Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters who appear in this script (living, fictional, or otherwise). Written for fun, not for profit. Any references made to living (or deceased) individuals is also purely for fun! Allusions to any real events is completely coincidental. (Not to mention extremely unlikely!)

Rating: G

Author's Notes: This was originally written as part of Sealgirl's D&DC Christmas Challenge back in 2007 and, to this point, has only been available at her Virtual Realm website. I've been meaning to post it here for a while, along with a few others. I was hesitant to do so, however, due to its script format, but after reading FF.N's guidelines carefully, I decided to give it a shot. (After all, the script layout is definitely in the form of an actual story, not a "chat".) If anyone feels this story still does not adhere to the TOS, let me know and I will see what I can do about altering it appropriately.

Original Challenge: "Interviews" with one or more of the Young Ones – How did they get the job in the first place?

This is my spin on that challenge! Enjoy!

Casting Call

by Rummi


[A small CROWD of young people is scattered throughout the HOUSE of a brightly-lit auditorium. Some are assembled together in groups; others are sitting by themselves. One in particular, A TEENAGED BOY WITH GLASSES, sits in the front row of the theatre flipping though a series of XEROXED PAGES in his hands. He seems to be studying them intently. A DARK-HAIRED BOY lounges in the next seat. His legs are thrown unceremoniously over one arm and he has a slightly bored expression on his face.

Throughout the auditorium, the droning buzz of conversation can be heard.

After a few short moments, there is a brief report of electronic feedback. Silence falls upon the theatre, and all eyes in the house turn to the stage. A MAN stands there, tapping a quick staccato onto the MICROPHONE. He is flanked by THREE OTHER MEN, all of whom are dressed in casual business attire. The group of four on the stage briefly studies the crowd of young men and women sitting in the house below.

The man in front of the microphone removes it from its stand and holds it to his lips.]

FIRST MAN: Can everybody hear me okay?

[Several shouts of "yes" resound through the audience.]

FIRST MAN: Great. Well, I guess I'd like to start by welcoming you all here today. Congratulations on making it to the final call back session for Dungeons & Dragons! The first rounds of auditions were tough, so you should be proud of yourselves for making it this far.

[A few scattered applause and whooping shouts resound from the audience.]

FIRST MAN: Most of you probably remember me from last time: I'm Hank Saroyan, one of the producers of the Dungeons & Dragons series. I'm also the casting director.

[Some applause interrupt him, and one loud "WHOO-HOO!" sounds from somewhere in the crowd. SAROYAN gives a polite little wave and a smile.]

SAROYAN: You probably also remember the gentlemen to my right: Dennis Marks, the creator of the series . . .

[The sound of applause again fills the house. MARKS raises his hand to acknowledge it.]

SAROYAN: . . . And Mark Evanier, who is helping with the development and is also one of the writers.

[More applause, and EVANIER also waves to the audience.]

SAROYAN: I'd also like to introduce a special guest who will be sitting on our panel for the casting call this afternoon. [He gestures to the LAST MAN standing to his left.] This is Gary Gygax, creator of the original Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.

[GYGAX also waves to the crowd as more applause erupts from the assembled group.]

SAROYAN: Gary will also be producing the series, and we thank him for taking the time to be with us this afternoon.

[Another burst of applause echoes through the house.]

SAROYAN: In just a few minutes we'll begin calling you back at random into the audition room. Remember to relax, and be yourselves: We want you to bring as much of your own personalities to the roles as possible. Thanks again for coming out today, and best of luck!

[The four men leave the stage to the sound of more applause.]


[The panel of four men is seated behind a table. There is a folding chair across from them, facing the table behind which they are sitting.]

SAROYAN: [Presses a button on the intercom beside him.] You can send the next one in.


[DIANA, a tall, confident-looking, African-American girl, enters. She has a slender, athletic build and a glowing smile. She is dressed casually, in jeans and a brightly colored t-shirt.]


SAROYAN: Welcome, Diana. Congratulations on making it to call backs.

DIANA: Thanks, Mr. Saroyan. Good to see you again.

SAROYAN: You can go ahead and take a seat.

[Diana sits in the folding chair facing the table.]

SAROYAN: This afternoon we're going to be asking you a few questions. Why don't you start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

DIANA: Well, my name is Diana and I'm seventeen years old. I'm a junior in high school and I take part in gymnastics and track.

EVANIER: If I remember correctly, you're quite good at both.

DIANA: [with a modest duck of her head] Thank you. I actually did win the gymnastics state championship twice, which was a thrill. I have a lot of fun with the track and field, too, though.

EVANIER: Any particular events that you like best?

DIANA: Probably the javelin and the pole vault. But I'm a fair sprinter too.

SAROYAN: Okay, Diana. Each of the panelists would like to ask you a question specific to the series we're looking to make. We want to hear a little bit about how you would bring your own personality and talents to the role if you were to get it. Okay?

DIANA: Fire away!

SAROYAN: I'll start. Since you are a pretty good athlete, tell us how you would use that if you and your group were faced with a dangerous situation.

DIANA: Well, I guess the obvious answer would be to rely on whatever physical abilities I needed at the time – strength, speed, agility. There's a time and place for each. But I also think that a good athlete needs to be able to strategize – think things through in a pinch.

SAROYAN: That's a very good answer, Diana. Now I'm going to turn you over to Dennis Marks who, as you remember, is the creator of the series.

DIANA: Yes. Hi!

MARKS: Hi, Diana. My question is in regards to necessary supplies. Say you really did find yourself in a sort of mystical Realm – a place where you would need to rely on magic, as well as your own skills, for survival. If you had to choose how best to outfit yourself for such an endeavor, what would you pick?

DIANA: Hmm. That's a good question. I guess I'm of the mind that less is more. With the sports that I'm involved in, for example, you have to take wind resistance into account. The more streamlined the uniform, the better. You don't want any bulk that will slow you down. And if, like you said, I'd have to fight for survival, I wouldn't want clothing that could get caught on anything or be easily grabbed by an enemy.

MARKS: Minimal. We'll keep that in mind. Thank you, Diana. Mark, you have a question for her, right?

EVANIER: Yes. Hello again, Diana. Since I'm going to be writing a few episodes for the series, I wanted to see how you'd handle a scenario that might pop up on the show.

DIANA: Okay.

EVANIER: An evil queen is using a magic crystal to enslave all the people of a small village. But the crystal also has the power to open a portal that will send you and your friends home. Furthermore, it's being guarded by the queen's pet dragon. How might you get to it, and how would you choose to use it?

DIANA: Wow. Another good question. I guess I'd go for the dragon. A thing can't bite you if you're riding it! While I have it distracted, I'd get one of my friends to grab the crystal.

EVANIER: And what would you do with it?

DIANA: [shrugs] Destroy it. I mean, even if we get it away from this one queen, someone else can always find it and use it after we've gone. And we can't just leave behind an object that can be used to enslave people. We can always look for another way home.

EVANIER: Okay, Diana. Thank you. You're up, Gary.

GYGAX: Thanks, Mark. Hi, Diana, I'm Gary Gygax and I created the original role-playing game on which this series will be based.

DIANA: Nice to meet you, sir.

GYGAX: Diana, my question is actually a very simple one: Can you please describe for me . . . your favorite type of polyhedral dice?

DIANA: [blinks]

GYGAX: Remember there's no wrong answer here. I just want to know your personal preference.

DIANA: Uh . . . [flounders a bit and looks to the other men for assistance]

SAROYAN: [mouths: "Pick a number!" to her]

DIANA: [uncertainly] Um . . . 10?

GYGAX: [with a satisfied smile] Ah, the pentagonal trapezohedron. Yes, I like that one too.

SAROYAN: Er, yeah. So, Diana. There's actually just one more question. It may seem a little strange, but indulge us if you would.

DIANA: Okay. Sure.

SAROYAN: What occurs once in every minute, twice in every moment, yet never in a thousand years?

DIANA: [taken aback] That is a strange question.

EVANIER: Nevertheless, we were given explicit instructions to include it.

DIANA: Um, . . . okay. [thinking] Once in a minute . . . twice every moment . . . and never in a thousand years . . . Oh! It would be the letter "M," right?

MARKS: Nice logic.

DIANA: Thanks. My dad's a scientist. He and I do brain-games all the time!

SAROYAN: Well, thank you for coming back in today, Diana. We enjoyed getting to know you a little better.

DIANA: Thank you.

SAROYAN: We'll get in touch soon with the results of the casting call.

DIANA: [gets up] Okay, great! Have a nice afternoon! [leaves]

SAROYAN: [turns to Gygax] We did explain that the series is going to be different than the RPG, didn't we?


SAROYAN: So why do you keep asking about dice?

GYGAX: What? I really want to know.

EVANIER: This is going to be a long day.

MARKS: [hitting the intercom button] Next!


[PRESTO, the young man with glasses we had seen earlier in the front row of the theatre, enters. He is still studying the Xeroxed pages as he crosses to the folding chair in the center of the room.]

SAROYAN: Welcome back, Presto. Congratulations on the call back.

PRESTO: [sits and places the papers in his lap, but continues to fiddle with the corners nervously] Thanks, Mr. Saroyan.

EVANIER: You actually won't be needing the audition script today, Presto. We want to get to know a little about you, if that's all right.

PRESTO: Oh. [he seems relieved as he places the pages beneath the chair] Okay. That's good, actually. I was a little nervous about my lines . . . It was kind of a surprise to get the call back.

SAROYAN: Ah, yes. We remember. You came here to keep a friend company and ended up auditioning too, didn't you?

PRESTO: My friend Eric, yeah. He sort of talked me into it. It worked out for both of us, though. He's scheduled to come in later this afternoon.

EVANIER: Yes, we remember Eric. He left quite an impression.

MARKS: But let's hear about you now, Presto. Tell us a little about yourself.

PRESTO: Well, I'm fifteen years old and I'm in high school. My favorite subjects are science and English. (I do love to read.) I guess you could also say I'm sort of a novice magician, since that's my hobby. I got my nickname after I started performing card tricks in the school cafeteria during lunch.

SAROYAN: Great, Presto. Well, the panel and I have a few questions we'd like to ask you – to see how you'd fit into the show we're doing.


SAROYAN: By now you've had some time to get familiar with the premise of the Dungeons & Dragons series. So you know the types of situations you might have to face on the show. How would you use the skills and talents that you have in situations like that?

PRESTO: Well, I guess, if this Realm of Dungeons & Dragons is supposed to be magical, then I'd have a way to put my hobby to good use!

PANEL OF JUDGES: [all laugh]

PRESTO: And I know this isn't necessarily a "skill," but I've always been very dedicated to my friends. I'll stick by them no matter what, and I try to find ways to cheer them up when things are looking down. It's one of the reasons I like doing the magic tricks – whether they work or not, they usually get a smile.

MARKS: I like that reasoning, Presto. My question deals with necessary supplies. Say you really did find yourself in a sort of mystical Realm – a place where you would need to rely on magic, as well as your own skills, for survival. If you had to choose how best to outfit yourself for such an endeavor, what would you pick?

PRESTO: I guess if I'm going to be in the magic business, I'd want to look the part. I'd say a hat or a wand – something official. Maybe a bottomless-bag-of-tricks?

MARKS: You never know.

EVANIER: No, you never know. Hey, Presto. My question is more of a scenario. I'd like to see how you might handle a kind of Realm adventure.

PRESTO: Okay, sure.

EVANIER: An evil queen is using a magic crystal to enslave all the people of a small village. But the crystal also has the power to open a portal that will send you and your friends home. Furthermore, it's being guarded by the queen's pet dragon. How might you get to it, and how would you choose to use it?

PRESTO: Well, I'm not really one for direct confrontation – with an evil queen, or especially a dragon. I guess I'd try to find a way to break the spell itself. If I was able to do real magic in this Realm, I might twiddle my fingers and say something like:

Let's break the spell
And free all those people!

EVANIER: [chuckles] That's not bad. It's got a kind of nursery-rhyme charm to it. I think we can work with something like that. What happens if breaking the spell renders the crystal powerless to send you home?

PRESTO: I guess that's a chance we'd have to take. I mean, I'd be upset that we wouldn't be able to go home, but I don't think I could leave people to be enslaved.

EVANIER: Thanks for the great answer, Presto. Your turn, Gary.

GYGAX: Thanks, Mark. Hi, Presto. My question is this: In the first module of the Dungeons & Dragons G series—

SAROYAN: [under his breath] Gary . . .

GYGAX: What? This has nothing to do with dice.

EVANIER: I thought we agreed to keep the RPG separate.

GYGAX: I thought we agreed that we would each ask a question of our choice. This is what I want to ask.

SAROYAN: [throws up his hand] Fine.

GYGAX: Anyway as I was saying: In the first module of the Dungeons & Dragons G series of modules, what does the "G" stand for?

PRESTO: [shrugs matter-of-factly] Giant.

GYGAX: [smiling smugly] Thank you, Presto. That is all.

SAROYAN: Well, we have one final question for you. It may seem like a strange one, but we are actually required to ask.


SAROYAN: If there are 3 apples and you take away 2, how many do you have?


EVANIER: Just answer the question if you can.

PRESTO: It's an awfully simple one. If you want to ask me a harder math question I could probably . . . Unless there's something special about the way it's worded . . . [thinks for a moment] It's a brain-teaser, isn't it? If there are 3 apples and you take away 2, then I guess you'd have 2 apples, right?

SAROYAN: [smiles] Thanks, Presto. We appreciate you coming in today. We'll be in touch soon.

PRESTO: Oh. Okay. Thanks! [offers the panel a nervous wave and a smile as he gathers his audition script from beneath his chair and leaves the room]

CALL BACK #39 (and #39 ½)

[SHEILA, a slender redhead opens the door. She is wearing a casual but pretty collared shirt and a pair of jeans. As she enters, she offers the panel a big smile, made even more attractive by the freckles that dot her cheeks.]

SAROYAN: Welcome back, Sheila. Good to see you again.

SHEILA: Thanks, Mr. Saroyan. I'm excited to be here.

[Just as the door is about to swing closed, a hand pushes it back open slightly. The face of a YOUNG BOY appears through the opening. He is blond and blue-eyed, in a simple t-shirt and jeans. There is also a smattering of freckles on his nose and cheeks.]

YOUNG BOY: You want me to just wait out here, sis?

SHEILA: Right there is good, Bobby. I won't be long, so please don't wander off.

BOBBY: Aw, sis.

EVANIER: No, it's okay. Actually, he's welcome to come in if you want. [gestures for another chair to be brought in]

SHEILA: Are you sure you wouldn't mind?

MARKS: No, it's fine.

SHEILA: [as BOBBY takes a seat in the new chair beside her] Thank you. Our parents had somewhere they needed to be this afternoon, so I had to bring him along. [lowers her voice] I tend to have to keep an eye on him.

SAROYAN: No trouble at all. In fact, it might be interesting to get a fresh perspective from a young man his age while we're asking you your questions. Welcome, Bobby.

BOBBY: Hiya!

SAROYAN: Well, Sheila, why don't you tell us a bit about yourself first.

SHEILA: Okay. Well, my name is Sheila – you knew that! I'm sixteen years old and I'm a junior in high school.

EVANIER: Are you involved in any extracurricular activities at your school, Sheila?

SHEILA: I've never been very good at sports, actually. But I am vice-president of our Service Club. We do a lot of volunteer work: highway cleanup, nursing home visits, soup kitchens . . . that sort of thing.

SAROYAN: That sounds very admirable, Sheila. [turns to Bobby] And what about you, young man? What can you tell us about yourself?

BOBBY: Who, me? Well, . . . I'm Bobby. Sheila's my sister. I'm almost ten and I'm in fourth grade.

MARKS: What kinds of things are you interested in, Bobby?

SHEILA & BOBBY: [together] Baseball!

[Sheila smiles affectionately and rolls her eyes a bit at her little brother's enthusiasm.]

SAROYAN: [laughs] I see! We like baseball too. What's your favorite team, Bobby?

BOBBY: I used to like the Dodgers, but now my favorite team is the Padres.

SHEILA: Bobby roots for whichever team Steve Garvey plays for. He's kind of his hero.

BOBBY: He's the "Iron Man," sis! He played 1,207 straight games!

SAROYAN: [laughs good-naturedly and turns back to Sheila] Well, Sheila, we have a few questions for you, specific to the premise of the series. Are you ready?


SAROYAN: I'd first like to ask: How might you use the skills and talents you have to face the types of situations that could come up on a series like Dungeons & Dragons?

SHEILA: Hmm. Well, like I said I'm not as physical as some others might be – not as strong or forceful or athletic – so I guess I would focus on keeping a level-head in tough situations. I've been told that I work best under pressure.

BOBBY: [shaking his head] Don't let her fool ya, guys. Sheila can be pretty forceful when she wants to be. She doesn't let me get away with anything!

SHEILA: Bobby.

SAROYAN: No, it's all right. Does your sister take good care of you, Bobby?

BOBBY: I think she worries too much. And she can be gushier than mom. But yeah, she does.

SAROYAN: How about you, Bobby? What types of talents would you have to offer if you were in the same situation?

BOBBY: Are you kiddin'? If a dragon came after me, it would get so pulverized! [makes a fierce bat-swinging motion]

SHEILA: [giggles] Don't let my little brother fool you either! He may act all tough, but he has a soft spot or two!

BOBBY: Do not!

SHEILA: Didn't you say just the other night that you wanted to be a veterinarian? [aside to the panel] He loves animals.

BOBBY: So? [crosses his arms] I can still trash a dragon if it tried to barbecue us!

MARKS: Good answers, both of you! My question deals with necessities. Say you really did find yourself in a sort of mystical Realm – a place where you would need to rely on magic, as well as your own skills, for survival. If you had to choose how best to outfit yourself for such an endeavor, what would you pick?

SHEILA: You mean weapons? I'm not sure I'd be very good at fighting. So maybe something that would let me take care of people instead. Or let me run interference so my friends can escape a dangerous situation. I'm pretty good with first aid too.

BOBBY: [quietly, as though telling a secret] She's actually better at it than my mom.

SHEILA: That just comes from having a miniature bull-in-a-china-shop for a brother!

BOBBY: When I broke my leg a few months ago, she even snuck into the pantry and stole cookies for me.

SHEILA: Oh, Bobby. They don't need to know about that.

MARKS: How about you, Bobby? What would you need if you were stuck in a magical Realm?

BOBBY: Just give me my baseball bat and I can take on any monster that comes after me! [takes another mock swing] YEEEAAAGGGHHH!

EVANIER: I like your enthusiasm, Bobby. My question is a little more specific.


EVANIER: An evil queen is using a magic crystal to enslave all the people of a small village. But the crystal also has the power to open a portal that will send you and your friends home. Furthermore, it's being guarded by the queen's pet dragon. How might you get to it, and how would you choose to use it?

SHEILA: Um, . . . I suppose we could wait until the dragon is sleeping and try to sneak past it to grab the crystal. And then—

BOBBY: I could smash it! [another swing]

SHEILA: I wouldn't be so hasty, Bobby. I would need to make sure you were home safe first. Then, maybe—

BOBBY: You don't think I'd leave you there alone, do you , sis? You hate that, anyway. Besides, we can't just let the crystal hurt people. We'd have to smash it!

SHEILA: What if we brought the crystal with us? Then the evil queen wouldn't be able to use it anymore, and we would still be able to go home. [looks at the panel] Is something like that possible?

EVANIER: I guess it depends on the situation, but those were very good answers. Your turn, Gary.

GYGAX: Hi, kids. I'm Gary Gygax, creator of the original Dungeons & Dragons game.


GYGAX: My questions is: What type of weapon would be ideal for defeating a creature with a hit dice of 1d8 and an armor class of 16?

SHEILA & BOBBY: [stare at him, then at each other]

BOBBY: Um . . . [shrugs] . . . a Light Saber?

GYGAX: [considers this] Hmm. Light weaponry . . . I suppose it would depend on the size and the enhancements, but it might work. Thank you.

SHEILA: You're . . . welcome?

SAROYAN: [sighs long-sufferingly] Yes, thank you, Gary. Well, we actually have only one final question for you. It may seem strange . . .

EVANIER: But after that last one . . .

SAROYAN: Okay. A student who was just learning to drive went down a one-way street in the wrong direction, but didn't break the law. How is that possible?

BOBBY: [blinks] Beats me.

SHEILA: Um, he wasn't in a car at the time?

SAROYAN: Thank you. [smiles] We'll be in touch about the results of the call back. Thanks for coming in today, Sheila!

SHEILA: Thank you!

MARKS: It was great to meet you, Bobby!

BOBBY: Thanks! You too!

[Bobby and Sheila offer the panel one last smile, and leave through the door.]

EVANIER: You know, I hadn't considered the possibility of adding a younger cast member to the mix.

MARKS: I hadn't either . . . but now that you mention it . . .


[HANK, a tall, blond teenager enters. He has an athletic build and a very wholesome smile. He walks across the room and offers a firm handshake to each member of the panel.]

SAROYAN: Hi, Hank, welcome back.

HANK: Hello. I'm happy to be here. It was pretty exciting to get the call back. [takes a seat in the folding chair]

EVANIER: We're happy to see you here again, Hank. And we'd like to take this time to get to know you a little better.

HANK: Sure. Sounds good.

SAROYAN: Why don't you start by telling us a little about yourself.

HANK: Okay. Well, I'm Hank. I'm eighteen years old, and I'm a senior in high school.

MARKS: We'd love to hear about some of your interests, Hank.

HANK: Sure thing. I've played for my school's football team for four years – I was the back-up quarterback for the first two, and starting quarterback for the team since last year. I'm also a co-captain. I was recently elected president of our National Honor Society, too, and we've been working to start a peer tutoring program after school.

EVANIER: I remember you telling us last time about a unique hobby of yours. Was it archery?

HANK: [chuckles] Yeah. I've been doing that for a few years now.

SAROYAN: There's a hobby we haven't heard from anyone else yet today. Okay, Hank. We're going to ask you a few questions specific to the series we're planning. Ready?

HANK: You bet.

SAROYAN: First of all: How might you use some of the skills and talents you just mentioned to face the types of situations that could come up on a series like Dungeons & Dragons?

HANK: Well, both football and archery are very physical activities. So my background in both would probably be an asset. Also, since this sounds like a medieval setting, using a bow might be more practical and useful in terms of weaponry.

SAROYAN: Since you hold a number of positions of responsibility at school and in your extracurricular activities, would you consider yourself a natural leader, Hank?

HANK: Wow. That's a tough question for me to answer. It's true that I do find myself placed in leadership positions a lot, but sometimes I think it has more to do with the way other people see me than me actively seeking out responsibility. I'd like to think I handle it well when I need to. But there's always that fear in the back of your mind that you're not doing the best job you can. You know?

MARKS: I think we all know that feeling, Hank. Thanks for the honest answer. My question is a little more specific and deals with necessities. Say you really did find yourself in a sort of mystical Realm – a place where you would need to rely on magic, as well as your own skills, for survival. If you had to choose how best to outfit yourself for such an endeavor, what would you pick?

HANK: Well, if I've learned anything from being involved in certain activities, it's safety. In terms of clothing, I'd want something thick enough to be protective, but not so heavy that it's going to be a burden. If I was placed in a survival situation, I would want gear that would keep me safe but not wear me down. Along the same lines, I think the bow would be another smart means of protection – because I could keep my distance from danger and help to protect those around me.

EVANIER: Very good answers, Hank. I'm going to get even more specific and give you a hypothetical situation to consider. Okay?

HANK: Okay.

EVANIER: An evil queen is using a magic crystal to enslave all the people of a small village. But the crystal also has the power to open a portal that will send you and your friends home. Furthermore, it's being guarded by the queen's pet dragon. How might you get to it, and how would you choose to use it?

HANK: I think teamwork would be the best way to get the crystal and stop the queen. I'd have to consider the skills of the other people in my group. I'm sure we could figure out a way if we worked together.

EVANIER: And once you've acquired the crystal and defeated the queen?

HANK: If there was a way to guarantee that the crystal wouldn't be used to enslave any more people, then we could open a portal. If not, it would have to be destroyed. But first I'd make sure all my friends were safely home.

EVANIER: You would stay behind alone?

HANK: [shrugs] Somebody would have to put the crystal out of commission.

SAROYAN: Well, that's certainly very noble.

GYGAX: Yes, very noble. Hello, Hank. I'm Gary Gygax, and I also have a question for you.

HANK: Sure thing.

GYGAX: Since you do seem to have a strong leadership quality, I'd like to know . . . should your party be beset by an 8th-level Death Knight, who manifests the profanity of Deathwind against you, what do you do?

HANK: Uh . . . scatter?

GYGAX: Not a bad strategy. You do need to be careful about the range of the knight's aura, but in general a good exit strategy is a smart plan.

HANK: Um, okay. I'll definitely keep that in mind, Mr. Gygax.

SAROYAN: O-kay. Well, we just have one more question for you, Hank. It may seem a little strange, but we're required to ask.

HANK: Should I be nervous?

SAROYAN: [laughs] Not really. It's just a formality: A man is trapped in a room. The room has only two possible exits: two doors. Through the first door there is another room constructed from magnifying glass. The blazing hot sun instantly fries anything or anyone that enters. Through the second door there is a fire-breathing dragon. How does the man escape?

HANK: [laughs] That is strange. Is it supposed to be another type of situation that might come up on the show?

SAROYAN: Not really. We just want to see how you answer it.

HANK: Okay. Well, I guess the man could wait until night, right? I mean, if the sun was down he wouldn't have to worry about getting fried when he goes through the first door.

SAROYAN: Okay, Hank. Thank you for all your great answers. We'll be in touch about our final casting.

HANK: Thanks, everyone. Great to see you again. [shakes hands with each member of the panel again before leaving]

SAROYAN: [turning to the others] Seems we have quite a few to choose from.

EVANIER: Yep. Lots of examples of heroism and morality.

MARKS: And I know that's what we're looking for. Still, I'd like to see a little more of a personality mix.

GYGAX: Well, we do have one left . . .


[ERIC, the dark-haired young man we saw earlier in the auditorium enters the audition room. He has a slightly arrogant way about him as he strides purposefully to the chair and takes a seat.]

SAROYAN: Welcome back, Eric. We're glad to see you again.

ERIC: [lounges importantly in the folding chair, one foot resting on his opposite knee] It's great to be here, Hank. I was thrilled that I was able to fit the call back into my schedule.

MARKS: We are too, Eric. If I'm not mistaken, we also had the pleasure of meeting with a friend of yours earlier – Presto.

ERIC: [chuckles] I believe you did, Dennis. [shakes his head with another chuckle] Poor kid – can't do anything without me. Followed me to the original audition like a lost puppy. It probably would have broken his heart if I got a call back and he didn't.

SAROYAN: Well, Eric, this audition is going to be a little different than last time. We're going to ask you a few questions – to learn a little more about you.

ERIC: Well, Hank, you're in luck. That just happens to be one of my favorite topics!

SAROYAN: Okay then. Why don't you start by just telling us a little about yourself.

ERIC: Sure. As you know, I'm Eric. I'm seventeen years old and I'm currently a junior in high school.

SAROYAN: And what kinds of things are you involved in at school?

ERIC: Are you kidding? I don't have time for that sort of thing. I'm way too busy to involve myself in stuff like sports or clubs . . . or school, in general, for that matter.

EVANIER: By that, I take it you would consider yourself an average student.

ERIC: There's nothing average about me, Mark. I just feel that my energy is better directed toward other things.

EVANIER: So what sorts of things do you direct your energy toward?

ERIC: Important things! My dad's a very important guy, you know.

SAROYAN: So you're not actually involved in anything specific?

ERIC: I didn't say that. I've involved myself in plenty. The problem is narrowing down the field. Take the fencing, for instance . . .

MARKS: Oh. [intrigued] You fence?

ERIC: [snorts] Of course I do! You see, when you're a cultured individual like I am—

SAROYAN: How long have you been involved in that? Are you good?

ERIC: Well, you see, it's difficult to say. Whether or not I'm good is not really the point. What matters is that I have a number of cultured interests that I can draw upon at any moment. Like the equestrian thing . . .

EVANIER: So you like horses?

ERIC: A short-lived interest – but, again, not the point. You see, Dad says I have to find my niche, and maybe this acting thing is it. I mean, after all, who wouldn't want to tune in weekly for a glimpse of Eric the Brave, Eric the Bold . . .

EVANIER: [aside] Eric the Jack-of-all-trades, and master-of-none?

ERIC: [scowls] You've auditioned Diana already, haven't you? She said almost the exact same thing when I saw her outside. See? It's exactly that kind of sass that proves I'm still a misunderstood force in this world.

MARKS: Oh. You know Diana?

ERIC: Yeah. Her and several of the others go to my school.

EVANIER: You don't get along?

ERIC: Pfft. She's constantly on my case. A lot of them are. Like I said: misunderstood. [grumbles] Dummies.

PANEL OF JUDGES: [each jots something down on the papers in front of them]

SAROYAN: Okay, Eric. We'd like to move along if it's all right with you. How might you use some of your skills and talents to face the types of situations that could come up on a series like Dungeons & Dragons?

ERIC: Well, Hank, I'm glad you asked. As I've said: I've acquired a variety of skills over the years as I've tested out different pastimes. I'm sure any number of them would be useful in a survival situation. Plus, I've got the face and the charisma for television. [turns his right profile to the panel] This is my best side.

MARKS: Thanks, Eric. We'll keep that in mind. My question is about specific necessities. Say you really did find yourself in a sort of mystical Realm – a place where you would need to rely on magic, as well as your own skills, for survival. If you had to choose how best to outfit yourself for such an endeavor, what would you pick?

ERIC: Something impressive, no doubt about it. Something to showcase my heroics. Maybe some golden armor and a magical sword. Yeah, that's the ticket!

EVANIER: Okay, Eric. I have a specific scenario that deals with a Dungeons & Dragons-style adventure that might pop up on the show. I'd like to hear how you'd handle it.

ERIC: You bet!

EVANIER: An evil queen is using a magic crystal to enslave all the people of a small village. But the crystal also has the power to open a portal that will send you and your friends home. Furthermore, it's being guarded by the queen's pet dragon. How might you get to it, and how would you choose to use it?

ERIC: How rich is the queen?

EVANIER: Come again?

ERIC: The queen? How rich is she? Because, you know, money tends to recognize money. I'm sure I'd have her seeing my side of things in no time. It also helps that I'm rather imposing and handsome for my age. Say, are you looking to cast a kind of Captain Kirk for the series? You know: with a pretty lady in every palace? If so, I'm your guy!

EVANIER: Er . . . uh . . .

ERIC: As for how to use the crystal, that's a no-brainer. I'd be home by dinner!

MARKS: You realize that if you go home right away, the series ends.

ERIC: [blinks, then understands] Oh. Well, . . . that is . . . I . . .

EVANIER: And no one would be tuning in to Eric the Bold on a weekly basis.

ERIC: Er, . . . what I meant to say . . . Aw, come on! What is it they say in acting: isn't going home supposed to be my motivation? Or something? If the chance is staring us in the face, we'd be a bunch of dummies not to take it! Right?

SAROYAN: You never know where motivation might come from, Eric. Something could happen during the course of an adventure that changes what you thought you wanted.

ERIC: Yeah. Like that will happen!

GYGAX: Okay, Eric. I have a question for you now. It's a rather simple one: How likely might you be to survive an encounter with a Red Crested Ironspine?

ERIC: With a which-crested what?

GYGAX: Red Crested Ironspine. Also called a Venerable Ironspine – an ancient dragon. Huge, crushing bite, and takes over 300 hit points to kill.

ERIC: [stares widely at the others] I don't really have to do my own stunts, do I?

SAROYAN: [amused] Well, you never know what sorts of things you'll have to deal with here.

ERIC: You've got to be kidding!

SAROYAN: Well, Eric, we just have one more question for you. It's a little unorthodox, but we're required to ask.

ERIC: [still dazed from the last question]

SAROYAN: How many flowers would one have if all of them are roses except two, all of them are tulips except two, and all of them are daisies except two?

ERIC: [stares – the jump from dragons to flowers clearly blowing his mind] Huh?

EVANIER: It's a strange question, we know. But we were given specific instructions to include it.

ERIC: [finally blinks] The higher-ups at the casting office do seem to have pretty strange ideas.

SAROYAN: Still, we'd like to hear whatever answer you can come up with.

ERIC: [sounding frustrated] I don't know. I'm more of a straight-answer kind of guy. I give up – how many?

MARKS: Actually, Eric, we're more interested in your answer than the actual answer.

ERIC: WHAT? You mean you're supposed to ask me a dumb riddle, and then I don't even get to hear the answer! Gimme a break!

SAROYAN: Well, Eric, we certainly appreciate all the information you've given us today. We'll be in touch very soon about the results of the casting.

[Eric stands and heads for the door – much more flustered and confused than he appeared when he first entered the audition room.]

ERIC: Er, yeah. Thanks. [leaves]

SAROYAN: [turning to the others] Well?

MARKS: I like him. He seems to overcompensate to protect himself, but he would definitely be a different sort of character.

GYGAX: Leaves a lot of room to mature.



[Hank Saroyan walks purposefully down a long HALLWAY. He is carrying a MANILA FOLDER with the words "D&D Casting" written on the tab. He bypasses office after office and heads directly for the LAST DOOR at the end of the hall. As he reaches it, he raps his knuckles against its surface and enters. Inside is a spacious OFFICE, decorated simply and tastefully. It clearly belongs to someone important.

Saroyan glances around as he enters the room, then heads directly for the back. A thick, red DRAPERY hangs there. He draws back the curtain and steps through. This area of the office is much smaller, and also much darker. Several flickering CANDLES create a dull but steady glow. Directly ahead hangs a small, clear CRYSTAL AMULET on a pedestal. Saroyan doesn't seem to notice anything unusual about the drastic change in his surroundings. He approaches the pedestal and opens the folder in his hands. The crystal begins to glow.]

SAROYAN: [thumbing through the pages in the folder] Sorry it's so late. We had a long deliberation.

[As he speaks, an image appears in the surface of the glowing crystal. The smiling face of an OLD MAN materializes. He is small in stature, dressed in red robes, and around his neck is a crystal amulet that matches the one on the pedestal. The man smiles good-naturedly and his eyes twinkle.]

SAROYAN: I think we found just the six you're looking for, Dungeon Master.

DUNGEON MASTER: Splendid! [continuing to smile as he clasps his hands together] And not a moment too soon!



End Notes 1: Riddles were gathered from BrainDen (dot) Com and Braingle (dot) Com. Information on the D&D RPG was taken from both Wikipedia (dot) Org and DandDWiki (dot) Com. (Any errors regarding the details of the latter were unintentional, and meant to be all in good fun. *G*)

End Notes 2: By the way, the person would have three flowers: one rose, one tulip, and one daisy.