Price Breaks and Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
The Creep On The Borderlands
We tried to get back to the game and quickly discovered that Buddy was so drunk that he couldn’t feel his fingertips. That meant we needed a new person to draw the map so we could track where we were in the dungeon. Everyone else insisted that this was a newbies’ job. I was more than willing to do so.
“I could map for you guys.” Will suggested.
“No you can’t.” Norm explained, “You’re not here.”
So I started mapping, tracking our party and its NPC Cleric as we made our way through lizard man territory into the Caves of Chaos. I found myself starting to have fun as my dwarf made short work of any monsters that got in his way. Now this was what I thought of when I thought of Dungeons & Dragons. There is still no game that gives the vicarious thrill of combat like D&D can and unless some day they come up with a way for the thimble to beat the shit out of the race car in Monopoly there never will be.
Once we got to the Caves of Chaos however our luck started to change.
I looked up from my map, “The pit sealed up trapping the Cleric inside, I think we can rescue him if we get some ropes and daggers and…”
Daniel snorted, “No. We’re moving on.”
“First of all it’s an NPC and second of all, the Cleric did all it’s heals for the day so who cares?”
“But the members of the Church of Cosmic Coolness will want to know what happened.”
Daniel shook his head, “There’s treasure and combat awaiting.”
“You know…” I said, “I like to think you would rescue my character if this was… No, you wouldn’t would you?”
Buddy was lying face down on a pile of dice but he still managed to say, “It’s every man for himself Al.”
The party moved on and I tried to ignore the imaginary cries of the imaginary non player character trapped forever in a make believe pit but sometimes in the dead of night it still haunts me.
We soon had to turn our attention to pressing matters, like the swarms of kobolds howling for our characters’ blood. When we reached the heart of their lair we found the motherload- gold, gems, potions and weapons of every make and model. Everyone dived for treasure, trying out magic items at random.
“All right!” Curtis said, “A Wand of wonder! I’ll be playing with this baby all night.”
Daniel was wringing his hands with glee, “I found a bag of holding. All I need to find now is a folding boat and a shambling mound and my mega-weapon will be complete.”
The treasure room had certainly perked Buddy up, “I love mixing potions. What size and alignment am I now?”
Eddie looked more than a little bored, “All I found was this Wand of Orcus thing. Who wants to trade?”
I decided to try and have my character prove his worth by checking the room for traps and secret doors. I found a little of both, “Guys I think I found a secret door.”
“Very good.” Norm said, “Now roll to unlock it… nice roll Al.”
Daniel’s voice was a snarl, “We shove the newbie’s character through the door first.”
I looked at him in disbelief, “What? Why?”
Norm nodded sadly, “You find yourself alone in a swastika-shaped treasure room. Your character is hip deep in…”
That as we say, was it. I checked my watch again, “Oh, look at the time! I really have to go. I’ve got to get up for church in a few hours.”
Will narrowed his eyes, “You go to church?”
“I’m starting to. Now let’s get out of here.”
Everyone else was too busy bickering over treasure to say goodbye but Norm was polite enough to walk us to the door. Our footsteps echoed through the empty lower level of his home, “Thanks for coming. Hope you had fun and learned something.”
Will smiled, “Same time next week right?”
I decided to be upfront about how I felt, “I don’t think I’ll be here next week. I mean I used to role play a lot but I just don’t think this is the hobby for me any more.”
Norm nodded understandingly, “I understand. It was nice to meet you.”
“Yeah thanks,” I almost ran for my car.