Birth of a Dungeon Master

Imagine one could shop for minds the way one shopped for houses. If such a thing was possible a person could not help but be struck dumb when the realtor stopped her car in front of the mind of a 32-year-old custodian named Eugene Simons. Eugene's mind is enormous. Just in shear scope and square footage it would rival the fabled pad of Mr. Darcy or shame the stage for lazy storytelling that is Dowtown Abbey. The inside is no less spectacular in terms of scope. The rooms of Eugene's mind are enormous. The size of ideas and concepts that these spaces could hold is absolutely stunning. And layout of this cranial castle is such that all the enormous ideas can run together. Each room opens upon another (Eugene is too old fashion a thinker for anything as efficient as a hallway), and if you were to throw open all the doors you could effectively merge scores of different ideas into one contiguous form.

But those are just the first impressions. Upon second appraisal one would be forced to notice how little furniture and material there is in these room. Yes they can hold huge ideas, but the rooms themselves are almost useless. The space is excellent for a party, but Eugene has poorly equipped his mental house for the day-to-day tasks of living. Perhaps you will imagine how much you could do this space, but you would be shocked with how little Eugene has developed it. Additionally, there is very little light in these spaces. The windows are small and hard to access. The lack of light means that when all these ideas parade through this gigantic house they appear as little more than shadows. The details and depths cannot not be seen when something passes through these dim rooms.

Finally, if one were to look a little closer you might find something discarded in the corner. That item in the corner is our entire universe, or at least Eugene's conception of it. Eugene took one look at the universe, and was confident he understood it all from quarks to macroeconomics to marriage to why milk is better with hot wings than beer. Eugene glanced at the universe, felt he mastered it, rolled it up into a small ball and tossed it aside so that he could parade his own poorly illuminated ideas through his great empty mind. Eugene became a dungeon master.

Death of a Dungeon Master

Eugene Simons's mother was the secretary, and all around business manger for the St. Zita's Lutheran church in Bucknell, Oklahoma. Eugene's grandfather, Eugene Collins-Smith, had donated the land on which the church stood. The long driveway to the church weaved between farmland still owned by Eugene's family, and worked by his cousins. Eugene himself worked as a groundkeeper, and handyman at the church three days a week. Thus after his divorce, he asked for and was given permission to move his weekly Dungeons and Dragons game into the youth room in the church basement on any night save Sunday or Wednesday. Though his mother thought it cast an unfavorable shadow on the church, he assured her that those silly associations of role-playing with satanism had long since been debunked as alarmist attention-getting fear-mongering.

On his last Saturday night Eugene stared across the mess of Dorito dust, empty Mountain Dew cans and paper that was the youth room meeting table after 7 hours of Dungeons and Dragons. All of his players had gone home save one; Molly the owner of the world's luckiest Halfling mage.

'Alright Molls,' Eugene laced his marker stained fingers behind his head. 'How did you roll thirteen twenties tonight, and how'd you rig it so I'd roll twenty-two ones. It wasn't the dice, even when we switched they went your way.'

Molly smiled, her thin pale lips pulling back to reveal her adult retainer. She sat up, tugging down the faded and shrunken Hufflepuff T-shirt that may have fit her 15 years ago. She explained it thusly, 'I am the devil Eugene, not figuratively either. Literally I am Lucifer who was cast down from heaven, and while I may not rule the universe, all the elements of earth are at my command,' with that Molly waved around her head her pudgy hand. As if in support of her claims a gust of strong determined Oklahoma wind shook the little church.

Eugene listened for the tornado siren, but hearing none looked back at Molly so she could see him exhale dismissively, and roll his eyes. As Eugene gathered together his notes to lecture to Molly about roleplaying game in his typiclly paternal tone, 'Listen Molly you are still new to the group. You need to understand that I am that rare kind of DM that cares more...' but Eugene was cut off by a sharp expensive sounding crack of metal on formica. He look around and saw that as he had been slowly pushing his his chair away from the table to standup the retreating chair leg caught the power cord to his laptop. The force pulled his silver Macbook on to the hard tile floor. . He looked at Molly.

She was not perturbed or surprised, but said gigged, 'That was me.' But as Eugene gazed at the pale short woman he could see uncharacteristic color rising in her cheeks. She spoke in strong undulating voice, 'Believe me Eugene. I am the prince of darkness and I have come to earth to play D&D. And until you let Sheri Porter (her Halfling Mage), multi-class Mage with Paladin your every action will be cursed.'

Eugene stood still unsure of whether to move or not least he knock something else over. After a moment he decide he was more annoyed than frightened and asked Molly in a sing-song voice. 'What does Satan need with a Halfling Mage-Paladin?'

'Is that like asking what does need God with a spaceship?' she spat.

Eugene puzzled that for a moment. 'Is that a line from Star Trek 5?'

Molly giggled, 'Yeah it is my second favorite Star Trek movie after Into the Darkness.'

Eugene's face contorted in horror, 'You...you are evil,' he said.

Then the ground shook, and the butcher paper drawings of the apostles hung by the K-3 Sunday School class broke free of their scotch tape bondage and crumpled to the ground.

Molly shot out of her chair, and her frizzy dishwater blonde hair sprang out of its scrungie. The free unwashed bird's nest haloed her head in a frazzled greasy mane. 'EVIL IS THE EASY PART EUGENE!' she screamed. 'Go to the window and view the cost of insolence. This is how Sybok should have answered when Kirk doubted him.'

Eugene looked at Molly for a moment and said 'Actually Molly, Sybock was Spock's brother, and he doubted the God head too. The line you are quoting was Kirk ask-'

Molly screamed, the ground shook, and she pointed to the outer wall of the room. Eugene, leapt awkwardly over his prone computer, and stumbled to the head high windows that rung the basement room. Outside standing among the embers of what had been his families soybean field was a bowel shaking sight. It was, by Eugene's quick estimation, a gargantuan creature of at least a challenge ranking level 20. Its flesh was deep red, the color of which stood out brightly despite the dark of night and the smoke of the smoldering field. Eugene's eyes followed the demonic beast's mass sky ward, and saw a raptor-like beak with furious tears of magma or flaming blood pouring from its enraged eyes. The height of the beast was unknowable because from its back grew black spikes that disappeared into the sky. Even with a Vorpoal Great Sword and a mighty steed no hero could take on that beast along. Eugene was alone, and he only had his aunt Julie's .38 under the seat of his truck. He looked out across the eye level gravel of the parking lot at his cobalt blue 2002 F150. 'Too far away,' he thought.

'Well Eugene?' Molly asked sitting back down at the table pencil in hand, book open to the Paladin class page.

'Okay, you can multi class,' Eugene said and with that he saw the beast turn on its heal and begin to head back into the ether of night. 'But you are still armor restricted . . .of course'

The paper called the destruction of St. Zita's a fire tornado. They theorized that a brush fire had coincidently occurred in the Collins-Smith field at the same time a tornado touched down in the Collin-Smith field. They reported that the incident claimed only one life, that of the janitor's, Eugene Simons. Eugene's mother insists that Eugene was just there working late.

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? Quest

First Ever Art Quest!

The streets are alive with talk of all the bards visiting the Citadel this month. Rumor has it that Jack Holliday has a piece of art that is being displayed and the person that can weave the most entertaining story will earn the praise of the Strolenati and prizes beyond description (custom Strolen Dice!).

All are welcome to participate and the top two submissions, that earn the most XP, will earn the top spots.

If there are 10 or most submissions, we will go to a round two where another picture will be offered. During round two, any submission from the first round (doesn't have to be your submission) must be weaved together and continue the story with the new piece of artwork.

Wnner of the second round will be the cumulative XP for their highest first submission and their highest second round.

Multiple submissions are welcome, but only the highest will count towards XP counting.

Second round, top two will also get dice.

For the overall winner (if we go two rounds), I will ask Jack Holliday to illustrate a submission of your choice!

See a Higher Resolution.

? Community Contributions (2)-2

Alternate intro one.

Eugene Simons was a 32-year-old man who believed he understood the world far more than his education and professional achievements justified. Despite having no higher education and not having a full time job, Eugene was very pleased with his own intellectual capabilities and often disgusted with the lesser thought processes of most people. Eugene had always had an enthusiasm for ideas but he lacked the self-discipline and stomach for disappointment that was required for true intellectual or artistic careers. This love for ideas but distaste for the reality in which those ideas existed gave Eugene one true life path. Eugene became a Dungeon Master.

He worked part time as the ground's keeper at a church to which his family were generous contributors. But of the 20 hours a week they paid him to be there he spent most of it scribbling notes about dungeon maps and wilderness encounters in a spiral notebook. He felt he worked better at the small basement desk they had given him next to the furnace. The rest of his week he spent watching the television or reading comic books. Both tasks he approached with an affectatious seriousness. He considered these endeavors to be important research.

Or

Imagine one could shop for minds the way one shopped for houses. If such a thing was possible a person could not help but be struck dumb when the realtor stopped her car in front of the mind of a 32-year-old custodian named Eugene Simons. Eugene's mind is enormous. Just in shear scope and square footage it would rival the fabled pad of Mr. Darcy or shame the stage for lazy storytelling that is Dowtown Abbey. The inside is no less spectacular in terms of scope. The rooms of Eugene's mind are enormous. The size of ideas and concepts that these spaces could hold is absolutely stunning. And layout of this cranial castle is such that all the enormous ideas can run together. Each room opens upon another (Eugene is to old fashion a thinker for anything as efficient as a hallway) and if you were to throw open all the doors you could effectively merge scores of different ideas into one contiguous form.

But those are just the first impressions. Upon second appraisal one would be forced to notice how little furniture and material there is in these room. Yes they can hold huge ideas, but the rooms themselves are almost useless. The space is excellent for party but Eugene has poorly equipped his mental house for the day-to-day tasks of living. Additionally, there is very little light in these spaces. The windows are small and hard to access. The lack of light means that when all these ideas parade through this gigantic house they appear as little more than shadows. Details and depth cannot not be seen when something passes through these dim rooms.

Finally if one were to look a little deeper you might find something discarded in the corner. That item in the corner is our entire universe, or at least Eugene's conception of it. Eugene took one look at the universe, and was confident he understood it all from quarks to macroeconomics to marriage to why milk is better with hot wings than beer. Eugene glanced at the universe, felt he mastered it, rolled it up into a small ball and tossed it aside so that he could parade his own poorly illuminated ideas through his great empty mind. Eugene became a dungeon master.