’t there anymore, that you just can’t live one more day with these thoughts.
I could go on a speech about how “you should live your life to the fullest” and blah blah blah, but I won’t. All I can say is this: I won’t stop. If I get stuck, I’m going to push through. If I hit a wall, I’ll break it down. I have dreams and hopes and wishes, and the only thing that is going to stop me is myself, and I’m not letting that happen anymore. Why? Because I can. Because I have people who helped push me out from those thoughts. Because I have people who I don’t want to see cry for my sake. Because I want to spend every day laughing and making other people laugh.
Suicide shouldn’t be an answer to anything. For me, suicide isn’t an option anymore. I can’t stop anyone else from trying to take their own life, nor is that my job. If someone asks me what to do, I’m sending them a list of phone numbers that they should call, because they are the professionals.
Taking one more day to talk to someone about your thoughts isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, a nobody or someone famous, an artist or a critic, one more day may save your life.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Justin Carmical’s family and friends, because I can only imagine what they are going through right now. It may not be much, but it’s all I can give to you right now.
Well around this time, my father had decided to let me play with his D&D group, because it was hard to get our original group together. And also around this time was when I was really liking Caress as a character, so I used her a lot in our campaigns.
And of course, because of the fact of her dwarves siege cannon, she was running out of cannonballs. So my dad took it upon himself to make up a whole new dungeon for Caress to go through.
Caress and the rest of the party go back to the old dwarf in the middle of nowhere, to find out that he *gasp* ISN’T SENILE ANYMORE. Yeah, it turns out that he’s actually pretty pissed off, and actually remembers us from the last time. Why is he not senile anymore? Well someone had stolen his forge. The one that makes the cannonballs. He turns to us to look for it, and thankfully we had a Ranger with us. We made off after the thieves, but we found that the tracks split. The thieves apparently got jumped by a goblin band, who then made off with the forge.
So we go after the goblin band, because who cares about the people who stole the damn thing, and we ended up killing all but one goblin, who told us that they were hired by a wizard who is in charge of a toll booth on a bridge.
We go to the bridge and bull doze our way through, since there was only one guy on the bridge. But the tower was empty, except for two halfling boys, who decided to follow me despite all my arguments against it. They told us that the wizard had fled to a fort with lizard men.
We end up getting to the fort, and I use the last of my cannonballs to take out a hole in the fort, as well as many people I can, while the rest of the party charges up. After I had finished using the rest of my cannonballs, I started running up. It was a really hard battle. Why? Because the wizard had summoned a demon to take out the party. Luckily the party had taken out the wizard and the other people before they all fell.
Now this all happened in a couple of rounds, and because I was a dwarf, and the other 3 companions I had with me were all short as well, it took us forever to get to where the rest of the party was. Just take a second to imagine when Caress had arrived, all her party members were dead, and the demon had been dismissed because the duration of the spell had run out. If this was a movie, that would’ve been hilarious.
So thankfully we were able to revive all the rest of the party members because Fritz, one of my other companions, was a cleric with raise dead. And we searched throughout the whole fort, but there was no sign of the forge. Turns out, while we were fighting, the thieves who had stolen the forge in the first place had snuck in and stolen the forge back.
Well at this point, my dad’s group had just had enough with all this running around and dying, so we ran and caught up with the thieves, who had almost brought the forge in a giant circle back to the old dwarf.
And of course, when we brought the forge back, the old dwarf became senile again.
That wasn’t the last time we saw the old dwarf, but that was certainly the last memorable time I remember the old dwarf, mostly because my dad’s group of D&D players could only handle so much of his craziness. And ironically, we still don’t know his goddamn name. After 8 years of playing Caress, we still don’t know that dwarf’s name. DX
I think everyone at some point has one of those characters that you looked at and said “I wanna see if I can make this”.
Well Caress was that character for me. Mostly because it was after a movie with dwarves siege engineers…I can’t really remember which movie this was, because it definitely was not Lord of the Rings…I can’t remember, it had something to do with Dragons in it.
Anyway, I told my dad that I wanted to make a siege engineer, so my dad being the awesome computer programer he is, modified PCGen (a computer program that helps you generate characters) and made it so I could be a siege engineer.
Now this is all and good, but a character that requires a certain weapon is always a little hard to maintain. And because she’s a siege engineer, she has a special Dwarven Siege Cannon. Why is this one so special? It can go ethereal. So you can make the cannonballs go ethereal through a wall and hit the army behind it without damaging the infrastructure.
So as you can see, this is no ordinary cannon. And with a special cannon comes special cannonballs.
Remember how in my last blog I said that my dad makes dungeons you never really forget? This is another one of those dungeons.
Well because this is such a special cannon, I couldn’t just get regular old cannonballs from anywhere. No. My father made an old dwarf out in the middle of nowhere the only guy who had the knowledge to make the cannonballs for my particular cannon. The defining character trait of this old dwarf? He’s gone senile. Dunno why, he just forgets you while you’re talking to him.
At any rate, in order to make these cannonballs, he says he needs 5 fire mephits, 5 rubies, the scales of a young red dragon, and a 10th level wizard. Well, since we had none of these things, we set out looking for 5 rubies, since we thought that would be the easiest things to get off that list. We luckily found a band of gnomes that happened to have a mine nearby (convenient I know), and we traded enough gold for the rubies.
Ok, so one thing off the list, so we went after the mephits, because we didn’t feel like fighting a red dragon just yet, and we didn’t want to trouble a 10th level wizard if we couldn’t even survive a dragon.
Well again, lucky for us, there was an active volcano just a day away. It was tough, but we did manage to capture the 5 mephits. But on the way back, we got ambushed by…
A YOUNG RED DRAGON. D:
Yeah, the luck on that. We were even more lucky that there was no parent around, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have survived, since we were all 5th level. So beaten up, but not broken, we beat the dragon and brought back all the ingredients to the senile dwarf.
Now all that was left was to get the 10th level wizard. We went to the closest town to see if there was one nearby, and there was one, but he wasn’t going to just go to the senile old dwarf for nothing, and we unfortunately ran out of money to give the guy. So he agreed to go if we got him some spell components for him.
What spell components? Well he needed 12 stirges needles, the stinger of a giant scorpion, the venom of a giant spider, and he also wanted us to get rid of the otyugh that was near the town.
Our group looked at each other and just kinda shrugged our shoulders, because regardless, we really needed this wizard right? The dwarf said that he really needed the wizard to finish making the cannonballs, and since my character was all about her cannon, she needed the wizard.
So we went after the giant scorpion and the giant spider first since we actually knew what those were. It was a couple of really hard fights, but luckily our cleric in the party was giving it his all.
Afterwards, we went for the stirges. When asked what they were, my dad just laughed. And then started describing what was happening.
“You start to hear the beating of wings from mosquitoes, but much…much larger.”
So yeah, that’s when we found out that stirges were giant mosquitoes that suck out Constitution points like it’s nobody’s business. At this point the group was kinda annoyed at my father, because he kept throwing really weird stuff at us, and we were getting tired. But there was just one thing left.
Well this was again, another monster our group had never encountered before, so we didn’t know what to expect.
And then my father was telling us that the smell hit us.
And the ground started to move beneath our feet.
An otyugh, for those of you who don’t know what it is, is a giant trash eating monster. Yeah. A trash monster. This is also where my brother’s hatred for otyughs stems from. Because here was our first character death, his character. Thankfully my dad was nice enough to throw a high enough cleric to raise him after we had defeated it, but it was really stressful.
So finally, we had all the components for the wizard, and he finally agreed to go with us to the senile old dwarf.
We return to the dwarf, who had forgotten to finish the cannonballs while we were gone, and at this point we were all at our wits end with this guy. He eventually gets the cannonballs done, and then looks upon the wizard to do his spell on the cannonballs.
So you’d figure that this wizard was needed because it would be the reason why the cannonballs would go ethereal right? Some kind of dimensional bending spell that would help the cannonballs go ethereal?
He needed the 10th level wizard, the guy we nearly all died to get his spell components for, to cast a spell that would scribe the dwarf’s name on the cannonballs.
Because he wanted to make sure that no one else would be able to claim craftsmanship on the cannonballs.
You would not believe the looks on our faces when my dad said that. I think every single one of us all screamed out in pain, and I’m pretty sure my brother was about to have his character rip the dwarf’s throat out.
And you’d think this would be the end of Caress the Dwarven Siege Engineer, since we were all frustrated with getting the cannonballs for this cannon, but no. Caress is by far one of my most favourite characters to play and use. So much so, that my father made more dungeons to utilize her in, as well as a second cannonball adventure…
But that’s for part 2.
Everyone has one of those stories where you never forget them. Ever. This is one of them.
The dungeon that we started off with was fighting against the undead in a forest. We, being my brother, my friends Martin and Kevin and I, had changed characters. This is also where my brother’s character, another gnome, gained the nickname Samwise the Crotchless. We were fighting against a wyvern, and after killing it, Samwise got stuck under it. We were pulling him out, but the wolf companion we had with us wanted to help and grabbed the only thing left available.
At any rate, by the end of that dungeon Kevin’s character had been turned into a wight, which means that a regular raise dead spell wouldn’t bring him back. At which point none of us were high enough level to actually raise him back from being a wight. So my father, being the DM at the time, made an adventure where the other characters from that party went to my character Jacques, a cleric of Zeus, at the tavern that he owns to see if he knew anything on how to bring Kevin’s character back. All that Jacques knew was that a wish spell would bring him back. But he didn’t have that spell, since he wasn’t high enough level. So we heard of a rumour from a beggar in front of the tavern that the hall of wishes was somewhere around these parts, and it had a guardian. A guardian that was so vicious and deadly that no one dared to look for the hall of wishes.
And once Jacques turned back to ask the beggar how he knew of this, the beggar was gone, and an old woman was walking up to the tavern saying that she would sell him a ring of direction on how to get to the hall of wishes. Well of course everyone noticing how the old man had disappeared, and how this old woman was talking about the hall of wishes suddenly, this tipped us off, and we gave chase. And it turns out that this old woman was no woman at all. But…
That DAMNED LEPRECHAUN.
So we gave chase, Jacques firing spells at it, and all the other party members giving chase. Jacques summoned a celestial bear to try and trap the leprechaun down an alley, but the leprechaun cast a spell that made the bear dance, and for some strange reason circus music was playing in the background. And the leprechaun got away.
At which point, this shit was on. We went back to the tavern to suit up, but the leprechaun had beaten us there, back as the beggar sitting in front of the tavern. We gave chase again, trying again and again to catch that motherfucker cuz he was the only one who knew where the hall of wishes was. Jacques cast an anti-magic field around him, but he got around that, and somehow, SOMEHOW he managed to slip away from us again.
I’m not sure how we did it, but we found the cave where the leprechaun was hiding in, and then he polymorphed into a stone giant. The giant furniture was also attacking us. We were fighting him, and fighting him, and Jacques had run out of offensive spells. We were all exhausted from chasing after the damn leprechaun that we didn’t have anything left to fight him. At this point, my brother’s character said SCREW IT, and grappled the giant’s leg.
So yes, we had won. We caught the leprechaun. And because of that, we get one wish. So did we wish to be lead to the hall of wishes?
Well you see, Martin was one of those…intellectual types. Meaning he knew that whatever we said, the leprechaun could take it in a completely different way and screw us over. And because it was my dad as the DM, my brother and I knew that he would totally do that.
So what did we do?
We spent 4 HOURS in REAL TIME writing up a contract for the leprechaun to follow, stating that he would lead us to the hall of wishes, without any trickery, and he wouldn’t fight against anyone who wasn’t evil. And for some reason that he would be bound to Jacques so that way we always had a way to find the hall of wishes.
Well, what happens next is, by far, the second worst part of the adventure.
A group of brigands who knew that we were looking for the hall of wishes pops up, after hearing everything that we did, decides to take advantage of the fact that we’re all bloodied, and kidnap Jacques so that way they would have control over the leprechaun.
And because they were technically all True Neutral, the leprechaun couldn’t help us fight them.
We eventually beat them, but Martin’s character gets stuck in a mirror, and we ask the leprechaun to get him out. The leprechaun agrees, but in exchange, he has his own contract that he wants us to abide by. Essentially the contract read that the first contract is null and void, and that we would have 30 minutes to get to the hall of wishes and leave, or else he would have free reign to torment us again.
We agree and then hoof it to the hall of wishes, which happens to be in his closet.
So we finally make it to the hall of wishes. And what do we do?
Well, remember when I said that the brigands coming in was the second worst part? This was the worst part. Martin, once again using his intellectual brain here, goes “Why don’t I just bind myself to the hall of wishes so that way we have unlimited wishes??”
And this is pretty much the moral of the story: don’t get greedy with wishes. It is always a bad idea. Mind you, we were still pretty young at this point, but we learned this lesson quickly.
So instead of wishing for our comrade to be alive again, and not a wight, Martin’s character binds himself to the hall of wishes. In which he becomes a statue in the hall of wishes.
And then the hall of wishes starts to disappear.
Jacques, being the only one who has brains at this point, jumps out of the hall of wishes, while my brother and Kevin’s characters stay behind so that they may be able to travel with the hall of wishes to it’s next destination.
They did not.
They went to the Plane of Limbo, and got stuck there.
We eventually got them out, but with an entirely new party. And that’s really a story for another time.
There’s one thing to say about my dad’s home made dungeons; you never really forget them.