Saturday, October 29, 2011

RIP Gleichman, August 12, 2011-Oct 28, 2011

Do two wrongs make a right?

"Let me tell you about my character..." that would be wrong.

"Let me tell you about my dog" that would be wrong.

But...let me tell you about my character's dog.

Once upon a time there were some people waiting for me to play game with them. They spent their time joking and laughing about a guy who was arguing, quite earnestly, that you shouldn't name fictional characters after real people.

And then my head popped up on their G+ windows, and they said hello and they told me this guy Gleichman had claimed the novel Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter was bad because it might make people think Abe Lincoln was actually a vampire hunter. I said my thief now had a dog and he was born here. I rolled up a war poodle. About the silliest thing on the table.

They said "What will we call him?" I said why don't we name him after the guy. Which was about the silliest way to name him.

This being a basic D&D game and my character being a level 1 thief, the predictable thing happened--everybody joked the dog was way more useful in a fight than my PC.

...and kept joking about it. Because the dog went everywhere my PC did and my PC went everywhere there was videochat D&D game on while I was awake and working at my drawing table for the last three months. And saving everyone. Everywhere from Bone Hill to a land of smiling halflings where he was dyed rainbow colors--which is about as silly a thing as could possibly happen.

In the Caves of Myrddin--where he died nobly, after helping kill a pair of giant shrews, covering two hopeless low-levels and his worthless master's escape from a pair of vampires named Lenny and Squiggy. Which is about the silliest way you could possibly die.

But despite all the intense silliness of Gleichman's entire existence, here's the thing: when the actual player characters die (especially these low level PCs in these videochat games played by mostly RPG veterans) the players are just right there in front of you going "alright--them's the breaks--haul out the 3d6"--maybe they're just putting a brave face on it and trying not to seem like a n00b, but they, the player, are still there in front of you, being alive, so it's like whatever (at least so far). But Gleichman? He had no existence except in the minds of 10-15 gamers spread all over the world, who will now imagine him no more. And he was so loyal and so brave. He always rolled better than me and he hauled us all out of the fire so many times. With infinite patience, he saw my 3d6-in-order thief up 5 levels in 3 months. We had his teeth silvered--near the end--to fight the undead, but it did him no good. Poor guy.

Gleichman is, to me, a little slice of pure Old Schoolness--slain by two 8th level monster and a DMs total lack of belief in balanced encounters, rolled up on a DIY random table by the guy who wrote the table, purchased by a player who hates pets in games out of pure mechanical practicality, completely devoid of background o, preposterously over-powered next to the PC who bought him, and ridiculously under-priced at 25gp, and yet, after a few sessions, I loved his dumb, silver-toothed, rainbow-colored carcass. And I don't think I was the only one. "Character background is what happens between levels one and six". What happened between levels one and six is at the beginning of every session when people saw my face pop up on G+ they said "Oh, Zak--you're bringing Gleichman, right?"

Go easy, little guy. You were a good pup. Your leash was Rope, 50' and your food was bugbears and goblinflesh. You died a soldier, because I rolled a 1.

DMs of my PC, Blixa, should know he now carries an extra quiver of bolts with the steel heads removed and replaced with wooden ones, 3 vials and one wineskin of holy water, 5 cloves of garlic, a mallet, and has five wooden stakes.

Oh, and...


"29 Wolfhound. +2 to hit vs. same-size foe. (11 hp)"

Wolfhounds look so dumb.

Almost as dumb as poodles.

I think I'll call it Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter.


  1. "He was a man," said Conan. "I drink to his shade, and to the shade of the dog, who knew no fear." He quaffed part of the wine, then emptied the rest upon the floor, with a curious heathen gesture, and smashed the goblet. "The heads of ten Picts shall pay for his, and seven heads for the dog, who was a better warrior than many a man."

    Robert E. Howard - Beyond the Black River

  2. "It's a man!.... Itttt's A Man!!!" Antonio Bandares as Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan - From 13th warrior.

    But also, from 13th warrior..
    "Skeld the Superstitious: [Talking about Ahmed's horse] Only an Arab would bring...
    Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan: A dog to war? I heard this the first time."

  3. Ah this reminds me of Steve the dog. Steve the unslayable. Steve the mighty. Steve, to whom the dreaded Tomb Of Horrors is just the "Tomb Of".

    I know not the true origin of Steve, for I did not do it. But Steve has had many avatars down the years and it has been my honor that I have been his pet and prophet for at least a couple of them.

    When we had a near TPK in the Tomb of Horrors it was Steve who saved us. In Runequest when the PC Troll threatened to eat the rest of the party it was Steve who led us to safety. In Dragon Age, when we were lost in the desert it was Steve who found us water and shade.

    For it has been revealed to us that Steve is the one true God of Dogs. Praise Steve and do not fear for Gleichman; he is with Steve now.

  4. Maybe Mr. Rients could elevate Gleichman to hero-deity or quasi-deity status. Patron Saint of Warrior Dogs!

  5. Whoa, I actually heard about the dog with silver teeth when I played in the Hotel Kaladarian game a couple weeks back. The other players (or perhaps characters...) were chatting about him.

    His legend lives on.

  6. We may imagine him no more, but we will remember him.

  7. Two wrongs definitely made a right this time. A lovely eulogy for this colorful figment of imagination.

  8. Alas...say it aint so. I remember well the rainbow colored monkey paw adventure. Zak, his rainbow-colored silver-toothed likeness needs to be drawn somewhere in some D&D publication you are a part of creating.

  9. Gleichman didn't just die a soldier, he died a hero.

  10. The Hounds of Cuchulain have nothing on Gleichman.

  11. How he was named reminded me of when one of my architecture school friends told me that he wanted to get a tattoo of Adolf Loos' face.

  12. I'm confused. These words confused me. When the dog named Gleichman died, did the real man named Gleichman die? Is the man actually a dog now? Does he have silver teeth and a rainbow coat? It confuses me when a real thing is used with fantasy things because my sense of reality is easily-bungled.

    I am glad Abraham Lincoln killed all of those Draculas and Twilights.