The Fumble: Seasoned Warrior Laments Difficulty of Adventure-Life Balance

Barak Strongblade, a renowned local adventurer and one of the party of beloved heroes that saved Three Oaks Village ten years ago from the goblin invasion has encountered a new, unexpected foe.

the fumble barak strongblade adventure life balance.png

"I just can't make it all work anymore," Barak says, his eyes haggard and his shoulders slumping at the local tavern. "Time was when it was no problem. Off to the forest, or the caves, or a nice dangerous dungeon or something. Kick some doors in, hack some foul beasts to bits, get the treasure. Hit the tavern, wake up somewhere, then out and do it again. Get some gold, spend some gold. You went out when you went out, you got back when you go back. Good times, good times."

Barak places his tankard on the bar next to Wyrmfang, his trusty sentient blade. The very same blade that clove the goblin chief in twain.

"Ever since Sylandra and I went from fellow adventurers to a married couple things have changed. I'm supposed to provide right? I'm an adventurer. I provide by adventuring."

He gives Wyrmfang a fond, sad look. "But I'm also supposed to be at home."

"Don't get me wrong. I love our life. Syl's everything a fighting man could ask for. And the kids, don't even get me started. We've got a little rogue and wizard on our hands, mark my words. They'll be crawling dungeons before you know it. Heh."

"It's just... a few months back Syl got these scrolls from her sister. At first I assumed they were some kind of ancient dark knowledge written in a forbidden tongue that we would be sworn to protect with our lives, but turns out they were just written in Common and talking about this thing called adventure-life balance."

"I know, I see the same look in your eyes I had in mine. It means that you should be able to have a full adventuring life and a satisfying personal life, all at the same time. By, I don't know, managing yourself or something. Syl says it means I should be able to adventure as much as we need but also be home every night."

He scoffs. "Like that hydra I fought last week or those corrupted Ents that have been spotted in the local woods are just supposed to say 'Ohhhh, Barak, right. You need to be home in a few minutes. Let's just take a break until tomorrow, shall we'. It's ridiculous. Monsters don't have a menace-life balance, do they?"

"Or what if I'm heading home, and come across a pile of treasure? Am I supposed to say 'Well, Barak, you've got to maintain your adventure-life balance. Don't bother with that nice big pile of treasure, your adventure day is over! People will say you're an adventureaholic'. I'd be the laughingstock of the Seven Realms!"

Barak pulls a scroll out of his belt and unrolls it. "Just listen to this. 'You don't have to make yourself miserable to be lootful', 'You will never feel truly satisfied by dungeon crawling until you are satisfied by life', 'You can't kill every dark lord you want to, but you can have the things that really do matter to you', and oh, here's a doozy: 'Don't confuse having an adventure with having a life'."

He massages his temples. "Oy, give me scrolls of some kind of ancient dark knowledge written in a forbidden tongue that we would be sworn to protect with our lives over this torturous garbage. Have you ever been to the Death Caves of the Arch Fiend? There's this room that has all these plates on poles over a hissing and bubbling lava pit, and if you don't get them all spinning at the same time in just the right order then-- wait."

Barak pauses for a moment as if listening to something and then pulls a curiously carved stone out. "Syl just called on our new sending stones. Let me tell her I'll be headed home, then."

A moment later after nodding at the barkeep, slapping a gold crown on the bar and gathering his things Barak Strongblade heads out of the tavern, into the falling darkness and the clutches of possibly his greatest foe yet.

This reporter spies his scroll still laying open and forgotten in his rush to leave.

'Take care of yourself, not your sword' it advises.

--

The Fumble is a satire/parody tabletop RPG news column. It's not real. Also, if your modifiers aren't stacking someone may have changed editions when you weren't looking.


"Fighter" image is from Knight-in-Shining-Armour.jpg by user Saffron Blaze on Wikimedia Commons. Used by permission under CC BY-SA 3.0.
 
Last edited:
Shane Stacks

Comments

Ever since short and long rests, adventurers no longer spend weeks at home recuperating from their wounds like in 1e and 2e.

I think it is important to include "downtime" (not Downtime) in adventures. Simple stuff like what happens going from one end of town to the next, or a quiet moment at the tavern.
 

sstacks

Shane "Shane Plays" Stacks
It's interesting that in the latest Morrus podcast they're talking about Whispers in the Dark, which is a 5E implementation of essentially Call of Cthulhu.

In WitD, a short rest is a night and a long rest is a week. I have never thought of changing that up before but it works.
 

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