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This Nation’s Saving Throw

DUNGEON MASTER RICHIE – Who’s on point?

KEVIN - Hillyard.

HILLYARD – The hell I am!

BENNY – You are, Hilly. You agreed to run point for me when I sold you my +2 short sword back in East Wind Dell.

H – Fuck.

DM – Okay.

K – What was that roll for?

DM – None of your business.

K – I’ll give you two hundred gold pieces if you tell me what the roll was for. Was it a wandering monster?

DM – You gotta be kidding. Two hundred gold pieces? Don’t insult me. Have you got anything of real value to offer?

K – Uh…I’m a little light.

B – I bet your girlfriend isn’t a little light.

H – She’s a leech, Kevin.

K – Fuck you guys. At least I have a girlfriend.

B – Suboptimal, Kevin. Totally suboptimal.

DM – Are we going to talk about Kevin’s girlfriend, or are we going to come to a Pareto-preferred outcome for this roll?

B – I got five bucks.

K – Hold on, Benny. What’s the five bucks for, Rich?

DM – It’s for the roll. I told you.

K – What about the roll?

DM – For…look, you don’t think I’m gonna cheat you, do you, Kevin?

K – Get me a standard contract, Benny.

B – Where’s that?

H – It’s in the back of the Player’s Handbook.

K – No, that’s the character sheet. The contract is in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, Libertarian Edition.

DM – Fine, fine.

K – The five gets me what kind of roll it is…

DM – Okay, I’ll just write it up, and –

K – …and the result.

DM – For five bucks? Forget it.

K – Ten.

DM – This is an important roll.

K – I only got five, plus…

H – Ten plus the rest of these Funyuns.

DM – Deal.

K – Good job, Hilly.

DM – Okay. You called it. It’s a wandering monster roll, and…

B – Man, what a waste of money.

DM – You want to hear the result or not?

K – Might as well.

DM – It’s a rust monster.

K – What?

H – Fuck that. I’m not fighting one of those.

B – How can you do that to us, Rich? What did we do to you? Was is that big scene with the Customs and Duties Officer at Rivenrock?

DM – Look, guys. That’s just what I rolled. It’s just the luck of the dice.

H – Those things are walking wealth-confiscators. They represent punitive taxation. They’re living symbols of the leechlike qualities of the state. I am not fighting a rust monster.

K – All right, Rich. Let’s talk brass tacks. What’s it gonna take?

DM – Kevin, you know the rules. I can’t just re-roll it.

K – So what are we looking at?

DM – A buck to move the roll by one in either direction.

B – Okay, so…let’s see…where does eighteen bucks get us?

DM – Hobgoblins. Uh…nine of them.

B – If I make it an even twenty?

DM – Still hobgoblins, but only six.

K – Whattya think, guys?

B – Better than that goddamn rust monster.

H – Hobgoblins are pretty tough, though.

B – Yeah, and they don’t carry a lot of cash.

H – Where does that leave our internal cost/benefit calculus?

K – PB is still greater than p*f.

H – I say we do it.

B – Yeah. We don’t want a repeat of what happened with Tyler.

K – Why do you keep bringing Tyler up, Benny?

B – He was a good party member, man. He was our friend. And we left him behind.

H – We’ve been over this and over this…

B – It doesn’t make it right.

DM – Look, guys, I need a decision.

K – Benny, I didn’t want to hand Tyler over to that frost giant. But you elected me team leader to do a job. And my job is to do anything within the rules to maximize profits for our shareholders.

H – It would have been immoral not to sell Tyler in exchange for our freedom.

K – Six hobgoblins?

DM – Yep.

K – Twenty bucks?

DM – Yep.

K – Hilly, what’s our experience point situation?

H – Just under, with Benny about over.

K – And the min./max. on the hobgoblin’s treasure?

B – Within risk-to-profit norms, according to the Monster Manual pages Rich sold me last week.

K – It’s a deal.

Mirrored from LEONARD PIERCE DOT COM.

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PROPRIETOR

Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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