Confessions of a Full-Time Wizard

Not being a subscriber to the website that is now referred to as Dragon, I was unaware of the existence of two articles by a woman named Shelly Mazzanoble until today. In them, she describes her experience as a player of contemporary D&D, attempting to play 1E.

Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.

I’ve got to say they’re probably considered very witty in a modern kitchy-is-funny-because-it’s-ironic hipster sort of way. However, they seem more like a parody to me:

“Oh, no,” Laura said in a weird, affected, half-
British, half-theater-snob accent. “This is how
Shabulous talks.”

Chuck’s eyes got all wide. “Are you roleplaying?”

“OMG, I think I am!” she said.

At least, I’m going to hope it’s parody.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

17 thoughts on “Confessions of a Full-Time Wizard

  1. Shelly Mazzanoble has this whole shtick going on where she pretends to know nothing about pre-WotC era D&D and then points at it and laughs. And everybody is supposed to think, ah, those TSR days were all very well and we had fun, but thank the high heavens that Wizards of the Coast came along and rescued us from our benighted ignorance with their excellent game design, kewl art, and annoying, sorry, exciting ideas.

  2. May I be expressively rude and thoroughly R-rated for a moment?


    Fuck her and all that she stands for.

    I quote: "Her name is Majeka Magicmaker," I say. "And I love her"
    Chris nods his head. "That's a very first edition name"…

    Right. So is this is a genuine 'look back' or is it just more propaganda (yes, I mean it is THAT deliberate and THAT hostile) to convince cretinous fuckwits that WotC are saviors of all that is D&D. The entire (laughingly described as) 'article' is a piece of pure fiction, or a moment of pure farce portraying ignorant, offensive people intent only on belittling other editions and other players. Hmm, isn't that what so many 4e players accuse "old-schoolers" of?

    I'm sorry, nobody can be as ignorant or "LOL I'm so ditzy LOL" as that infuriating woman is. I'm not prone to exaggerated anger on the internet (any more), but by all that's unholy that woman does not deserve to procreate.

  3. I dunno, by the end of Part 2, it's all about how much fun they are having and starting to understand the appeal of the early versions. I got a very pro-old school feel from it.

  4. I'm terribly sorry but I don't think I made it off page 1 of the first part before having to fight the urge to reach through the screen grab the author around the throat and squeee… uh. So I gave up.

  5. Wow, she rolled all FIVE ability scores! And they equate the description of how a M-U's hands are held in the description of "Burning Hands" as, and I quote, "roleplaying." WTH? I still don't know what getting in "initiative order" means.

    There are other blatant inaccuracies which I won't bother to mention.

    At least, at the end, she said that it was fun, although she equates having fun in 1e with not knowing what was happening. Which really just means she's ignorant of the game and has decided to generalize that to players of older editions.

  6. What a dumb ding-dong C@%^$ucking whore. And of course they had a "happy ending" to make sure no one took offense or anything by saying how much fun everyone had, when it's pretty obvious the entire story is a made up piece of "humorous" bullshit. But as Noisms said this is all schtick anyway, Shelly is a gaming wanna-be who works for WOTC and thus is invested in its present shitty product, and in a fake persona she's adopted to sell her own shitty product (her stupid book I won't mention here so as not to promote it). She's an opportunistic, fake, supercilious jerkwad who obviously wants to be a comedian but doesn't have the chops to to it except in a niche hobby. If she was on fire, I wouldn't waste my piss on her to put it out.

  7. I remember apostrophising Ms Mazzanoble (job description: Promotions Co-ordinator at Wizards of the Coast) as a hack tourist when her "Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress" (link to review) came out in 2007.

    It was little more than a publicity puff aimed at an under-exploited market segment: a Cosmo-style "A Week in My Life" diary series. (sold by WOTC as a "D&D Supplement" if you please!)

    It's a shame WOTC are still trying to mine that (cringeworthy) vein 4 years on.

  8. I've always found her craptastic articles to be extremely condescending to the "unwashed gaming masses".

    Always in this context means – the few times I've een able to get past the first paragraph or two of her self-serving piles of shit.

    On the plus part of the equation – I'm glad I'll never have to game with here.

  9. And the worst part is that she's the only female voice coming out of WOTC. I've known a number of female gamers in my time (even married one) and none of them are anywhere near as useless as Shelly presents herself as being.

  10. I normally keep a balanced, open-minded approach to gamers of any edition, but now I just have this to say of WotC's approach:

    You will never find a more wretched hive of dumb and gullibility.


  11. It actually looks more to me like WOTC trying desperately to ape those Gen X reminisces we are starting to see in highbrow places like Salon and The Atlantic then anything. Which just makes it look rather sad and badly written to boot in comparison.

    At least in the other ones there was some attempt at a broader theme other then "kids today" and "how clunky and stupid older edition D&D is."

    @#$^ her and the horse she rode in on.

  12. well she sure got the part about AC correct.

    As someone who is currently running OD&D for a group of pathfinder players I understand some of where she is coming from, even if I don't agree with it.

    Disagree with her all you want, but whats with all the angry vulgarity spewing? Is this not just a game?

  13. @zerohero: Because, in a very real sense, by dint of who she writes for and who published her tripe, the words and the meaning are given legitimacy.

    In effect, they [WotC] are outing themselves as older edition haters, ready to belittle the 'old school' players and the games that they play – that's very provocative and they should expect some angry reaction. If someone came into your yard and pissed on your flowers, I'm sure you'd get cross too. At least we're not threatening to burn down her house with pitchforks – for the internet, that makes the responses here quite rational and polite!

  14. HOLY. CRAP.

    that's GOT to be parody. "Smithsonian-caliber relics"? Oooh, he had to "consult a chart" to calculate her AC! How complex! No idea what a "percentile die" is. (I'm sure she's glad she didn't have to roll a d20 with two sets of numbers on it. Inking it would have just been so GUH-ross!) Doesn't even own a pencil? Oh, my!
    (Ten year old kids could cope with this stuff BITD, which doesn't say a lot for Shelly-welly's brainpower.) How did we ever possibly know what was going on before Dungeon Tiles ™(R) (at least they didn't put a link in the article to an Amazon listing for Dungeon Tiles. Two points for not being TOTAL jerks.) Us were so primitive! Us made game from stone knives and bear skins! Ugh!

    Yeah, "ugh" is the word. How this reconciles with the crap Mike Mearls so recently pooted out about how we're all really playing the same game and why can't we all get along, I have no idea. (But, of course, it's "just a joke, what, you have no sense of humor?")

    I think the most revealing bit of the article is where she takes a look at the oh-so-incomprehensible character sheet and sees the thing about henchmen.

    “I totally want a henchman,” I say. “How do I get
    “You’re not getting any henchmen,” Chris says.
    “Not in my game.”
    “But I’m entitled to them,” I explain, pointing to
    the box on the character sheet.

    Yes, she's "entitled" to them. Which is in one frickin' word the problem I have with the 4e mentality and their prima donna attitude. "Entitled" my ass.

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