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2003-11-04 11:46 AM
AIDS Group Not Sure how to Respond to Benefit D&D Marathon
The San Jose AIDS Counsel, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting support and awareness for California Bay Area individuals suffering from HIV, is reportedly not sure how to react to the benefit Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) marathon fundraiser recently held by the San Jose roleplaying community.
“Ordinarily, we’re thrilled to see anybody independently organize a fundraising event,” said Mark Beyer, development officer for SJAC. “And I know that I should fully support a bunch of high-school kids doing anything to raise money and awareness about AIDS. So really, there’s no reason at all for me to feel ashamed and embarrassed about taking money that was raised by a bunch of geeks pulling an all-night D&D marathon. I guess.”
The event drew more than 30 participants from all across the Bay Area. Organizer Bret Larson described the event’s beginnings as a combination of luck and inspiration. “Our health teacher, Mister Ragsdale, was dissing us for playing D&D during study period, and he said it was totally useless and stupid. And this was right after he went on and on about how he’d done some stupid AIDS walk just last weekend. So Jason was like, ‘Oh yeah, well, what if we were slaying trolls to raise money for AIDS research?’ That totally shut Ragsdale up. He even bought us a 24-pack of Mountain Dew in support.”
“When I told the kids to get out there and do something to make a difference,” Mister Ragsdale said, “I probably should have been more specific – you know, told them to do something involving being outdoors or socializing with normal people. But you have to support them. It is helping the community, right?”
Participants described the marathon as an unmitigated success. “(Dungeon Master) Pete Wakefield never leth me uthe non-core-ruleth in character creation,” reported participant Jordan Moore, “and there was no way he wath gonna let me uthe the half-dragon dark elf thortherer/ranger, ethpecially with the rollth I’d gotten for him. But then he wath like, ‘Hey, thith time you’re thwinging that thimitar to help thtop a deadly ditheathe, tho go for it.’ It wath freaking awethome!”
Jason Mitchell, co-founder of the event, said that awareness was one of the key concerns. “My gnomish monk/paladin has a +17 fort save… but right now, there is no fort save against AIDS. All we can hope is that the fourteen hours we spent casting fireballs and Power-Attacking half-fiend trolls with levels in barbarian helped raise money and awareness. We used a heavily altered run of Monte Cook’s ‘Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil’, changing the plot so that the players were trying to find the cure to this awful disease. At the end, it turned out that there was no cure, and everybody really got the message – plus, they fought a fiendish dracolich with an unholy vorpal spiked chain!”
Added Mitchell, “One of my players said that he wished he could take levels in paladin in real life, so that he could lay on hands and remove the disease. It would be better if he took levels in cleric so he could cast Cure Disease multiple times per day, or if he took ranks in Use Magic Device and just got a Staff of Healing while taking levels in Rogue or Bard, but still, it was a pretty cool thing for him to say.”
The event raised approximately $750 for the SJAC from donations from parents and friends, many donating one penny per HP of damage delivered to monsters in the game (not counting any spillover amount once the orcs were taken past -10 hit points). Beyer was scheduled to come to Mister Ragsdale’s class on November 16th to receive a check from Selvarik the Half-Elven Barbarian/Bard, but has not yet decided whether or not he will attend the ceremony.
“I know that there is no cure for HIV, the virus that causes aids,” Beyer said, massaging his temples while staring at the e-mail from “Selvarik”. “I know that encouraging our youth to develop awareness about AIDS is good, and that having them raise close to a thousand dollars is just fantastic. I’m just not sure I can deal with a bunch of pasty-faced roleplaying geeks talking about their magic swords.”
Added Beyer, “Maybe they could just send us a check?”
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