Friday, September 30, 2011

Eternal September

Yugtaf the Warrior approached the door carefully.

This was it. The final encounter.

He and his companions had travelled far - over ten thousand miles, in fact. They have braved sky and sea and land, too, just for the hell of it. They had faced terrible creatures, horrible trolls and Magnavox the Wizard's insistence that he try out some of the "ethnic food" while they were here, but their journey was almost, finally, over.

Yugtaf took a deep breath, steeled himself for glorious battle, and then kicked the door's shit in.

The wizard was tucked away in his workspace. Surrounded on three sides by a cluttered L-shaped desk and a haphazard row of shelving which seemed to be designed to annoy people who wanted things on it, and almost entirely enclosed on the fourth by an orange bed which smelled like a chimpanzee that knew how to keep itself clean, he was an easy target.

The wizard started and turned to face them, the glow of too many computer monitors reflecting off his glasses.

"What the shit?"

"Ettin!" Yugtaf bellowed. "Update your blog!"

Ettin stared. His face was clean-shaven - left unattended, his face swiftly sprouted a crop of hair which made him look like a Greyhawk fan twenty years older - but in that anime t-shirt, he clearly wasn't expecting company. After a few moments to collect himself, he reached up and took his glasses off his face dramatically.

"What the fuck are you guys doing here?"

Xufwyp the rogue (okay, his player) placed himself in the corner gap between bed and desk, sealing off the escape route. He was not particularly intimidating, as such, but he looked a little like Stephen Fry and Ettin stayed where he was out of respect.

"You haven't updated it since the ENnies!" he said.

Yugtaf nodded. "And you never finished your series on Worldbuilding, or annoying your DM! Or player. Which is it?"

"Both," Ettin said, sliding the glasses back on his face. Taking them off was a stupid idea. Years of Nintendo 64 as a child had rendered his eyes incapable of registering anything on their own except that he existed in a place and there were colours. "Sorry, sorry. I've been a bit busy..."

Yugtaf leaned over to look at the monitors. On one, a library of incomplete Steam games was taunting all who laid eyes on them. On the other, hastily tabbed to over some weird French pornography, sat an almost-complete novel draft.

"Wait, is this why you assholes weren't here for the game yesterday?" Ettin demanded.

Yugtaf ignored that. "Dude! Have you been playing Deus Ex this entire time? Christ!"

"No! I've had work. And other things. Plenty other things. How did you even get past the drop-bears?"

"Well, drop whatever you're doing right now and sit down and make a post," Xufwyp said.

"Yeah," Magnavox said through a mouthful of burger. Australia was blowing his mind. "So you guys have Burger King, except you call it Hungry Jack's?"

Ettin ignored that. "Fine, but what the fuck am I supposed to write about?"

"Worldbuilding," Yugtaf suggested.

Ettin sighed and leaned back against a pile of wires and discarded computer accessories that might have had a shelf underneath it. "Ben, nobody gives a shit about published WotC settings. Who's going to care about Otherworld?"

"Hey, fuck you, Eberron is awesome!" Yugtaf Ben protested.

Magnavox swallowed. "What about posts where you're really angry about something?"

Ettin gave Magnavox a look he normally reserved for child molesters and people who talked in the cinema.

"Yeah," he said, "that sounds great, Darryl. That's always popular! I could call myself The Angry Game Master or Doctor Rage, or something, and write a little subtitle about how I'm oh so crazy! Or spunky. Or edgy, or that I have an attitude. I don't know which sounds sexier. And you'll know I'm edgy or whatever, because I say fuck and say I'm edgy, right there on my blog. That sounds so original and interesting!"

Magnavox Darryl frowned, but decided not to note the irony.

"It's not, really," Ettin added. "It's a stupid idea. For dumb babies."

"Well, what about grognards?" he suggested. "People being wrong about tabletop games, and women. And you were doing a good job pretending to hate Pathfinder. That was funny."

Xufwyp Kyle nodded in agreement. "Remember when James Desborough was mad at you because you posted about some wannabe rapist he knew? That was great!"

Ettin pinched the bridge of his nose. "I could just link people to grognards.txt, you know. Anyway, finding nerds who are wrong about tabletop games or hate women on the Internet is like trying to find your own feet, and also you're Bigfoot."

"Yeah, but if you post about that yourself, maybe people will be mad at you," Darryl continued.

Ettin shrugged. "So what? People who are mad on the Internet are a dime a bitcoin."

Darryl shrugged back.

"Maybe you could turn it around," Kyle suggested. "Pretend you hate 4E, and write long posts about "4e zealots", or how Pathfinder is outselling it even though nobody has actual sales figures to prove it either way, or..." he floundered.

Ravioli the sorceress called out from Ettin's lounge, where she was seeing what Australian TV looked like. It was mostly imported American shows and slice-of-life dramas in funny accents. "Make up some bullshit words and write essays about them!"

Kyle nodded. "Actually, that sounds good! Pick some really old edition of D&D and write about how you didn't like anything after it and you're scared of change, only use words like "realism" and "verisimilitude" instead of actually saying it. People eat that shit up!"

Ettin opened his mouth. Darryl interrupted. "And you could make up words! Like "disassociated mechanics". That was a great one. That got a whole essay, and it doesn't even make sense."

"Or "storygame"," Ben suggested, prodding the walls with his axe as he searched for secret doors. "Just make up a word for games you don't like and get really mad if people call you out on it."

"GNS Theory!" Ravioli changed the channel. "Write about narritavist gameplay!"

Ettin finally threw up his hands. "GNS theory is a stupid idea which was shoehorned into game design so people could swap psuedo-intellectual horseshit with each other instead of actually having a discussion that makes any sense!"

Ben clapped him on the shoulder. "So write about that! See, I knew you could do it!"

Steve nodded. "Focus that rage, Ettin! Have an opinion on the Internet!"

Ettin thought about it, and slapped the table. "Yeah... yeah! I'm gonna do it! I'm gonna write about my opinion like it's objective fact! I'm mad! On the Internet!"

Darryl pressed a button, and his smartphone started playing Eye of the Tiger.

Ettin adjusted his glasses, the glow of the monitors reflecting menacingly, and got to work.

Yugtaf nodded, and they filed out of the room. The campaign was over. Their adventure was a success.

Ravioli had found their reward in the lounge. A locked wooden chest, containing a holy avenger, a golem manual, australian, a robe of the archmagi and an amulet of the planes.

Yugtaf smiled. Now they could skip the flight back to America.


Fluffums said...

I for one enjoy hearing about the Otherworld setting and how it was created.

Ettin said...

I don't!


Jenx said...

I'd love to read something about GNS theory. The whole thing seems completely pointless to me, but I do admit I haven't spent that much time looking into it.

Also, just to be "that guy" I wouldn't mind having comics in the posts now and then again. They were fun.

Ettin said...

I probably should. I'm not as busy these days and I have a scanner that totally works.

I'll give it a shot!

The Littlest Arsegoblin said...

Ettin, you glorious shit! I haven't slept all night and I am furious and/or sexually frustrated in general as well as by this turn of events! Why do you tempt our primitive thinkbones with such text!?

And on that note, I support all the things mentioned here. Except when they shouldn't be supported and instead actively pushed over. Also, I desire knowledge of this alluded-to novel! My rats demand it, and my rats are horrible and wise!

Ettin said...

I am writing a book! It is unrelated to D&D and I fully expect to need years of hard work to actually be an author.

That's about it really!