How do you play this game Fat Neil?
The bandits face lights up as he begins organizing the small piles of papers and dice in front of him. A neglected dog given warmth and companionship.
Well, you see, we roll up characters, and we adventure in a setting that I run. When there are battles, you roll your dice and add the appropriate modifiers, and that determines whether or not you hit my enemies and how hard you hit.
This is no game Wiktor has seen before. He picks up one of the dice rolling it around his hand. The edges are worn. It is used daily.
I do not understand Fat Neil. Why do you play?
Momentary confusion gives way to an intake of breath. A rolling of eyes. Wiktor is about to be talked to as a child.
For the sake of adventure, silly! You can slay dragons
I have seen dragons slain.
and rescue the princess
I have taken a wife.
and if you get high enough level, change the world
Wiktor nods slowly.
I understand. You play so that you may control that which is outside of your hands.
Well, yes, I guess. I just play to have fun. Here, let’s roll up a character for you.
Get Akiros to open the gate.
Vedal and Reiner stand just forty feet away but could have been forty miles for all their use now. To fight they must be inside. To be inside the gate must lift. To lift the gate without death a member of the Stag Lords army must do it. Akiros can also be persuaded not to fight. Wiktor has seen his soul and knows.
Akiros will fight and die. Neil will die. Jac can only save one. Better it be Akiros.
Wiktor, what class do you want to play? You can be a cunning thief, a brave warrior, a mystical sage, or a holy prophet.
I am none of these things Fat Neil.
Yes, but you can pretend to be any of them!
Very well. I will be the mystic.
The table is too out in the open. Wiktor sees the battle happen. Fat Neil stands in confusion. Wiktor uses him as cover. Jac is ends Akiros and falls to the Stag Lord. Wiktor kills two men before Neil understands. The Stag Lord kills Fat Neil as he blocks the path. Wiktor kills the third man when the arrow pierces his skull. Darkness.
Even upstairs the scene ends the same. There are too many men to fight. Too many unknowns. Wiktor looks up to the wooden bridge so fragile it is to an old man as an old man is to the Stag Lord. The wooden bridge that continues directly over top of the other table of bandits. Wiktor looks at Fat Neil again. He is soft and has not seen war not seen blood flow down his chest and his arms blood so dark and fresh it is black upon his skin. But Fat Neil is large as a small boulder. Wiktor looks to the bridge once more.
The scene plays differently.
Fat Neil we will play upstairs.