I stared at them as they sat next to each other attempting not to look like they had just come to a conclusion and numbly tried to figure out how I was going to win the bet. From the beginning the odds had been against us but I had come up with a brilliant idea to prevent Little E dropping the house down on us in a single moment that would end everything in a heartbeat. I had brought him in. He was supposed to be an impartial arbitrator to prevent some heavy handed tactic from Little E. God damn it Rudy, I said under my breath, how could you take his side?
“What’s that?” Poot asked me.
“What are you talking about,” Poot asked me with a touch of bewilderment in his voice, “we brought him in to keep things fair.”
He’s gotten to him.
“Are you sure?”
Does the Pope shit in the woods?
“That’s not how that goes.“
“That’s not a word.”
Are you just fucking with me now or are we going to figure out how to deal with this?
“What makes you so sure he’s working with E? If anyone were to turn I’d put my money on Neverwas.”
I stared at Poot as he attempted to look nonplussed while the rest of the group continued to examine the contents of the room. At first they were talking and then slowly all the conversation in the room stopped as we continued to stare at each other. We had done this for years when one of us was right and the other refused to accept the truth. Just staring and waiting until finally, “Fine, god damn it,” he said. “But if you’re wrong there’s going to be hell to pay.”
I know, I said as I gestured for a time-out, time out E.
“Time out,” he said with mild amusement, “there are no time outs in Dungeons and Dragons.”
Yeah and Best Girl cums every time you two bounce in the sack. We’re taking a fifteen minute break and then we’ll be back.
“If you step outside then I’m declairing that you’ve forfetted the bet and -“
And I’ll break every fucking bone in your neck you dumb son of a bitch. We’ll be back, the game will continue, and you won’t attempt any sort of cheap shit while I’m gone, I said as he stared at me with eyes as big as saucers.
“It’s just a game, Charlie,” he stammered.
It’s just a game as long as you don’t try to cheat and rob me.
“Okay,” he said as he held his hands up, “I was just trying a little bit of gamesmanship is all.”
“Wrong move,” Biggboy said as he pulled out a cigarette.
We made our way outside and as we walked out into the cool evening air I noticed that Poot was already holding court. “Listen up, Charlie thinks we’re boned and I’m almost certain he’s right.”
“What’s going on,” Step-up asked. “Everything’s been going perfect so far.”
Rudy’s flipped on us.
They all stared at me. “Are you sure, Charlie,” Icarus asked. “You brought him in to keep E honest and he’s been doing fine so far.”
I was watching them as we were checking on our supplies and spell levels. E’s been showing him locations in the book all night and he keeps waving him off. Until we were all distracted there.
Whatever E has up his sleeve he just got the okay from Rudy.
“It’s bound to be a trap,” Step-up said as he lit up another cigarette. “We haven’t had one all night and that was the one thing that everyone warned us about before we came in.”
That’s what I’m figuring too.
“He’ll be looking for a low roll,” Poot said. “It’s the only way that he can make it seem legit.”
Not much we can do about a low roll.
“He could,” Icarus began and trailed off.
“He could be luring us into a funnel. I’ve seen him do it before when I was playing in another of his games. He let us get deeper, and deeper until we couldn’t get away and then he swarmed us. None of us made it out.”
“Fuck,” Neverwas said as he ripped off his hat. “I had forgotten about him doing that. Between the trap and the funnel we’re fucked.”
“None of us went into this game thinking that we’d be able to make it all the way through,” Poot said, “so let’s not be getting upset about a TPK now.”
Right enough. Look, what room are we on?
Poot pulled out his notebook and started counting, “Six.”
Are you sure?
“We’re on the sixth room.” We all stared at him as he recounted. “Sure as shit, we’re on the sixth room.”
“So we’ve won,” Neverwas asked?
One more room, I said as the turned towards me. We’ve got to go one more room. The bet was that we could go further than anyone else and six only ties. Seven beats.
“So whatever’s coming will be behind whichever door we choose,” Step-up said. “I can take 20 on the check so it’s got to be the funnel.”
Right, I said, so that means we have to make it through to room eight or we’ve lost. New marching order. Step in front followed by me, Biggboy, Neverwas, Icarus, and Poot at the rear. Clevenger will be behind me. Remember we just have to make it through the next room and we’ve won.
Are you guys ready to die?
We walked back to the table and sat down without a word as E watched us with a grin. “So did your time out help you guys out or do you want to go ahead and give up now?”
“I’m taking twenty and checking out the open secret doorway and as much of the hallway as I can.”
“There doesn’t appear to be any traps.”
“Okay then,” Step-up said, “Let’s go into room seven.”
We made our way down the hallway as Step took his time checking each and every inch along the way for the trap we all hoped could be avoided. As we reached the end of the hallway and the cast iron doors with dried blood covering the walls Poot gave the warning we knew would be coming, “Guys, we’ve got company coming this way and they ain’t happy.”
Step, take your time and get it right, I said as Biggboy and I joined Poot at the back of room. We’ll buy you all the time you need to take care of that door.
“With all the combat going on it will take you half an hour to disarm that door,” E said with a smirk.
“Horseshit,” Neverwas barked. “Rudy do you stand by that call?”
“I’ve no problem with it,” he said as Neverwas stared daggers through him.
“I’ll remember that,” Neverwas said.
Can’t be helped at this point, I said as I moved behind Poot and readied my ju-ju can. When I tell you to duck, Poot.
They came around the corner, a mob of bodies with red eyes and blood soaked hands. I counted their steps and threw the first can into their forward ranks as they came within fifteen feet. “They don’t seem to be stopping,” E said with an evil glint in his eyes.
Good god damn it, I practically shouted back, I’d hate to think that this might be too easy! I threw the last ju-ju can into their back ranks and readied my long spear as Poot and Biggboy met the first ranks.
“Charlie,” Step-up called as it came back to his initiative, “I think I can make the roll.”
“Then go for it,” Poot said, “I’d rather die a winner than two steps shy!”
Step-up threw the dice and we all watched as it bounced across the table and spun in front of Poot. “What is it,” Step asked.
Poot picked it up and tossed the speckled die back to Step, “A natural twenty.”
E looked like the wind had just been knocked out of his sails, “You’ve got the door unlocked and the trap disarmed.”
“I’m opening it!”
“The room in front of you looks like a steep hillside with an incredibly high ceiling. Loose gravel and large, limestone boulders cover it.”
“I’m in!” Step-up shouted as he stood up and danced. “Room eight you son of a bitch!” As we made our way around the initiative order all of us made it backwards into room eight and managed to block the doorway.
“Fuck that was fun,” Poot said.
“What’s your armor class Poot?” E asked.
“You’ve just been hit with a boulder dealing 45 points of damage.”
What the fuck just happened?
“A large Hill Giant stands at the top of the rise and hoists another boulder on his shoulder.”
Right then, fuck this bitch, I called out as we charged up the hill. Step, can you get on his side? Biggboy and I are taking the front.
Before we were able to drop the Hill Giant Neverwas, Icarus, Poot, and Biggboy had died. I was down to two hit points and Step was on his very last one. “You know,” he said, “this seemed like a really great idea when we started this mess.”
I know, right? I said as I began stuffing a rag into an oil pint.
“The door bursts open as the Fiendish Orcs begin to charge up the hill.”
Clevenger, I said as I grabbed my acolyte, it seems that the time has come to say goodbye. With that I pushed him down the hill, face first, and watched as the orcs began to tear into him. Fucking waste, I said as I lit the fuse and threw the pint against Clevenger’s back. But it’s a hell of a way to go out.
How much damage do I roll?
“How many flasks of oil did you have left in his backpack?”
E stared at me. “You had thirty-six bottles of oil in his backpack?”
Originally I had more. Why do you think we kept such good track of the time and our supply usage?
“The oil explodes taking all of the fiendish orcs out and I need a save from each of you to determine how much damage you take.” We died on that hill side with each of us taking 56 points of damage.
That’s alright, I said, give me the box of cards I just won.
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