Zack: You ride out out of the calming forest and into the Barrens. Ahead of you is the vast desert and in the distance you see the mountains.
Steve: Hm, mountains, I've seen tougher ramps for kobold BMX. I pump my muscles up and continue on.
Zack: From the book: "The horses seem to hear it first, stopping and turning their ears to the wind. Gradually your ears pick it up, too-singing! At first the sound is hard to identify, distant and faint. Soon you can pick out snatches of melody, the sound of many voices singing what seems to be a work song. As the singing grows stronger, a shimmering image begins to form south of the trail. Through the rising heat you can barely make out...something. Whatever it is, it's big, and it looks like it's being pulled across the sand by a team of several dozen humanoids."
Steve: The horses see this thing first too? Way to go, horses. You noticing everything doesn't make me suspicious at all.
Zack: What are you doing?
Steve: I am getting down off my horse and confronting the horses and the Decider with this new evidence.
Zack: There's no evidence of anything.
Steve: "Lies!" Dean Snakehands howls with the force of a tornado of fury. "Horses that appear from the shadows like some magical shadow horses, silver-tongued axes that whisper in my ear to get their way regarding horses. This is unacceptable!"
Zack: While you're berating your pack animals the big thing emerges from the shimmering distance and you see that it appears to be some sort of flat-bottomed boat being dragged across the desert by a team of men and demi-men pulling ropes. The ship pulls up alongside you and a loud voice hollers for the ship to stop. A gnome appears at the railing and says: "'Ahoy there! This be the Motherlode Rover! Ye wouldn't by any chance know where I could find an ocean round these parts, would ye? I've come a long way, and have yet to run across one!'"
Steve: "My name is King Dean Snakehands, ruler of these territories. I will direct you to an ocean if you make me the solemn promise to put my horses and axe to death for treason."
Zack: He stares at you for a long time and then he says, "I will buy your horses if you wish to sell them. We have no pack animals to pull our ship."Steve: He's working with the horses! Dean backs away suspiciously, reaching for his secondary, lesser axe.
Zack: He's not working for the horses.
Steve: "Prove you're not working for the horses!" Dean Snakehands shouts with brutal gust-fulls of lung.
Zack: The captain turns and looks straight ahead and the ship begins to move on.
Steve: I'll not forget this day and when I remember it, later, I will make this gnome pay dearly for what he has done.
Steve: I note this in my oath book.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
Zack Parsons, Steve "Malak" Sumner, and friends tackle bizarre role playing game products that make them wonder, "What the fuck!?" From the early days of Gygax to contemporary role playing games, none will be spared.