Shinra Inc. And Dungeons & Dragons
by: Jason Tandro
Rufus wandered through the halls of the Shinra Tower, in tandem with one of the chief electricians for the building. They had now reached the 32nd Floor on a continual trip downwards using the stairwell, a feat which was not only very tiring but completely unnecessary. Or it would have been had the power been on.
"Are you sure it's essential that I see this with my own eyes?" Rufus asked.
"Well if you want me to just give you a quote I'm happy to do that, but I'm telling you this isn't gonna be a cheap job," The electrician replied.
The finally reached the basement of the building which was a virtual nest of wires and pipes for all the services of the building. Without the light of day and not even the usual glow of the emergency light, the two men were forced to navigate the piles with flashlights.
"Okay, this building uses separate circuits for each floor, plus a few dedicated circuits on the lab level, which means you've got about 80 fuses here. This isn't just a simple blown fuse-box though. The fact that the emergency lighting isn't on tells me that everything is down. We're probably gonna have to replace this entire network down here and then hope there aren't problems in the circuits themselves," The electrician said.
"So bottom line?"
"You're not gonna have power for at least 48 hours and that's if things go well. Worst case scenario, no juice for two weeks and the bill will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 145,000 gil. Not including tip, of course."
"Look man, you get this job done in 48 hours and I'll gift-wrap the damn gil for you but we need to be up by Monday. Summer's almost over and we need to get ready for the good old fashioned rate-hike season."
"I'll see what I can do. In the meantime, you all better issue flashlights to anybody who's gotta stay here."
"I hate to do this, but I'm going to send most of my employees home. No point in having them here. Especially considering the last time Hojo's Lab lost power several employees were killed by his roving monsters."
[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Black Friday]
==Shinra Inc. And==
"So, we're dismissing our employees for the rest of the week?" Reeve asked.
"Yeah," Rufus sighed. "That damned electrician made me give my employees a 4-day paid weekend."
The Conference Room staff was all in attendance, with the exception of Geneva, Scarlet and Heidegger whom decided to take advantage of Rufus's uncharacteristically generous offer. As the Conference Room had no windows, a few battery powered lanterns were scattered about the table to light the room.
"So the tower and the immediate chunk of Sector 8 surrounding it has no power at all?" Reno asked. "Guess that means I'll have to go to somebody's apartment to watch internet porn."
"We can't use my place. My auntie is visiting and is sleeping in my bedroom. I've been crashing on the couch," Rude explained.
"Your aunt's in town? That's pretty cool," Elena offered, clearly misreading Rude's tone.
"She's the devil incarnate," Rude explained. "A frosty ice-bitch from the tenth circle of hell. When God created light, he did so to have some means of combating the frigid fury from Cocytus that flows through every fiber of her make. She does not have blood, but rather a liquified sewage brewed from the condensed hatred of every person alive and dead. She is sustained by the immense pain that she can inflict upon others and wishes to suck every last ounce of goodness from out the world in a vain attempt to fill her soulless void with some meaning before she chokes out her last unloved and un-mourned breath."
"Then why do you invite her to stay with you?" Cissnei asked.
"She's family," Rude shrugged. "To her credit she does make the best pork chops on the planet."
"Yeah, she's a delight once she's thrown back a few bottles of gin too. Nothing makes my night like hearing her talk about how much of a slut your mom was while she's sitting there taking her top off," Reno laughed. "Oh god, some things once seen cannot be unseen."
"Okay then, so who is staying here in the tower?" Rufus asked, trying to get the image of 60-year old mammary out of his head.
"Um, I guess everybody here who doesn't have an apartment in the city," Tseng said.
"I think it'd be kind of cool to camp out here," Elena said. "I mean, sure it's like a work building and all, but think about it, we'd have the whole place to ourselves."
"I have an idea!" Palmer offered.
"Is it the rapture, or did I just hear Palmer say he had an idea," Hojo said.
"I do have an idea," Palmer replied coolly. "We could play Dungeons & Dragons."
There was a brief moment of silence.
"So, Hojo, why aren't your monsters killing us?" Reeve asked.
"Didn't have any projects as luck would have it. I loaned the Yeti to a colleague at Icicle Inn and everything else I was working on died a few days ago," Hojo replied.
[ Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Christmas]
"Come on guys, don't brush me off. I'm an excellent Dungeon Master. I've been doing this for ten years now," Palmer explained.
"Palmer, let me explain something to you," Rufus began. "You have one job at this company and you do it extremely well. You know what that job is? To take up space and be the company bitch. If there is ever a problem, and in this company there frequently is a problem, you are always on hand to be the person who every member of this staff looks up to and goes: 'well, this day might suck, but at least I'm not Palmer'. So when you tell us that you are an expert player of Dungeons & Dragons - a game invented to keep nerds from thinking about the fact that they will never know the love of a woman- all you are doing is adding fuel to the fire."
"You've never played have you?" Palmer asked casually.
"No, I have not played Dungeons & Dragons. I thought that was clear by my verbal abuse."
"Well you can't really make a decision about it until you've played. Come on, we've got the time. Give me one evening to play with you all and I guarantee you will change your mind on the subject."
"Well it can't be any worse than our MMO," Elena said.
"I suppose it would be a fun way to pass the time," Reeve offered.
"I do find the mathematics of that game interesting," Hojo explained. "For example, did you know that in the standard poly-die set, 2 of the dice have opposite values that always equal the highest value, 4 of the dice have opposite values that always equal the highest value of the die plus one, and then there's that d4 which is just plain weird."
"Yeah, that's what's weird," Reno nodded. "Okay, I'm down to play. But I don't want to play no fruity elf or ugly as dwarf or nothing like that."
"There's humans in this game. They're just boring as sin," Palmer replied.
==Shinra Inc. And==
The sun had now set and the entire tower was bathed in darkness. The group gathered up a collection of snacks, sodas and alcohol and met in the 65th Floor Model room. Palmer had spent his hours turning the giant display of Midgar into a fantasy land complete with the Shinra Tower serving as an ominous mountain, and the surrounding sectors into towns, forests, plains and the like. Several small figurines of warriors, wizards, thieves and barbarians were scattered about one small and homely looking town that was in Sector 7.
"Not too shabby, Palmer," Cissnei complemented upon seeing the layout. "So we just pick characters from those little pieces?"
"Well yes you can choose your piece, but your characters we'll have to set up. I have the creation guide right here."
Palmer lifted up a rather large tome and began handing each player four page long character sheets.
"Wait, we have to fill all of this out?" Reno asked.
"Well, yes. It's the process of crafting your character to your precise specifications and truly breathing life into them. It should only take about an hour," Palmer explained.
"Wait, we have to spend an hour to create our characters before we even start playing?" Rufus asked. "I've had games of Monopoly that have lasted shorter amounts of time than that."
"Oh come now. I promise once you actually start playing it's really quite fun," Palmer insisted.
== Shinra Inc. And ==
By 8 PM everybody was ready with their characters. The reasoning used in the character creation varied from somewhat logical to absolute disdain for the process. As an example, Reno and Rude insisted upon Palmer adding a new ability called Beer Consumption, and the two put all of their skill points in that. They identified themselves as Alcoholic Neutral.
"And so, we begin our adventure in the ancient land of Midgardia," Palmer explained. "A band of heroes begin their perilous journey to the top of Mount Ra-Shin. There was Ranger Reeve, Wizard Tseng, Healer Elena, Scout Cissnei, Barbarian Hojo, er-um... Brew-masters Rude and Reno, and their fearless leader Rufus, the noble Knight of Midgardia."
"You're a Barbarian Hojo?" Elena asked.
"I thought you would appreciate the irony," Hojo explained.
"You realize you won't be able to use logic and brains right. Like you'll have to stay in character," Cissnei said.
"If I get confused, I'll just ask myself: What would Heidegger do?" Hojo replied.
"Ahem," Palmer cleared his throat. "We begin in the small village of... um Sector 7."
"Couldn't think of an 'oh-so-clever' parody for that, eh?" Reno asked, knocking back a shot of vodka.
"Powering through," Palmer grunted. "I've rolled for initiative, and then re-rolled to make sure that Rufus goes first. Rufus what would you like to do?"
"Um... what do I do?" Rufus asked.
"Well start by looking around. We call that a 'spot check' in the game," Palmer explained.
"Okay, sure. Let's look around," Rufus shrugged.
Palmer picked up the d20 and rolled it on the ground of the model.
"You roll a 14. You see the village square, your friends are all around you in the fountain plaza. You see an old man wearing a robe who is beckoning towards you," Palmer explained.
"Okay," Rufus nodded. There was a few moments before he added, "What now?"
"Well it's up to you. Use your imagination! What would you do in the situation?" Palmer asked.
"Well, I'd go to the bar and wait for somebody else to figure out what to do," Rufus explained.
"How did you ever become the President of the company?" Hojo sighed, smacking his head.
"My father was killed. Thanks for that salt in the wound," Rufus scoffed.
"I'm with Rufus. We'll go to the pub," Reno said.
"Seconded," Rude added.
"Oh, er, okay. Yes, you can go to the pub to get information. That's always a great idea. Not quite as smart as talking to the obvious quest-giver in the robe who is specifically beckoning to you, but not bad either," Palmer said.
"Get information? We're going to get liquor. You know we have that ability-"
"Yes, Beer Consumption," Palmer cut Reno off. "I still don't see how that is going to help you on this quest."
"Give it time and let us see how things play out."
== Shinra Inc. And==
As 10 PM rolled around the game had been going surprisingly well. Even though Reno, Rude and Rufus had yet to actually leave the pub in the starting town, the rest of the group had made some decent progress into the forest just outside of town.
"You come across a roving gang of bandits!" Palmer exclaimed. "Tseng, you have the initiative."
"I'll cast Bolt of Lightning!" Tseng shouted, completely in character.
"Excellent hit, one of the bandits is already down!" Palmer smiled.
"I'll cast Valor on the party to keep all of our strength up," Elena offered.
"Excellent. And you Hojo?" Palmer asked.
"Hmm... given the number of bandits and the relative lay of the land in this part of the forest, a direct approach would be the most effective. I will move over to this log here and attempt to leap upon one of the unsuspecting brutes," Hojo said.
"Hojo, you're an unsuspecting brute," Elena said.
"This is what we were talking about earlier," Cissnei added.
"Oh that falderal? If Reno and Rude can be experts at beer swilling why can't I be an intelligent Barbarian?" Hojo insisted.
"Apart from breaking the purpose of the stats within the game, no reason at all," Palmer sighed. "Very well. You bash one of their heads in with an expert display of battle tactics."
== Shinra Inc. And ==
By 1 AM the group that was actually playing had reached the second village. Reno, Rude and Rufus however were still in the bar at the first town where they'd been for the past four hours.
"Okay, and now," Reno said, more than slightly drunk. "I would like to try and hit on the prostitute in the corner."
"The medieval term is 'strumpet'," Palmer sighed.
"Well, strumpet it shan't sucketh itself," Reno added.
"Oh my god, this is a nightmare. Are you all ever going to do anything to contribute to the actual game?" Palmer asked.
"We are contributing," Rufus replied, also quite drunk. "We are the merry men of information gathering. Our specialty is gathering information, sir."
"So far you've gathered nothing except a hangover and what I can assume are a variety of medieval STD's," Hojo commented.
"Is it too late to add Disease Immunity to our special skills?" Rude asked.
"That was an option at the very beginning, I even recommended it," Palmer slammed his head against the model.
This over-dramatic gesture of frustration had numerous notable effects. First, Palmer managed to knock himself out, while simultaneously knocking over half of the model. Secondly, all the food on the model spilled all at once covering everybody with a sickly sweet smelling combination of chip crumbs, melted chocolates and pure alcohol.
"Well, I guess that's the end of that adventure. And I was having fun too," Reeve sighed.
"Not quite. We can't leave it off like this. I will tell you how it all ends," Rufus insisted. "After all I am your fearless leader."
"Oh boy," Elena rolled her eyes.
"As you can plainly see, Mount Ra-Shin is no more, meaning that the evil tyrant has been vanquished. But lo, it was no great weapon, but great fear that defeated him. The Barbarian Hojo, Healer Elena, Scout Cissnei, Wizard Tseng and Ranger Reeve each played their part well. After witnessing their prowess in battle, he knew that he would be no match for them," Rufus said.
"Aw, that's kind of nice actually," Cissnei smiled. She then frowned. "How are you going to mess it up?"
"Well simple. The evil tyrant was visiting us in the bar on his way out of town and the fearless Reno and Rude were able to drink him under the table, where he died of alcohol poisoning. The End," Rufus explained.
"I knew that skill would come in handy!" Reno announced.
"Great. I'm gonna go spend the rest of the blackout with Rude's aunt," Hojo sighed.
"Ditto," Cissnei added.
"Don't. She'll expect me to come home. Damn it," Rude groaned as he ran out after the two.
Reeve bent down over to Palmer. "So... do you think we should help him?"
"No, let's just leave him there. If we have one more employee death we'll be able to make our budget for this month... even if it is Palmer," Rufus explained.
"You've been relying on deaths?" Reeve asked.
"Relying on, actively planning around the inevitable... tomato, tomahto."
== Author's Note==
My friends and I do play D&D, albeit we use our own simplified set-ups. They usually end up something like what goes here, only far more raunchy. We record our sessions if you want to hear to the horrible stuff we get into... for whatever reason. Look up Clan Cur.