By Winnie Jerome
His dreams seem to come true when he meets Cain -- a hotter-than-hell bonafide gamer. Sparks fly between them, but Cain is hiding something from Blake, something even worse than liking the character creation phase in Rolemaster.
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Here's an extended version of the beginning of the game that Blake's in:
Steve began to set the scene for the game. “Your characters wake up manacled in a windowless room. Each of you has metal cuffs secured by a padlock on to your wrists and a length of chain running from your restraints holds you to the wall. You can't remember anything about yourself, not even your name. I'm going to go around the table and I want each of you to read off the description on your character sheet.”
Cain said, “My character is a fair-haired elf dressed in light traveling leathers. His hair cascades down to his shoulders and he appears to be weaponless.”
Blake said, “Steve, do we even remember what an elf is?”
Steve nodded. Blake said, “My character is a very muscular, tall woman dressed in chain mail and a cloak secured with a brooch. She has very short hair and has a proud air about her.”
The rest of the party read off their descriptions and then Steve said, “What do you want to do next?”
“I'd like to try getting out of these fuckers,” Blake said. “I yank as hard as I can. Does anything happen?”
He heard Steve rolling a die behind the screen. “Yes, you actually distort one of the links in the chain. You're quite strong.”
“I must be a warrior, then.”
“Very good, my lady,” Cain replied. “I will attempt the same.”
Steve said, “Brute strength doesn't seem to work. You don't bend anything. However, the heavy manacles feel clumsy and loose to you.”
“May I try to contort my body so that I can slip free?” Cain asked.
The bounce of a die sounded. “No problem.”
“I think we have a rogue here,” Gene said.
The rest of the party tried to get free, but they weren't successful, not even the dwarf. This puzzled everyone, since dwarves were primarily warriors. Cain's character patted himself down and found a small length of metal hidden in his hair that could be used as a lock-pick. While he freed the rest of the party, Blake had his warrior practice swinging the chain she had broken. No one appeared to have weapons, so she needed whatever help she could get.
Since it was too confusing to go without names, everyone decided to adopt a random one. Cain named his elf “Elessan”, while Blake named his warrior “Brunhilde”.
The other four prisoners tried to test their limberness, but none of them stood out. Blake wondered if they were spell-casters or just characters with average stats. He glanced at his sheet and looked at the “personality traits” area. The first one listed was “brutally honest”.
Blake said, “Well, the rest of you are pretty wimpy which means you're cannon fodder. I'll take point and Elessan can bring up the rear. Everyone else stays in the middle.”
He tried not to cringe at his modern speech. He always sucked at delivering lines in character, not like Cain.