“They’re coming fast,” Neverwas shouted!
What are we looking at? I shouted back as I readied one of my Ju-ju cans.
“Rat swarm,” Poot called out. “Big fucking rat swarm.”
Watch out, I called as I lit the fuse on Clevenger’s lamp, Ju-ju can on the way! I launched the jug and struck the swarm in the center of the mass and before the conflagration could get closer Poot closed the door on them. So, how much damage should I roll?
“I don’t even know how to calculate it,” Little E said in exasperation. “I mean, how much damage would a knock off version of napalm even do?”
“I would rule it the same as alchemist fire,” Rudy chimed in, “it’s the closest corollary we’ve got without turning this whole thing into a farce.”
It was a farce the minute we started betting on Dungeons and Dragons.
Little E just shook his head, “Fine. Roll 1d6 for damage and -“
Oh, hell no. If what I just threw was a single pint of Ju-ju then I’d agree, but we’re talking about quite a bit more.
That’s eight pints or 8d6 damage from that mother fucker, plus ongoing fire damage since the shit sticks to them and keeps burning, and burning, and burning.
“I can’t believe Rudy okay’d this,” Little E moaned.
Pick your enemies wisely and all that.
“How did you even know about that?”
When I was in college I had a tendency to not sleep for days at a time. So I would sneak into the library on campus after everyone else went to bed and explore the research shelves until I found something exciting and dangerous. Then I would trip the alarms and play hide and go seek with campus security as I raced out of the building and hid in the holly bushes.
“Wouldn’t that hurt?”
Well, yeah, but no one expects a runner to leap into one of those bushes and hide voluntarily.
“And that’s how you found about this?”
Oh, God no. I found about this shit on the internet.
Little E and Rudy starred at me from across the table and a long silence seemed to take over. I let it hang there for a few minutes and then cleared my throat. Gentlemen, I do believe that we have just cleared our third room without any of us so much as taking a scratch.
“Wait,” Little E began.
“I do believe that you’re right,” Step-up confirmed.
“But you haven’t gone into the third room yet!”
“Quite right,” Poot said. “Step-up if you please.”
Once we cross that threshold and enter room four I want my money, I told Little E.
“I’ll have to get your money in the morning,” Little E began.
Wait, I said, you don’t have the money you owe me right now?
“Isn’t that interesting,” Step-up commented.
“You know,” Poot said, “I seem to remember him telling you that you had to have the money ready when we got here.”
Sounds about right to me.
“Listen, I didn’t think you guys would get this far,” Little E stammered.
Ah, so you made a bet you couldn’t pay.
“No, I have the money. I just don’t have it with me and -“
You squirm like a slug after you pour salt on it when you’re welshing E.
“I’m not refusing to pay!”
Of course not.
“Don’t be like that Charlie!”
Tell you what, I said with a smile that never touched my eyes, what if we changed the bet to something a bit more interesting?
“What did you have in mind,” E asked with suspicion in his voice.
Let’s double it.
“You want to bet a hundred dollars that you can make it, where exactly?”
A hundred dollars, I said as I laid the bills on the table, says that we can make it further than any group you’ve run through this dungeon without a single player death.
“Look, you’ve gotten lucky so far, but we both know that it won’t last.”
So you accept?
“I didn’t say that.”
I picked up the money and slid it back into my wallet. Hurry up and make up your mind. Accept and we keep playing. Refuse and we load up in the car and get my money from your ATM right now.
“I can’t get the money out of the ATM, my wife wouldn’t understand.”
“That’s the problem with wives,” Step-up said, “they never understand when you lose money you shouldn’t have gambled.” Little E glared at him from the end of the table.
“Give E a break, guys,” Kid Icarus chimed in, “after all he’s been so forgiving when we’ve owed him money. Oh, wait. You haven’t, have you?”
“Icarus you know that I’m running a business here.”
“Yes you are,” Poot said with a smile, “one that apparently involves you refusing to follow through on your obligations while the rest of us are supposed to pay in advance.”
Nice racket if you can get into it.
“Now hold on,” E demanded. “You’re not being fair here.”
That’s the way things go when you refuse to pay a bet.
“I’m going to pay!”
Sure you are – just not when we agreed. Little E was beginning to look desperate. Tell you what, I said as I walked over and got the cordless, why don’t you call your wife and see if she’ll bring you the money. Then we can get back to the game. Hell, we’ll even give you some quite.
“Smoke break,” Poot asked.
Smoke break, I said. As a group everyone scooted their chairs back and started walking out of the room. I’ll want either my money or a doubling of the bet when we get back.
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