Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Competent

To celebrate finishing my Competent Communicator at Toastmasters last night, here is my fifth speech. It was a character story. ;) I ended the speech by handing out Jolly's "Get Out of Character Story Free" Monopoly cards. ^^


Tale of the Golden Dragon

You may recall from my previous speeches that a role-playing game is like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. A scenario is presented to the players and they decide what to do. Role-playing games are fun because you get to hang out with your friends, make up crazy stories, and go out for beer afterward—just like Toastmasters meetings!

An important tradition among HackMaster players is the telling of the tale. Sometimes, this is called a character story. When my story is over, I’ll share a trick for getting out of them in the future. First, you have to listen to mine because I need credit for this speech project. J  

Our characters were recruited by the city guard to investigate strange things happening in the countryside. We were to allow ourselves to be captured and sold into slavery. Normally, your character goes into a game locked and loaded. You take: a long sword, a short sword, dagger, bow, arrows, backup dagger, and a shiv if something goes wrong—and that’s just in your right boot. You also have some armor and a backpack stuffed with magic items. On this quest, we had to leave it all behind and pretend to be poor pathetic villagers. The magic user couldn’t even take his the things he needed to cast his spells. Just in case, he swallowed some eye of newt and toe of frog. EW! (shiver)

Our task was to infiltrate the slave traders’ base. We broke out of our cell by crawling through a dark and scary tunnel. The magic user found some spider web in the tunnel and kept it since he could use it for a spell. That is what we decided our characters did for the rest of the day. We investigated the slave traders’ lair and looted the stuffing out of it, taking all kinds of weapons and armor and clothing—since we arrived barefoot and dressed in rags.

Thus armed and armored, we discovered that the mastermind of this little operation was an evil dragon.

This was the first time I got to fight a dragon in a game. It’s a very big deal to fight a dragon. They are big and smart, have better weapons and magic spells than your wimpy little character, and they do not like being meddled with.

All of the numbers associated with dragons are big. That’s how you know what your player character can do—numbers are assigned to selected abilities and skills to simulate the abilities of a real person. For example, your character’s strength is assigned a number 1-18 with 18 being Ah-nold level ability to pump iron.

A dragon can have a strength score of Walker Texas Ranger and Superman put together.
The evil red dragon captured a good gold dragon and her eggs with the intention of turning her future hatchlings evil. The gold dragon did not like him at all—he was very evil, even for a red dragon. (Red dragons are jerks.)

Once we knew that a dragon was in charge, we had a choice of fighting it or running away. Like the brave—and stupid—heroes we were, we decided to fight the dragon. If it won, all kinds of evil things would happen to the country. We sent one party member back to base to warn the city in the likely event we became dragon barbeque. The rest of us took a shot of courage and marched to our certain deaths.

My character was a cleric called Elara. Her job was to keep the rest of our party alive. She could lay hands on an injured person and heal any wounds he took in battle. This was very important because everyone got hurt…a lot. The red dragon put up a big fight. We knew if we went toe-to-toe with this creature, all of us were going to be crispy critters. Yes, fantasy dragons do in fact breathe fire!

That’s when we decided to let the dragons sort it out. The gold dragon was at the other side of the cavern. Two brave adventurers distracted the red dragon while the rest of us ran over and released her from her chains. She was so grateful that she did not eat us! Instead, she fell upon her evil red dragon captor in a flurry of teeth, wings, claws, and fire… Joe reenacted this with a couple of dragon action figures. It’s okay to act like a five year old in this kind of situation.

The gold dragon won! We got out of there in a hurry and raced back to town where there was much rejoicing and toasting of our success.

This was the most memorable game I played in because of that final battle. Knowing it was a game, a simulation unfolding by the results on the dice and the decisions we made for a team of fictional characters, we could immerse ourselves in the story like little kids. I could “see” the cavern and the two enormous dragons ready to duke it out. I "saw" how scared my friends were that we might not make it, but how determined we all were to try. In the final moments, everyone was standing around the table, breathless with anticipation to see who would prevail.

Then we went to Red Robin and celebrated with giant hamburgers and strawberry lemonade because we were in Utah!

Gamers love to tell stories like this. It is pretty hard to stop us, especially when we have a captive audience.
If you did not like my story, here are some “Get out of character story free” cards you may use in the future. Now you know three things about role-playing games. Adventure can happen in your imagination, it is fun to tell crazy stories, and character stories are long. Take the cards. You’ll thank me later. ;)