With all the crap we have been going through lately — there is too much doom and gloom in the world. It is time to have some fun and think a little differently or at least outside the box for a few minutes on this heah blog.
I have played fantasy role-playing games (both computer and in person) for far too many years. With the onslaught of recent and not so recent books based on the premise of leaving our world for a different one or entering into a computer simulation to become heroes or champions, to escape our humdrum reality.
This morning I got to thinking about where I would be in a fantasy world. I let my mind run free and then got this great idea.
Let’s go find out!
How it Begins
The DM (dungeon master)/narrator calls out. “Harold you are being offered the chance of a lifetime and have been selected to save (whatever the kingdom or world’s name is) from our enemies.”
“Will you accept this challenge?”
Of course, I will and respond with a hearty, “Yes!”
“What gender and race will you be?
“A Male Wood Elf.”
“Your stats will be based on an approximation of your real life stats converted and then modified by the race you chose.” They will be based on a 1-20 point scale with 10 being average.
- Strength — I am a bit stronger than I look and work clearing brush, lugging wood quite a bit and run a lot.
- Dexterity — I am pretty quick, good reflexes, and have excellent hand-to-eye coordination (when wearing my glasses).
- Constitution — My stamina is better than most, running 5-6 miles most days helps with that, I have always been healthy and heal faster than most, but I am also getting older, so I lose points for that.
- Intelligence — Smarter than some and I do well at book learning, but the memory is not what it once was.
- Wisdom — Not always my strongest stat, but as I get older I am noticing that I am a bit wiser.
- Charisma — Very average looking and get lost in the crowd easily, if you don’t look at my brightly colored running shoes. My Charisma score is lower because I purposely avoid taking leadership roles that I could easily do.
I use the age modifiers based on the player’s human age, not the PCs because a player’s age does affect how they react different situations. As you can see none of my stats put me into the superhero class.
“What class is yours?”
“Scout (Rogue)/Magic User” — I get to start as a level 2 player versus a single class level one.
“Neutral.” All my player characters start with true neutral and then as I play them, they determine the direction they will take.
“Primary will be long bow with the point-blank feat, with whatever magic user abilities/spells are available.”
“What is your name?”
“Therin Balintine” — My favorite player character from many years in the past.
I think most of us have had those fantasies being a hero in a fantasy setting at some point in our lives. I thought it would be interesting to see where I would end up if I was suddenly offered the opportunity to become a character in a role-playing adventure story or book.
It is fun to fantasize about what we would do if we were offered the opportunity. Although, if I were to be more like I really am, I would probably end up as a human scribe in some out of the way town, keep or military fortress, that would eventually be overrun by the hordes that would attack where I am.
A small bit player that fantasizes about doing great things, but never leaves the security of the life that he has.
So the Adventure Begins
This is fantasy, so I can be something else…
The DM/Narrator tells you that town you arrived in is being invaded by a horde of Orcs, and they have overrun the town’s defenses.
As I look and see Orcs heading my way and Elves running towards them with swords and other weapons drawn. In the opposite direction I see a small stone building that looks like a Temple of some sort. I am torn, because I want to help the defenders, but also know that I would only be in the way and then get killed off very quickly.
I stay where I am, long enough to watch to of the defenders stab their swords into different Orcs, while they are in turn are spitted on the spears that appear from behind the front line of the Orcs. The screams of the dying and wounded, the sights, sounds and smells of the battle overwhelm me. I just stand there, until an arrow whizzes by my head and embeds itself into the house behind me.
The Orcs are beginning to overwhelm the defenders and awakened from my daze, I sprint towards the Temple looking building to find sanctuary or at least someplace to get my bearings. When run through the doorway, it is a small hall, but I see an open door behind the altar. I race towards the door as I hear fighting and the screaming getting closer in the streets behind me. The door was being propped open by staff.
Slowing to a stop as I get the door. All I can see are stone steps leading down into the darkness. Outside the small Temple I can hear the Orcs yelling and more screams of agony. I quickly make the decision to go down the steps, but also want to close the door behind me. I struggled for a few seconds removing the staff, from the looks of things the door had been propped open for a long time. Finally after using all my strength and pushing against the the door, I was able to get it unwedged and the door began close on its own.
As the door closed, the metal hinges screeched from long disuse and a metal bar fell loudly into place as I attempt to push the heavy stone door shut a little faster. That metal bar almost lands on my wrists and if I hadn’t moved as quickly as I did, it would have been a bad thing as heavy as it was. Two broken wrists would not be the way to start an adventure.
Thinking I might need to go back out this way, I attempt to push the bar back up – no way. It was too heavy, which means that I can’t wait here and then go back out the way I came in. So much for that idea.
When I look around I can see nothing, closing the door left me in utter darkness. I am panicking a little and not thinking all that clearly. Coming from a different world and suddenly having to deal with Orcs attempting to kill everyone around me, is leaving me a bit flustered.
What am I supposed to do now?
I tell myself that I will not panic, but damn I am worried about what is going to happen next. This is a LOT more than I bargained for. It may only be a game, but this one sure does feel real to me.
There is only one thing I can do, go down the stairs and see where this passage leads. I feel around for the staff and knock it down a couple of steps, but crab around enough to get it before it sails down the stairwell. As I carefully step down the stair I keep one hand against the left-hand wall, which is rough joined stone and tightly hold the staff in my right hand.
I silently count the steps as I go, 1, 2, 3… and as I reach the 55th step, my hand rubs across a small lever that suddenly goes down. Being startled by the difference between the stone and how the metal lever moved, I jerk my hand back quickly. Which in the darkness caused me to lose my balance, stumble and fall onto a flat area.
As I am falling, I hear a whizzing noise above my head and then something cracking against the rock wall across from me. As I lay there on the flat area trying to collect myself, there was little doubt that I had been lucky to have fallen.
Laying on the floor gives me a moment to think and suddenly, I remember that I should have some stuff with me. Then I think to myself and think, “you idiot, maybe I don’t have to be walking around in the dark either, if I can cast low-level spells, I can magically create a light source for a short time.”
I lay there attempting to access any spells and find that I do have some cantrips and a sleep spell. One of the cantrips is a light spell and another is a small flame.
Panic does strange things to our ability to think, especially when put in stressful situations where getting away from where I was and not dying, was more important than thinking things out. I needed a bit of time to sort things out almost and falling gave me just enough of a jolt to stop and think for a moment.
So, I sat up, cast the light cantrip on a coin in my pocket and looked around. I am on a small landing about 10’x10’ with more stairs leading downward. When I look up the steps I can see two distinct sets of footprints in the dust coming down and I can see one set going towards the wall and then disappearing. No footprints are going further down the stairs.
Carefully standing up and grabbing the staff, I investigate the wall where the footprints disappear and see the lever that my hand touched and look over at a wooden shaft that is laying shattered on the floor across from where I fell.
Yeah, I was very lucky.
On the wall, I can see the seams for a door, but there is no handle visible or way to get my fingers into the gap to open it. I check out the lever which is pointed downward from me pushing against it. I think for a little, then look to see if there are any more holes for things to shoot out of. I don’t see any and figure that lever might activate the door. I might as well push the handle back up and see what happens. It stops at center and then out of reflex, I push it to right and up. Suddenly, a door slowly begins to open.
Now I am pretty sure that someone else is in the room and probably knows more about this place than I do, but I don’t want to scare them or have them think I am one of the enemy. So, I call out “My name is Therin, and I am escaping from the Orcs as you are.” “When the door finishes opening may I come?”
I throw the coin with the light cantrips on it into the room, quickly lower myself to the floor and as quietly as possible begin to crawl through the door with the staff in hand. I hear some movement and see…
And so, the story begins.
Play along and create a character based on what you think your real-life stats might be. Introduce yourself a long the story lines.
Who knows, when I write the next great fantasy novel your character might be one of the ones to save this world?
This is still a very rough second draft quality, but it has the beginnings of a story. I don’t know where it will lead, if it will lead anywhere at all, but we can have some fun with it. It might even take your mind off other things for a moment. 🙂
Thank you for your service Harold.
Interesting post. I used to play a space fantasy game called Travelers. It was after Star Wars came out and most of my friends loved this game.
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Just having some fun, I played D&D back in the 70s and 80s. Have played RPG computer games since, just my genre I guess. Thank you, I didn’t get back to you sooner because we had to take Bennie for an emergency vet visit, doing fine now, but last night was a late night, but worth it. 🙂