With the risk of never getting layed again, I am releasing my inner Nerd with full-geeky bezerker rage to point out a critical mistake in the surprise summer hit of 2016, Stranger Things from Netflix. So horrible is this mistake that the show just got more painful to watch every time the opening scene was referenced or revisisted.

Stranger Things(ST) is corny a mash up of a few of 80’s films (E.T., The Goonies, Stand By Me, Close Encounters) covered in a blanket of 80’s nostalgia and benefiting from a slotting in the “deadzone” between Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. This isn’t to say that ST is bad. The acting is enjoyable, especially the child actors. The detail to costume, the sets (with their cleverly placed 80’s film posters that mirror the storyline) and the soundtrack are a delightful trip down 80’s memory lane. As is Wynona Ryder. It’s just miles less good than the TV-trend herd thinks.

Hence it is a pity that the opening scene (straight out of E.T.) has a Dragon Cave sized mistake in it. This scene should be familiar to every 80’s teenager who didn’t have a girlfriend or play a sport. Playing Dungeons & Dragons with your friends, eating pizza while stinking up somebodies parent’s basement. But it is more than just the intro scene. It is fundamental to the story, reappearing symbolically, allegorically or defining character motives throughout the series. Which makes it’s glaring mistake all the more disappointing.

Original image: Netflix

Original image: Netflix

It is here in it’s defining scene where the series, so focused on period accuracy, rolls a “critical fumble”.

This being 1983 the boys (Will, Dustin, Mike and Lucas) are playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons(AD&D) from TSR. The grandfather of all role-playing fantasy and essentially the #1 behind Captain Tolkien on the helm of the U.S.S. Fantasy Genre. Their books, dice and figures are all accurate for AD&D of the time, but they aren’t playing AD&D correctly. That or they don’t understand the rules which is unlikely considering their intelligence and advanced Level of Nerd-ness.

You don’t roll to hit with fireballs. Every Geek worth his +1 Elven Chainmail knows that. Confronted with the monster the Demogorgon (foreshadowing) Will Byers Wizard character rolls his die to hit the creature (*apparently unaware that the Demogorgon has a 95% Magic Resistance). The die rolls off the table. Frantically the boys scramble around searching for the result, desperate to know their fate. A hit means victory, a miss death.

Except you don’t roll to hit with fireballs. They hit automatically.

excerpt fromThe Monster Manual page 16

excerpt from The Monster Manual page 16

You may think that I am nitpicking. But this is akin to a baseball movie where foul balls count as home-runs! Plus I am kind of pissed off and a little upset because I bumped my head crawling around in the attic searching for my old box of AD&D books for this article. And the big scary spider that lives in the corner was watching me from the shadows. It was upsetting.

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