"I'm done doing experience as an across the board reward at the end of the night," Neverwas announced to the table. "Lately, some of you have just been making your way through the night, coasting on the efforts of everyone else and just leveling like it was okay. So starting tonight I'm going to be handing out experience based on your performance."
Damn it, I shouted as the cork shredded in my hands. I haven't broken a cork in three years!
"You done?" Neverwas called back to me. "Some of us are ready to play."
"Lay off," spat Poot as he lit up a cigarette. "We've been waiting for you for over an hour. So don't be acting like your ass was Mister Ready-or-Not."
Sides, I added as I got out the decanter, it's not like you're telling us anything new. You were running this down for us at Elton's Lifetime Loser Lounge two hours ago.
"That's not the point," Neverwas countered, "I'm the Dungeon Master and ya'll are supposed show me the respect that the position demands."
"Have you lost your fucking mind," the Master Planner asked as he held the filter in place so that I could strain the wine.
"I don't think it's beyond the realm of acceptability for me to expect you guys to respect me. I'm the only Dungeon Master in the county who's been able to run a game for more than five sessions in a row without falling to pieces."
"Horseshit," called Little Boy. "We all know the only reason you've been able to keep it together is because these guys are trying to make it a campaign and not just spanking their meat."
I have to say, I'm liking your new players, Neverwas. It was true, too. Tonight Neverwas had brought in two new players, Little Boy and Step-up. Little Boy was playing a drow thief, while Step-up was playing a genasi druid; and they had come into the game like they had the biggest dicks in the county.
Liked 'em both from the minute they sat down at the table.
Initially I had worried that they were plants but after talking it over with Poot and the Master Planner it was clear that Neverwas wouldn't be able to use them for that purpose as they were too direct in how they dealt with the world. No, if he was going to be planting someone to act on his behalf it would be someone like the World's Greatest Liar or Pony Tail, men who could be manipulated and lied as easily as they breathed. So we were safe for now.
The last month had been a busy one for our group. We had established ourselves in the game world with our own internal plotting moving quickly across the board. The Master Planner had begun the game as a follower of the Nameless One, Neverwas' deity, with the intention of usurping the damned thing as soon as he could find the means and power. Kid Icarus was playing dumb but his half-orc barbarian was slowly constructing a nightmarish armor that would haunt your dreams and come to mind at the weirdest times. Poot was building a cannon with his little gnome that would grind the world to dust if things went his way. Thief 2 had skipped out on us because his big ass girlfriend, the Eternal Virgin, had taken a liking to the dog and he was getting jealous. Thief 1's druid had developed a nasty drug addiction and had taken to talking to his animal companion like it was Scooby Doo. Little Caesar was rolling two d20s and palming a third; yet for all his cheating his ranger had yet to land a hit. As for me, well, let's just say that I was involved in a little of this, and a little of that.
"If you're all done being smart asses," Neverwas called out, "I believe that you have been summoned to a meeting in the portal room."