Thursday, September 14, 2017

Board-Gaming Retrospect: Fifty Shades of Dungeon Crawling


To say that we confined to the norms of society would be blatantly inaccurate. We were normal - as humanly normal as would be possible but not that kind of normal. Not the 'my normality defines me and makes he holier-than-thou' kinda normal. I mean, everyone has a dark side too. Their Sith-loving, axe-wielding psychopathic inner demons that want to lunge, pounce, bite, snarl and burp at the peak hour traffic. But yeah, normal as can be.

So, when the subject of role playing came up a serious discussion between two consenting adults, I had no idea of the beast I was about to unleash on our unsuspecting normal lives...

Be warned. What follows is definitely NSFW.

(Not Suitable For Wizards)



Perhaps it was the weather, all bleak and gloomy and darker that your average day. Perhaps it was the music, all synth and dreamy or perhaps it was beasts and stranger things that eschewed from the TV. Whatever it was, it all culminated into five words. Five glorious words that would define the non-stereotypical genre of our mid-thirties.

"Take me to your dungeon", she said.

It was all innocent at first. Me, dazedly taking her by the hand and leading her to my play room. We paused at the door, my fingers on the polished silver door handle, hesitating. I turned towards her, my eyes staring fixedly into hers, studying the cat-like curiosity that hid beneath her ever-playful demeanour. "Before we go in, there's something you should know. Many have come before you and entered here. They are changed. This will change you. You will not be the same after."
"I'm ready," she half-whispered and I noted the hint of longing in her voice.

I nodded and turned the door handle...

We sat down on the leather chairs at the great wooden table opposite each other, our eyes locked and her breathing rapid, the excitement clearly visible on her face. I could feel her heart beat reverberating across the smooth polished wooden surface as I reached for the box.
She let out an audible gasp. "It's so big!"



"Open it," I ordered and watched as her trembling hands undid the cardboard lid, the sound of the escaping air breaking the ice with a rude box-fart. She gulped then giggled. We unpacked the components and laid out the dungeon tile stack.
There was something different about her that I could not place. Perhaps it was the way she laid out her HP tokens, or the way she playfully ran the D20 die across her palm - it seemed surreal, almost familiar. She bit her lower lip as I placed my muscled Dragon-born fighter on the starting tile. "Been working out?" she asked roguishly as her raven-haired slender Rogue character crept up next to mine. I shuddered as I felt her soft pale hands run over my buff arms. "Been killing things," I replied in voice that echoed through the quietness of the dark corridor ahead.

"I'm going in," I added gruffly as I drew my battle axe and proceeded down the stone stairs.
"Ooh, such a gentleman!" she mocked and with a light leap bounded up ahead of me. I grunted and grudgingly followed. We ran into a pair of skeletons who came running up to meet us, rickety swords and shields clanging against their bones. I swung my axe but before I could land a blow, a flash of steel and my Rogue partner had swiftly dispatched the two bumbling undead creatures into a pile of doggy treats. I gaped as she walked coolly on. "Didn't expect that?" she asked grinning at me, "Well, come on - don't just stand there with the boner." Bone puns. So humerus. I rolled my big red eyes and followed her.

At the next corner we bumped into a gargoyle which seemed less interested in us than it did in staring out into nothingness. "He's stoned," my partner punned on roguishly. The next corridor was a nasty surprise: a pack of howling wolves led by three speared kobolds. Arrows whizzed past my head before I even had time to draw my axe and the kobolds lay dead. I made for the wolves but was stopped by my companion. The wolves had ravenously began to rip apart their former kobold masters. Puke!
"No need to kill them, they're just hungry" she smiled grimly. "Besides, they make for very loyal pets and I always loved me a little doggy." She winked and set off again. Who was this woman?

Next we ran into some zombies, followed by a trio of spiders, a blazing skeleton which hurled giant fireballs and a few more kobolds. Each time my mischievous companion would waltz into the midst of all this danger, daggers barraging through flesh and bone, stealthily evading all manner of attacks and traps while I only managed a few random punches and cleaves. All the while she would throw off a few one-liners and jokes as the blood of our enemies ran down the stone floors.
I shook my head in disbelief. This was not the same woman I had known for the past few years of my life. The dungeon had not changed her at all. It had exposed her, the cloud which held back her true nature had lifted. I was seeing her for the first time: In all her battle-clad, knife-wielding, arrow-shooting glory.
And it was sexy as hell.

I expected some hesitation on her part when the hiss of a zombie dragon came echoing from the fetid den up ahead but no. My companion merely laughed and inclined towards me: "Okay, big boy, let's see what you got". The terrifying beast came hurtling towards us, its eyes blazing fire and fangs dripping blood.
I reached for my axe and rolled. A dismal 5. Damnation! "What's the matter, can't get it up?" she mused but there was no missing the slight look of disappointment in her eyes. This was a woman who would not be satisfied by low rolls.

"Come on!", I thought to myself, "I really need to get this!"
I steadied and used my one re-roll and swung: A glorious natural 20! She let out a sharp ecstatic cry of "Oooohhhhh!" as my character levelled up and my brute strike came crashing down, slicing the unholy beasts neck in a mighty cleave. It heaved, then spluttered, then lay motionless and dead. A few zombies came ambling up to us but my companion was ahead of me again. Shouting madly, her eyes filled with battle-lust and excitement she quickly laid the zombies to waste. There, in the darkest of dungeons, in the wake of the dragon's ruin she turned towards me, her breathing rapid, her chest heaving, a wild look of total abandonment on her face as I felt her body press against mine: "Hmm, seems like your skills are not the only thing levelling up," she whispered. I leaned in closer and as my eyes met hers I saw something else...for the very first time that evening...a look of pure, unabated terror! She backed away, her body swaying slightly.
"So many of them! All grey! Fifty fucking shades of grey!" and she screamed and fled.

I stood momentarily confused and then turned.  Coming down the dungeon hall toward me was a skittering sound of tiny feet. A rat swarm.

"Rats?!!" I yelled after her, "You're afraid of rats??!!"



But my companion was well out of ear shot and on her way out of the dungeon. I stomped on the rats as I followed her, half dismayed and half pleased that something had at least scared her. I found her, rather pale and shaken sitting on the dais in the cool air outside the castle dungeon. She was trembling. I reached for her and held gently her as we walked back into the normality of our lives.

"Never again," she whispered as we shut the box and dungeon door, "Never again. No more Boards, Dice and Some Magic. I prefer the normal BDSM thank you".


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