I drove up to the Weekday Hotel where Tut was working nights and parked under the only light that worked in the parking lot ten minutes shy of eight o'clock only to find that the rest of the crew had already taken a lurking position in a darkened corner next to the pool. As I walked over to them I counted shadows and the flashes of light from cigarettes. Am I the last one to show, I asked, or are there more coming?
Step took my hand and shook it as he said, "Fucking World's Greatest Liar checked out on us, man."
That's no loss, I said as I looked towards the golden lights coming from the lobby door. We really playing in the Weekday Hotel? I thought Tut liked his job.
"He did," Icarus said, "but word just came down from the Home Office: they're closing at the end of the month."
Shit, that's a bad break. Is he going to be okay?
"Yeah," Biggboy's gravelly voice answered, "we already got him a job with my Uncle over in the Orchard."
"What's he going to be doing," Poot asked.
"I reckon my Uncle's going to be having him run the relay desk, sending the drivers out," Biggboy said.
Could be worse, I said as I watched Neverwas walking into the lobby. Now what's that fucker doing here?
"Ringer?" Step said as he lit another menthol.
"I invited him," Icarus said as we all turned to stare at him. "What? The World's Greatest Liar ducked out when he heard who was joining the table and we needed someone to cover his slot."
Has he stopped being a fucking martyr or are we going to have to watch his characters throughout this whole thing?
"No," the Master Planner said, "he's still God's only martyr and we'll have to watch him try to kill his character all night."
Fuck. Anyone want to end that early or should we let it play out?
"Let it play out," Poot said, "we'll just have to make it work for us."
Your call, I said as I raised my hands in the air. Anything else we need to worry about in this thing tonight. Any unwritten rules we need to be aware of?
"Yeah, Ganymede's Prison is his baby so watch for him to be super protective of it," Poot said.
"That's if he actually let's us play in the damned thing," Icarus added. "He's been telling us about it for six months."
Cool. So we got a plan for tonight or are we just winging it?
"Yeah," Icarus said, "Step is raising us from the dead and She'rah is going to be recruiting you guys to help us stop Count Gambino from destroying Erfurt."
She'rah shrugged, "He likes Childish Gambino."
"So what does the party need," the Master Planner asked as he ground his cigarette into the ashtray.
"Fighters and clerics," She'rah said. "We got our asses handed to us because we were heavy on magic but only had Poot for muscle."
"Fuck fighters," Biggboy said as he started walking towards the door, "they're just a bunch of whiny bitches hiding behind armor. Barbarians or get the fuck out."
Time to go in kids, I said following Biggboy's lead.
"Wait," She'rah said as she raced up beside me, "what are you and the Master Planner going to be playing?"
"Ranger," he said with a wink. "I'm thinking it's time to renew an old rivalry."
Fighter it is then.
"So none of you are going to play a cleric," she said exasperated with us. "You just asked what we needed."
We've already got a cleric, I said as I opened the door for her.
"Oh," She'rah said as she gave me a look, "and just who the fuck is playing a cleric?"
"I am," Neverwas said behind her.
Tut stood up from behind his counter as we entered and I was taken back again by the sheer size of the man. He stood nearly a head taller than me and yet he stooped his shoulders so far forward that we practically looked each other in the eye. "What did you call," he asked.
That Neverwas would be the cleric, I said as I took my seat. So how are we doing things tonight?
"Your call," Tut said as he took his seat. "I was going to run my Ganymede Prison adventure but since I've never played with you guys I thought it might be unfair to just jump into it."
"Unfair," Biggboy grumbled as he searched for a rogue d20 that had escaped under the table, "unfair for who? You? Or us?"
"Both," Tut said, "I haven't played with you guys before and I want to keep things right."
The Master Planner hit my leg, "That settles things as far as I'm concerned."
Oh? How we playing this?
"I'm Jim-Jim Wallace," he said as he pulled out his vape pipe, "My friends call me Jim-Jim. Anyway, I'm here with my family looking for a bit mischief in the form of treasure hunting."
Step smiled as he said, "Funny, I just remember that my rogue Alice's last name was Wallace. Seems I've just gotten back from a bad dungeon raid and am looking for some serious, family, backup."
"Well you've found it, little sister," Biggboy said with a little fake laugh he liked to use. "Cause your brothers Jim-Jim and Tiny Jim have just come into town looking for their favorite sister."
"I fucking hate when you guys pull this 'Jim' shit," Neverwas said as he snapped his Player's Handbook closed.
"What's wrong with the 'Jim' stuff," Tut asked.
"It's there way of signalling that they're going to be fucking murder-hobos," Neverwas said in disgust.
"Oh," Tut said as he looked at Biggboy, Master Planner, and Step. "So what's your character's name, Neverwas."
"I'm glad you asked," He said with a huge grin, "I'm playing Timothy the Pious, devout cleric of Pelor and opponent of evil in all it's shapes and forms."
Tut's mouth hung open for a moment as everyone started first at Neverwas and then at him. If they hadn't looked away from Neverwas they would have seen him wink at Tut as he sat back in his seat. I saw it. I never look away.
"So what's your character's name," Tut said as he looked at me.
Jim Wallace. And I'm here to check on my kin folk. I certainly hope they're all alright or there will be Hell to pay for those responsible.
"I feel like this is going to go well," Tut said as he looked at Poot.