Name Level

With the next iteration of Dungeons & Dragons on the horizon (I’m calling it 5E, but I’ll use the Wizards of the Coast marketing speak to start, out of respect for their team), there’s been some swirling talk about the “End Game” of D&D and what happens when you transition to high-level play. In older editions, you would eventually hit “Name Level,” and begin a new phase in your life or career where you might be managing a kingdom rather than looting a goblin’s corpse.

Since my brain mashes everything together and then flies off on dumb tangents, I realized that I’d hit Name Level in the past few months and begun working on the next phase of my life.  It wasn’t the accumulation of gold pieces or ancient artifacts that tipped me off, it was the accumulation of “personal encumbrance.” After my third holiday meal of the season, I hit the magic 200-pounds mark.  Mind you, I was wearing a heavy Christmas sweater (not really) and it was late in the day, but it was my first time brushing against that invisible barrier.

When I was a kid, rolling up my first character, I didn’t understand why the numbers on the random weight table in D&D were so low.  I think the average weight for a human in 2nd Edition was just shy of 175 pounds.  In my head, anyone with muscles must surely weigh more than 200 pounds – just look at Conan!  At the time, I was probably 110 pounds myself and pretty skinny.  I never got tall – topped off at 5’10”, which was average 2nd Edition D&D human height – and didn’t weigh more than 150 pounds until I was probably in my mid-30s.

So, here I am at 40, and I’m realizing that I’ve slowly put on 30-40 pounds over the past 5 years, and I don’t look like Conan.  I’m definitely more hobbit-shaped, and the weight has accumulated all in the mid-section.  Factor in a new shirt for Christmas that should have been an XL rather than an L, and I was getting a message: the days of adventure are over; it’s time to focus on running the kingdom.

Entering the end game means that it’s time to play differently.  Different priorities, different goals.  I’m done focusing on accumulating and now it’s time to manage and improve what I’ve got.  Changing my eating habits, getting more physical activity, hiring mercenaries and guards, all of the regular stuff.  Name Level.

Tangent: looking at the random human height and weight charts in 2nd, 3rd and 4th edition D&D, it looks like the height for a human male is fairly static at around 5’9” – 5’10”, but the average weight has gone from 174 to 177 pounds.  It’s probably all of those fantasy fast food joints that have opened up.

Discussion: What is your character’s height & weight?  How different is it from your own?

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