Thursday, June 14, 2012

Where The Hell Is Harry? (An excerpt from Price Breaks And Heartaches)

Where The Hell Is Harry?

(An excerpt from Price Breaks And Heartaches)

by

Al Bruno III




This rainy day I found myself at Adrian’s place. He was running another game of Dungeons & Dragons. For those of you unfamiliar with Dungeons & Dragons I think the best way to explain it is to imagine a Fantasy Football league crossed with the Lord of the Rings trilogy with all the arguments of a game of Monopoly added in for spice...


*


...So it came to pass that the dwarf, the elf, ranger and wizard arrived at the ruins of the temple of Fructose the High Lord of the Reverse Hobbits...


*


...“Woah woah here,” I interrupted by putting my thumb against my forehead and waggling my fingers, “Fructose? Where the Hell did you get that name.”


“Research,” Adrian said as he looked up from the back of his soda bottle.


“You’re not making this up as you’re going along are you?” Gordon asked as he copied my gesture.


“I’m offended.”


“Hey guys!” a voice, “Hellraiser II is on!”


Adrian turned in his seat, “Goddamnit Harry get back in here!”...


*


...The cries of ravens filled the air, the ragged remains of previous adventuring parties littered the ground.


The three heroes started walking again, then doubled back to drag the near-comatose Wizard With No Name along with them. The doorway that led to the cursed inner chambers of Fructose the High’s temple hung open but showed only darkness.


They stood there in silence for a time, especially the Wizard With No Name. Bruce spoke first, “We need to establish a marching order.”


“The dwarf goes first,” Chemlar snorted, “he’s got the best Armor Class.”...


*


...“You know better than to break character without doing the hand sign,” Adrian said, “that will cost you 1000 experience points.”


“No fucking way!” Daniel said, “And those handsigns are stupid.”


“You want to lose another 1000 experience points?”


Daniel sighed with resignation and put his thumb against his forehead, “I think the dwarf should go first he has the best armor class.” His finger waggling was half-hearted at best...


*


The four heroes marched into the ruined temple, tunnels had been carved into the walls. “These were made by Kobolds,” Thad observed. His dwarven vision allowed him to see perfectly in the dark, there was nothing the shadowed tunnels could hide from him.


Bruce lit a torch, temporarily blinding the dwarf. The dwarf blundered backwards into the wizard. The Wizard With No Name panicked in confusion and cast a magic missile down the Kobold tunnel.


Before the thief could stop laughing dozens of Kobolds charged out of the mouth of the tunnel. The ranger cursed, the dwarf called upon Odin to guide his still blinded eyes, the thief tried to take cover. The wizard said, “Just a minute, I have to go to the bathroom.”...


*


...Everyone else immediately raised their thumbs to their foreheads and started waggling away. Gordon said, “That’s gonna cost you 1,000 experience points dude.”


“Whatever,” Harry shrugged as he stood.


“Should we just go on without him?” I asked once he was gone.


Adrian shook his head, “Nope. This is a scenario designed with four players in mind.”


“Designed?” I said, “You can’t really expect me to believe you aren’t making this up as you’re going along.”


“What are you talking about?”


“First you’re pulling the names out of your ass, otherwise why would Princess Solo be asking us to travel to retrieve the Graven Eye of Timor from the temple of Fructose the High Lord of the Reverse Hobbits?”


Adrian said, “Sounds like a standard D&D campaign to me.”


“Sadly you’re right.”


Adrian looked around, “Where the Hell is Harry?”


We took a vote and sent Daniel to the bathroom to find our fourth player. He wasn’t there, a brief search revealed his car was gone...


*


...undaunted by the wizard’s strange disappearance the three heroes engaged the kobold hordes in battle and made short work of them....the passageways of the temple ruins were becoming clogged with bodies, the dirt floor was swampy with kobold blood.


Chemlar the elf announced, “I see a glow up ahead.”


The cries of yet another kobold war party filled the air. “Here we go again,” the dwarf said.


The kobold horde drew closer, the pale silver glow became brighter and brighter. “What are they carrying?” Bruce asked, “Lanterns?”


Chemlar narrowed his eyes, “They’re too sharp-looking to be lanterns and that glow is magical...”


“Magical?” Thad croaked, “...those are vorpral blades.”


Bruce staggered in shock, “One hundred and twenty kobolds wielding vorpral blades?”


The dwarf cast an angry glare to the heavens, “It is almost as though the very gods themselves are trying to kill us out of spite....”


*


...Adrian was happily rolling critical hits, “Al your character loses his shield arm at the elbow and the elf loses both his ears.”


“What?” Daniel held his forehead, “What’s the point of playing an elf without pointy ears?”


“What did I miss?” Harry walked back into the room.


“Where the Hell were you?” we all asked.


“I went to get something to eat,” Harry sat down and picked up his dice, “let’s kill something!”...


*


...and just when everything seemed lost the Wizard With No Name charged into the chamber. His exhausted and partially dismembered companions looked up at him. The kobold army paused, uncertain what to make of this new stranger.


The wizard paused dramatically, “Uhm... I cast... I cast FIREBALL!”


“A fireball?” The ranger shouted, “Did you read about the dangers of casting fireball in an enclosed chamber?”


“You fool!” the elf cried, “Even if I make my save I don’t have enough hit points to soak that kind of damage.”


“Damnit!” the dwarf cursed, “You do not know how to roleplay.”


In the half-second before the ruins of the temple of Fructose the High Lord of the Reverse Hobbits was consumed in a mushroom of mystical hellfire each of the heroes grabbed their chests with the pain of losing another thousand experience points...

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