Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I had the strangest dream today...

I had the strangest dream today. I dreamed that I had re-enlisted for some reason. Discipline in our platoon was extremely lax during training. Our drill sergeant was a drunken Russian who kept saying we don’t have to train because we’re Odin’s chosen. We laughed at this stupidity but didn’t object because it left us time to read, play D&D, steal from the warehouse and generally goof around. Then, one guy slipped and spilled orange juice on a big screen at a shekem store and the TV buzzed and turned down. After a few second the image of Odin, looking inked on ancient parchment, appeared on it and urged us to honor him for we are indeed his chosen. Then Thor appeared and confirmed this and added that he will be watching over us as well. After this brief message, the TV fell down and shattered on the floor. We were all shocked and couldn’t decided if it was a freak occurrence, the smartest trick ever played, or if Odin really talked to us. The entire base was a-roar, officers were speechless and the Rabbi of the base was frothing at the mouth with anger.

I should really get a new night cap...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Being the 0.004%

I don't usually play computer games, but when I do, I play games that stopped working on my PC about a decade ago. This three day orgy of red-eyed gaming left me with a profound understanding of the late King Kalak. So...

I have finished Master of Magic and can now become a productive member of society again. I wanted to rule the races of the two worlds as a benevolent sorcerer-King, but they kept supporting other wizards, so I killed them all and burned their beautiful cities to the ground. Yes, to feed my insane quest for magical power, I had carried out the genocide of more than a million dark elves, draconians, humans, halflings and orcs. Not even my most loyal subjects were spared. By the time I finished, the civilian population of the world numbered 176 dark elves, who are now extraordinarily rich since the wealth of millions was divided between them. Just to make my crimes even more audacious and self-centered, I will assume all these elves are employed in the entertainment industry, are hot chicks or, better yet, both.

My four horsemen of the apocalypse about to obliterate the keep of yet another wizard. None were spared.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Studies in Underage Vampirism #2

As previously stated, the game we normally run in schools is 4e D&D (orders from above), but one day only half the group of Crimson School (real name!) showed up, so I decided to challenge them with some Vampire. They loved it. So, being the considerate and magnanimous storyteller that I am, I decided to indulge them with another Vampire session. Just like last week, I told the kids that there are no limitations in this game, everything they want to do, I allow. However, consequences would be more dire than in your average game of D&D.

This is how it went:

After the PCs passed the first test, they were told to wait until Mr. Madjerovsky and Ms. Isabel contacted them again. Being immortal and quite ancient, it took the pair more than a year to come up with a test. A year is nothing for an elder, but an eternity for a child. I asked each kid what his vampire did in this period. I regret to say, that with the exception of two kids who said they steal blood from the blood bank and play games on their iPhones, the rest of the kids were quite beastly about it. They abused their disciplines to the max, using Dominate and Presence to lure people into abandoned houses and bleed them dry. One kid, who was lucky enough to get Koldunism (a form of elemental magic) said he sets houses and cars on fire for fun. I blame GTA.

Sorry, we forgot to clean the "living" room...
Art by Kare3078

Amusingly, since I told kids the Community gave them a generous pension until their next test, some kids went into great detail describing what gadgets and appliances they purchase. This included such gross expressions of gross consumerism as:

“Let’s buy a Mercedes!”

“What are you, poor?! Let’s buy a Ferrari!”

“But none of you can drive...”

“Yeah, but we can dominate adults, no?”

“Ferrari! I wanted a Lamborghini!”

And so it went... I suspect that if I didn’t interrupt them, they would have enjoyed spending the whole session making a multi-million purchase list. Ah, youth!

In any case, because this behavior (the careless killing, not the shopping) was deemed unacceptable by the powers that be, the second test was a harsh one. One day, Mr. Madjerovsky came to visit and found something that looked like a scene from a horror movie, with a bunch of feral creatures barely recognizable as the cute kids they were last year feeding on a stunned hot dog vendor right in the middle of their living room.

“You fools!” the old man shouted, shattering windows and causing doors and windows to shut and bolt. “I tell you to keep a low profile and you start treating unlife like it’s a video game?! You are not predators, you are idiots! So here is a test for you. One of you is weak and stupid, more beast than person, cull him! Decide which one of you is the most useless and kill him, then come to me. Should all seven of you leave the house, you will all be destroyed!”

Last time Madjerovsky saw the sun, this was the latest fashion...

Amazingly, what I imagined would lead to difficult social dilemmas and bitter arguments, was solved in second.

“Oo! Oo! Do me! I volunteer!” One boy shouted enthusiastically.

“No, I want to do this!” Another kid selflessly offered himself.

“What? Why are you so eager to die?” I asked, quite dumbfounded.

“Well, this is for the good of the group, right? And you said players shouldn’t be selfish.”

Grrr... I knew I should have made this a Sabbat game. All these years of D&D had produced a right proper pack mentality. Oh well.

Next came the actual killing, which turned out to be a bit of a challenge, since none of the players had any idea how to kill a vampire. Exchanges like, “Do we have a silver knife?” “No you idiot, this is for werewolves!” were quite common. One boy kept feebly suggesting they should just wait for the sunrise, but the rest of the group ignored him as they indulged themselves with increasingly horrid things they could do to the doomed vampire without killing it. The player of the doomed vampire, meanwhile, was overjoyed from being the center of attention.

Eventually, one kid remembered vampires should be decapitated and the whole gang cheerfully went to Mr. Madjerovsky, who waited outside in a black Lincoln (“what?! Why not Rolls Royce?!”) and announced they were ready for their next test.

“You truly are beasts!” the old man exclaimed, perhaps proudly and perhaps disappointedly, and then added, “but perhaps it would aid you in your next test...”

The group hopped into the car and drove to a spot in the desert where a circle of crates and a number of strangers waited for them. The strangers were all adults or teenagers, ranging from a nerdy looking accountant to a hardcore punk couple. The crates were marked, “DO OPEN.”

What would YOU place inside?

“Gentlemen, this is quite simple,” the old vampire said after everyone assumed positions between the crates. “These crates contain gifts. Anything you pick up, you can keep. However, the winner is not the one who ends up with the most toys. The winner is the one who rescues the damsel in distress over there.”

At this point the group heard Isabel say, “Help, help” ineffectually as she sat on a bench about a mile away and listened to mp3 on her mobile.

“Any questions?”

“Yes. Can we kill the other guys?”

“Of course, and so can they.”

“Are some of the crates trapped?”

“Is a trap not also a gift? Do you question my generosity?”

“I suppose it is... Com’on let’s start!”

At this point, we sadly had to end the session.

So, the last test is next week. Any ideas for cool things to put in the crates? Any fun “surprises” to put on the way to the rather undistressed damsel? Any ideas for a grand finale for this three session vampire adventure?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Hunters vs. The Phantom Lover

What a glorious Hunter session! The setting is a misty English mansion owned by what Tywin Lannister would have been if he lived today and had business interests from Morocco to Japan. His niece, a grieving war widow, finds solace in the hands of a mysterious spirit of the dark. Seeking to rescue her from the clutches of the entity, our heroes enter a battle of wits with the influenced girl and the alien being. But are they fighting because they want to save the girl, or because they are addicted to fighting anything supernatural?

Find out in the next installments of Uri's game!

Spot what's wrong with this picture :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Celebrating the Death of Man

The most popular artifact among my school groups this year is something I improvised on the spot. One group botched a teleport roll and ended up in the city of Mavet Rav. There, they met a vampire witch named Valery who said she will help them get back home if they supplied her with the components needed to perform this ritual. It was funny to watch the confusion as the kids tried to join three oxymoronic facts – the woman is a witch with a cauldron and a pointy hat BUT she’s young and handsome BUT she’s an undead monster with ulterior motives.

Anyhow, the three components were: A book titled Celebration of the Death of Man, a goo called The Vilest of Worms, and someone who really wants to see the sun again.

Now the book turned out to be a hefty tome of somber black leather and stained parchment sheets that tell you about all the deaths that occurred nearby from the most recent to the earliest. The descriptions are usually ironic and unsympathetic, for example:

The Paladin Tourjiman was a great man who wished to rid the world of sin. His last thought was, “I wish I experienced a little bit of sin...”

Little Annie was lost in the wilderness and wondered if there was anything to eat there. There was – her.

The brave rogue’s last thought was, “it’s a shame I can’t fly.”

And so forth.

Three things that never meet do here unite...
Ary by Trixis

It’s been a good five sessions since they found the blasted tome, and the kids still walk with the book open all time and demand to hear what the book says. They call it the "Stand Up Book." They even laugh heartily at quotes like:

Young Elfari’s father worked day and night to find a cure to the plague. He found it one day after his son died.

Marfima was spared the outrage of divorce by her husband, who soon joined her on the other side because her ghost was quite unbearable...

Rorisian just wanted a sip of refreshing juice. Such a shame his mom confused the labels... 

So far they only used it for kicks. No one considered using it to solve crimes...
Also, in case you wonder - yes, the title of the book was inspired by Agalloch.

The Epic Story of How We Shot Our First Movie

Last weekend was the bomb.

I spent the first few hours of the 27th year of my life detained in a police station. I had a tackle with the Border Patrol. I spent 20 hours working on a film (God, please let it be good!) and driving from Ramat Hasharon to the Good Samaritan, to Jerusalem, to Tel Aviv, to Ramat Gan to some place that only exists in dreams, to... yes, it’s possible I fell asleep on the way a time or two. Sue me. I found an unmarked Nabataean fort in the desert. I created a new religion based on fighting the Getreur inside every one of us... and became its first apostate. I ate a hamburger the size of my head at sunrise. Why? Because it’s the breakfast of champions. That’s why!

Listen now – this is my story.

It all began with a decision to shoot a short film for Israeli Storyteller, but got much, MUCH more than what we bargained for. Since criminal charges might be involved, I will replace the names of the participants with nicknames reflective of their personalities. Our heroes are thus:

Good Guys
The Director, a director
The Bon Vivant, an actor
The Caretaker, also an actor
The Curmudgeon, a producer
The Girl with No Name, an actress
Igor, a handyman, bringer of beer, mememaster, etc...

Bad Guys
Border Patrol, limiters of free movement, free will and free enterprise
Jerusalem Police, purveyors of injustice and oppression
God, a sadistic SOB with a mean sense of humor
Getruer, an evil inclination present in all

Ugly Guys
Yo mama


This bottle is a major plot device (in film and real life)

The Preparation
It was decreed that my Levantine Fantasy project is in a dire need of a movie. Also, a movie was decreed to be a fun way to spend the weekend. Also, the weekend happened to be my birthday, which is always a good excuse to drag my friends into strange places to do strange things. Also, I have friends who never say no to anything, except to constructive and socially acceptable activities.

The Director and I created a script and a list of equipment, ignored it for two weeks, got utterly hysterical two days before the scheduled shooting, let the actors know their roles late in the night before the shooting, and got about half of the props we needed for the film, but twice the equipment, both in quality and in quantity. Seriously, the boomstick we got (a big microphone, not a comically misnamed shotgun) could hear a person breathing a few meters away and a person whispering thirty meters away. I’d never felt as alive as when it was on me. I’d never felt alive since we returned it to the warehouse.

On the morning before we left, the Director said that everything that could go wrong, would go wrong during the shooting. He was wrong. Many things that couldn’t go wrong still went wrong.

Waiting for the storm... and the latecomers!

The Trip
Since our car was stuffed to the point of looking bloated (like, cartoon level of bloated) with props, equipment, firewood and people, we were all too happy when our Igor suggested volunteering his car for the trip. We divided the people between cars and agreed to meet on a hill about 15 kilometers from Jerusalem about an hour before sunrise.

My car arrived more or less in time, without any incidents, and we immediately started breaking the firewood (by getting shirtless and hitting them with large rocks – the manly way) and setting the scene. The second car, however, started its adventure early. You see, since the people of the car (curses be upon them) didn’t find the hill I mentioned on the GPS (for a reason that will become clear later) they decided to punch in the nearest town... which was 120 kilometers away. Fortunately, I discovered their mistake only after they drove in the wrong direction for half an hour and directed them to our location manually.

En route, they entered every single Jewish or Palestinian town, not unlike a CRPG character clearing a dungeon, the dungeon in that case being my nerves. The coup de grace came when they, after spending almost three hours driving a distance of about 50 kilometers, had finally appeared over the horizon, racing the sun to make it in time. They reached our hill just as the sun kissed the mountains... and turned back.

You see, a person who will not be named, but at whom a very accusing finger will be pointed, had to pee. Being a civilized person, they needed a gas station. So they turned back and drove to a gas station about a ten minutes’ drive away.


On the plus side, when they did arrive, it looked pretty cool...

Shooting #1
Because we missed the sun, we decided to stay until sunrise and do the light scenes then. The Director lives only 20 kilometers from the hill, so we could spend the night in his place.

The shooting actually went very well. I was in charge of sound, Igor of lightning and the Director of *gasp* direction and shooting. The Bon Vivant and the Caretaker are both experienced roleplayers so they stayed in-character even between scenes and actually made some very cool additions to the story as they lived it for the night. The Girl With no Name was great sport and grudgingly agreed to stay with us until morning. Plus, she looked positively radiant in her Clint Eastwood costume (at this point you wonder WTF) and proved to be perfect for her role.

Igor brought copious amounts of beer. Happy b-day wishes started pouring in at like 00:00:01. Even my mom called and made some remarks about me being an irresponsible idiot and whatnot. I mean, the night was going swell!

At about 2 AM I was drunk like a bear, we finished shooting the night scenes, and we were ready for our break. I let the Caretaker drive because the world kept doing these funny bouncing motions. I was a responsible, law-abiding citizen... and was going to pay the price for it.

Responsible, law-abiding citizen... yeah, right.

The Break
We came to the Director’s home, hungry like wolves, and started considering how to spend four hours until sunrise. His DVD wasn’t working, we didn’t have the presence of mind to play (or make coherent sentences) the Girl With No Name fell asleep, boots, hat and all in the Director’s room, cutting us from the computer. The Caretaker was snoring in a manner reminiscent of a jet engine used to crush rocks and was generally not a pretty thing to behold.

We decided to go out. Now, Jerusalem by Night is an awesome place. What’s less awesome are its entertainment and food prospects. Let’s face it; Jerusalem is no Tel Aviv, if anything is open on the weekend it’s too expensive, it sucks, or both. Darting from one place to another, we ran into the police.

The Bon Vivant had a joint and I had a knife.


The Prison
Not really. We were only detained for questioning. While waiting for the investigator to come and investigate our sorry asses, we enjoyed the company of an utterly stoned dude who kept assaulting the police officers, at one point punching a hole through the wall with his head. There were also two black people who kept complaining about how ALL white people are racists. The irony of this statement, it seems, sadly went over their heads.

A curious thing I noticed was that most cops spoke Arabic, which probably implies that Israel is not as much an apartheid state as the Western media would like you to believe. When the cops weren’t paying attention, the Bon Vivant and I talked Russian. The Ethiopians, seeing no one listened to them, moved to Amharic. In short, it was a right proper Tower of Babel.

Eventually, the investigator graced us with his presence, asked some moronic questions, ignored our answers, gathered fingerprints, took our pictures and told us to bugger off, which we did.

On the plus side, we no longer had to worry about how to spend the time. Courtesy of the Jerusalem Police, we had a nice little detention to last us through the night.

Oh, and the pigs took my knife. They will be hearing from my (non-existent) lawyer soon.

Bloody pigs.

Good thing the cops didn't come earlier...

The Prison Break
As I said, getting arrested certainly helped us spend the night. However it did not feed us (fed us up, sure, fed on us, maybe, but not fed us.) Now, Jerusalem by Night, is the loneliest, darkest and sorriest place on the planet (consider this statement to replace the previous statement). Walking the streets, not having the faintest idea where we are, we felt like the rapture happened tonight and we and the cops were the only sinners left on earth. Oh well, at least we did some sweet, sweet sinning back in the day.

Eventually, as the sky began to brighten up, we found the car. But I was not yet ready to go back to finish shooting the film. The smell of hamburgers filled the air and I’d be damned if I wouldn’t start the first day of my 27th year chewing on an epic piece of meat.

It was a time for the breakfast of champions.

The day just begun and there was much more to go wrong, but back then, courageously taking on half a kilo of 100% beef hamburgers with freshly baked buns, a ton of vegetables, exotic sauces and a slab of cheese you could hide a murder tool inside, certainly made the morning feel brighter.

Don’t judge me. I bloody earned this epic hamburger.

Shooting #2
We returned to much jokes and laughter from the guys and drove forth to finish what we started. With the light of the day and some leisure to explore the area, we realized the hill was more than just a hill, but an ancient fort. So hooray for that. We were also almost arrested, again, this time by border patrol, because apparently we shot the film in A) Palestinian Territories (in retrospect, all the Arabic graffiti should have been a strong clue) and B) Closed military area.

However, because there is so much time God can spend tormenting a small group of generally harmless people, the Border Patrol let us go, telling us to coordinate such trips with the IDF next time. Trust me boys – there won’t be a next time.

Coincidentally, the Border Patrol were also Arabic speakers, leading me to suspect the media got this occupation story all wrong. But nevermind the politics, we have HIGH ART to discuss.

The day shooting, despite a mild hangover on some of the actors’ part, proved to be a great success. We improvised some glorious scenes, made some delightful landscape shots and even toured the ancient fort a bit, making a couple of modest archeological findings which sadly failed to release any ancient demons or antediluvian deities.
Guarding our discovery... a gateway to darkness!

The Return
I felt I was too tired to drive and so gave the steering wheel to the ever reliable Caretaker. I don’t remember much of the trip. One moment I was in Jerusalem, another in Arcadia, then I passed by Latroun, then I was a bird high in the sky, then the Caretaker told me, “get out of the car you bum, we’re home.”

Yeah, staying awake for three days has its perks.

Like after every birthday party or semi-surreal adventure, I woke up with a major headache the following day. But you know what? Despite the flint with the police, despite the loss of a valuable artifact, despite the cold, and the fatigue and the pain and constant, mind-numbing recital of memes, it was all worth it.


And what about the movie? If it comes out great, than yay, we all win. If it comes out mediocre, the experience of making it will be awesome instead.

This is it. The story of a weekend that was. Now if you feel like helping me to complete a cool book where much cooler characters experience much cooler adventures, feel free to donate a few bucks here. If not, like my man Conan says, to hell with you! :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Studies in Underage Vampirism

Today I decided to carry out a role playing experiment I considered since last year. Some people felt it was too mature for young players, so it took me quite some time to think of a way to do it delicately enough so it wouldn’t cross the border of good taste on the one hand and wouldn’t become a tasteless, pink fantasy on the other. Hopefully, this time I struck a good balance.

I was very curious to see how a group of children would react if, one morning, they woke up and discovered they were Embraced into vampirism. Obviously, this is a much darker story than your typical “kill the orc, save the pie” sort of game. Thus, I chose my most experienced and mature group for this experiment. They study in a school called Crimson School, so a short exploration the vampiric state felt appropriate.

To save time on character generation, I decided to use a simplified Mind’s Eye Theater system. I asked each kid to prioritize three traits – Physical, Mental and Social and to tell me three things he is good at (his abilities). Amusingly, the abilities chosen most often were Bullying and Making Friends. One kid wrote Self Defense (only when there is no other choice). Lastly, I secretly chose two disciplines for each kid. I told them they have special powers, but didn’t say which powers, or where they came from.

Instead of rolling dice, we used rock-paper-scissors. In case of a tie, the more highly prioritized trait won. An appropriate ability allowed a retest.

Very progressive and yet utterly horrifying at the same time...
Art by Omri

The game started with the kids waking up in a basement around a pile of ash with a stake, a set of keys, a wallet and a rabbit foot lying in it. The walls were riddled with bullets and the floor was covered with shells. Heavy breathing could be heard from outside. The kids had no recollection of the last 24 hours. They were not hurt, but experienced a terrible, almost bestial hunger.

After spending a couple of turns searching the room for any clues and treasure, and subsequently pocketing any object they could lift, the kids went upside to find a lavish living room with a 150’’ Plasma TV, stag heads above a cold fireplace, archaic weapons decorating the walls, home cinema, the latest Xbox and enough games to last a lifetime. This room was also riddled with bullet holes and smelled of blood and gunpowder. In the elegant, but empty kitchenette, they found the source of the gasping – a tough looking dude in SWAT uniform, bleeding severely from his chest.

The bedroom had an ash covered bed and a slain, heavily armed young man lying in the corner. The bathroom appeared to be out of commission for a very long time, being covered in dust and cobwebs. The attic was full of beautiful, but disturbing scenes of warzones and massacres, plus a large silver cage, presently unoccupied.

Surprisingly, the first action of the kids was to try to call an ambulance, which made me infinitely proud of them (usually kids like to play right proper Munchkin bastards). Sadly, their good intentions were wasted as the landline was cut and the man’s radiophone only produced unpleasant static noise. Even worse, the kids couldn’t shrug off the sensation that the man was incredibly tasty.

An Iphone with 13 unanswered calls and two new messages lay by the TV. Both messages were from a woman named Isabel Haralson. One read, “YO KYLE, YOU COMING TO THE PARTY TONIGHT?” and the second one read, “TAKE JANE AND LEAVE NOW!! THERE COMING TO KILL YOU!!!1”

"Good evening sweetcups, did you sleep well?"
Art by Sa-cool

The kid who found the Iphone read the messages, shrugged, and exclaimed “Yay! I have Iphone 5! I check what games were on it?”

"Stop wasting the batteries you idiot!" an older kid barked at him, "this Iphone might be our only way out!"

One of the kids just couldn’t control himself (not his fault, just a bad “roll”) and bit the injured man, sucking a small amount of blood and suddenly feeling vigorous and full. Another accidental bite from a different kid produced the same result. The third kid, the oldest of the group, bit the man on purpose, draining him to death, feeling the same explosion of vitality, but also being slightly changed in the process, his features becoming sharper, his reactions more instinctual.

Giving in to the Beast has its price.

A different kid said he peeps out of the window, which immediately resulted in painful burns from the dim evening sun. The vulnerability to sunlight and the thirst for blood did the trick: the kids knew what they were.

The Birth of a Pack
Suddenly the phone rang (I actually had my phone produce an old-fashioned ringing sound, which really startled the group). The caller was Isabel who immediately started shouting, “Who the hell are you?! Where is Kyle?! I will tear you apart!”

The kid, discouraged by her aggressive manner, answered “K... Kyle is dead. I am sorry. I think there were vampire slayers in the house. I think we are vampires too. I... I don’t know what to do.”

Other kids said a great deal of other stuff, like one of them being Kyle, one of them killing Kyle and one of them identifying as his usual D&D character Percy Potter...

“What is this nonsense, why are you making stuff up? Where! Is! Kyleeee!”

“I swear it’s true! Listen, I can turn on video chat, you can see for yourself.”

At this point, the kids gave the caller a nice view of the ruined room and got a glimpse of her as well – a slim woman with deathly pale skin, a huge black Mohawk, black lipstick, black eyeliners and elaborate piercing all over her face. On one forearm she had a reverse ankh tattoo, and on the other, “I didn’t ask to be born” in Gothic letters.

There was a long pause, after which the woman said, “Okay, don’t go anywhere. I’ll come as soon as I can.”

The kids used the time to loot the apartment to the fullest, proudly writing down every item they could think of. By the time they started collecting plates, toilet seats, and parts of the sink, I stopped taking notes...

"In the Empire of the Vampire, life begins at night..."
Art by Baby Mordred

Initiation Rites
The woman arrived after about half an hour, stepping out of the closet with an aging man dressed in the latest fashion...of the 18th century. The man did some quick spell and then consulted with the woman in a Slavic-sounding language (more because I can’t do any other accents then due to any plot reasons). The woman nodded gravely and addressed the kids, “Gentlemen, it seems that you are the victims of a grave injustice. You will never see the sun again. You will never grow old. You will never have Pizza... but perhaps there is hope for you yet. Perhaps, despite your young age, you could find a place in the Community.”

“Are you inviting us to the party?” The youngest kid asked hopefully.

“Shut up!” The other kids hissed at him.

“Are we really vampires?” Another kid asked.

“We don’t use this word.” The woman answered coldly, “We call ourselves, ‘the Community.’ Now, you should pass three tests to prove your worth to the Community. Should you fail at any of them – you will be destroyed.”

“What’s the first test?” one kid asked, “Do you want us to kill the vampire slayers?”

“No, nothing like this – we just want you to cross the road. Tadeusz and I will be waiting for you across the street in a black limousine. Good luck!” With that, Isabel and Tadeusz stepped back into the closet and disappeared.

“Really, is this our test? Just crossing the road? I do it every day!” The youngest kid said cheerfully and went outside.

Into the sun.

Within milliseconds, his skin started to burn and bubble and he ran inside, driven to near frenzy by pain and fear.

The second kid went more smartly about it. He covered himself with blankets from head to toe, and ran outside. However, seeing nothing, he kept stumbling, until he was hit by a car and exposed to the scorching sun. He only survived by climbing under a parked car. Amusingly, before scuttling to shelter, he still gave a nasty bite to a passerby who tried to help -- just out of spite.

More attempts followed, each failing miserably, nearly killing our brave young heroes. Suddenly, the kid hiding under a car had a flash of sheer brilliance.

“Wait a second!” He shouted, “They didn’t tell us when to cross the street. Why are we all running into the sun like idiots? Let’s just wait for sunset and then comfortably cross the street!”

Welcome to the family! The future looks... full of XP
Art by Alejandro Dini

Much applause and XP was had. The group spent a few more hours waiting for sunset, and then calmly crossed the street, where a black limo was indeed waiting for them. They were heartily embraced by Isabel who then ordered her beastly looking chauffeur to drive away.

“Where are we going?” The kids asked, “To the second test?”

“Oh no, you have much to learn before you can undertake it. It will take many months and will not be easy, but you have shown yourself to be quite bright, and resourceful too. You stand good chances of being accepted into the Community. For now – relax, I have such sights to show you...”

Kids, at least in this group, are much more mature and responsible than I gave them credit for. When faced with a realistic situation and characters they can identify with (human children finding themselves in a scary situation), they play in a very responsible and serious fashion, utterly different from the carefree, GTA-like nonsense they tend to degenerate D&D into.

The kids themselves said they enjoyed the game immensely, much more than their usual game. The group unanimously voted to play the other two tests, which had me at a loss since I planned this as a one time experience. Good thing there is a holiday just around the corner and tons of time to prepare.

In short, the experiment was a major success. If you enjoyed this post – all the more so!