Dark silhouettes crouched in the darkness with bated breath as a clacking noise breaks the silence. In hopeful anticipation, the four figures tensed as the clattering sound came to a close.
"Yes!" Aaron cried out in relief.
This whole predicament was his fault, but the gods of chance smiled upon him as the 20-sided die rolled to a stop displaying the number 15. The roll was a stealth check as Aaron and his three friends crouched in the shadows next to a Goblin encampment. They wouldn't have been in this situation if Aaron hadn't drawn up a brute of a warrior and a Dwarf to make matters worse. Dwarves and warriors lack any stealth which became clear as his armor rattled and heavy breathing broke the silence like a glass shattering in a morgue.
The goblin encampment contained not one, but three mini-bosses and likely the boss would storm from the large hut in the center of the camp after his henchmen died. In normal circumstances, the adventurers would make short work of these foul creatures, but an armed escort with two additional mini-bosses had spawned in this location. Also, a party of three against three mini-bosses, ten grunts, two goblin shamans and a berserker were not favorable odds. Even if they killed these mobs, the boss encounter would follow, and the party would wipe due to depleted health and spells.
Aaron looked around the table at his friends. Tristen who acted as the Gamemaster, or GM, was the center of this small group of unlikely friends. He was a dedicated GM who immersed himself in the game as a silent companion and never broke character. He often watched in stony silence as the party waded neck deep into trouble and called out failed checks resulting in their inevitable death. To Tristen's left and right sat Tyler and Natalia. Everyone had met a couple of years earlier in six grade and had remained fast friends ever since.
The Dungeon Quest game they played involved epic sword fighting, magic slinging, and mystery. Their small group had played the game going on two years. Throughout that entire time, Tristen worked tirelessly to bring the game alive for his companions. He would often narrate boss battles from the villains perspective. His narration made them come alive instead of inanimate pieces of plastic on the dungeon board tile.
Aaron shared a look with Natalia, no doubt one of the main reasons he enjoyed coming to these games. She was always meek, reserved, and didn't have an inflated ego, but rivaled any of the other girls at school in beauty. When the group gathered to play Dungeon Quest, she morphed into a different person after unveiling her characters. The characters often turned out to be singing or dancing bards. The change that enveloped her contradicted the shell she exuded in public. Tyler and Tristen exchanged looks while Aaron and Natalia continued sneaking glances at each other. Tristen had told Aaron that Natalia already knew his feelings, but for whatever reason Aaron could not move past his fear of rejection.
Tyler had often tried to make fun and embarrass them, but Tristen held him in check as much as possible. Tyler could be a riot to hang out with, he always had a witty quip or healthy dose of sarcasm to inject into any conversation, but sometimes he didn't know when to quit. On the outside, he resembled a weasel and could smooth-talk his way out of anything. Tyler also had an uncanny ability to manipulate and maneuver people, like a used-car salesman who could sell a beat-up Volkswagen Beatle to a family with five kids and three times the price it's worth. Tyler looked like a person people steered clear of, but he was a genuine friend and always had their backs, even if he had to go up against the whole football team. True to his physical appearance and character, Tyler always created a rogue and often with a sub-class of an assassin.
As they sat in companionable silence, Tristen spoke, "Will you attack the goblin encampment, or retreat into the woods?" Tristen looked to Aaron since he would be the first into the encampment as the party's tank. Because he was a dwarf and a warrior, he had high strength and defense and could take a beating. Natalia was the healer, albeit a non-traditional healer since she played a bard. Her healing often came in the form of songs or dances that healed over time and granted attack or defensive buffs for a short period. She could also dance and mesmerize mobs based on their level of intellect. Goblins succumbed to the dance with little effort, but the three mini-bosses altered her chance and required a roll of at least 13 to receive a successful check.
If Natalia stepped from cover before the tank, it spelled doom for the party as the goblins could quickly take her out. Tyler could kill a mini-boss with one attack, but that still left two more. The party then needed to contend with the main boss in the tent. There was no way the group could take them without a wipe. The decision needed to wait until the next game as it was almost supper time and that signaled the end of the day for gaming. The group wrapped up early and could start again next week.
While the friends packed up the game, Tristen droned on about a surprise he had in store for their gaming session next week. Everyone groaned as he continued to ramble about the surprise. Every time Tristen "surprised" the group, they ended up entering a scenario nigh on impossible. Who knew what Tristen had up his sleeve this time.
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Bio: This is the section where I'm supposed to write how I have always dreamed of writing books and that there are dozens of five star books out there with my name on them. Reality? I am brand new to writing, and worse, I'm not a creative writer. Most of the stuff that I have written is technical, cyber-related stuff. So, how in the world did I start down this path? The best way to sum it up is D. Rus and Vasiliy Mahenenka. These two Russian authors created books in a new genre called LitRPG, which falls under a more broad category called Gamelit. I devoured any and every book created by these two authors and quickly realized they were not alone in their endeavor. The series they created were translated from Russian to English, but it wasn't long before American authors started pushing their own series. Since starting with the Play to Live series (D.Rus), I've read hundreds of books and dozens of stories on Royal Road. I started posing questions and conversations about plots and book directions in various groups and forums. Eventually, I got the idea to start keeping track of my ideas and instead of giving them away, write my own story. Herein, is born a writer (or at least a wannabe writer)... not a writer to grab a paycheck, and not even for the sake of a job. I am putting this first story together purely for my enjoyment and it has been a fun ride so far.