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.

REPLY





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