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(TFT) Before the ban

Before the ban

   Before the ban, Darryls` house always smells of sweet incense.  It always
has a whispering silence like secrets are crouched hiding in each of the
shaded and dim rooms.  In the living room there is an ``L`` shaped wet bar
with three leather backed stools along one side and a sink and cabinets under
the other.  Mark, Darryl and I go to the kitchen and make tall mugs of iced
tea in pewter goblets.  These pewter framed drinking vessels also have glass
bottoms.  We each have our own favorite one, and they stay cold cold longer.
That and they look medieval.

   I sit at the end of the bar and set up my Dungeon Masters screen and notes.
Darryl or Mark will play a record from David Ash`s collection in the living
room; ``Peaches & Cream,`` ``Little River Band,``  ``Jim Croce,`` ``Cat
Stevens,`` or our favorite ``Queen.``  Marsha`s two huge grey cats would come
visit us up on the bar sometimes during games.  Their names are Smokey and
Hash.  One hops up and pushes his jaw line against a hand, or with a nudge
insist that you recognize the top of their head and it`s obvious connection to
the back of their ears.

   We make a rule that any miniature that they knock down has to be played as
it lay.  Though it rarely happens.  One will nimbly walk across a battle set
up and show interest in a dice.  But most of the time they are content to
sleep in the cover of a couch or in a mound of blanket on the seat of a
reclining chair.  They will take turns making sure one of them is always in
the room with us.

   ``Ok, you set up camp.  Who stands guard.``

   ``I do.``  Says Mark.

   I roll dice, dice, and more dice.  ``During the night you hear a sound.``

   Mark sits forward and picks up a twenty sided.

   I make a sound like an owl.  `` `Who . . Who.`  There is a giant owl in a
tree watching you.``  I make my neck stiff and move my head like it is part of
my shoulders so I have to swivel my bar seat to the right to look right, and
to the left to look left.  ``Who . . Who.``  I open my eyes real wide, lean
back in my seat and look down my nose at him.  I`m trying not to laugh.

   Mark puts down his twenty sided.

   Darryl sighs and throws a six sided at Mark.  It bounces off, hits the wall
and slides to the floor.  ``Wake me up man.``

   Mark slides out of his chair and goes down to the floor after the Die.  ``I
wake him up.``  He stands up with the six sided.

   ``Lets see.  What do owls eat.``  Darrel picks up his sheet.  ``Iron
rations?  Wine?``  He looks at me  ``Crackers?``

   I respond with wide round eyes and ``Who . . who.``

   Mark hold the six sided between his index and thumb.  Behind Darryl`s head
he raises and lowers the dice two times.  The third time he bounces the dice
squarely off the back of Darryl`s head and it bounces high into the air.

    Darryl swivels to Mark and does his impersonation of Stooge Curley ``Oh,
wise guy eh.``

   Mark shows Darryl the hand that says `not right now,` and turns that hand
into a pistol pointed at me.  ``I give the owl some rations.``

   Siff body and neck I lean forward on the left side of my full color
Trampier Dungeon Masters Screen and make lip smaking sounds like I am eating
crumbs off the top of the bar.

   ``Timp, timp . . . timp, timp, timp.``  I straighten up with a tight lipped
smile.  Then I drop out of character and lean behind the screen reading out
information like a news caster.  ``A Giant owl was contacted this day, it is
neutral good, has four hit dice, and sources indicate that it may have up to
twenty hit points.``  Mark starts writing on his sheet.

   I take up my pencil and make a note.  ``The next day . . .``  I roll dice,
dice, and more dice.  `` You encounter a girl in the woods wearing chain and
armed with a mace.``

   Smokey jumps up onto the bar.  Darryl absently passes his hand down
Smokey`s back while the cat moves towards the DM.  ``A goy_el eh.``

   Mark says ``I slap her!``  he grins evilly.  ``I make her my slave.``

   Smokey scratches the jaw line of his cheek one the top corner of my DM
screen.  ``Uh . . . ummm.``  I reach for my Dungeon Masters Guide.  Start
flipping pages, its in here somewhere.  ``Slaves . . . slaves, um.``

   ``Yeah!  I slap her again.  Submit wench!  Submit!``

   Smokey turns around and raises his tail.

   I`m still turning pages but a little slower now.  Darryl cocks his head.
Mark falls silent and looks at Smokey doubtful.

   Smokey`s butt is aimed at the screen and his tail starts to quiver.

   ``Oh . . . my . . . G . . .``  Darryl starts to say.

   I dive out of my bar seat to the floor.

   Smokey sprays my DM screen.  It is blown down and now marked.  His
territory.  Mark reaches for Smokey who deftly leaps away.

   I get up.  Pick up the screen by its remaining dry corner and lift it.  It
sags from dampness.

   ``Ewww, oh man.``  Says Darryl.

   ``Smokey thinks your adventure sucks Mike.``  Adds Mark.

   With certainty I say ``This screen saved my life.``

David Michael Grouchy II
You live life beyond your PC. So now Windows goes beyond your PC.
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