Role for Damage

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Disclaimer: I don't own Syndrome or Mirage, although I'd sure like to find out about renting Mirage for a weekend.

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Summary: Mirage makes a suggestion. Syndrome gets the wrong idea. With the help of a character sheet, a d4, and a plucky little girl named Andy who doesn't actually appear in this story, they come to understand each other just a little bit better.

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It was on the rainiest afternoon of the year, late in August, that a lovely pale-haired, green-eyed young lady known to this chronicler only as Mirage leaned over and murmured suggestively into the ear of a brilliant young man with equally brilliant red hair and blue eyes known to this chronicler mostly as Syndrome as she does not wish to be throttled by a fictional character,

"Why don't we stay in tonight and try a little roleplay?"

Syndrome had spent the better parts of the day lamenting that his basement was going to flood, he just knew it, and then the insurance company would stiff him for the claim just because he had blown up the building when they tried to collect his premium. He had also spent a decent stretch of time sulkily ignoring Mirage when she had pointed out with a sigh that they were located under the ocean surface, and if they hadn't flooded yet they probably wouldn't.

But now, he turned from his questionable amusement of grumpily watching the torrential downpour through one of the building's massive windows, and stared at her oddly through the beginnings of rather wary excitement.

"I didn't think you'd be into that."

She smiled wickedly.

"Oh, yes. You know I'll try anything once."

He shrugged, a huge smile creeping over his face as he reflected that maybe the rain wasn't such a bad thing after all.

"Okay, cool! I've gotta go get ready!"

With that, he bolted, leaving a very befuddled young lady in his wake, staring after him with an expression that highly suggested that, if were something she ever did, she might have been scratching her head.

"Get what ready?"

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Meanwhile, an ecstatic Syndrome was flipping joyously through a number of massive tomes with brightly coloured covers and names like "Swordsman and Berserker Type Character Creation Guide: Big and Strong and Dumb All Over", "Thief and Assassin Type Character Creation Guide: It's a Rogue's Life", and "Sorcerer and Scholar Type Character Creation Guide: Smart but Useless".

But what system to use for Mirage's introduction to the wonderful world of tabletop? Ah, he had worked that out almost the second she had announced her interest.

The Ogres and Obelisks system was certainly not for everyone; whereas the Long Jagged Tear system, or the Chartreuse Coyote system, were easily understood by even the average layperson as clearly as the roleplaying elite, Ogres and Obelisks was chock-full of complex calculations, involved plot twists, abstract concepts, and deep, meaningful character interaction.

Those other systems were for kids – just a lot of cheap theatrics and blowing things up. Ooh, look at me! I'm a were-creature! I'm riding a motorcycle!

Ogres and Obelisks had a lot more to offer. At a higher demand from the player to invest more of themselves into their character, to be sure, but he had faith in her. She would understand the sacrifice, and appreciate the brilliance. She might even create a character to surpass his, someday.

It might require a steady hand of guidance to provide any novice with a clear enough understanding for a truly enjoyable roleplaying experience, but a steady hand of guidance was something that Mirage would have in spades, lucky girl.

The number of people who knew roleplaying better than he did, after all, could probably fit comfortably into a pillowcase.

And so, nearly bouncing with the excitement of sharing a beloved pastime with a beloved woman, he picked up a leather-bound folder, and carefully withdrew a character sheet bearing the scribbles of sessions long past.

"Okay! I think I'm gonna use Steve the Pyromaniac Berserker. My rogue's clever lines won't work on this chickie, and she may act independent, but every girl's really longing for a strong, silent type to drag her back to his cave."

He gave a laugh that narrowly escaped being a giggle.

"Oh, man, this is gonna be great!"

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"Buddy," Mirage began hesitantly a few hours later, peering, utterly lost, at the array of books, dice, and Mountain Dew scattered over the little decorative table she had moved into the bedroom ages ago for what she called a reading nook, and he ruthlessly termed pointless.

"Uh-uh," he interrupted, pressing one finger playfully to her lips. "It's Steve the Pyromaniac Berserker tonight."

"Sorry," she sighed. "Steve." When he nodded his approval, she continued. "What is all this?"

With a tremendous grin, he pounced on the proliferation of papers spread over the table.

"This is my character sheet," he replied proudly, shoving the life story of Steve the Pyromaniac Berserker at her, and then turning back to the table. "And we can't play until you make a character, too, so I kinda...drew up some templates."

The beginnings of a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth despite the mounting suspicion that she had been completely, utterly, and horrifyingly misunderstood, as he rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, and she scanned the sheets.

"Mage type," she read thoughtfully. "Assassin type. Thief type. Kickass Swordswoman type."

"I thought I'd cover the main groups. I can't see you playing a berserker, and two berserkers isn't a very balanced team anyway."

"Ah," was all she could trust herself to say without either laughing or crying, as her eyes lit on the heaping pile of dice, in a dizzying variety of colours, textures, shapes, and sizes.

He followed her gaze, and caught her hand, leading her over to the table.

"This is my collection. These are my d4's, these are the standard d6's – you probably know all about those if you ever played Snakes and Ladders – and these are my d8's and d10's. You don't use those as much. These ones are the d20's, d24's, d30's, and d100's, and this is a rare, special edition collector's over-sized novelty d500. He's kind of just a mascot," Syndrome added with a laugh.

"And that?" Mirage asked, picking up a bright blue object that resembled nothing so much as a jagged hunk of plastic with the measles.

"Oh! That's my specialty one-of-a-kind d73! I made it myself," he confided, "so I should know."

This, it seemed, was too much for Mirage, who had been clinging to composure by a thin thread, dangling above the dangerous churning waters comprised of choking disappointment, hysterical laughter, and overpowering nostalgia.

"D73?" she repeated incredulously. "What the hell is the point of a d73? What stat are you ever going to have to roll out of seventy-three? Out of two, you toss a coin. Out of five, ten, or anything else, you can roll a percentage. But I have never heard of any system that has a stat out of seventy-three. How many thousands of systems exist out there, and none of them—what?"

He continued to stare at her in disbelieving, amazed admiration for a long moment.

"I must have you now."

Her smile was nearly a grin.

"I'd make you roll your seduction stat, but we're finally drifting towards the kind of tabletop roleplaying I was talking about."

"I like it," he said enthusiastically, and without giving her a chance to reply, caught her tightly in his arms and pulled her close.

All was passion, serenity, and bliss, as he swung her around and pushed her backwards down onto the table.

Until, through the silence of the room filled only by distinctly heavy breathing and other rather questionable noises, came an anguished cry, that age-old lament of despair and extreme discomfort and eroticism irreversibly shattered before the ruthless reality of the mundane:

"Ow! D4!"

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End Note: And that's a wrap. Okay, this one was a lot funnier in my head. Although, it sure wasn't funny when I was the one sitting on the damn d4's. Frickin' pointy dice...