Or, as my nephew would say: "how I spent my day looking for a voodoo doctor."
Today was (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday) Day 5 in our week of Serious Intense Pain and decided to seek out an acupuncturist as a desperate attempt to try something, anything that might get me well enough I could at least sleep through the night. After once again driving to Lake City (God help me) and getting help from at least two people that spoke NO English (they had friends on cell phones that could better direct me...my Chinese skills are zero), I finally managed to track down a doctor that was open on a Sunday afternoon. While the experience did leave me with a pair of giant purple welts on my back ("the color should fade in a week or so") from the post-needle "cupping," the volume of my back pain seems to be turned down about six or seven notches...enough that I should (hopefully) manage some shut-eye. I was even able to sit on the couch for an hour or two watching TV without squirming in agony.
On the other hand, I took the beagles for a walk this evening (the first time in several days) and they jerked my arm practically out of my shoulder socket. So crank the pain volume back up a couple points.
Why am I writing all this down (aside for posterity?)? Well, actually, I'm thinking of at least one or two AD&D posts (for a change) that I want to write and I figured I'd warm up to it by blathering on a bit about the Monk character class. Ah, the monk. While others have noted (and sometimes griped) that its inclusion in the AD&D fantasy milieu is a bit...um..."jarring," to say the least, but I've never had much problem with it. Reading Gary Gygax's Gord novels, specifically regarding the Scarlet Brotherhood adversaries goes a long way towards putting monks in the proper "Greyhawkian Perspective" for me...and anyway, what's wrong with having SOME type of Zen-like martial artist in a fantasy world? Even without a "mystic Orient" (c.f. Oriental Adventures, Kara-Tur, etc.) who's to say that SOME group of people wouldn't have gotten together and meditated on the proper way to use one's own body as a weapon.
The powers of the human body ARE amazing after all, and demonstrably harness-able by those with both the proper talent and discipline; why not include a class that addresses it?
After all, nothing says your D&D campaign HAS to be set in a pseudo-European-Earthlike environment, right? It is perhaps our western civ conceit that we presume that's how the game should be played, despite the DMG listing a number of different NPC governments that can be used besides feudal monarchies. Of course, it's what we (and by we I mean North Americans) know, and the first thing we think about when we hear, oh say, "dragons" or "wizards." The East has long had their own legends and folklore with dragons and wizards (and fighters and thieves and demons and familiars and castles and swords, etc.).
Personally, all my old AD&D campaigns were in completely fabricated, non-Earth, non-European worlds...despite the occasional appearance of dwarves and elves (and admittedly, our games were almost entirely human-o-centric also, just based on the whole "level limit" thing).
So problems with monks? No.
HOWEVER, after all the kung fu action films I've watched over the years, I am completely surprised by the monk's inability to heal other people. Where are the acupuncture needles he should be carrying around? Haven't you seen Iron Monkey? Or Crouching Tiger? Or Kiss of the Dragon? All those dudes can use their knowledge of pressure points and the human body for HEALING, not just laying the bare-handed beat-down. Now THAT'S something that could have been added to the ol' Players Handbook.
Okay...going to bed now. Wish me luck!