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 Fear and Loathing on the D&D Campaign Trail: A Short Story

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Darkwill73

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Posts : 27
Join date : 2010-11-28
Age : 26
Location : California, USA

PostSubject: Fear and Loathing on the D&D Campaign Trail: A Short Story   Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:47 am

Hey guys! I haven't posted on here in a while, due to life being an incredible pain in the posterior. So hi, I'm Darkwill73, coke lord substitute teacher in the sunny state of California. Pleased to make or re-make your acquaintances.

Anyway, I wrote a short story on Saturday night while I was getting buzzed on some Argentinian pinot noir. The idea came from a friend who also wrote a short story based on his Crusader Kings 2 playthrough with France. In a war room scene, one of the generals has a line of dialogue that had a misspelled word, with 'waht' in the place of 'what'. I found this error endlessly hilarious. See, I got a kick out of the idea that a group of role-players in CK2 are taking their chatting very seriously, and have their immersion ruined by the guy that spells words incorrectly. I decided to adapt this idea, placing it in a different scenario, and adding some other details and things to make it my own idea. The result is this short story, which I have titled with Hunter S. Thompson in mind, since I've been reading and loving his book, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.

Enjoy, Swarmies, and please feel free to critique anything that you think needs improvement, since it probably needs a bit.

-----------------------

“Are you sure we should be exploring the Dangerous Mines of Danger? They could be…well, you know…dangerous.”

Ferdinand received the disapproval of his comrades through their scowls and grunts of dissatisfaction. However, as annoying as the bard and his lute could be at times, he was right.

The party seemed to have no reason for travelling into the Dangerous Mines of Danger, aside from reckless curiosity and a serious death wish. Despite their better judgment and the warnings of countless villagers and fellow adventurers, though, they found themselves descending upon a firm nylon rope into the dark depths of the mines.

“If it’s truly that dangerous, I might just cut the rope with my dagger, and leave you lot to survive against whatever horrors may lie in wait at the bottom,” hummed the rogue, Silvani, seeming to enjoy the thought of betrayal that, like the handle of her dagger, she toyed with as she climbed down.

Silvani’s humor had always flirted with the dark and the macabre, and wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. For one member of the party, though, seriousness was all that was left to keep him level-headed enough for the climb down, and he didn’t take the joke too well.

“No more jokes, Silvie, or I rip the puny limbs off of your body,” grunted Krod the barbarian as he looked up the rope at Silvani. Never one to mince words like his enemies, Krod cut right to the point with whatever he had to say, laying his mind bare to everyone like an open book he would never be able to read.

“Lay off, crud! I’m as nervous as you are!” Silvani retorted, kicking Krod’s hand with her left foot. Krod withdrew his injured hand from the rope, then extended it to Silvani’s leg and gripped her calf tightly. As Silvani struggled, wiggling her leg about too and fro to free herself from Krod’s grasp, the rope dropped slightly, as the knot tied at the top of the ledge began to loosen and free a length of the rope.

“STOP, BOTH OF YOU! YOU’LL KILL US ALL!” yelled J’Casta, the lone spell caster within the party.

Possessing a massive intellect and a high level of charisma, J’Casta’s word went down as law in any situation. Members of the party believe that she knows more than they do, and talks better than any of them could, so no one dares to question her orders as she organizes the party against both enemies and against animosity toward one another.

Silvani and Krod stopped struggling, and the group stopped climbing down as they waited for what they thought would be their inevitable deaths at the hands of gravity and bad manners. After some time without incident, the party continued to inch downward into the increasingly darkening caves leading into the Dangerous Mines of Danger.

After many more hours were spent painstakingly inching down toward the floor of the cave, a tug at the bottom of the rope signaled to the party that the first man down, the cleric that had yet to give a name, had reached the bottom.

“Cleric!” J’Casta called down to the bottom of the rope, “Have you reached firm ground at the bottom of this chasm?”

“Yeah, man, and it’s pretty wild," came a voice from down below. "You cats have to slide on down and check out these mines; they’re dangerous!”

“Wait, what?” the DM inquired. “That’s how your character sounds?”

“Well, yeah,” stated Phil, a blank look on his face and blood-shot eyes betraying his penchant for a certain green substance.

The group’s players couldn’t help but stare at Phil as he spoke, his stupidity hanging over the table like a cloud of dank smoke that choked all sense of immersion in the game from the room.

“Phil, in all seriousness, you’re fucking retarded,” scowled Mark. “I’ve spent the better part of this afternoon min-maxing the perfect wizard,” he continued, placing a hand on his tower of spell books and player’s handbooks to emphasize his dedication, “and you’ve just been toking up in your van with no real character to show for it! Why are you even here?”

“At least I was ready to go on time, and my character isn’t named ‘J’Casta’, which, by the way, is really freaking clever, Mark,” chortled Phil.

“Your character doesn’t even have a name! And you weren't on time; you were late, smoking a bowl while I put the finishing touches on my caster. You’re so goddamned lazy, Phil; you have no right to speak down to me.”

“Hey, man, I’m not lazy; it’s just a lot of work to come up with a name. It’s the doorway to the soul of the character, and we want these heroes to be as real as possible, so why not take some time on the name?”

“Don’t give me this ‘soul’ bullshit, Phil. You just don’t want to put effort into anything. How about I just write ‘Fuckface’ on your sheet for you?” Mark then proceeded to grab Phil’s character sheet and a permanent marker from the table.

“Hey, Mark…that’s uncool, man. You can’t go around stealing and defacing my property!” Seemingly oblivious to this comment, Phil uncapped the marker and began to write an F. In that instant, Phil grabbed his bong from under the table and threw it at Mark, demonstrating perfect form and poor accuracy as the bong sailed over Mark’s head and shattered on the wall behind him.

“Alright, asshole, is that the way things are going down? If you’re so tough, we should go one-v-one, right now,” Mark cried out, dropping the marker and standing up from his chair. Phil began to shrink on the spot and whimpered on the spot, seeming to be frightened by Mark, but only distressed by the sudden realization that his favorite bong was now shattered to pieces.
Sensing that violence was imminent, Larry, the player for the bard, stood up, his tall and bulky frame blocking Mark’s view of Phil.

“Calm down, Mark. We can’t have another instance like last time,” Larry calmly explained to Mark. “I don’t think you want to have to deal with another restraining order from another card shop.”

“But he’s making a mockery of the game! He’s ruining the very thing I’ve loved since I was a kid! Can’t I at least be a little bit angry?” Mark shot back at Larry.

“No, Mark; this is incredibly petty as it is, and you should just drop it and stop being so angry,” Larry sighed. “Besides, as your ride home, I can choose to just leave you behind if you keep this up; do you want that, Mark?”

Mark shook his head and sat back down, knowing that he lived too far away to consider losing his ride to this dispute. He’d just have to accept letting an offensive player like Phil continue to work under the delusion that he could get away with laziness in a table-top role playing game.

“DM, I think we need to end the session now,” Ben confessed as he packed away the character sheet for his barbarian. “Aside from the conflict making things weird, I’ve got to get to basketball practice, and Maddie needs to get to class.”

Maddie, Ben's girlfriend, quietly nodded as Ben grabbed her rogue’s character sheet and packed it into his backpack, along with a few other books, pencils and pens. She loved role playing games, especially when they let her work out some frustrations she had with Ben, and she didn’t mind Ben talking for her at sessions, especially when it came to dealing with the other players. She didn’t like them; they always hungrily stared at her as though she were a large pepperoni pizza and a two-liter of soda. Though the attention was nice at first, it now genuinely freaked her out. A smile was visible on her face as she and Ben walked out of the card shop, and Mark groaned once the door closed on the pair.

“Man, fuck Ben,” Mark snapped as he packed his books into a rolling suitcase. “This game hasn’t been the same since he came in and brought Maddie around to play. I want to go back to how it was before she – and Phil, for that matter – were part of my life.”

Phil was deaf to Mark’s statement, his hands rifling through his backpack, but Larry looked over to Mark and glared at him.

“You mean you want to go back to a time when you got us both kicked out of another card shop for a dispute over tumbling rules? Yeah, those times were fucking amazing, and so pure, too.” Larry paused for a moment, reliving the memory for a brief moment and shuddering, before calming down a bit. “Shut up, Mark, and let’s go home.”

Mark begrudgingly followed orders and stormed out ahead of Larry, his rolling suitcase knocking over several card displays and small children. Larry rushed after him, but, remembering one last thought, turned to face the DM.

“Hey, DM, you really ought to change up the names of these dungeons. I mean, ‘The Dangerous Mines of Danger’? Really? Try to be a bit more conventional next time.”

With that, he ran out to calm down Mark, who was furiously pulling at the handle of Larry’s car and cursing the powers that be for the invention of automatic locking devices. This left the DM and Phil alone in the card shop. The DM sighed, then looked over to Phil, who had recovered from the tragic loss of his bong and rolled up a fresh joint.

“Don’t worry, DM, at least I’m having fun with your campaign, man,” Phil said, attempting to comfort his depressed DM. “Hey, I’ve got enough on the bowl here for another person to take some hits! Want to relax and ride the green train to high station?”

The DM looked incredulously at Phil, then back down to his scattered notes, stray dice, and broken pencils. All he wanted, and all he had ever advertised for on the card shop’s bulletin board, was a group that would run through his scenarios and stories. Never once did he consider that opening the group up to anyone interested would bring this much pain with it. He dropped his head onto his open hands and sighed again, then moved his hands over his head and ran his fingers through his already messy black hair.

“Yeah, screw it, let’s go get stoned.”
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