Price Breaks and Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
The Creep On The Borderlands
Some mild shouting from Norm got us back on track, our gravely wounded characters gingerly made their way from the dungeon and made camp for the night. We chose who would get what watch and when. Curtis said, “I hope we don’t get any encounters tonight. If we do we’re finished.”
I couldn’t let that go by without commenting, “It’s too bad we left our NPC cleric to die in a pit trap last session.”
“Oh will you shut it?” Daniel snarled, “If Lovitar had wanted her precious cleric to live she would have gotten him out of there.”
Norm shrugged, “Clerics are the red shirts of the D&D system. Always have been.”
“I don’t think that’s fair.” I said.
“Then why aren’t you playing one?”
“Well… I don’t know…”
“Speaking of clerics…” Norm began, as you continue to make camp you are approached by a cleric of the church of Lovitar. He asks to speak with the party. He has questions.”
Orville’s eyes lit up, “Sure we’ll tell him whatever he wants to know, after the rest of my team gets some cure light wounds.”
“Your team?” Daniel’s voice cracked with indignation, “ I thought though we were Force Whoopass from Greyhawk.”
I said, “Wouldn’t something like that first entail your character telling us his name.”
“You losers don’t deserve to know his name!”
There was nothing our Dungeon Master could do but talk over us, “This new cleric heals your party and then asks you about the cleric you hired a few days ago. Apparently the members of the church are very worried he isn’t going to make it back alive.”
“Uh-oh.” Buddy said.
I turned to Will “Did we even get that cleric’s name before we left him to die?”
Curtis nodded, “It was Derek.”
“Derek the cleric?”
Orville shushed us, “I tell our new friend… what was his name again?”
Norm thought for a moment, “His name is Eric.”
“Eric the cleric??” I said.
Daniel rolled his eyes, “Why even give NPC’s names?”
Orville threw some d4s at us, “I tell Eric that we sent Derek ahead to scout for giant turtle eggs and that he should come along with us if he wants to meet him.”
Buddy gave a thumbs up, “Cool we’ve got a new cleric!”
“Let’s bed down for the night.”
“I’m hungry.” Curtis said, “I thought we were getting pizza.”
Everyone agreed that pizza sounded great, then the argument about toppings began. Daniel was too busy trying to figure something out from his copy of the Dungeon Master’s Guide to participate.
“You know…” Norm thought out loud, “I think I have a copy of Murphy’s Rules that had a random pizza generation table.”
“And wings.” Buddy added, “We need an order or two of wings.”
“Hey Norm.” Daniel put his pencil aside, “Can we do one last thing before our little meal break here?”
“Sure,” The Dungeon Master said.
“I kill Will's character.”
Norm shrugged, “OK roll your dice and lets see what happens.”
It was all over before I could even speak or react, Will’s character went down in a hail of spite and modifiers. “Why?” I asked, “Why did you do that?”
“But...” Will stared at his character sheet, “But he just made second level.”
“Yeah.” Daniel said, “And the experience from killing a second level fighter is just what I needed to get my Ninja to fifth level.”
I was appalled, “You dick.”
“I’m sorry but D&D is a world as cruel and multicultural as our own, if not more so.” Norm explained, “Now Will let me have your character sheet so I can add it to the Binder of Shame.”
“What exactly is a Binder of Shame?” I didn’t really want to know the answer but I had to ask, “And why is it so large?”
“Every D&D game has many binders but each D&D game must have a Binder of Shame and a Binder of Glory.” Norm held up a pair of three ring binders, “The player characters that die heroic deaths are saved forever in the page protectors of the Binder of Glory. The characters that suffer, humiliating, soul-crushing deaths go into the Binder of Shame. It’s a sign of quality DMing to have a Binder of Shame three times the size of your Binder of Glory.”
“Isn’t there…” Will asked, “I mean wouldn’t any of the other player characters have seen or heard something?”
“Hello!” Daniel said, “He’s a ninja- he could bugger you in your sleep and you wouldn’t know it. Now let’s get that pizza. Who wants sausage?”
I paled, “Suddenly I’m not so hungry. Let’s just keep playing.”
As you all ready know I had intended to just game once in a while but before I knew it I was stopping by Norm’s house twice a week or more.
Every night at the gaming table I rolled my eyes at their casual racism, suppressed rage and hardcore geekery but I stayed.
And despite the many hours spent in their company I never once thought of them as my friends. They were just people I wasted time with while waiting for people worthy of my company to come along.
Now, many years later, I am a little ashamed to realize that I was the real creep on the borderlands.