If I haven’t mentioned it yet, my wife Marilyn is an EXTREMELY talented and yes COMPETITIVE person. I must admit that I myself underestimated her competitive spirit when, on a whim, I bought her, a new computer and a subscription to Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO). Now, I knew that she enjoyed playing games on the computer and on gaming consoles. Over the years we have spent many happy hours mucking around a variety of worlds and literally beating the crap out of them. But DDO, what can I say about DDO?

Most people think that DDO is for geeks like me, and Marilyn is the furthest thing from a geek that I could ever imagine. But from the moment she got the DDO subscription, Marilyn strove to excel…and excel she did.

Occassionally, when she first started, she would ask me about a certain feature of DDO (I actually didn’t get an account until a couple of weeks after her, but I had played the paper version for quite some time, years ago). But because she is so smart, tenacious and competitive, Marilyn soon became a DDO queen. I think that she said that she had built like 5 or 6 characters. She meticulously built these characters to become sword wielding, armor bearing, death machines. Three of her characters are maxed out, they literally can’t get any more experience points.

Marilyn has killed dragon after dragon, orc after orc, many times oblivious of time, or the mortal threat posed by the ugly pack of “fill-in-the-blanks” which dared defy her blade.

For those of you that have heard, on the phone or in person, the incessant tapping of the keyboard as she swung and swung upon her foes, you know the ferocity that my petite, cute little southern belle shows in her online alter egos.

DDO’ers have a variety of nicknames for the different types of characters that are available. Caster, healers, squishies (which include both of the aforementioned categories) and TANKS. I’m here to tell you that in the online world, my wife Marilyn loves being a tank. Many’s the time I would be leading a little band of six down some dank corridor when I would see Marilyn’s sexy little Drow (a type of elf) butt run down the hall, sword flailing, disappearing in the darkness amid the sounds of hordes of uglies. Fortunately, I usually played a bard, who has the ability to heal (but not resurrect 😉 ). Somtimes it was my sole purpose in life to sit back and expend every MP (magic point) I had repairing my sweet beloved.

I didn’t keep up though, Marilyn’s characters far exceeded mine and soon I could no longer play in her league. She has gone places and killed things that I can only dream of, Titans, Dragons, Demon Queens, Beholders, she’s killed em all.

She has had great fun doing it too. She has made friends all around the world and has become a member of well respected guilds.

In DDO you get to choose the race and look of your characters. Many of Marilyn’s are exotic, sexy, amazonian creations that cause shudders and sighs at the same time. However, in Marilyn’s quest to be an ultimate tank, she made one of her characters a female dwarf, name Energizer.

Now if you didn’t know it, dwarves are short stocky and very homely looking things. (Remember the dwarf in the Lord of the Rings?) Marilyn didn’t really think about the aesthetic consequences of her selection of a female dwarf until it was too late. I hate to say it, but you really couldn’t tell if Energizer was a woman or a man from most angles. But Energizer was aptly named. When everyone else was stuck, Energizer kept going and going and going.

I don’t know if I ever told her, but as much of a pain in the butt as it was at times, I really enjoyed Marilyn’s prowess at DDO and despite her unisexual looks Energizer epitomized the tenacity and ferocity with which Marilyn attacked the halls of Storm Reach.

Lately the garden has been calling and the fervor has fallen off as she has overcome every obstacle that the creative dungeon masters of Storm Reach could throw at her and her parties. The call of the lawn and the shubbery and the constant battle against the DEERz has drawn my sweetie out from the dank dungeons and barrooms of that virtual world. Hence the title of the article.

It’s official, for now.  The evil that lies within Storm Reach sighed a great sigh. It was a sigh that I swear I could hear here in our real world.  Energizer, Paladies, Marlynn and the others have hung up their swords. The dungeons will be less filled with gore. The clang of metal against metal will be less raucous. Marilyn has resigned from the world of Storm Reach….. for now.

As for me, after watching her play for all these months, I think that I look at my wife a little bit differently. I’ve seen a side of her that I knew existed but that would never manifest itself in the world of pastors’ wives and grand kids. My sweet, cute, harmless wife is a TANK…and I’m proud of it.