Constitution (gaming)

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Whoa! it looks like some player has just rolled himself a rating of CON:500.

Constitution is a numerical grade frequently used in role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Constitution does not mean the ability to survive repeated attacks; that would be stamina. Constitution is another intangible attribute by which good players are really bad and bad players are really good. For example, Dad always told me that, despite Jim Rice's awesome statistics, he couldn't hit in the clutch.

Constitution was first documented in the Book of Erotic Fantasy, an official book from the Second Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons ruleset. It somehow survived the move from the Wizards of the Coast when TSR acquired the franchise.


As con is the opposite of pro, constitution is the opposite of prostitution. When applied in a game like D&D, it acquires a philosophically complex meaning. Prostitutes, by definition, are people who get paid to screw. In contrast, Constitutes, sometimes called constituents, are people who pay to be screwed, often by their superiors, in particular dungeon masters. (Or Catholic priests.)

The constitution attribute sums up a player's tendency to make great personal effort that results in the player getting screwed. In gaming, constitution is the least useful attribute and good players promptly "dump" it.

Third Edition D&D abandoned the constitution attribute and used six main attributes:

Strength Dexterity Intelligence Wisdom Charisma Comeliness

The first four ratings are continually useful in D&D sessions; but charisma and comeliness are just as useless as constitution was for a geeky male high school student with glasses and loads of zits, playing a cool and macho warrior or a beautiful sorceress.

However, attractive gamers of the sex that floats the dungeon-master's boat often use comeliness and charisma (cuteness and flirtatiousness) to turn their constitution into prostitution, again showing the Yin and Yang of the two terms. The player has natural "twenties" (where most similarly situated require at least natural "thirty-sixes") whenever she is in danger (and equally when she is not).

The CON class

Constitution is used in its pure sense in the Book of Erotic Fantasy by R. A. Salvatore. Here, a prestige class is listed alongside the prostitute -- the Constituent. The Constituent is a rogue class that becomes poor and fatigued easily but is easy to keep happy. Constituents in get hungry and tired faster than other classes for two related reasons:

  1. They lust for sexual contact more than vampires desire blood. At first level, Constituents pay to get screwed, as we all occasionally find we have. About 50d6 + level*2 gold buys a tryst with someone at a higher level. Those especially desperate do not care about levels and will do it in any position.
  2. The related reason is that paying to get screwed drains endurance rapidly.

Class skills include knowledge (sex), knowledge (real world), knowledge (politics), handle animal, diplomacy, decipher script innuendo, intimidate, and other skills introduced outside of the core ruleset.

The Constituent class is designed with a high constitution and low prostitution, either because of the author's sense of humour or from an oversight. Most Constituents invest no points in knowledge (real world), knowledge (politics), diplomacy, speak language, or decipher script. Any of those skills, after all, decreases the utility of paying to get screwed.

Famous people with high CON

Jimmy Carter (CON:16)

Decades after this lily-white Obama prototype ceased to pamper foreign tyrants like a spoiled child, long after the inflation and the gasoline lines went away, the incorrigible nag remains on the scene, hammer in hand, rectifying the crisis of homelessness, one home at a time, when he is not down in Venezuela declaring elections "free and fair."

Newt Gingrich (CON:15)

As long as there are banquets to attend, this walking missile test-fire will ignore the last twelve personal conflicts of interest, shrug off the messy divorce, and return as a new Mister Ideas, proposing a federal program of child labor or closing the deficit by building a moon base.

Bill Clinton (CON:19)

Reject Hillary-care, he bounces back. Take away the Congress, he's still relevant! Impeach him, he wins re-election! Try him in the Senate, he skates! Defeat Big Government, and he is the one to tell you it's over! Limit him to two terms, and he hangs around, telling you everything about how the new guy should be doing it!

The Bush family has a low CON rating and no other discernible skills either. However, they prosper in team play because of numbers, and because of a unique CON of their own: Each of these blue-bloods has a convincing story that he is red-blooded and that it will become evident very soon after the next election.

Other constitutions

Incidentally, a constitution is also the governing document of a nation. Hong Kong's constitution is called the Basic Law, even though its own governing document is whatever the chairman of the Politburo of China ate for dinner last night. Britain has no written constitution, but oddly, they treat it with great care, and with the powder that is no longer used on their wigs. The Constitution of the United States is written with a capital letter because it's better than your country's constitution. This is especially true since two things happened:

  • Conservatives decided we didn't have to follow it if the world becomes dangerous and doing so would turn it into a "suicide pact," and
  • Liberals likewise decided it was a "living document" and, although we should try to follow it, we don't have to actually read it.

See also