No, What You Said About Kelly Has Not Affected My Dungeon-Mastering, And Yes, 50 Dragons Just Appeared In The Tavern

Tim Sniffen
Mar 20, 2019 · 3 min read

Where did we leave off? Last week the party was asking around to learn what happened in the abandoned mine on the edge of town. A rough-looking bard sitting by the fire said he might remember the tale, for the right price. The ranger was about to roll and try to persuade him.

Don’t worry about any of that because fifty dragons just appeared in the tavern.

You’re right — that is unlikely. It’s a real surprise, like, I don’t know, finding out the people you’ve spent every weekend with for the last ten years called your new girlfriend “a penis-devouring harpy.” That was also a surprise. Anyway, the dragons attack and none of you have weapons drawn so they get first initiative.

How can fifty dragons even fit in here? Great question, Greg. The dragons attack you first.

Upon closer inspection, you see the tavern walls have a shimmering, translucent quality. Once identified, the illusion vanishes, revealing an enormous cave with ample headspace, a detail you admire while being hit with fifty fireballs. You take two thousand points of damage and die.

No more questions? Great.

Okay, the wizard wants to cast Sphere of Protection. A ring of light begins to form around the party… sputters… and fades. Torchlight reveals glyphs on the cavern wall that suppress all spellcasting and magical items — a reminder of the things from which we cannot be protected, like the venomous words of people who two months ago said, “Get back out there, we hate seeing you so lonely!” but neglected to add “Should this new companion fail to meet our impossible standards, we’ll eviscerate her like a pack of jealous were-boars!”

Also, a spell of that magnitude has a one-in-five-hundred chance of shattering your staff, which it does. Do not reach for the Player’s Handbook, Dale, you know it can. The staff contained your lifeforce so you fall into a coma.

The ranger and paladin combine their attacks and aim for a dragon’s underbelly? — got it. The dragon blocks this without even trying and uses its counter-attack to crush you both. I should add, the dragon really appreciates you attacking it directly, rather than launching a whisper campaign against those closest to it.

The druid wants to befriend the dragons? Wow, just — wow. This actually does some damage, as several dragons laugh themselves to death at the idea of you “befriending” anyone, Colleen. The remaining dragons, ears ringing with the comment “Is there a saving throw against Yoko Ono?” lunge forward and eat you.

That leaves the cleric.

You’re going to pray for a divine miracle? You know what, sure, your prayer is answered. A glowing figure descends through the ceiling and the dragons flee in terror. Blinding light around the deity recedes and you discern the form of an all-powerful angel, a creature who never said a bad word against any of you, someone who was actually excited to meet this group of dumbasses, if that can be believed. The angel looks on you with pity and whispers, “Next time you shit-talk someone at Buffalo Wild Wings, make sure the next booth isn’t filled with their friends from Coding Camp,” then shoots lightning from her fingers until you explode in a smoking cloud of terrible choices.

That’s it. The party is dead.

Yes, Dale, yes you are, a dragon stepped on your comatose body when it ran away. Looks like I’ll have time for dinner with Kelly’s family after all.

I’ll leave you to think about what just happened. For what it’s worth, a 28th level necromancer is wandering past the cavern right now. Wouldn’t it be awesome if they found the secret entrance?

Oh, one item remains on the field of battle. A slip of parchment, much like the one I’m placing on the table, inscribed with a row of curious sigils. They appear to be Kelly’s phone number.

What happens next, adventurers, is up to you.


Written by

Writing: Work In Progress on Showtime, The New Yorker, NPR’s Live From Here, Hello From The Magic Tavern, McSweeney’s, Jackbox Games | Twitter @MisterSniffen

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