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Game Mastering

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ID: 8082

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January 25, 2015, 11:00 am


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Armor Restrictions Apply....Of Course

By:

"Let the Wookie Win"

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.



Additional Ideas (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.

0xp

2015-01-20 11:50 PM » Link: [8082#93349|text]

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.

0xp

2015-01-20 11:50 PM » Link: [8082#93350|text]
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Comments ( 14 )
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Voted crucifiction
January 20, 2015, 1:21
5xp
So I can see how you got to the idea from the prompt. It's a church, and it's a hellish looking figure. I can definitely see the connection to the devil playing D&D.

But in the execution of your idea, you've lampshaded the real-life situation of D&D being linked to satanic worship, and then you've averted your lampshading of it by linking D&D to the devil. In fact, the way you bring in that lampshading is sort of odd to read as well.

That first paragraph goes like this:

"Eugene Simons’s mother was the secretary, and all around business manger for the St. Zita’s Lutheran church in Bucknell, Oklahoma. Eugen had other connections to the church as well. 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 janitor, and handyman at the church three nights 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 strange, he assured her that those silly associations of role-playing with satanism had long since been debunked as alarmist attention-getting fear-mongering."

I would remove that second sentence where it says "he had other connections to the church as well". That sentence goes nowhere. Just tell us what connections he has. His grandfather donating the land? That feels like a plot hook. Eugene works as a custodian, not a janitor. Apparently they don't like being called janitors.

His divorce? DEFINITELY A PLOT HOOK. The devil is the prince of lies. He's the guy who tempts you when you're weak. And divorce is the breaking of a sacred covenant entered into before the eyes of God (I don't personally believe that, but it's true for some). Any conversation with the devil would have him (or her in this case) pointing out the weakness of the person's character, etc. You don't even need to go that far, but I would expect it to be brought up. Otherwise, why even mention it? Backstory is only useful if it comes back to haunt the characters.

And then you threw in the bit about D&D not being satanic. Which feels like forced foreshadowing. Forelighting, if you will. Like I said, you've sort of lampshaded D&D's past, pointing out how silly it is that people would think that, and then you're averting that to say that the fears about D&D were always correct. Honestly, I'd just remove the sentence about him convincing his mother.

There's enough tension in the idea of the devil entering a church to play D&D without forcing it.

All in all, I found it sort of strange. While reading it, I felt like you'd latched onto a few ideas at the start, and then tried to rush through them in an effort to connect it to the prompt. The Star Trek references came out of nowhere, and the multiclassing/armour restrictions bit could have been changed to anything and it would have been exactly the same. In fact, even after the mc asks the devil why they need a halfling paladin/mage, the answer is avoided and then not brought up. Which just begs the question: why the hell does the devil need a paladin/mage? Are you trying to make it seem like the devil needs this character for

With this premise, you could have kept the silliness factor the same, but made the devil into a much more enigmatic figure. There's a lot of potential dramatic tension with the devil playing D&D in a little church basement in Oklahoma.

That tension sort of goes out the window when it's all just so that the devil is trying to get a specific class combo for... no reason. And then DM fiat is what makes the devil summon a gargantuan beast. The bit about "aunt Julie's .38" and his "cobalt blue 2002 F150" feel a bit out of place.

I feel like a lot of the potential of this premise could have been executed better. It also needs to be proofread.

What I feel like it really lacks is a sense of build-up and follow-through. All of the build-up (Eugene's backstory at the beginning) goes nowhere, and the things which ARE built-up (his divorce, grandfather having owned the land) go absolutely nowhere. And then the things that do happen (Molly being the devil, wanting a paladin/mage) have no build-up to lead into them.

And then there's no follow-through. We don't find out why Molly needed the multiclass so badly, and we don't know why Eugene wouldn't have let her.

It ends with more questions asked than answered, in my opinion. I'd have voted with at least a 4 if it was proofread, had a good build-up with less tangents about D&D and satanism, and Star Trek, and there was some good tension between Molly as the devil and Eugene. Because this premise really has some great potential.

And I'd really love to see a much better reasoning behind the devil's tantrum, to be honest.
axlerowes
January 20, 2015, 8:11
0xp


Serious font for two seconds: I did really struggle with the first paragraph. How much information was too much, and I agree the second sentence needs to go. Maybe the first paragraph all together. I also wasn't sure the gag about this guy thinking his gun and truck would be any use to him worked. I agree they sort of stall the pace of this.



But your comment made me also realize that this post is more or less what and where it is meant to be.



You see crucifiction, as you are new to site, what you need to understand is that I am the type of writer that quite simply....



hang on there is something going on outside, I will jus......

Darkstand
January 20, 2015, 1:53
6xp
Not exactly usable at the table.
But hilarious.
Moonlake
January 20, 2015, 16:15
5xp
I read this more or less after it first came out but I have trouble dealing with this as a silly sub and hence did not vote. Not sure whether this is b/c I'm a non-gamer but the joke seems lost on me (then again, I'm more of a serious minded person, I read everything as serious first until I spot the Silly freetext). I thought the funny part is the devil wants his own paladin bit but then it would appear to me that that's more of a satire as opposed to joke. Can Axle clarify this for me?

What Crux (or do you prefer CF?) pointed out with the disjointed narration I detect as well though it bothered me less. In fact, I read this as 3 separate sections: first section that has nothing to do with pic, 2nd section that is all from pic and ending that jumped ahead in time. I don't mind the loose connection b/w 1st and 2nd section that much as it's often endemic to these art inspired writings but I do find the ending a little abrupt. Then again, I think small changes to formatting (either extra line b/w second last and last paragraph or inserting a line break (the syntax is {hr} where { is replaced by <) would fix this issue.
axlerowes
January 20, 2015, 23:48
0xp


Moon I can't tell if this post is funny or not, but I was going for funny. I also can't tell you the difference between a joke and satire, and that may mean I was going for both. But I didn't want to be mean, I just wanted to be funny. But I would like to make this post better at communicating the ideas and gags that are already in there. If you don't mind lets go over the first paragraph.



I wanted to convey three things. First the Eugene character’s lack of success in other fields of his life, thus mentioning the divorce and that he only held this job because of nepotism. I was hoping that these apparent failures would contrast with his arrogance and paint a self diluted and humorous caricature. Second, I wanted to communicate his relative age. By mentioning a divorce in particular it signaled that he was an adult, and his literal adulthood would contrast with his true child-like state that required he ask for his mother’s permission and explain his actions to her. Finally, I wanted to set up some geography of the location. There only two things in the picture, the demon and the church. So I was trying to place the church in a bit on context with regard to location in space and time. When writing something on the Citadel you cannot take for granted that your audience will place the events in a modern setting. A church in the Citadel could be anywhere from Domrémy-la-Pucelle, France in 1412 to the dreamscape of a Martian Cyborg as he travels back in time from the year 3000 to 13th century France. So by mentioning things like driveways, Okalahoma, Lutherans and divorce I placed the scene more or less in modern times.



Those are the things I wanted to communicate. I went back and added the first paragraph after I finished the rest of the anecdote. But I made one of the classic blunders. I assumed that my readers (all three of em) are paying attention. The better assumption is that you have to catch your reader’s attention. I think perhaps I failed to do that with the first paragraph.



I considered some other intros, that is why I couldn't finish this in 30 minutes. I will post my other intros in the comments section. Tell me what you think of those Moon, and also tell me how you would manage the above points.

Moonlake
January 21, 2015, 1:39
5xp
After reading the alternate intros, I do prefer either of them to the existing one. Of the three things you had wanted to convey, I would say that the first purpose was only partly fulfilled (in fact, I did not form the impression that Eugene was arrogant/self-diluted in this sub but failure in other realms of life was fairly explicit). Point 2 also... well, ranged from being half-way done to somewhat more than half depending on how you look at it. The fact that Eugene is an adult and the fact that he consults his mother for permission came across of course. However, I did not really put the two together as throwing light on Eugene's character in the way you aimed for. So the only point that came out very well for me was point 3 with very concrete nailing down of time and place (modern day Oklahama, a church). The real problem with the first paragraph as I see it is possibly that too much stuff packed into too brief a paragraph b/c besides these 3 things you singled out, you also introduce a hook to the demon appearance through mentioning the association of D&D to the devil.

Now take alternate intro 1: first point abt Eugene being self-diluted fully conveyed, I don't think the contrast of failure in other aspects of his life would add value if added here. Same with point 2, I don't think losing the immature mindset relative to physical age is really a loss in characterisation. Pt 3, this moves away from the concrete naming of actual location but the element of a modern day setting and a church are still intact.

Intro 2, like Intro 1, ticks all 3 boxes in terms of what you want to convey (the only loss here is the church setting but you can always introduce it in next paragraph). I also prefer it to intro 1 because I feel that the analogy of Eugene's mind as a house waiting to be bought is more intriguing and better able to draw readers in. But that's me. Others may prefer intro 1 for its simple efficiency.
axlerowes
January 21, 2015, 9:53
0xp
Thanks for the reply, I didn't mean to imply his arrogant and self diluted nature in the original intro. I was getting at that in the joke itself. Namely when he stopped his discussion with a woman that was earth crazy, taking a piss or the devil to have a pedantic discussion regarding a 25 year old move quotation or when seeing the gigantic demon he immediately thought about it game terms and then believed that perhaps with 38 and his truck he might stand a chance.
Moonlake
January 21, 2015, 17:16
0xp
Saw the change and liked it. Will come back to vote a bit later.
axlerowes
January 21, 2015, 21:18
0xp
let me know if it falls more on the funny or more on the mean spot.
Voted Moonlake
January 22, 2015, 1:00
0xp
Now I can view this sub as falling more on the funny side, with the inaneness of Eugene coming across to me. Like you said, the section starting with his thoughts and action at being confronted with the demon just makes you think "what is this weirdo thinking and doing at this critical point?" and that at least is worthy of a laugh.
Voted Cheka Man
January 22, 2015, 10:08
5xp
Disappointing. I thought it would be about the advantages and dis advantages of armour in rping.
Voted MysticMoon
January 28, 2015, 10:12
5xp

This is hilarious!

I got into gaming at the height of the "D&D is Satanic" furor, so maybe I can appreciate it more. Also, what could be more out of place than arguing with the Devil over Star Trek trivia or multiclassing a friggin Paladin?

"at least a challenge ranking level 20" - lol

Also, at least someone got something out of The Final Frontier :P

The intro was fun, btw. I'm not really sure how I'd use this in a game, but I don't care. It made my day.

Voted Shadoweagle
January 29, 2015, 19:02
5xp
Haha, this was a fun read.
Voted valadaar
December 7, 2015, 13:18
0xp
I find it funny the discourse on this nearly matched that of the submission, which I think did a great job of using the supplied artwork.

A little late, but am voting now.

Quest

Freetext



Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Inheriting

       By: manfred

An old, misanthropic and paranoid man feels his time is coming. There are sons to leave his fortune to, but they are not worth it, not a dime do they deserve! And he doesn't really trust anyone else. And so he has made a decision: as a part of his last will, his henchmen are instructed to burn and destroy all his holdings, buildings as harvest. The lands shall be auctioned off, the proceeds used to pay the servants. Nothing shall stay behind. Nothing.

Depending on the status of the grumpy old man, this weird occurrence may be only a family drama, or it may end up bringing an entire region into chaos. Or the son(s) have found what should happen, and want to prevent it before their sick father dies.

Ideas  ( Plots ) | September 13, 2007 | View | UpVote 0xp


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