Thursday, August 3, 2017

New Saddle, Same as the Old, Just Better Leather pt. 2

"Before we begin," I said as my Lovely Bride picked out her dice, "I just want to make it clear that all of you fuckers know each other. We're not going through that bullshit where you pretend like you don't know each other and then try to awkwardly work together."

"Aw," Brittle Betty said as she laid out her rules cheat sheet, "I kind of like that part."

"Why," Biggboy's deep, gravelly voice asked from the end of the table.

"Oh," Brittle Betty said as her eyes got big, "I didn't realize I said that out loud."

"Well, you did," Poot said as he laughed. "So why do you like that part?"

"Um, well, I'm new," Brittle Betty said as she looked at her sheet and began to rearrange her dice, "and I don't really know you guys too well."

My Lovely Bride gently patted her on the arm and said, "That's okay dear. We're all new sometimes, just not in Charlie's games."

"Okay," Brittle Betty said with a smile.

"Right," I said, "let's get to it then." Characters were made, names written down in my book, and we began.

"A month ago you were all hired as couriers for the TAB Trading Conglomerate. As condition of your hire each of you were provided with a horse for your journey and room & board until you were called up. Those you see next to you were bunked in the same room alongside you as a 'team building strategy.' Hard to say if it worked as your days were filled with the boring monotony of being constantly on the alert for your first mission and it seemed as though you were going to die of boredom before anything interesting might happen. 

"Then came Tuesday night. 

"You were roused from your beds, rushed out to the patio in a pouring rain where you and your bunk mates were brought your horses. In front of you stood an elegant woman that towered over you as a small man strained to keep her dry under a massive umbrella. Her voice was a deep baritone that sounded as though it started in her ankles before it ever came out her severe mouth. She looked your group over with a look that might have been called disgust if she could have just cared enough about you to form an opinion. 'Give it to the tall one,' she says with a dismissive hand wave before turning and going back into the office.

"Biggboy, a bedraggled goblin walks over to you with a sealed, leather scroll case in his hand. 'My Lady says you're to have this and to go east to Red Castle,' and with that he walks away."

Biggboy held his hand up and mimed handing the case to my Lovely Bride, "I'm not fucking carrying that thing."

"Oh, thanks," my Lovely Bride said as she tucked it into her belt, "knowing my luck Charlie's just given us a portable black hole that will break open and kill us all starting with my lady bits."

"Your lady bits," Brittle Betty chortled.

"It makes boys uncomfortable in their pants when you say vagina," she said.

"You know," the Master Planner said, "I've been trying to get one of those for the better part of the last two years."

"Oh," I said as I set my dice in a row, "how's that working out for you?"

"Fucking terrible. You can't get those things to grow for shit."

"So, anyway," Icarus said, "we were D&Ding."

"Right," I said, "so what are you guys doing?"

My Lovely Bride looked about the table and said, "So how are we doing this?"

"What do you mean," Biggboy asked. "I mean it's D&D. We're going to kill things and take there stuff."

"Naturally," she said, "but this reminds me a lot of Arabella and that has me worried."

"Arabealla," Brittle Betty asked, "what is Arabella?"

"Who," my Lovely Bride replied, "she was a cross-dressing half-giant that nearly killed the whole party back in '06. Icarus, She'rah who you haven't met but is fucking awesome, and Step worked for her for a while. Then we crossed her."

"As you do," the Master Planner added.

"And she came after us."

"Yeah," Icarus said as he set his abacus just to the right of his character sheet, "it wasn't a fun time."

"Good game, though," my Lovely Bride added, "but it ended with the first TPK I've ever been a part of."

"So are you saying we shouldn't do this," Brittle Betty asked. "I was kind of looking forward to going to the Red Castle."

"Oh no," Biggboy said, "no they're not saying that. They're saying we shouldn't fuck with this bitch."

"Right," said the Master Planner, "so we do this one mission and then bug out on her?"

My Lovely Bride turned her gaze on me, "Can we do that?"

"You absolutely could. You would have to return the horses and any additional equipment you have borrowed from the TAB Trading Conglomerate," I told her as I started making notes of their suppositions. I've always found it best to take the game in directions where their imaginations are leading them and do something along those lines. The game seems to have a deeper impact that way.

"Okay," the Master Planner said, "then I'm ready to go."

The rest of the group took a few minutes to purchase some last second supplies and off they went into the world. The rain came down hard and the paths they traveled were muddy morasses that found their horses hooves sinking into the muck. Still they persisted on through the night until early morning when they saw a light off in the distance, flickering dimly in the darkness of the pre-dawn hour. 

"Is that where we're supposed to be going," Biggboy asked. "seems like we're awful close to the TAB house to be there so early."

"I don't know," the Master Planner said as he studied the map I'd handed him before the left, "we should be at the Red Castle about now if every thing went as normal but with all the rain and shit we could still be a few hours off."

"Do you want to wait until dawn and check it out then," Icarus asked. "It might be the best option."

"I don't really want to wait," Brittle Betty said in almost a whisper.

"What did she say," Biggboy asked.

"She said she doesn't want to wait," my Lovely Bride announced. She then smiled at Brittle Betty and gently said, "You're playing with a bunch of deaf bastards, dear. You're going to have to speak up."

"Okay," Brittle Betty said with a smile, "I can do that."

"A better question," the Master Planner said as he stroked his beard, "is are you a sneaky, little, rogue-like person who might make his way up the hill and tell what's going on up there."

Brittle Betty flashed a smile that lit up her whole face. "As a matter of fact," she said, "I think I might just be."

"Good," the Master Planner said as he checked his character sheet, "I'm pretty shit as anything dexterity based. Anyone capable of rolling up there with her or is she just better off on her own."

"I'd, um," Brittle Betty stammered, "I'd like to do it on my own. If that's okay?"

"Of course it is," my Lovely Bride said, "just scream if you need us."

"Okay," Brittle Betty said as he picked up her d20. "I'm heading up there."

As the party watched Brian of the Seven Fingers slipped off his horse and disappeared into the darkened woods. Brian of the Seven Fingers made his way up the slippery hillside, deftly finding secure footing along the way, and with barely any sound beyond the heavy drops of rain splashing off his clothing. For nearly ten minutes he carefully made his way up the hillside until he approached the edge of a clearing where the flickering torchlight had lead him. 

The clearing before him stretched out into a muddy semi-circle about a dozen paces across at it's longest. In the center, against the back of the hill, stood a large red door half open with lit torches to either side of the entrance. The ground showed heavy traffic of large footed humanoids and deep, drag lines leading deeper into the hillside. Brian of the Seven Fingers noted all of this down before returning to his waiting companions.

"Ogres," Biggboy said with a smile. "It's bound to be fucking ogres."

"Ogres," Brittle Betty stammered, "are they dangerous?"

"They can be if we get surrounded," the Master Planner said.

"So what do we do," Brittle Betty asked as she looked about the table.

"I guess we should keep going," Icarus said, "I didn't really prepare to fight ogres this early."

"Ogres," Biggboy rumbled as he began checking his character sheet.

"We could," the Master Planner said, "but if that's their home then there's no telling how much loot they've got inside."

"Ogres," Biggboy said with a smile as he caught my Lovely Bride's eye.

"Shit," she whispered.

"Ogres," Biggboy said with a nod.

"What's going on," Brittle Betty asked.

"Ogres are what's going on," Biggboy boomed. "And we're going up that hill, kicking their asses, and taking their stuff!"

"Okay," Brittle Betty squeaked.

"Ogres," my Lovely Bride said as she began gently slamming her head on the desk. "Fuck you Charlie Akins. It had to be ogres."

"Ogres," Biggboy practically shouted!

"Ogres," echoed the Master Planner and Icarus.

"Ogres," I said with a smile. 

"God damned ogres," my Lovely Bride said.

New Saddle, Same as the Old, Just Better Leather
Part 2


  1. "names written down in my book"
    Shit, All these years and that's what I've been doing wrong.....I have to remind myself to Get a book, write shit down....

  2. >>"Before we begin," I said as my Lovely Bride picked out her dice, "I just want to make it clear that all of you fuckers know each other. We're not going through that bullshit where you pretend like you don't know each other and then try to awkwardly work together."<<

    OMFG. I played in a game with my brother-in-law and some of his friends a few years back that was absolutely the worst case scenario of this BS. Everyone but me made characters with secrets and mysterious pasts (the GM created a secret for my PC before the game). It was going to be a campaign that we'd play convention style, in the snese that we'd all gather my inlaw's house for a weekend every few months to play marathon sessions. For the first excruciating SIX HOURS of game time most of the players were caught up in what I considered a circle jerk of keeping secret identities and pasts and hidden motivations. The GM very misguidedly encouraged this before the game -- we all got "secret missions" that brought us to the tavern. The second day we actually got some D&D in but what a colossal waste of time. I will never understand groups that enjoy that kind of thing. I'm all for character conflicts but they should develop during the adventure, not as a prelude.


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