Hey everyone! This is a “Fluff” series that I’ve started. It’s written to be a little less heady than some of our Philosophy of Gaming articles. If you need a break from how to incorporate realism, how to wield the empathy hammer, or straight up Epistemology, look no further. The style is a (loving) rip-off of the brilliant Chris Bucholz, so take a look at his stuff if you like this. It’s much better, I promise.
Also, language warning. I know it’s the internet and you can say things like “darn” and “heck” out loud, but I figure it’s nice to warn people anyways.
Hello! Nice bathroom.
Really, excellent taste. Love the shower curtain too.
You just crawled in through my window!
Yes, I tried knocking, but you seemed busy.
I’m brushing my teeth in my underwear!
So… Not a good time?
Do you need to ask? Who are you, anyways?
You didn’t receive my message?
You pulled a paper strip off the local game store bulletin board about finding find a new DM to help out. I tried a Message spell, but it sounds like it didn’t go through. Oh dear.
So you decided to drop by at 7:30 am?
It’s urgent! We need to start right away.
What’s urgent? Our group meets Fridays at 9 pm.
Group? Oh, no. I’m not that kind of DM. I’m your DM!
I… beg your pardon.
Like I said, I’m your DM! I narrate your life, help you make choices, roll the dice for skill checks at pivotal moments…
Is something wrong?
I need to find my phone. I’m calling the police.
Sure thing! You move into your room, and begin to tear through your belongings for your phone. Roll for perception.
*4* Wait, what was that?
Well, you certainly don’t find your phone rolling like that.
This is ridiculous. I know I just set it down over here…
You can try again and take 20, but it could be a while.
Listen, I don’t know where you hid my phone, but you are definitely trespassing. I’m about to find the heaviest thing near me, and hit you until you tell me where it is.
Ooooh, nice; going the intimidation route. Unfortunately, I’m the DM, so you can’t make checks against me.
I did not sign up for this.
You did when you took the little strip off the sign.
That’s rude. We haven’t even gotten to know each other.
I know you’re the kind of person who just climbs into people’s bathrooms.
*Sigh* If I can’t convince you to leave, how long before you’re out of here?
The standard trial run is 14 days…
…and no backsies before that.
You’re handling this better than the last two PCs I helped out.
The way I figure it, if I’m going to go crazy, D&D related hallucinations are a good way to go.
Well that’s one way to look at it, if a little dark. Hey! I know what will cheer you up. How about a tutorial combat?
I don’t think that’s a good idea. Guns make my ears ring, and I can barely lift the dumbbell bar, let alone swing a sword for long periods of time.
Nah, you’ll love it! We just need to set the mood. We’re not at a tavern, so no bar fight. And a dragon would end up killing you. How about… Oh, I know! You’re getting ready for work when you hear the window in your kitchen crash. Robbers have broken in!
Roll for intiative!
*17* Excellent reaction time! What would you like to do?
I’m grabbing the nearest thing as a weapon!
That looks like a chair. It’ll be an improvised weapon.
DOES IT LOOK LIKE I HAVE ANY OTHER OPTIONS.
Chair it is! And your standard action.
I’ll take that as a readied action. The robbers move next. They weren’t expecting anyone, so they don’t have any weapons. Robber 1 moves to grab a knife from the knife block–
–And Robber 2 follows suit. *2* although he misjudged the sharpener for a knife. So it’s just a bludgeoning weapon. Robber 1 moves to the square next to you.
The 5x5ft square adjacent to yours.
I’m not standing in any squares.
I forget you can’t see them. Don’t worry about it. Anyways, you can make an attack.
But I just took my turn!
The readied action! Really, how can you be expected to get through the tutorial if you can’t even remember how those work?
Sorry, sorry. I hit him with my chair.
I mean, you could try a little. Say something like, “I hurl the chair at him with all my strength”, or “I scream as I raise the chair above my head to strike”, or—
—I SWING THE FUCKING CHAIR.
Better, but we’ll have to work on that.
*19*, *4* Oh god. I think I might’ve killed him.
Well, it wasn’t a crit, but you did roll max damage. And these guys don’t have much HP. About the same as you, though.
That is not comforting.
It’s Robber 2’s turn! He steps over his comrade’s unconscious body, and brandishes the sharpener menacingly. He takes a stab at you, *11* *3* and hits you in the ribs.
Yea, good thing that that wasn’t sharp.
An 11 hit me?!
It’s not like you’re wearing armor. And frankly, your stats are terrible. I would have rerolled, if I were you. It’s your turn now.
I attack Robber 2.
What did we say about—
—I. Attack. Robber. 2.
I’ll let it slide for now.
*1* Owowowowow shit! I just broke the chair over my knee!
I may have chuckled a little… A bit of Schadenfreude on that roll. The robber takes another stab at you.
*7* I jump out of the way, and try to grab the sharpener from him!
That’s the spirit! A disarm check. Which provokes an attack of opportunity without the proper feats.
*11*, *1* My eye! You sounova—
*18* Great disarm roll!
I WILL KILL YOU.
I will assume that is directed at the robber. Incidentally, that is a phenomenal way to announce an intimidate check. I’ll give you a +2 circumstance on that, plus an additional +2 for the robber you already knocked out.
The robber might have just peed himself a little.
I’m going to rip his arms out of his sockets and beat him to death with his own arms!
For starters, you’re not a Wookiee, so no dice. Second, no need—he splits as soon as he wet his pants. He’s out the window again.
So how was it?
I think I have a broken rib.
You’ll be fine. Do you have any potions?
Do I look like I would have any potions?
You didn’t even bother to buy potions? I can’t believe you’re not taking this seriously. Fine. Check the Robber’s body.
I found two vials? And they’re filled with red liquid. Is this… Some kind of heroin?
I just was making sure they had potions on them for you to loot. I can’t keep fudging for you though. It’s quite unprofessional.
Oh. Well, thanks. I’ll go ahead and down one.
Wow, that does feel a lot better. Hey, do you hear that?
Sounds like your phone is buzzing.
Oh! It’s right here on the table. How did I miss that? Let me see… Well, shit.
Who is it?
It’s my boss, asking where I am. It’s 8:35 right now.
I’m so going to get fired.
You do also have an unconscious robber in floor.
Right. There’s that.
This is going to be the best two weeks ever.
Tune in next time, as our plucky protagonist scrapes for his livelihood in the jungles of white-collar work. Will he stay on top of the paperwork? Will he successfully navigate workplace romance? Can his boss find a reason to fire our hero, aside from the body left in the floor of his house? To be continued…