Zack: For a long time you try to find a way into The Rock. There is a crack, but it is far too small for you to enter.
Steve: I grow enraged and punch my fist against The Rock.
Zack: You fall inside, passing through a false wall. "You find yourselves in a large hall 380' long and 240' wide. The hall is brightly lit, as if the light of the noon sun were shining down into it. The walls are 50' high, and from there the ceiling curves upward until it is approximately 350 feet high overhead. You stand in the center of the hall, looking forward. At the far end of the hall you see four raised platforms on the floor, grouped in two pairs, and seven chests between the pairs of platforms.
Each platform has a statue of a crowned king on it. The walls of the hall are made of white marble filigreed with gold and silver in various natural forms: trees, flowers, wildlife, clouds; and human life:
warriors, builders raising cities, market place scenes, etc. Letters of silver and gold are etched into the floor in front of you. They read, HUBRELIS TUMASSEN. To your left, the hall seems to be run-down and battered, as if time and weather had eroded the splendor of that side. The right side of the hall, however, glows and sparkles with beauty and wonder, as if it were still newly made. You stand in a group at the very heart of this magnificent hall!"
Steve: Alright, not reading any of that and I am readying my axe to fight the final boss.
Zack: "There are seven chests. The chests against the wall with the balconies are all made of wood; but the first is a simply constructed chest while the 7th is richly decorated with gems and silver and
gold metalwork. The chests vary in decoration so that the first is the simplest chest and the last is the most ornate."
Steve: Is there anything to fight?
Zack: "You hear quiet voices calling to you. They tell you to look at the glorious side of the hall, saying, 'This is Tuma! This is the greatness that was once lost but can now be yours. For long years its glory has waited for bold adventurers like yourselves to come and claim that which your daring and bravery has earned you. This is yours by right of valor, by might of arms, by sleight of hand and by keenness of mind. Others have tried, but they have failed-all because they would not take the riches they had earned. Come, now. Take your due. The wealth of Tuma is yours; you deserve it more than any other. Behold the folly of those who have ignored Tuma's greatness! See the worn and
weary section of this great hall! It has been brought so low by fools who mistook poverty for humility, simplicity for piety, who called wealth and riches greed and avarice. These fools thought honor meant
lowering one's self when one should have elevated one's greatness. Do not be a fool! Let the trumpet of your true worth ring out! The great deserve the best! The bravest demand the finest! You have made it to The Rock; do not walk away emptyhanded, a pauper forever! Be not a fool; be not a fool!'"
Steve: You can't seriously think I'm going to read that. What the hell?
Zack: "You stand gazing at the seven chests lining the wall beneath the balconies. The first chest is elegant in its sheer simplicity, but each succeeding chest surpasses it in value and design. The last chest is by far the best of the lot. Its jewels sparkle in the mysterious light of the hall; its gold and silver glitter with light. And then, from nowhere, a deep, rich voice calls out to welcome you to the Hall of The Rock. "YOU are indeed brave heroes to have reached this great Hall! To you a reward shall be given for your great courage. In one of these 7 chests lies the goal of your journey, and much more! But you can choose only one of these chests and must be content with what you find. You have done well thus far; choose well and your journey shall be a success. What you have experienced on the way here will prove to be a guide beyond measure. Think, then, and choose; think and choose!" The voice falls silent, and you are left with only your thought."
Steve: I skimmed a little of that and I don't care. I'm going over to the chests and I'm starting with the crappy cheapo chest and working my way down the line smashing them open with the Decider.
Zack: You smash open the first chest and you hear a voice declare, "Well done, brave heroes! To you shall the secret of The Rock be revealed. And this be that greatest of secrets: A soul falls into judgement when a soul climbs high enough to sit in judgement's seat; judge not by what is seen, but by what is truly there. Let the eyes of the heart guide and counsel the eyes of the body. Glitter does not make a golden prize; hidden in the heart the answer lies. How a creature looks never changes what's inside. Judge with righteous judgement; be wise. Be wise!" There's a totem at the bottom of the broken chest.
Steve: I take whatever is in that first chest and I smash open the other chests.
Zack: The Decider warns you not to and a voice booms in your head, "What are you doing? You have solved the puzzle of The Rock. The wisdom and the secret are yours."
Steve: I don't believe anyone's lies anymore. I'm smashing the other six chests.
Zack: ""Foolish, greedy creatures! You dare presume to discover the Secret of The Rock! Never shall
so great a secret be learned by the likes of you! Begone! Nothing have you learned from your troublesome journey here! Begone and bother this place no more!"
Steve: What was in the other chests?
Zack: You are standing outside The Rock holding a strange talisman in one hand and the Decider in the other. In the distance you can still hear the creepy hag laughing about tricking you.
Steve: Does this stupid necklace have any powers?
Zack: "Beastly jerkoff, I will teleport you back to The Manor so you can be paid for retrieving me from The Rock." There is a flash of light and you find yourself standing in the finely-appointed mansion of Lirdrium Arkayz.
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
It's just a little confusing, is all.
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.