Thursday, August 20, 2020

Sage Words

The late Jean Wells inaugurated the first "Sage Advice" column in issue #31 (November 1979) of The Dragon. About the purpose of the column, she stated,
I hope to answer many questions that people may have on their minds about D&D or AD&D. Part of my job at TSR is answering questions about the game, and sometimes refereeing a dispute between players and their DMs.
While this might seem like a exercise in tedium, particularly in light of statements by Gary Gygax and others that implied Advanced Dungeons & Dragons would possess clear and unambiguous rules (lest it become a "non-game" like its predecessor), it was not, thanks in large part to Wells's humor. Take, for example, her answer to the second question ever asked in the column.

Here's another amusing entry in that very first column. Taken together, I think they set the tone for her tenure as the Sage.
Wells once explained why she wrote her columns with a certain playfulness:
 I adopted this approach because this is who I am. I tend to look at humor in life. I believe in laughter especially when things are taken out of context and way over done. I chose the strangest most far fetched questions for two reasons. One, they were funny, and two they were also a sad statement on the depths that some people played this "game."

I felt the youngsters under the age of sixteen were spending far too much time being far too serious about a game when they needed to focus some of that attention back on their families and schools. I'd hoped the kids would see the humor in the situation and not take the game so seriously that every breath they took, every word they said was about D&D