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Dungeon master a tough job

June 8, 2013
By SUMMER WALLACE-MINGER - Staff writer (swallace@pafocus.com) , The Herald-Star

The national media is telling me geek is chic. I suppose it's a good thing, since my son, the Little Professor, is enchanted with all things geeky, although he's indifferent to public approval. Most recently, he's become enamoured with "Dungeons and Dragons" - to my wallet's great misfortune.

"Dungeons and Dragons" is not an inexpensive proposition. You need six different guides full of statistics and twice as many dice. (This game has a lot of numbers.) That's a lot of money, but he was so enthusiastic and did so many chores to earn money toward them, I couldn't say no.

The Weirton Book Co. staff was awesome, helping the Little Professor choose his purchases, especially when I was vague.

"It's the 'Hall of the Dragon thingie'? Dragon king? I don't know. There's a guy throwing fire balls on the box. I think. Maybe he's on fire?"

(The Professor also gives their comic book collection a big thumbs up.)

Once he'd collected everything he needed to launch a quest, all he needed was players. I made the executive decision the entire family would play, because I had spent too much money for it to collect dust.

We needed a dungeon master, but no one wanted to do it. Since no one wanted to do it, Mom ended up with the job. It involves a lot of math. I am not good at math. I need a notebook and a calculator. The Long Suffering Husband finds my long pauses to calculate hit points hilarious.

Among the annuals of dungeon masters, I am probably the very worst. Everything takes twice as long as it should, as I page through several different books to figure out whether a fire ball spell can burn the lich king up.

I am amazingly bad at ad-libbing dialogue for the non-player characters. You're given "guidelines," and ad-libbing is supposed to be the fun part.

Like the time Sassy Saint's halfing rogue Cheesecake de Courfeyrac was trying to convince some shop owners to give her information about la resistance and decided to buy something to butter them up.

"What do you have?" she asked.

"Um ...." I flipped through the books, panicking and stalling for time. There wasn't a list for items that could be purchased at that shop.

"Um, you can buy ... Excellent Socks!" I had no idea what they were; I was making it up.

"How much?" she said.

"Um, one gold." This was a ridiculous amount for socks.

"I will take one pair of Excellent Socks."

"Um, OK, they sold you a pair of Excellent Socks."

"What do they do?" the LSH wondered.

He would ask that.

"They keep your feet warm!"

"I was just wondering if they were magic or something," he said. "That's a lot for socks."

"They're not just socks, they're Excellent Socks," I explained.

"They, um, last a really long time and you don't get blisters or anything. So they're excellent."

Worst. Dungeon master. Ever.

(Wallace-Minger, a Weirton resident, is the community editor of The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at swallace@pafocus.com.)

 
 

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