[NEW COLUMN!] Shut Up and Roll #1: Out of the Caves of Infinity... and Beyond!




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    ø Ignore Stouthart

    [NEW COLUMN!] Shut Up and Roll #1: Out of the Caves of Infinity... and Beyond!

    For some reason I couldn’'t fathom, I was in a cave. Don’t ask how I knew it was a cave since I couldn’t see more than a few feet in any direction. But it seemed very cave-like- dark, dank and full of guano, which I started to shovel into my bag by the handful. A man can never have too much guano. The cave dwellers got angry at this. How dare I steal their waste? They started to screech and dart and snatch. I dropped to the damp ground and tried to explain my need for their biological discharge.

    “It’s the life stuff of arcane infernos you insufferable beasts! You don’t even need it anymore!” They were nonplussed by my passionate entreaty and continued to scream and flap their dirty wings at me.

    All of this for a silly game, I thought while crawling away from the swirling vortex of volitant rodents. My players better appreciate the lengths I go to for them. As I put further distance between myself and the winged horrors, I began to question my location. Was this really a cave? The dark, dank, and crap-filled descriptions could just as easily fit my apartment.

    I stopped crawling and sat up. “Time for magic! Light spell!” I clapped twice and was instantly blinded by electromagnetic radiation bombarding my eyeballs at 299,792,458 meters per second. As my vision adjusted to the spell, I noticed four slack-jawed idiots staring at me from around a table. One of them spoke, somehow managing to string a few words together into a coherent sentence. “Are we gonna play tonight, or will this be like most of our other sessions?”

    The gibbering fool then stuttered something about “rolling a twenty.” I knew he was a liar and just how to handle him.

    “AHA!” I yelled as I reached into my bag and flung the freshly collected excrement at him, covering him in the still warm guano. He was slow to react.

    “Uhhh... why did you just throw Cheetos at me?”

    “Those aren’t Cheetos, you toothless mutant! You are covered in bat poo! All I need do is utter the correct arcane phrase and you will be engulfed in searing, magical hellfire! Now roll again, knave!”

    The cretin sighed and rolled again. “Another twenty. That’s an automatic hit on the aboleth. And you have to let me keep it this time.”

    I sputtered in disbelief. “I ha-ha-have to? I run this show, curr, and you have to do things... I don’t have to do anything!”

    One of the other neanderthals rolled his eyes at me. “Every week! Every week it’s the same craziness with you! You know what, we quit. We’re going to find a new GM.”

    I was flabbergasted that these quitters were... well, quitting on me. “You’re all a bunch of quitters!” I spat, driving home my point about them being quitters.

    “And you’re certifiable.” Quitter #1 stood up to leave, followed closely by rest of my mutinous crew. What was wrong with these mongoloids? They must have fallen under some nefarious spell- being controlled by some heinous outside force. It was the only plausible explanation for their traitorous actions. And what if it was contagious? Could these fell forces be trying to take over my mind as well? Were my thoughts even my own? Blue! Was it I who just thought of that color? My head began to throb as pressure started building behind my eyes.

    “I won’t let you homogeneous cyborgs assimilate me! You’ll never make it out of the Caves of Infinity without my guidance!”

    I leapt to my feet, shouted “Opposite of light spell!” and clapped my hands twice again. Motes of light briefly danced in front of my vision as the darkness engulfed us. I sped away, chuckling with glee as the perfidious worms began to whimper in fear. Soon enough they were left behind, blind and hopelessly lost in the infernal caves. The thought of them forever wandering aimlessly in the dark warmed my insides.

    Not me, though! I would escape because I knew magic. The other fools didn’t have one spellcaster among them, arcane or divine. Ha! I hope the damned bats get them. My guts got downright balmy with that thought.

    I decided to teleport out of there, then realized I couldn’t recall the words to the spell. Had I forgotten to memorize it? Or had I already cast it today? Damn this Vancian spell system. I should have been a sorcerer. I dredged my brain further for any other useful spells.

    “Ha! Wish!” I celebrated with a quick fist pump and began to think how to word the always precarious wish spell. I tried to recall which edition I was running- 2nd, 3rd, 3.5, or 4th? Maybe Basic, 3.75, or perhaps it was Pi. A very important point when casting a spell such as this. I didn’t want the insufferable GM to screw me over and turn me into a female carrion crawler or some other such nonsense.

    “Wait a minute... I’m the insufferable game master! I control everything!” This self revelation elicited another fist pump followed by a quick snap kick. Grinning like a homicidal jack-o-lantern, I exercised GM fiat to whisk myself back to my inner sanctum sanctorum with as much smoke, noise and fanfare as I could muster. I was always a big fan of flashy entrances and exits.

    “Huh, I don’t remember having one of those in here.” I was now face to face with a large bengal tiger. The formidable feline was just as surprised as me, blowing its fishy, fetid breath out in a startled snort. It began to dawn on me that I might not be where I should. The dirt floor beneath my feet and the thick steel bars I could just make out behind the beast’s huge head lent further credence to this hypothesis.

    The striped menace recovered from shock first, rearing back on its huge haunches and lifting one mammoth paw in what I assumed was the precursor to ripping off my face. “Mama,” I whimpered before dropping to the dirt and curling up in the fetal position. The ground beneath me inexplicably became very damp.

    As the basketball sized paw rapidly descended, my left coat pocket started beeping and vibrating. “Hold!” I shouted, and the tiger immediately froze, it’s bared retractable claws mere inches from my prostrate form. I quickly sat up and pulled out my phone, pushing the talk button.

    “What?!? I’m in the middle of something!” I tried to sound as agitated as possible to mask the fact that I had literally soiled myself seconds before.

    It was my agent. He said he had a writing gig. Apparently Mike Tyson wanted to collaborate on a musical he was calling Crazy About Pigeons.

    “Are you insane, man? Tyson’s a cannibal! A ghoul! A certified zombie! He ate a man’s ear on national television! There’s no way I will ever write anything for... He’s paying how much?... Fine. I’ll be there tomorrow.”

    I ended the call and glanced up at the still immobile tiger. “Listen,” I began sheepishly. “The moment has kinda... you know... passed. And now I got this whole job thing in the morning, and I could really use a little sleep tonight. Why don’t we just pretend this never happened?”

    I could read the disappointment in the poor thing’s eyes as its whole body slumped. With one more dejected glance thrown my way, the once mighty killing machine slinked away.

    “Maybe next time...” I called after it. “No harm, no foul- right?”

    ...

    Next week, I review the Pi edition of D&D. Plus- 10 easy recipes using pigeons!


    Last edited by Morrus; Saturday, 6th October, 2012 at 11:23 PM.
    Mild mannered programmer by day, earth’s mightiest gamer by night... he is... the Stupendous Stouthart!

    Check out my new weekly EN World column Shut Up and Roll each Friday in October.

    “You have nice manners for a thief and a liar," said the dragon.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

 

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