Trevor Strnad’s Deadspeak: A Fantastic Confession

Trevor Strnad's Deadspeak

Black Dahlia Murder frontman Trevor Strnad is back again, folks — and this time, he’s letting us in on a secret he’s been keeping for quite some time now. He spills his guts in this latest installment of Deadspeak.

Dear faithful followers,

There’s something I’ve been needing to tell you guys, of which I’ve been a little ashamed. I have been carrying this secret like an anchor around my neck, an albatross of indignity; the further I go without telling, the further down into the pits of sorrow I do sink. My faithful cronies, there is simply a void in my life I cannot figure out how to fill again without outside help. There is a chasm in my heart so deep no woman nor out-of-print death metal CD could ever begin to fill it. Alas my friends, I stand before you begging your forgiveness, and more importantly, if you have the contacts for a decent Dungeon Master. Ladies and gentlemen, I fucking miss roleplaying.

I’m not talking about the fiftieth installment of Dragon Quest for Nintendo DS, ’cause I still do that. I’m referring to the old school pencil and paper shit, the meet-up-at-sports-card-mania-on-a-Saturday-night-with-a-bunch-of-dudes-who-look-like-Stephen King kinda roleplaying. Have you ever rolled the polyhedral dice of chance? I assure you, 20 million nerds can’t be wrong.

It began the first day of fifth grade. I was sitting in the back of the classroom in a new school when a tall gumpy kid with a few colorful-looking books under his arm approached me and began to speak. “My name is James, do you play man?” Play what?, I thought. “Dungeons And Dragons man, do you play?” I must have been flying my nerd flag pretty high that day with my blue and red tiger-striped hammer pants and giant tortoise-shell glasses weighing down my 10-year-old head. He knew from one look at me that I had at least drawn a picture of a fantastic realm or creature at some point, and probably would serve as a good ally to align himself with.

“No, I kinda know what it is but I have never played. Is it hard?,” I asked. “Nah, man, it’s just like Dragon Warrior for Nintendo, but better!,” he responded quickly. Big talk, but he had definitely stirred my interest. “You’ll like it, I swear. Meet up with me when the bell rings.” Fair enough. That Autumn day, under the old oak tree in the corner of the Cooley Elementary School playground, a role player was born.

Throughout the next few years I would experiment with a few different roleplaying games (Rifts, Superheroes Unlimited, Shadowrun to name a few) but none of them would steal my heart quite like D&D. I have been away from it so long that I haven’t even played since it was owned by TSR (any of you nerds out there know that Wizards Of The Coast — the creators of Magic: The Gathering — bought the rights up several years ago). As a youth, I immediately fell in love with its images of barbaric violence, mystical Tolkein-esque creatures, and it served as the escape I was looking for from the ailments of nerddom at school. It lead to the discovery of heavy metal, as my 10-year-old mind couldn’t help but draw a parallel between the two because of their similar themes and artworks. My involvement in metal has lived on, while I sadly haven’t rolled a polyhedral in years.

I want to be a fighter class (you know, the warrior type) with some kind of shitty black metal name (haha, how many black metal characters are there out there right now, I wonder?) and thumb through the second edition AD&D Offical Arms and Equipment Guide, scrutinizing over different glaive-guisarmes for hours, while we listen to Nokturnal Mortum’s Goat Horns and smoke weed til our eyes bleed. I want to see my adult friends impersonate the voices of the most honorable Paladin, or the eldery wizard, and try not to piss my pants laughing. I want to sit atop my sleeping bag in the back of Black Dahlia’s van while my dream tour manager/dungeon master paints so eloquently an amazing adventure chock full of blood and guts that would make the drive from Seattle to buttfuck Idaho seem like dog dick.

I stand before you in the falling rain, shaking and cold, begging to paint pewter figurines shaped like a gnarled, battle-torn Warlord of some type, wishing oh so badly to bend bars and lift gates, to draw maps, to roll a natural twenty and annihilate an orc with one swing of a claymore sword. Just please, I beg of thee my faithful minions, don’t tell anybody.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Gun Shy Assassin Newsletter, and be entered into a drawing for a Black Dahlia Murder skateboard deck, autographed by Gun Shy Assassin scribe Trevor Strnad. Just head to the top of the page to sign up.

…and if you like Trevor’s take on things, check out Autopsy drummer Chris Reifert’s column Psychotic Drivel and Perfectly Reasonable Insanity.

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About Trevor Strnad

Trevor Strnad is the vocalist for Detroit, Michigan's The Black Dahlia Murder. The death metal band -- veterans of both the Ozzfest and Mayhem stages -- released its fourth LP, Deflorate, in 2009 through long-time label home Metal Blade. He's also an all-around great guy who loves collecting death metal from 1988 to 1996 and probably outbid you on eBay for that Adramelech CD

  • Jklsdf

    im missing the midnight D&D as well. it sucks even more because the people that I used to game with are very far away and I don’t know anyone that i’d be willing to bring up the subject to…

  • Lunatic_1980

    thats so cool.. im 30 and still love a good old rpg… my best buddy has 2 he wrote himself.. i to havent played in to long.. if we lived closer man Id say lets all get together and play.. but im in florida and you up north.. but if you ever in florida we should get together and have a good old game..
    lunatic_1980@hotmail.com

  • H3dka5e

    Right on man. Too many people have forgotten the wonders of tabletop RPGing. I have been in the process of developing my own game for nearly 10 years now, and the only reason I’m not done is because i can’t find players to play-test… Everyone starts a game, plays for a few hours, and after the session they’re bored with the idea and want to go back to video games.

    Also, do not be ashamed. GMing is a lost art and I think many people would enjoy TTRPG if they would just give them a chance.

    Great post man. Keep leading the greatest band in the world.

  • Kyle

    I feel where you’re coming from, Trevor. We used to have a local hobby store near my house throughout middle scool and high school. The nerds would gather there and the dice would roll for hours and hours. Times change though. The shop closed down and we all went down our own roads. I have tons of fond memories and I miss it a lot.

  • Jseph_vlaming

    i thought you were gonna say i believe in god or im coming out of the closet haha
    i too miss D&D

  • kyle perry

    no reason to be ashamed. D&D is the shit. ive played with a few different groups
    and i miss it so much. i think im gunna get another group goin again

  • Angry Metal Guy

    More proof that nerds and metal go hand-in-hand. If you’re ever in Sweden dude you’re invited to play some D&D with me. E-mail editor (at) angrymetalguy (dot) com. Not kidding.

  • Machine8x

    dude, fuck yea i always wonder if some of my favorite bands enjoy DnD, stayed up till three playing just last night, packin the bong every couple encounters, love playin my swordmage fire&water spec, fuck yea man, come to Wilmington again soon, that last show was awesome.

  • Muitilationnation

    Bro….do i feel you…If youre in Boston, I Run EPIC, and I mean EPIC D and D on Sundays….Flash your geek card proud man, what more could a man need than to blast some trogs dead with a fireball while spinning some good ol Iron Maiden…..my inner wizard was born at 12 by the same kid who got me into metal, and he’s still a saint to me to this day.

  • BtS_Bassist

    Dude! Next time You are in Grand Rapids, MI. Playing at the Mixtape, or the Intersection or something, I’ll bring my entire clan (D&D group) and we will teach you how to play 3.5 (Don’t have very many AD&D books) and get high as fuck, make swords out of cardboard and fuck the princess..or annihilate her body and use it for necro spells!
    -Josh H. of Bury the Silence

  • Taylor

    Yeah dude, I know what you mean. I just got into D&D when I was playing with an old acquaintance, but he started to listen to shitty music and became a total fuckwit. I still have my polyhedrals, brother. Next time you come to Iowa, I’ll bring my D20.

  • Brycelambert

    Dude play WoW. Roleplaying still exist in some realms. Its always fun though and your a great writer. Your vocabulary is amazing and you write songs that put me into a different world. But yea dude play WoW or get into Dark Souls or something. RP is fun as fuck. I know this sounds stupid but my friend in NY still has events IRL for roleplaying. Im too shy to go haha But it sounds chill