Big Human on Campus
After School Sessions
by Black Dragon
Disclaimer: Cities & Cyclists totally belongs to me! Parody is protected speech, suckers! HA!
Games are Life
"All right, does everybody understand the basic rules?" Yukari asked as she sat down behind a large desk, a short stack of books next to her.
Sitting on the desk in front of her and almost entirely obscuring the young witch was a fold-out cardboard piece with a picture of a busy but serene city street on it.
Sitting around the desk and slowly filling out sheets of paper were Ranma, Tsukune, Moka, Kouma, and Kurumu.
"I think I have the basic idea, though it still seems strange to me," Tsukune mumbled as he dropped his pencil on the desk, "a roleplaying game where you act like a human and have to survive completely ordinary problems in an adult human's life? Doesn't that sound kind of boring?"
"Well, it would probably seem boring to a human," grumbled Kouma, idly chewing his pencil eraser into mush, "but it's new to us. Besides, some of this stuff could actually come in handy."
"Well, okay, fine, but you do know what this game is, right?" Tsukune asked. "I mean, 'Cities and Cyclists?' This is based on a roleplaying game where humans pretend to be powerful warriors that fight skeletons and goblins and stuff and hunt for treasure."
"If I wanted to kick around greenskins for pocket change, I'd join the handicraft club," Kouma said before scribbling on his character sheet, "we don't need to have pretend games for things you can easily do in real life."
"That's..." Tsukune sighed as he gave up the point, "okay, yeah. That's true. But it's not like these things are totally beyond our imagination, right?"
"Well, sure, but normally becoming a lawyer takes years of expensive schooling, not fifteen minutes with a source book. By the way, what are everybody's classes?"
"I chose a nurse!" Moka said brightly, looking like she was already enjoying herself greatly.
Kurumu grimaced. "Huh! Formidable! But you won't beat me! I'm a maid!"
"Beat you... at what?" Moka asked, clearly confused.
"In a contest of sex appeal, of course!" Kurumu said, pumping a fist into the air. "Also, you wouldn't BELIEVE how many skill points I get!"
"I'm sure any dust you encounter won't stand a chance," Yukari said, rolling her eyes, "Tsukune, how about you?"
"I chose an accountant," Tsukune said, holding up his character sheet.
"How like you to choose such a boring, mostly useless, and completely ordinary career," Kouma scoffed, incidentally annoying the author considerably.
"Oh, leave Tsukune alone! At least he chose a respectable profession!" Kurumu said hotly.
"Civil law is respectable!" the hellhound protested. "It's essentially stealing and humiliating people while explaining how you're completely justified in doing so! It's hard work!"
Tsukune, as usual, deigned to answer to the insults he had been subjected to, and turned toward Ranma, who was studying his source book with unusual intensity.
"So what are you, Ranma?" he asked, leaning over to glance at his roommate's sheet.
"Carpenter," Ranma said as he studied a table carefully, drawing one finger down a column.
"Oh, okay. And here I thought you'd choose something really unconventional, like-"
"A martial arts carpenter," Ranma mumbled, quickly writing down a note on his character sheet before returning to the book.
"... Like that, yes," Tsukune mumbled.
"Hey, you can't be a martial artist AND a carpenter!" Kouma protested, "you have to choose one!"
"Besides is 'martial artist' really a profession or useful trait in the human world?" Moka asked doubtfully.
"Of course it is!" Ranma replied to Moka, "you think I took up martial arts for the health benefits?"
"It might have worked out, if you didn't keep getting your ribs smashed in," Tsukune noted.
"As for how I'm using a martial arts carpenter, I'm using this," Ranma said proudly, holding up the book he was working with.
Everyone at the table could see that it was labeled "Nerima CnC Supplement: Bicycles of Death".
As the others looked perplexed by the title, Moka was suddenly startled by a voice emanating from her Rosario.
'Hey, hey. Roll me up one of those.'
The vampiress looked stunned. 'YOU want to play too?'
'Why not? It's boring sitting alone in your head with nothing but your suppressed libido to keep me company,' Evil Moka grumbled. As Moka's face flushed, she continued, 'by the by, some of the material in these little fantasies of yours are just WAY too advanced for someone of our sexual experience. You're setting yourself up for disappointment. Just FYI.'
"Hey, Moka? Are you all right? You look all flushed," Kurumu said.
"Oh, uh... Would it be okay if Evil Moka had a character too?" Moka asked, feeling incredibly foolish. That feeling wasn't helped when everyone else in the room stared at her in askance.
"Wait, so... you'd run two characters?" Yukari asked, scratching her head. "Well, I don't see why not..."
"So one person would be controlled by the voice in your head?" Ranma asked as he put the finishing touches on his character sheet.
"She's not going to spend the entire game trying to kill Ranma's carpenter, is she?" Tsukune asked suspiciously.
"She says no, she just wants something to do," Moka explained.
Then she suddenly recoiled. "NO, I'm not going to borrow Ranma's source book!" Moka yelled at her Rosario as the others sweatdropped.
Yukari clapped her hands to regain everyone's attention. "Okay, that's fine. While Moka's making a second character, the rest of you should choose alignments."
"What's that, exactly?" Kurumu asked, frowning at her character sheet.
"Well, in human society, all people are assumed to believe in a basic set of principles that establish 'society' as they know it. This includes belief in law and order, certain universal rights, and a natural inclination to favor the betterment and advancement of civilization as a whole. Beyond these 'core', beliefs, any variations in beliefs between individuals are accounted for by your political alignment," Yukari explained at length.
"So... you're asking for us to choose a political stance?" Tsukune said, looking somewhat ill, for some reason.
"Yes, that's basically it."
"Neutral," Tsukune said immediately.
"Neutral," Kurumu echoed.
"Neutral," Moka agreed, "and neutral again."
Kouma scratched his chin. "I think I'll go ultra-conservative, actually."
Tsukune groaned. "Why?"
"Well, I am from Hell. I should stick to what I know about ethics and philosophy," the hellhound reasoned.
Ranma nodded thoughtfully. "I think I'll be a radical liberal."
"Because Kouma is the opposite?" Kurumu asked.
"No, because my character has an intelligence score of 7," Ranma admitted, "does that mean I believe in crazy conspiracy theories or anything?"
"We'll roll for that once we begin," Yukari confided. "Moka, are you done with your evil character?"
"She's not an evil character... necessarily," Moka protested weakly, "she's a corporate manager for an IT firm."
Kouma clicked his tongue as he leaned back. "Too easy. Don't even want to waste my breath..."
"All right, is everyone finished?" Yukari asked, dumping several dice out of a small cloth bag. "Are we ready to start a perfectly normal day in the human world, full of petty social conflicts and minor inconveniences?"
"Yeah! Let's start!" Kurumu cheered.
"As ready as I'll ever be," Kouma said.
"All set," Ranma gave a thumbs-up.
"We're ready," Moka offered, though she looked reluctant about it as her eyes glanced back and forth between her two character sheets.
"Then let's go," Tsukune offered, picking up a handful of dice.
"It's Saturday morning. Those of you that have professions with ordinary working hours have the day off. By coincidence, you all emerge from your rooms more-or-less simultaneously from the house you all rent rooms in," Yukari began, setting the stage.
"Wait, we all live together? Why does my lawyer have to be housemates with a hippie carpenter? Don't I make way more than the rest of them?" Kouma asked.
"You're only level one, Kouma. That puts you in the same income bracket with the rest of us," Tsukune explained.
Ranma stuck out his tongue. "Ha! I make as much building useful things as you do ruining people's lives!"
"That's totally unrealistic!" the hellhound complained.
"Oh, get over it! Now hush, I've barely started," Yukari groused, "as is normal first thing in the morning, you make your way to the shared kitchen for breakfast, where you find the first obstacle of the day: the fridge is completely barren!"
Moka winced, and her expression darkened as she spoke. "My, uh, manager suggests that we eat the hippie carpenter."
Tsukune chuckled weakly. "Ah, Moka, you're not a vampire in this game."
"Evil Moka is aware of that, yes," Moka deadpanned.
Kurumu rolled her eyes. "Then that makes it cannibalism, Moka. Humans don't do that."
Kouma was quick to interject, "Actually, my lawyer cites precedence in the case of the Donner Party, in which humans devoured each other in order to survive an emergency situation."
"This isn't an emergency, it's breakfast," Tsukune protested as Ranma perused his character sheet silently.
"These things are all relative. I'm sure I can swing it in court," Kouma said, almost giddy. "My lawyer reaches for a kitchen knife."
"My carpenter draws his chainsaw," Ranma said, leaning back in his seat.
Silence reigned around the table.
"Ranma... you're a carpenter, not a lumberjack or gardener class. Why would you have a chainsaw?" Tsukune asked.
"Because I took the right feats," Ranma said smugly, holding up his character sheet for all to see, "and I have the required proficiency in Power Tools, so your lawyer's free to try his luck, Eyebrows."
"And you just carry a chainsaw around with you?" Moka asked incredulously.
"It seems like a good idea when you room with people who'd rather kill and eat you than go to the supermarket," Ranma said with an eyebrow raised, "my carpenter revs up the chainsaw."
"All right, knock it off," Tsukune said, rubbing his head with his hand, "this isn't that hard a problem. GM, the fridge is absolutely bare?"
"Nothing but a milk stain and a slightly bloated cockroach," Yukari affirmed.
"Ooh! I take the roach!" Kurumu said eagerly.
"I think they're cute! Not as much as spiders, but still..."
"Well, unless your maid knows a recipe for cockroach, we still have to get some food," Tsukune said, "my accountant steps out the front door and searches for transportation."
Yukari nodded. "You find a large SUV. It belongs to Kouma, and he's still making payments on it, as a retroactive explanation of your income disparity."
"Great. We'll just drive to the supermarket and get some food," Tsukune said, feeling a little bit silly in having to lead the other players in accomplishing something so mundane, "so who's driving?"
Kurumu shook her head. "I spent all my points and feats maxing out my sex appeal."
Moka flushed. "Actually, my nurse is very environmentally conscious, so she takes a bicycle to work... And apparently my manager thought that she'd have her own limousine and driver when she chose her class."
Ranma shrugged. "I'm no help. I set up my stats so I could run everywhere on the rooftops."
Kouma scratched his head. "Me neither. I had to use my feats to expand my legal expertise."
Ranma blinked. "What? But it's your car!"
"You bought a car without even being able to drive it?" Kurumu asked, rolling her eyes, "you moron."
"That was decided for me! I didn't actually do that!" Kouma protested.
"So NONE of you have the driver's license feat?" Yukari deadpanned.
"I didn't think it would come up!" Ranma said sheepishly. "I mean, I've never needed to drive in the human world!"
"Yes, well, not all species can just leap on top of buildings," Kurumu pointed out.
"It's not a matter of species!" Ranma said hotly, "I'm a human! Any human can do it with some practice!"
All eyes turned to Tsukune, who did his best not to make eye contact. "Yes, well, none of us have had the practice to do that other than you. GM, is there a bus stop nearby?"
"YES. Now for the love of the gods, get to the damn store," Yukari said impatiently.
Moka massaged her forehead as she mumbled, "While we're waiting, my manager inconspicuously moves directly behind Ranma... I mean, behind the hippie carpenter. Also, Evil Moka wants to prepare an action."
Tsukune groaned as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Moka..."
"You know, it's not like his character's likely to die from anything a middle manager can do to him," Kouma pointed out, "I mean, we HAVE a nurse in the party."
"Kouma, that is not the point," Tsukune groused.
"My carpenter draws his chainsaw..."
"You arrive at the supermarket. FINALLY. As the bus shakes and sputters to the stop, one of its axles snaps in two and a tire promptly falls out of the wheel well and rolls off into the street," Yukari said as she looked over a page of notes written on a legal pad.
"My accountant apologizes profusely to the driver for the commotion," Tsukune said, rolling a D20, "and for my diplomacy roll I get... Huh. Twenty."
"Oh, a critical!" Yukari said. "Okay, then he won't report you to the authorities or make you pay for the bus."
Kouma snorted. "Us pay for it? I could have the entire company buried for having inadequate riot control mechanisms installed! These vehicles are CLEARLY a psychological threat to their occupants."
"Speaking of which, my carpenter puts away his chainsaw," Ranma noted, raising his hand.
"My nurse finishes tending to the survivors," Moka said, rolling a D20 herself, "uhm... 18, after bonuses... Sigh And my manager says she wants to search the bodies of the fallen for funds and... matches? Wait, why would you need matches?"
"Moka, we really don't have time for that," Tsukune said firmly. "Also, that's illegal. Right, Kouma?"
"Depends on how much of a cut I get," the hellhound admitted, "I can make a lot of things legal for the right price and with a few lucky dice rolls."
Kurumu sniffled, a tear hanging from the corner of her eye as she hung her head sadly. "My cockroach..."
"You really should have known better than to try and show it off," Moka chided, "humans have very different standards than we do as far as what's frightening."
"We'll get you a new one when we get back to the house," Ranma said, reaching over and patting the succubus on the head, "if we found one, there's gotta be more."
Yukari suddenly spoke up again, "The driver throws you all off the bus before any of you can start looting or start issuing subpoenas. Hurry up and get to shopping, already."
Tsukune opened up an item table in one of the larger books. "So we're in a general supermarket, then? Page 37?"
"That's correct," Yukari affirmed.
"Do they sell gas around here? I've been using my chainsaw more often than I thought I would," Ranma admitted.
"There's a gas station at the corner of the intersection," Yukari explained.
"My carpenter heads to the gas station," Ranma said.
Kouma raised his hand. "My lawyer follows. He needs to pick up some smokes."
"My manager follows, and would like to continue searching for matches," Moka said reluctantly, "my nurse, trusting that the GM isn't going to keep handing my manager tools to attempt homicide, will go with Tsukune and Kurumu to shop for food."
"Very well," Yukari said, turning toward Tsukune, "we'll handle your segment first. You enter the market, and notice that it's quite busy. What do you do?"
Tsukune turned toward Kurumu. "Kurumu, does your maid have a list of ingredients we can use? You probably have the highest cooking skill."
Kurumu did not respond, silently writing something on a note pad.
"Kurumu? Are you listening?" Tsukune asked.
The succubus looked startled as her head jerked up. "Yes! What? What's happening? My maid readies her broom with one hand and her bra clasp with the other!"
Tsukune sweatdropped as Moka leaned in closer. "We're just looking for groceries, Kurumu. Can you help?"
"Oh, sure. What do I have to roll?"
Moka suddenly spoke up. "You're writing a EULOGY for your roach?"
"Samuel was a beloved pet!" Kurumu protested. "And my maid didn't even get the chance to scrape the body off that NPC's shoe so we can bury it properly!" She sniffled again. "Why do humans have to be so cruel?"
"Kurumu, you can write your eulogy later. But for now we need to know what to buy," Tsukune said firmly.
"Roll the dice and then add your wisdom and skill bonuses," Yukari explained, "and then add 1 to your final score for being female."
"Why's that?" Kurumu asked as she made the roll.
"Prejudicial bonus," Yukari said, shrugging, "females are assumed to be generally better at domestic tasks if for no other reason than because society expects them to. The same applies to men and athletic affairs."
"That doesn't apply if you took the 'Destroyer of Kitchens' character flaw, though," Ranma pointed out.
Moka grimaced as she stared at her corporate manager's character sheet. "I hope this isn't foreshadowing anything..."
"Okay, I got a 19 after putting everything together," Kurumu said, still seeming quite glum.
"All right. Good score. You compile a list of cheap, easy-to-make, yet healthy recipes and hand out lists to your teammates," Yukari said.
"Yeah, okay. Let's get this over with," Kurumu grumbled.
Tsukune rolled his eyes. "Kurumu, are you THAT upset that your bug got stomped?"
The succubus sighed and suddenly fell to one side, landing her head directly in a surprised Tsukune's lap. "You know, if you want to cheer me up, your character and mine could always sneak off and find something fun to do," she said, switching instantly from despondent to sultry as she winked up at him.
Tsukune started sweating as he noted the annoyed expression on Moka's face. "Ah, Kurumu, I don't think things would work out between our characters..."
"Oh, why not?" Kurumu demanded petulantly. "It's just pretend. Can't I at least have you all to myself in my fantasies?" She batted her eyelashes innocently.
Tsukune chuckled nervously as he held up his character sheet. "It's not that... It's just that my accountant is a woman."
Kurumu vaulted upright immediately, and the others gave the young human strange looks.
"What? A woman? Why? Why would you do that?" Kurumu demanded in a panic.
"Well, I thought it would be boring if I played as someone exactly like me, so I made a female accountant," Tsukune said, shrugging, "I didn't think it was that big a deal."
"And this has nothing to do with your unsatisfied curiosities from living with a guy who shifts gender almost at will?" Yukari asked bluntly.
Tsukune flushed as he looked away from Ranma. "Well... I do have... questions that I never ask him because it might be uncomfortable."
"Thank you for that," Ranma deadpanned, "I'm being serious, now. Thanks for not asking."
"Forget all that! If you're a girl then we can't be together!" Kurumu complained. "Unless... Wait! Maybe my maid just swings that way?"
"Roll a D8, and re-roll if you get a 1," Yukari said, opening up a player's handbook.
Kurumu was surprised at the instruction, but did as told. "Uh... I got a two."
"According to the human sexuality continuum table printed here - referred to as the Kinsey scale - that puts you at 0. You're straight as can be," Yukari said.
Tsukune sweatdropped as Kurumu dropped her head onto the table, banging her forehead.
"Awww... Can't I make an exception for Tsukune? It's a fate thing!" Kurumu asked weakly.
Yukari snorted as she continued perusing the Kinsey scale data tables and graphs. "I'd buy that if you were at least a 1, but a 0? No. Your maid likes wieners."
Then the young witch brightened. "By the way, in case anyone wants to know, I'm a-"
"Nobody wants to know," said Ranma, Kouma, and Kurumu simultaneously.
"Well, that only took forever," Kouma grumbled, "can we get to the gas station now?"
"Chill out Eyebrows. At least they completed the quest," Ranma said.
"My manager wants to know if she's found any matches yet," Moka said.
"Sure. She finds a book on the ground," Yukari said, shrugging. "So what's everybody doing?"
"My carpenter buys a fuel canister," Ranma said.
"My lawyer buys a pack of cigarettes," Kouma said.
"My manager... does NOT use her matches to light Ranma's gas can on fire," Moka said, looking rather annoyed. Then she suddenly lowered her chin to glare at her own Rosario. "No, YOU suck!"
"Roll for it, Moka," Yukari requested.
"I have to roll to restrain myself from murder?" Moka asked.
"Well, really, you're rolling to restrain your evil half, since I doubt that your actions are a faithful interpretation of Evil Moka's intentions," Yukari explained.
"Hey, come on, leave me alone until I can get more chainsaw fuel," Ranma protested.
Moka sighed and tossed a D20. "I got a twelve."
"You decide not to risk it for now. There are a lot of witnesses, after all," Yukari noted.
"Well, if you're not going to be committing arson or assault, my lawyer takes a match and uses it to light up a cigarette," Kouma said.
"My carpenter leaves match-flinging range and fills up the chainsaw with fuel," Ranma followed.
"Okay. Senpai, your chainsaw is at full fuel," then Yukari rolled a D20, "Kouma, your lawyer has contracted cancer."
There was a moment of stunned silence as Kouma's eyes widened.
"Cigarette smoking induces cancer in humans," Yukari said, shrugging, "your lawyer is dying."
"Uh, actually-" Tsukune started to speak, but Kouma panicked and cut him off.
"Cancer? Nobody said anything about cancer! Why wasn't I warned about this?" the hellhound demanded.
Ranma's hand snapped to the side too fast for the human (or most non-human) eyes to see, and then he held up Kouma's cigarette carton in front of the boxer's face.
"What does it say near the bottom?" Ranma asked blithely.
"Wait, you mean that warning is real?" Kouma asked in a panic. "I thought the Surgeon General was just a marketing character! You know, like Captain Crunch!"
"Captain Crunch never warned people about the dangers of eating too much sugary cereal," Moka pointed out.
"Well, maybe if he did he'd have made General, too," Kurumu mused.
"Look, guys," Tsukune tried again, "cancer is-"
"Somebody do something!" Kouma shouted. "I'm dying, here!"
"No you're not!" Tsukune shouted suddenly, surprising everybody. "Cancer takes a fairly long time to kill a person! And it takes a long time to get it, too! Your character is not going to die any time soon."
The others stared at Tsukune silently for several seconds before Kouma snorted. "And how would you know that, anyway? You don't have any points in medicine!"
"Plus you didn't even roll for it," Yukari said, shaking her head. "Kouma, your HP drops by 5."
"Damn it! Help!"
Tsukune sighed and gave up.
"Moka's nurse has points in medicine, right? Maybe she can fix it," Ranma suggested.
"She's not here! The one time she might actually be able to help!" Kouma moaned.
"All right then, since it's come to this," Ranma said grimly, "my carpenter draws his chainsaw."
Kouma looked alarmed. "How is that supposed to help?"
"Evil Moka wants to know first if you're planning on putting him out of his misery, and second if her class gives her access to any underground organ markets," Moka asked wearily.
Ranma shook his head, "No, I'm not going to kill him, I'm going to save him. My carpenter revs his chainsaw and prepares to fight cancer."
The stunned silence didn't last long.
"You want to fight cancer?" Tsukune asked. "As in... physically?"
"With a CHAINSAW?" Kouma asked, gaping.
"Hey, I have a chainsaw, a hammer, a can of gas, and two dozen nails. I'm using the best tool I've got!" the pigtailed boy admitted.
"My manager has a letter opener," Moka volunteered.
"That would take forever," Ranma scoffed, "and we're losing Kouma fast."
"Ranma, you don't fight cancer this way," Tsukune said.
"Well, how DO you fight it?" Kouma asked, puzzled, "Hellbeasts don't have to deal with these things!"
"I've heard that sometimes humans fight it by having a bunch of healthy people walk long distances," Kurumu said, tapping her chin.
"How does THAT help?"
Kurumu shrugged. "I dunno. It always seemed kind of dumb to me, so I never looked into it."
"Well, unless you guys come up with a better idea..." Ranma picked up a D20.
"I can think of a DOZEN better ideas than-" Kouma started to say before Yukari interjected.
"5 more HP down."
Ranma raised an eyebrow and tossed the die into the air, catching it on the way down. "Well?"
"Ranma, how would you even USE a chainsaw to cure cancer?" Tsukune asked.
"It's not STRICTLY impossible," Yukari pointed out, "assuming that the tumor is isolated enough, that it resides in an organ that can survive a degree of trauma, and of course there are the more finicky matters of a carpenter being able to identify and remove the cancerous tissue with a non-surgical tool and keep the patient alive without any anesthetic or disinfectant." Yukari shook her head. "Rather than impossible, it's just so outlandishly unlikely and pointlessly dangerous that someone would have to be a complete idiot to even try."
"Story of my life," Ranma quipped as he tossed the D20 onto the table, "now let's do this."
Silence reigned at the table as everyone stared at a group of dice sitting in the middle of the table next to a Wikipedia printout of a human skeleton and a crude outline of a human body marked with pencil lines to indicate incisions.
"My carpenter puts away his chainsaw." Ranma raised his head. "Well?"
It took some time for Yukari to find her voice. "Well... Uh... You, Ranma Saotome, hippie carpenter-slash-martial artist... have defeated cancer."
"With a chainsaw," Ranma added.
"With a chainsaw, yes," Yukari amended. "Erm... You get... 1000 XP, I guess."
Kouma was looking glumly at his character sheet. "Is the nurse almost back yet? I'm pretty sure my lawyer is at death's door."
"Your lawyer is practically kicking it down at this point, but yes, Moka arrives with Kurumu and Tsukune with her," Yukari said.
"My nurse proceeds to tend to Kouma, first stopping the bleeding and then disinfecting the exposed tissue," Moka said quickly, looking somewhat distressed as she started rolling dice.
'Man, it's too bad we're not vampires in this game. I'll bet the blood is EVERYWHERE,' Evil Moka mused.
Ranma simply leaned back in his chair, his arms crossed over his chest while looking exceptionally smug.
"How did you roll THAT many 19s and 20s?" Tsukune asked, his eyes still locked on the dice on the table.
"Secret technique. Martial arts LARPing. I learned it in this one match during middle school," Ranma said, turning his eyes away, "it's not like I'm real proud of that fight, but it can come in handy."
"You realize I'll find a way to sue you for this," Kouma grumbled.
"I doubt it. I still have fuel left for the chainsaw."
"You'll run out eventually!"
"My manager wants to know if she can go home and eat now..."
The next session saw Ranma, Kurumu, and Kouma gathered in front of Yukari, with the former two thumbing through books as they made adjustments to their character sheets. Kouma was quite busy looking bitter and shooting glares at Ranma (which was near enough to his usual behavior that nobody really noticed).
"So I'm definitely going to put my new skill points into Handyman rather than Construction, but I'm not sure about taking the Chainsaw Carving feat," Ranma mused aloud.
"Why? Because you don't think you'll use it?" Kurumu asked.
"No, because I'll use it all the time, and then we won't be able to get down the street without me chainsawing something," Ranma mumbled, "it might start to get old, you know?"
"True. And I have a hard time imagining how you'll top beating cancer anyway. Go for Resist Hardware Store instead. Then maybe it won't take us until evening to get back to the house for breakfast," Kurumu said.
"Oh, come on! I needed a new chain after the first one jammed up from all the bones!" Ranma protested. "Anyway, what are you doing?"
"I'm not sure if I should bother taking a second level of maid," Kurumu admitted glumly, "I did it for the sex appeal, but what's the point if Tsukune's a woman?"
"Well, you DID complete the main quest mostly on your own and got enough XP from making us dinner that you leveled up," Ranma reasoned, "I mean, all Moka did was keep Kouma alive."
"Yeah, she seems just as useless as in real life," Kurumu agreed.
"And would you stop glaring at me like you're trying to light me on fire?" Ranma demanded as he turned toward Kouma.
"I AM trying to light you on fire," Kouma groused, his eyes a blazing red as he concentrated on the center of Ranma's shirt.
"Oh. So that's why I smelled smoke," Ranma reasoned before he swatted the hellhound in the nose, "well, cut it out. You might damage my character sheet."
As Kouma growled uselessly, Ranma turned back to Kurumu. "Well, if you don't want to bother sexing anyone up anymore, you might as well just put the points into stuff like cooking and cleaning, right?"
"Which in turn would help you level up faster," Yukari observed, "your class is kind of an XP farmer."
Then the Game Master snapped at Kouma, "As for you, quit your moping. I gave you some XP despite the fact that all you did was get cancer and bleed all over the ground. So you didn't gain a level yet. Get over it."
"I wanted to file a lawsuit against the cigarette company, but you wouldn't let me!" Kouma protested.
"Of course not. You had just been through incredibly destructive surgery and Moka barely rolled high enough to save your life. Of course you'd be laid up for the entire day. You're only human."
"Well, it's a LITTLE unrealistic that you'd be out for the ENTIRE day just from having a lung ripped open," Ranma said, "you know, speaking as a human."
"Sure, Senpai. Whatever you say," Yukari offered, although she looked rather exasperated.
"I am, damn you..."
Suddenly, Kurumu shivered. "Whoa... Did anyone else feel that?"
"You mean that oppressive wave of power that suddenly appeared a minute ago and has been steadily approaching?" Kouma asked. "Yeah. What about it?"
"Uh... Any idea what it might be?" Kurumu asked, a bit nonplussed at the lack of distress by the others.
"Eh, Tsukune probably tripped," Ranma suggested.
"... I don't get it," Kurumu said.
Then the door to the classroom burst open. "Hello everyone," Moka said, her eyes a blazing crimson and her hair a gleaming silver as she sauntered into the room.
"Never mind. I get it," Kurumu grumbled as she returned to her player handbook.
Evil Moka glanced around the room, noting the general lack of reaction at her appearance. "You don't have to prostrate yourselves before me, but you can act a LITTLE surprised," the vampiress said, folding her arms under her breasts.
"It's nice of you to let us off prostrating, but we're kind of busy, here," Ranma said, finally looking up at the unsealed Moka, "can we do our epic battle after the session?"
"I didn't come here to fight," Evil Moka said, surprising everyone in the room far more than her actual appearance did, "today I'll be controlling my corporate manager directly."
As she took a seat, Tsukune came staggering through the door after her, looking as if he had run the whole way here and holding a familiar Rosario in his hand.
"S-Sorry about this. I tripped," Tsukune said between breaths.
"Called it," Ranma said, smirking.
"You know, this wouldn't happen if you didn't keep trying to feel her up at every opportunity," Kurumu said, looking put out as Tsukune looked shocked at the accusation, "if you really want to grope someone, you just have to ask me! I'm sure mine are way more fun to play with!"
This elicited a derisive snort from Evil Moka and a flushed protest from Tsukune.
"I didn't try to feel her up! You're wrong! It's an accident!"
"Dude, it's a little too convenient how your hand always ends up over her chest every time you trip or fall on her," Kouma said.
Evil Moka, who seemed to be ignoring the discussion about her being groped, suddenly held out her character sheet to Yukari. "Here. Level me up."
"Moka, you don't have enough experience to get to the next level," Ranma explained, gesturing to his own sheet, "neither of your characters got enough bonus XP to-"
"All done!" Yukari said, handing the sheet back to Evil Moka with all the adjustments finished.
"Good work," Evil Moka said with a smug smile as she looked over Yukari's adjustments (made in a small fraction of the time it had taken Ranma and Kurumu, of course).
"WHAT THE HELL?" Kouma shouted, a small fireball suddenly bursting above his head and causing those seated closest to him to shield their papers. "You just gave her a level for no reason? All she did was heal me and a few innocent bystanders!"
"No, no," Yukari said, shaking her head, "I just leveled up Evil Moka's manager, not Moka's nurse."
"What? Then she didn't accomplish anything more than my character did!" the hellhound protested furiously.
"Well, she DID slow us down a bit less, if that counts for something," Ranma pointed out, not helping the situation one bit.
"It's not that she was any more effective or that she earned more experience," Yukari reasoned, "but rather that she has one more shirt button undone than usual."
"A formidable opponent," Kurumu hissed as Kouma gaped.
Evil Moka glanced down at her chest, blinking. "I didn't do that on purpose, actually. I think Tsukune pulled it open earlier," she mumbled while fixing the button in question.
Tsukune's face glowed red as everyone slowly shifted their gazes toward him. "Accident! It was an accident, I tell you!"
"Okay, fine. Whatever you say, pervert," the hellhound grumbled, "so if everyone ELSE is done leveling up, can we start already?"
"Just one question," Yukari said, "Evil Moka, will you be handling Moka's nurse faithfully, or should I be tasking you with 'resist murder rolls' when you attempt to kill Senpai's carpenter?"
Evil Moka raised an eyebrow. "I won't be handling my other self's character at all. She'll be sitting this session out."
"Can't she just tell you what to do in your head like you do with her?" Ranma asked.
"No, she cannot," Evil Moka said with a contemptuous glare at the pigtailed boy. "The pink-haired ninny you're used to is not some alternate personality buried in my mind that emerges when convenient. She is a facade, an illusion of a soul created by the seal by subverting my thoughts. So long as the Rosario is off, that Moka does not exist."
"Oh. Okay. Just wondering," Yukari said as she opened up her note book. "All right, let me just make a few preliminary rolls..."
"Wait, is it just me, or did Evil Moka say something kind of disturbing just now?" Tsukune asked.
"Save it for the main story," Kouma snapped, "we don't want your personal drama messing up our play time."
"All right, everyone! It's time to do some laundry!" Yukari cheered.
There was a distinct lack of cheerfulness in the players.
"Laundry? That's a quest? Isn't that a bit too easy?" Tsukune asked.
"Did you think that about making breakfast? Because one of you almost DIED doing that," Yukari pointed out.
"Well, that's not happening to me again! No more smoking!" Kouma said, planting a hand over his heart. "Now that I have an actual human body to look after, I'm going to take my health seriously! Lots of fruits and no drugs and plenty of-"
Yukari looked up from consulting a data table. "By the way, you're addicted to tobacco. If you don't have a cigarette soon, you may suffer extremely painful withdrawal symptoms or even die."
Ranma sighed as Kouma gaped wordlessly. "Can I fix withdrawal symptoms with a chainsaw?"
"You cannot. I feel confident in saying that curing addiction with a chainsaw is strictly impossible," Yukari explained.
"Sorry Eyebrows, you're on your own," Ranma said, shrugging.
"This is ridiculous! Humans have to put up with cancer AND addiction? Why would anybody EVER smoke?" Kouma asked, obviously distressed.
Tsukune rolled his eyes. "Well, to be fair, it's not QUITE as deadly in real life as Yukari's made it out to be."
"That's probably true," Yukari admitted, "I have been rolling really high on the drug and alcohol tables."
"No, that's not what I-"
"Question," Evil Moka said suddenly, "this one is a maid, correct?" she pointed at Kurumu, who bristled in response.
"'This one'? I have a name, you know!" the succubus protested.
"So long as you insist on referring to me by idiotic monikers, I will refer to you however I wish," Evil Moka declared, shooting Kurumu a glare out of the corner of her eye.
Kurumu, Ranma, Kouma, and Yukari all glanced at each other silently, and then nodded.
"That sounds fair."
"Can't complain, I guess."
"Well, if that's the only way to keep calling you Evil..."
"Does that mean we can call you ANY idiotic moniker, or just that one?"
Evil Moka's annoyance was almost palpable, but she managed to let the topic go as she locked gazes with Kurumu. "Answer my question. You're a maid, correct?"
"A level 2 maid, yeah," Kurumu grumbled, "what of it?"
"So do our laundry, then," Evil Moka said, "problem solved. Next quest."
"Wait, Moka, she's not OUR maid," Tsukune said, glancing to the girl in question. "Right?"
Kurumu's expression turned sultry as she leaned closer to Tsukune. "Well, if YOU were to ask me, I could certainly do some cleaning in your-"
"You're straight. Quit it," Yukari said suddenly, hurling a D12 that bounced painfully off of Kurumu's forehead.
As Kurumu's face darkened, Evil Moka shrugged.
"I can't be the only one who appreciates that we have a domestic laborer in the party and that our quest happens to be a common household chore. Let's leave it to the servant and do something else."
"Oh, really? So I do all the work while you get all the benefit?" Kurumu said, planting her hands on her hips.
"I'm a manager. Get used to it."
"Okay, let's all calm down for a second," Ranma said, holding up his arms. It was usually Tsukune's role to play peacekeeper when their friends were arguing, but the younger human seemed exasperated for some reason. "First of all, are there even washing machines in this place?"
"No. There is, however, a coin laundromat just down the block," Yukari pointed out.
"Okay, well, I don't think it's right to make Kurumu lug all our clothes around outside without an escort or anything, or pay for it herself, so I'll definitely be going," Ranma said, nodding.
"I'll go too," Tsukune said predictably.
"I need the XP," Kouma grumbled.
Evil Moka clicked her tongue. "I see... Very well. Then I, too, shall accompany you," the vampiress said reluctantly, "however, you will still do my laundry while we're there."
"Oh, I'll hang something out to dry, all right," Kurumu mumbled.
Tsukune seemed encouraged by the agreement, and once again spoke up. "All right then, this should be easy. My accountant gathers up her dirty clothes in a sack and exits the building. I take it the rest of you do the same?"
"My manager dumps her clothes on top of the maid's and then prepares to depart," Evil Moka said casually, looking slightly bored.
"Hey! Come on!" Kurumu protested, "putting aside that I don't want to do your laundry too, you'll get our clothes mixed up!"
"I hardly think sorting them will be a problem," the silver-haired girl replied, "my clothes would be easy to tell from yours. They're the tasteful ones."
As Kurumu fumed, Yukari nodded. "Yes, I do believe that qualified as a 'burn'. Kurumu, make an ego saving throw to avoid damage to your self-esteem."
Kurumu made a rather Kouma-like growl as she rolled her D20. "I got a 7. With modifiers, that's a 13."
"Okay, you're fine, but you don't get to make a witty comeback of opportunity," Yukari explained.
"Swell. Are we done sabotaging ourselves yet, or can we start our journey to the end of the block?" Kurumu groused.
"We can go," Kouma said, "I'm saving the good sabotage for when we actually get to the laundromat."
"Great. Let's get outside, already," Tsukune mumbled, really wishing that he knew how to re-attach Moka's Rosario himself.
"You exit the building and start heading down the street," Yukari said, "about halfway down the block is a hardware store."
"Damn it!" Ranma cursed, picking up a D20 and rolling it.
Many of the other players winced as the red polygon bounced to a stop, exposing a 1 for all to see.
"Double damn it!" Ranma snapped, hanging his head. "Can I feel shame as a minor action?"
"No, you're going to be using all your actions to get into the hardware store as fast as possible," Yukari insisted, "there will be no time for shame."
"I thought you got a feat to deal with that!" Kurumu said.
Ranma winced. "No, I took... something else."
"Like what?" Tsukune asked.
"... Proficiency: Ancient Chinese Martial Arts," Ranma admitted sheepishly.
"I think we need to take away that source book of his," Evil Moka deadpanned.
"Ranma, when are you EVER going to need Ancient Chinese Martial Arts?" Kurumu asked.
"Hey, it comes in handy in real life!" the pigtailed boy protested.
"This isn't real life, this is a world without monsters, magic, or over-the-top hand-to-hand combat," Yukari explained, shrugging, "as ridiculous and unrealistic as that sounds. Anyway, you immediately toss your sack of clothes at Kurumu's maid and bolt for the hardware store. The party has lost it's carpenter."
As Kurumu started fuming again, Tsukune spoke up.
"My accountant takes Ranma's share of clothes to lighten the burden on Kurumu's maid."
Kurumu looked relieved as she sidled up closer to Tsukune. "Thank you! That makes this-"
"Ah ah ah!" Yukari suddenly shouted. "Not so close! That's a woman! You have boundaries!"
Kurumu's mood promptly dipped again, and Evil Moka very deliberately yawned before she said, "So can we continue to our objective now?"
"Okay, fine. You approach the laundromat," Yukari said before rolling several dice behind her GM screen. "Random encounter time!"
"All right, fine. So we're dealing with, what? Joggers? A dog that escaped it's leash? Teenagers?" Tsukune asked.
Yukari glanced over her papers. "You've been attacked by wolves."
Tsukune was stunned into silence, but on this occasion he was the only one.
"My lawyer readies his briefcase."
"My maid gets out her broom."
"My manager draws a letter opener with one hand and a pair of scissors in the other."
"Oh, you can dual-wield? Neat!"
Ranma sighed. "I guess my carpenter decides to check out the screws section of the hardware store."
Yukari nodded. "You reach the screws section. There are an awful lot of screws! You decide to closely observe the different kinds of screws and determine a specific ideal use for every single one!"
"Awesome," Ranma said, his voice thick with sarcasm.
"Wait, hold on, let's back up a minute," Tsukune said, "back to the wolves thing. Why are we fighting wolves?"
"Because they ambushed you in front of the laundromat," Yukari explained simply, "of course, you can always attempt to flee, but you won't be able to do your laundry then."
"No, Yukari, this is supposed to be a game about ordinary human life, right? Humans don't get attacked by wolves."
"I've been attacked by wolves," Ranma pointed out.
"You've been attacked by EVERYTHING," Tsukune countered, silencing his roommate.
Yukari looked surprised. "Really? Humans never have to fight off wolves?"
Tsukune hesitated. "Well... Okay, I guess it DOES happen, but rarely!"
"Well, consider this one of those rare times," Yukari said, shrugging.
"But we're in a city! There's no place for wolves to live!" Tsukune protested.
"Look, I know the encounter tables are ridiculous, but that's what I rolled," Yukari said, "so there are wolves now. Prepare to fight, already."
"See? I'll bet you wish you had ancient Chinese martial arts now!" Ranma said.
"Actually, I'd settle for a chainsaw," Kurumu deadpanned, "rolling initiative..."
"You enter the laundromat, dragging your gore-stained dirty clothes behind you wearily," Yukari said as she described the next setting, "all except for you, Evil Moka, who looks rather stunning in your new coat. Although you are fairly blood-soaked as well."
"I don't suppose wolf fur is machine-washable, is it?" Evil Moka asked, looking quite satisfied with herself.
"No, you're going to want that dry-cleaned," Yukari confirmed.
"Your manager is... pretty good at fighting," Kurumu mumbled, looking distressed at the state of her character.
"Business isn't for the meek," the vampiress said, her eyes narrowing, "fighting bloodthirsty animals is nothing compared to a serious corporate restructuring."
Tsukune leaned over to Ranma and whispered inconspicuously, "is it just me, or is Evil Moka actually getting into this?"
"I don't know why you're surprised," Ranma mumbled back, "if I was locked in a piece of jewelry with no one but Moka to talk to, I'd LEAP at the chance to spend time with other people."
"I can hear you, you know," Evil Moka drawled, causing Tsukune to wince and Ranma to shrug.
"Okay, so all of you except Senpai are in the laundromat. You see rows upon rows of washing machines and dryers, a coin machine, and a vending machine that dispenses detergent and fabric softener."
Then Yukari turned toward Tsukune. "Tsukune, as you took considerable damage from the encounter, all of your rolls will have a -2 penalty."
Tsukune shrugged. "Okay, well, I doubt that I'll be making many rolls to do laundry, so that's fine. Still, it'd be nice to have a nurse around."
"Pardon me for not choosing a skill set to compensate for the weakness of others," Evil Moka said, rolling her eyes.
"You did kind of suck in that battle, man," Kouma admitted, "I mean, you didn't even have a weapon!"
"I'm an accountant. And a human. There's no reason for me to have a weapon," Tsukune groused.
"Really? So humans never get into fights just walking down the street?" Kurumu asked curiously.
"Sure we do," Ranma said before his roommate could answer, "he's just saying that humans don't need to have a weapon to defend themselves. We can easily fight with our bare hands."
"No, that's not..." Tsukune trailed off for a moment, recognizing the futility of continuing to argue. "Oh, whatever. How are you doing in the hardware store?"
"Senpai's carpenter has discovered an upgrade chain in the chainsaw section," Yukari explained.
"Well, I hardly think I need a new chain, since I bought one last-" Ranma began before Yukari cut him off.
"This special alloy chain has heavy teeth which can exert much more force before jamming or chipping," Yukari explained, "if you get the upgrade, your chainsaw will be able to cut through most metals."
Ranma's previous thought promptly vanished. "Uh... And how much does it cost?"
"Ranma, we're just doing laundry, here," Kurumu deadpanned.
"But there are wolves around!" Ranma protested in return.
Tsukune started to speak, but then thought the better of it and just sighed instead.
"I can tell you from personal experience that the wolves' hides are not exceptionally well-armored," Evil Moka said, looking bored again as she waited for Ranma's situation to be resolved.
"Okay, okay, fine. No chainsaw upgrades," Ranma grumbled, "but don't blame me if we get attacked by robots or something and Evil Moka's scissors can't hold them off," he warned.
"Don't be a fool," Evil Moka quipped, "of course we'll blame you. Now hurry up and join us."
Ranma grated his teeth for a moment before tossing his D20. "Rolling to escape the accursed hardware store."
Yukari blinked. "Ooh, a 20! You successfully escape, Senpai, and rush to join the others."
"Okay, well, I'm going to go ahead and put my dirty clothes in the washing machine," Tsukune said, finally drawing attention back to the main event. "Oh! And I'll put Ranma's clothes in a different machine!"
Kouma frowned. "Uh... My lawyer watches his accountant and does whatever she does."
"Whoa! Hey, wait!" Kurumu said suddenly, chopping a hand down in front of her would-be lover, "Tsukune, what are you doing?"
Tsukune blinked. "Laundry? Is something wrong?"
"You're a woman now, remember? You can't just dump everything into one load and start up the machine! What would happen to all your lingerie?" Kurumu asked, scandalized.
Tsukune stared blankly at her. "Uh... I have no idea."
Evil Moka sighed. "Tsukune, why do you think they have different cycle settings on washing machines in the first place?"
"Underwear uses the delicate cycle! You have to separate it from the other clothes! And make sure to wash bright colors separate from your whites!"
The young human said nothing, completely clueless and honestly quite stunned that he was being lectured on the use of everyday technology by a vampire and a succubus.
"Wait, are you serious? Why go through all that trouble?" Kouma asked.
The disdainful stares the two girls gave him immediately caused the hellhound to hang his head in embarrassment.
"Men," Kurumu snorted, "you have no idea how hard it is to be a girl."
"Take note, Tsukune," Evil Moka said as she straightened and ran a hand through her hair, "if you're going to be roleplaying as one of us, then you'll experience a small taste of our burden, at least."
Tsukune and Kouma glanced over to Yukari.
"Don't look at me," the pre-teen said, "I just magic all my stuff clean."
Their gazes slowly shifted further, meeting Ranma's irritated gaze.
"I always turn back before I have to deal with the complicated things," Ranma said bluntly.
Kurumu tapped her chin with a finger. "So you've never experimented with-"
"Is my carpenter at the laundromat yet?" Ranma asked Yukari, quite deliberately cutting Kurumu off.
"Yes. He walks in and sees the maid and the manager explaining laundry to the accountant," Yukari explains.
"Cool. My carpenter gets some detergent from the vending machine and dumps it in the machine," Ranma explained.
"How much do you use?" Yukari asked.
Ranma shrugged. "Half, I guess. Then my carpenter closes the machine."
"Aren't you even going to check the bottle to see how much you're supposed to use?" Kurumu asked.
"I'll do my laundry like a MAN, thank you very much," Ranma said, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Which means no reading?" Evil Moka asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Which means I'm not going to turn a simple chore into freaking brain surgery," Ranma said snidely, "just put your stuff in the machine and hit go. As long as it gets clean, who cares?"
"Evil Moka, you may slap Ranma, if you want," Yukari said suddenly.
SMACK! The other players winced as Ranma went flying across the room and crashed heavily into the wall.
"Er... I meant in the game," Yukari said a bit awkwardly.
"No thanks, I'm good now," Evil Moka said, smiling brightly.
"Well, I'm going to do my laundry like the hippie," Kouma explained, "so I take the other half of the detergent and dump it in."
As Ranma got up and walked back to his seat wordlessly, Yukari looked over her notes.
"All right. You see a dial that has four settings: hot, cold, permanent press, and delicate."
Kouma started to sweat. "Uh... I... I ask my companions for advice!"
"Haven't you ever done laundry before? In the real world?" Tsukune asked, surprised by how nervous the hellhound was.
"No! I always have my gofer do it!" Kouma admitted.
"You have a gofer?" Kurumu asked, perplexed, "why would anyone do jobs for YOU?"
"Well, outside of you psychos, I actually AM a pretty strong and respected student, you know," the hellhound said irritably, "and imps will do work for anyone not likely to eat them."
"All right, whatever, shut up," Ranma said, rubbing his badly bruised cheek, "just do what I do. What setting is my dial on?"
"Permanent press," Yukari said.
"That's fine. My carpenter feeds coins into the washing machine and then hits the start button."
"Okay! The machine starts up! Kouma, is your lawyer doing the same thing?"
"... I'm thinking," the hellhound murmured.
"About what? Just run it, already," Ranma said.
"But it says permanent press! Permanent! If I screw this up now my entire wardrobe is done for!"
"My carpenter gives up on teaching the lawyer anything, ever," Ranma said.
"Probably wise," Kurumu admitted. "My maid divides up her and and Evil Moka's clothes into underwear, darks, and bright colors."
"You're going to use three machines?" Tsukune asked.
"No, I'm going to use SIX machines. I don't want the manager's clothes mixed in with mine," Kurumu explained.
"All right, you fill up the machines," Yukari said, "however, you then realize that you don't have enough coins for the last two of them."
Kurumu turned toward Evil Moka. "Hey, help me out here! I'm doing your laundry too!"
The vampiress snorted. "You're asking me for coins? Don't be absurd. I don't carry anything smaller than a 10,000 yen bill."
Yukari looked surprised. "Really? But your character sheet should only list your total cash, not denominations. Ordinarily it would be up to me to-"
"I'm well aware. But I'm telling you that my manager wouldn't deign to keep change on her person," Evil Moka insisted.
"So... you're creating an unnecessary obstacle for the party just so that your character looks more like a snob?" Ranma asked.
"It's called 'roleplaying,'" Evil Moka said, smirking proudly.
"Well-played, Evil Moka. You gain 200 bonus XP," Yukari said.
Kouma groaned pitifully.
"So then what are we going to do about coins?" Kurumu demanded, drawing the group back to the immediate problem.
"Establishments such as these usually possess machines to change bills, don't they?" Evil Moka asked, "otherwise everyone would need to go to the bank just to wash their clothes."
"Good observation, Evil Moka," Yukari said, nodding, "in fact, there is a change machine, but it seems someone has put gum in the bill slot, blocking it."
The vampiress clicked her tongue. "Well, it's no matter. We have the tools to deal with this problem."
Tsukune nodded. "Yeah, if you use that letter opener to-"
"Such a small weapon can't break the machine open," Evil Moka interrupted.
"But you don't need to brea-"
Once again Evil Moka interrupted him. "Hippie carpenter. Once again, your chainsaw is required to resolve our problem."
"Uh huh," Ranma drawled, "hey, GM, quick question: what's the machine made out of?"
The other players - save Tsukune, who was holding his head in his hands and restraining his urge to scream - winced as Ranma raised an eyebrow.
"Well, well, well. And my poor carpenter only has a flimsy non-upgraded chainsaw that can't cut through aluminum, right GM?" Ranma asked.
"Correct! I believe this situation is best described by ruleset 6.8, under the heading section 'irony'."
"Look. We don't need you to saw through the machine," Tsukune said, once again trying to appeal to the common sense of his friends, "all we need to do is get rid of the gum."
"Ah! Right! Good idea, Tsukune!" Kurumu said brightly as Evil Moka nodded.
"You're correct. Hippie carpenter, use your chainsaw on the gum," the silver-tressed girl demanded, causing Tsukune to facepalm yet again.
"It wouldn't cause damage to say 'please,' you know," Ranma grumbled as he picked up his D20. "Rolling to chainsaw gum."
The other players watched and then winced as the die landed on a 1.
"As you swing your chainsaw around, Senpai, the handle suddenly breaks off, sending the entire machine flying at..." Yukari tapped her chin as her gaze shifted from person to person, "at Kouma."
"Guh!" The hellhound groaned as Yukari started picking up and rolling dice. "Why me?"
"Discrimination, mostly," the young witch admitted. "You take 18 damage."
"Damn it! I'm unconscious and bleeding!"
Ranma frowned. "Okay, well... That was my fault, so I guess I'll try to stop the bleeding. After I pick up my chainsaw, of course."
"Of course. Roll your medicine check to perform first aid," Yukari instructed.
Ranma did so, and Kouma breathed a sigh of relief when the twenty-sided die came up on a 20.
"Very good! Kouma, your lawyer is alive and stable but unconscious."
"Hey... Ranma? You know, I only just noticed, but..." Tsukune scratched his head, "is it just me, or do you only ever seem to roll really well or really poorly? I don't think I've ever seen you roll anything between 3 and 18."
"It's the weakness of my rolling technique," Ranma admitted, clenching his fist regretfully, "while I can get short streaks of amazing rolls at a time, they're always followed by really bad ones. On a side note, the technique is called 'Crit or Miss'!"
Evil Moka considered that information briefly before her eyes narrowed. "The vast majority of tasks in this game only require mediocre rolls to succeed. Even a poor roll will sometimes suffice, if the task is one that a given character excels at. By limiting yourself to either fantastic success or complete failure, doesn't your technique decrease your performance overall, and negate any advantage offered by your character class?"
Ranma was silent for a few seconds, and then his eyes narrowed as well. "Shut up! I defeated cancer!"
Evil Moka snorted. "Whatever. Back to the task at hand."
"But how are we going to get the gum out without Ranma's chainsaw?" Kurumu asked. "He rolled a 20 before, so his next roll will probably be a 1!"
"You can use the-" yet again Tsukune was cut off and ignored as Evil Moka spoke.
"I have a solution that makes use of the current debacle," the vampiress reassured the other schoolgirl, "my manager loots the lawyer's body for cash."
"HEY!" Kouma growled. "I'm not dead!"
"Kouma's right, Evil Moka," Yukari agreed, nodding her head, "since he's still alive, taking his money isn't looting, it's just theft."
Evil Moka raised an eyebrow. "But I can still do it, right?"
"Sure! You take all of Kouma's pocket money, which includes enough coins to run the machines."
Black smoke started to seep from between Kouma's teeth as he stewed silently, gripping his character sheet so tightly that it looked about to tear. "I hate you all."
"Your ire is duly noted. Gamemaster, my manager gives the servant as many coins as she needs to finish her task," the silver-tressed girl said.
"Um, my accountant makes a note of how much money was removed, and marks it down so that it can be repaid later," Tsukune said, startling the other players.
Kouma was fairly stunned, and even caught a teardrop coming out of his eye before he wiped it away. "Th... Thanks, Aono. I... I appreciate it," the hellhound said awkwardly, unused to being exposed to acts of good will.
"Well, it's only right," Tsukune reasoned, "and besides, it's the first time my accountant has gotten the chance to use her skills."
Evil Moka's eyes narrowed. "My manager uses her kickback power on the accountant."
Tsukune flinched. "Wh-huh?"
Before he could offer a more coherent protest, Evil Moka tossed her D20. "I got a fourteen after bonuses. How much damage do I inflict?"
"The kickback power doesn't cause damage," Yukari explained, much to Evil Moka's confusion, "it's basically a bribe."
"But then how am I to kick people so that they know their place?" the vampiress asked.
"That's the 'Right-sizing' power. You didn't choose that one."
"Curses!" Evil Moka slammed a fist onto the table, causing the surface to shudder as the legs almost buckled. "Undone by the jargon of my own trade!"
"You're right, she IS really into this," Kurumu whispered to Tsukune.
"Hey, GM, is my laundry done yet? I need to get a head start on the way back home just in case I get caught by the hardware store again," Ranma asked.
"All right Senpai, make a chore roll, and I'll add a modifier based on your cycle choice and detergent use," Yukari explained.
Ranma did so, and Kurumu groaned as the D20 landed on a 1 once again.
"Okay, well, forget the modifiers then," Yukari mumbled. "Give me a minute to look up the right disaster table."
"Are you still using that idiotic technique?" Evil Moka deadpanned.
"Are you still not shutting up?" Ranma snapped back, though he looked fairly depressed about the outcome.
"Well, Moka does have a point about your never rolling an average number," Tsukune reasoned, "so maybe you shouldn't use it for now."
"But I never learned that technique!" Ranma protested, "I mean, what good is a skill that makes you be average all the time?"
"We could call it Aono-fu!" Yukari declared, "but, seriously, from a practical standpoint, that would be incredibly useful. By the way, the washing machine starts rumbling ominously as suds seep from the lid."
"My carpenter dives for cover," Ranma said.
"My accountant joins him," Tsukune said.
"My manager follows the hippie carpenter and uses him as a shield," Evil Moka said.
"My maid hides underneath a laundry basket," Kurumu said.
"And my lawyer-"
"Is still knocked out," interrupted Yukari, "and, might I add, right next to the washing machine in question because you were trying to mimic Senpai."
"W-Wait, I didn't-" Kouma's protest died in his throat as Yukari started rolling dice.
"So! With a wretched gurgle, the door of the washing machine is blasted free of its hinges, and the machine bulges horribly as the pressure inside becomes too much for the device to bear. With a sudden BANG, the washing machine explodes in a burst of soap and metal shards!"
There was a long, awkward silence as Kouma stared blankly at the HP total on his character sheet.
"Okay, fine, so maybe I should read the instructions on the bottle," Ranma grumbled.
"Kouma, your lawyer takes 15 damage. He's dead."
Fwoof! Kouma's character sheet suddenly lit on fire as he grit his teeth, his canines unconsciously lengthening into curved, knife-like fangs.
"Did we seriously just get someone killed doing laundry?" Tsukune deadpanned, covering his face with his palms.
"Hmph. What a shoddy facility," Evil Moka said contemptuously, "we should sue the owner for... Oh. Right."
"Well, I'm going to clean up the body before the police arrive," Kurumu said, "looks like we failed the quest."
"No, only Ranma and Kouma. And non-evil Moka too, I guess, since she skipped this session. The other washing machines are okay, and since you managed to take Kouma's money before he died, you should be able to finish up by the time the coroner arrives for the body," Yukari explained at length.
"Aw, man! That means I probably won't level up this session," Ranma complained, seemingly oblivious as Kouma turned a death glare on him, "just my luck."
"I WILL DRAG YOU TO HELL AND PISS ON YOUR SOUL!" Kouma shouted, his voice booming and his eyes turning a bright, solid crimson as he lunged across the table at the pigtailed boy.
Tsukune sighed and flinched away from a flare of heat as the two other boys started brawling in earnest. "Why don't we leave it at this for now? I need to go find some more fire extinguishers."
"Very well," Evil Moka said, standing up and idly running a hand through her hair, "so then this session is over?"
"I guess so. See you next week?" Kurumu asked, feeling a bit awkward talking to the silver-haired, relentlessly aggressive form of her friend.
"It depends on whether there's something in the hall for Tsukune to 'trip' on," Evil Moka said frankly, "anyway, if we're done..."
Then she turned around and launched herself toward Kouma and Ranma, her body already twisting into a kick. "Noisy cretins! Know your place!"
Yukari hummed to herself as she put away her papers, though the sound was mostly swallowed up by the sound of the wall collapsing. 'We'll probably need a new meeting place. There won't be much left of this one.'
"All right! Are you all ready for your next adventure?" Yukari asked as she started dumping out dice bags onto the table.
Moka - the normal one this time - sighed as she looked gloomily at her character sheet. "Still level 1... I didn't even get participation XP, like Ranma did."
'Oh, stop your moaning,' Evil Moka snapped from within her head. 'What good would it have done were I to have used your character as well?'
'Well, you could have saved Kouma, for one,' Moka thought back wryly.
'I asked what GOOD it would have done,' the inner vampiress countered.
"Hey, everyone! I brought cookies today!" Kurumu said brightly as she sat down, placing a large bowl of snicker doodles in the middle of the table.
As Tsukune thanked Kurumu and took one, he noticed that the group seemed to be short a player. "Hey, where's Kouma?"
"Probably still moping that Ranma killed him," Yukari said with a snigger, shrugging.
"Hey, it was a total accident!" Ranma protested, "and besides, he's had plenty of time to cool off by now! I expected him to be back with a new anti-chainsaw character, plotting revenge or something!"
"Yes, well, I admit, there's an equally good chance he's not here because I told him that we were meeting in the same place as last time, when we actually had to change rooms because the last one was wrecked," Yukari mused.
Kouma frowned as he stared at the bands of caution tape stretched out from wall to wall of the small classroom, warning students away from the splintered remains of the furniture and the huge hole in the wall leading to outside.
"Guys? Hello? Are you here?" He held up a handful of papers. "I rolled a chef this time... Are we gonna play?"
A pair of schoolgirls snickered quietly as they walked down the hallway behind the classroom, casting furtive glances at the confused hellhound.
Tsukune sweatdropped. "Uh... Yukari, do you hate Kouma?"
"EVERYBODY hates Kouma," Yukari said, rolling her eyes. "He's an aggravating jerk who refuses to use his only real talents because of his stupid emotional baggage."
Kurumu snorted. "He already stinks of cigarettes all the time, and whenever he gets angry - which is also pretty much ALL THE TIME - he starts exhaling poisonous smoke. Also, sitting near him is five degrees warmer than everywhere else in the room."
Moka frowned. "Well, he certainly isn't very nice, and he acts like spending time with us is some kind of punishment that's being forced upon him. If he doesn't want to be here, no one is stopping him from leaving rather than just complaining about it constantly."
Then Moka paused. "My other self would like to add that he's way too full of himself as a fighter, when he's too weak to even stand up to Ranma. He needs to learn his place, apparently."
Tsukune said nothing, a bit surprised and overwhelmed at the amount of animosity the hellhound commanded among the girls, even Moka.
"Well... I like Kouma," Ranma said, looking fairly distressed. "He's a decent guy when it counts, he doesn't back down easily, and he's the only person I can really talk martial arts with, since Chopper isn't much good for conversation."
Yukari leaned over and patted Ranma on the shoulder. "That's because, in addition to being a marvel of physical perfection, you're also gracious enough to pity those who are but a pale reflection of your greatness," Yukari explained gently.
Ranma fought off a flush of his cheeks as he coughed and looked the other way. "Well, I guess I can't really say that's WRONG..."
"Anyway, if you're not just putting up with him so that you never need to carry matches ever again, why are you always antagonizing him?" Kurumu asked, crossing her arms under her breasts.
"It's just part of our manly, tough-guy bonding thing," Ranma insisted, nodding firmly, "like how a dog likes to play tug-of-war with rope, you know? It's all just for fun."
Moka quirked an eyebrow. "Do you think he knows that?"
"I don't follow," Ranma replied.
"All right, that's enough time spent talking about that loser," Yukari declared as she clapped her hands. "Time to discuss what to do with his corpse."
The door immediately creaked open as Fran Madaraki poked her head in. "Have you considered donating it to science? The possible advancements in genetic biology with understanding of super-heated cells are-"
"She meant in the game," Kurumu deadpanned.
The school nurse withdrew without another word, closing the door shut behind her.
"So the lawyer croaked, and everybody sat around twiddling their thumbs and claiming ignorance when the police arrived."
"My manager wants bonus XP for convincing them it was a wolf attack despite flesh wounds clearly caused by a chainsaw," Moka said, "the other Moka thinks that rotting in jail is too good for Ranma, apparently."
"Fair enough. But being a lawyer, Gamaroshi had all the arrangements for his demise plotted out in advance, and the funeral is fast approaching."
"Funeral? What's that?" Kurumu asked, having never been exposed to the more morbid side of human culture.
"It's a ceremony performed for the friends and family of the recently deceased, to help them come to terms with the death of their loved ones," Tsukune explained.
"Tsukune is correct," Yukari confirmed, "it's a long, solemn procedure that involves blanketing the corpse in religious rites while family members reminisce about the deceased when they were still alive. It's an important part of the human tradition to reach closure with the ends of people's lives and accept the mortality of those around you."
Ranma raised an eyebrow. "So we're going to go to Kouma's funeral?"
"Close. Your first quest for today is to get OUT of going to Kouma's funeral," the young witch explained.
"Uh... Why?" Tsukune asked. "We were all his friends, weren't we?"
"Debatable. Also, regardless of your friendship with the lawyer, funerals are still long, boring, and really depressing affairs, and the miserly lawyer didn't provide for a wake."
"What's a wake?" Kurumu asked.
"It's a small party after the funeral, to help ease the depression of the entire process," Tsukune explained again.
"Again, our resident human expert is right," Yukari affirmed, "it's a short, cheerful procedure that involves catered dinners while everybody whispers to each other about how annoying the deceased really was now that the priest doing the ceremony is gone."
"Typical that he wouldn't bother with that part," Kurumu mumbled. "So what's the situation, exactly?"
"The elder Mister and Misses Gamaroshi have arrived at the house, both of them teary-eyed and almost hysterical as they rattle off the details of the funeral arrangements to your group."
"Ooh, this might be tough," Kurumu mumbled, crossing her arms under her breasts, "being a human isn't easy, is it?"
"My carpenter avoids eye contact at all costs," Ranma said.
"Why?" asked Tsukune.
"Well, I do feel a little responsible for his death, so I'd feel guilty blowing them off to their faces," Ranma explained.
"You were ENTIRELY responsible for his death," Moka deadpanned.
"Well, sure, but I don't feel that way," Ranma reasoned, "between urban wolf packs and shoddy chainsaw and washing machine construction, there's just enough blame to spread around."
"Well, my manager says up-front that she has an important financial meeting that day in America, so she won't even be in the country," Moka said, speaking for her evil side.
"Very well, roll a bluff check," Yukari requested.
Moka promptly rolled a D20, and winced as she got a 4. "Ah, with bonuses, that would be a... a 14?" She seemed surprised. "Oh, wow. Managers are really good liars."
"That they may be, but the parents seem skeptical. The father starts asking for troublesome details, like where in America you're going, and when exactly you'll be leaving."
Moka frowned and glanced down at her Rosario. "Why did you put so many points into lying and graft, anyway?" After a few seconds, she sighed. "My manager uses her Buzzword power to re-roll the check."
Moka rolled the die again, this time getting a 12.
"That would put you at a 22 then, which is plenty to convince them," Yukari said, "however, now they're badgering your nurse about her plans."
Moka suddenly brightened as she got an idea. "My manager says that my nurse is coming with her and staying at the same hotel to save money," she said as she rolled the D20 again.
"Why would your nurse go to America?" Yukari asked.
"Seeing as I got a 25, does it matter?" Moka replied.
"Hey, can she lie for me, too? I don't have any points in that skill," Kurumu begged.
"Ah, the other Moka says she doesn't want to lie for anyone else," the vampiress admitted.
"You mean anyone else other than you?" Ranma grumbled.
"Well, that doesn't really fit the definition of 'anyone else' when you really think about it..." Tsukune mumbled.
"Urgh... And after I did your laundry, too!" Kurumu complained. "What do I say? I'm totally free!"
"I've got this," Ranma said as he placed a reassuring hand on Kurumu's shoulder, "my carpenter draws his chainsaw."
Tsukune slapped a hand over his face. "Ranma, don't."
"No, no! Hear me out! I've got a good plan this time!" the martial artist insisted, "I turn toward the parents and offer to build them a coffin for free if they let me out of going to the funeral."
Yukari nodded. "Okay, make a negotiation roll, using the higher of your bluff and business sense skills."
"You're going to bribe them to get out of the funeral?" Moka asked, making a face.
"Better than just lying to them," Ranma reasoned as he threw the dice, rolling a 10. "I have an 11, total."
When he looked up, Ranma noticed that everyone looked shocked.
"You rolled a 10!"
"Your technique! It's undone!"
"Wait, is there something wrong with the die? Maybe he should get a do-over!"
A vein popped up on Ranma's head. "Nothing's wrong. I stopped using that other technique. Moka was right, in the end. I don't need to be always rolling 20s if the rest of the time is going to be 1s."
Tsukune looked relieved. "Oh, okay. So you're just rolling normally, now?"
"Nope! I have mastered Aono-fu!" Ranma said proudly, giving a thumbs-up. "The ability to be constantly average all the time!"
Although the girls seemed entirely satisfied with the proclamation, Tsukune groaned.
"Are you really going to call it that?" Tsukune asked, his face flushing in embarrassment.
"I know it doesn't make much sense, since the name implies that you're the master when you can't actually do it, but I couldn't think of a better name," Ranma explained.
"How about Lame-fu?" Yukari suggested.
"Well, that would suggest that the result was bad, not just average," Ranma countered.
"Generally unknown mid-combat technique: Beige Fist?" Yukari tried again.
"Like, instead of a secret final technique? It's not used for combat though," Ranma reasoned.
"Art of the Government Worker!"
Kurumu finally swatted Yukari in the face with her character sheet. "Get on with it, already!"
"All right, all right. The parents eagerly accept your offer," Yukari said, "being the parents of a lawyer, naturally their expenses take precedent over their late son's respect and image."
"See? Now if the mutt were here, right about now he'd be getting all mad and spraying us with magma-hot spittle. It's much nicer without him," Kurumu said with a smile.
"Well, I miss his angry retorts," Ranma grumbled sadly, "it reminds me of home. Except that here it isn't always followed by a beating."
"Let's leave it at that before we accidentally learn more about your horrid past, Senpai," Yukari interjected quickly, "it's kind of ruining the mood. Anyway, you've gotten out the funeral, but Kurumu has not."
"Oh, that's easy. She's helping too," Ranma said, "I need a maid's help with supplies and polishing and cleanup, so she's with me."
"Really?" Kurumu asked, surprised.
"Sure! Us working class people need to stick together!" Ranma said with a grin. "I need to make a roll for that, right?"
"Sure," Yukari said, "same check as before."
Ranma rolled his D20. It landed on 10.
"So, wait, why do you even bother to roll dice now if you've completely removed the random chance element of the game?" Moka asked, looking somewhat perturbed.
"Well, it's not TOTALLY a given that I'll roll a 10," Ranma admitted, "I might roll an 11. There is no exact middle number on a die, you know?"
Moka sighed and took out her own D20. "I need to make a roll to keep my manager from kicking him in the face. It's a twelve."
"You're fine. Well, in any case, you've successfully pulled Kurumu's maid to safety, in a manner of speaking. That just leaves Tsukune."
Ranma shrugged. "Sorry buddy, but I don't really need an accountant's help to make a coffin."
"It's fine," Tsukune said, "I wouldn't make the deal anyway. My accountant will attend the funeral."
The others gasped in shock.
"But you'll fail the quest!" Kurumu protested, "Tsukune, you need the experience! You'll never be able to get to the 'Controller' paragon path at this rate!"
"I think that showing respect to the memory of someone who died a painful and meaningless death is just more important than that," Tsukune reasoned.
"Are you seriously going to make me create a funeral scenario?" Yukari groaned.
"It can't be that hard. Besides, it's not like I have any convenient excu-"
Tsukune suddenly stopped speaking and blinked. "Hey! A kobold thief appeared!"
This caused everyone else to look at him strangely.
"Oh-kay... The parents don't seem to be buying that as a distraction. Although you can roll for it if you'd like" Yukari said.
"Tsukune, this isn't that kind of game," Ranma advised, "there are no kobolds."
"Are you sure about that?" Kurumu asked, interrupting Tsukune again, "I mean, is it really possible that humans NEVER encounter kobolds? The little scaly buggers are everywhere. Maybe it's just a rare encounter."
"It wouldn't matter if they were," Yukari retorted, "because I'm the GM and I didn't say anything about kobolds."
"Wait, I think I understand!" Moka said suddenly, silencing Tsukune instantly. "This game is all about human life in the modern human world, right?"
"Yeah," replied Kurumu, "so?"
"Well, if it's modeled right, then that means that in addition to humans, there must also be monsters disguised as humans!" Moka theorized as Yukari facepalmed. "The humans just don't know about them!"
Kurumu snapped her fingers. "Oh, right! Just because monsters don't play an active role doesn't mean they don't exist! Good thinking!"
"So you're saying that there really is a disguised kobold thief right in front of us?" Ranma asked, scratching his head, "'Cause my chainsaw is still drawn."
"It's not disguised, and it's-"
Yukari cut off Tsukune this time. "No, there isn't! Even if that assumption were true, I'd still have to put those characters in the game myself! Tsukune can't just decide they're there!"
"She's got a point. Besides, how would Tsukune know how to tell a disguised monster from a human?" Ranma asked.
"Is there a feat for that? Check the rule book," Kurumu said.
Tsukune groaned as the others started rooting through the handbooks. "You know what? Never mind. Forget about it. I tried."
"Well, not very hard. That's not a convincing bluff," Yukari said. "Anyway, the phone rings. Tsukune answers it."
The young human looked surprised. "Oh, okay. Who's there?"
"It's your cousin, a young woman who was married and had a child several years ago," Yukari explained, "it seems she needs a babysitter on the same night that they're holding the funeral. It's too bad, but it seems like you won't be able to attend."
"But I wouldn't agree to babysit when one of my friend-"
"Put another way, you're going to complete the next quest since you seem insistent on ruining this one," Yukari deadpanned, "I'm not doing a funeral scene. Do you have any idea how boring that would be?"
"Given that doing laundry ended with one of us dying in an explosion of soap and metal, no, it's rather hard to predict what would be boring in this game," Tsukune reasoned, "but fine, if you don't want to do that, I'll take the babysitting job."
"Good. The parents finally leave, satisfied that they've done all they can do for their dear departed son," Yukari narrated.
"So I guess that means we're babysitting next, huh?" Kurumu asked as she reached for a cookie, only to realize belatedly that the bowl was empty. "Hey! Who took all the cookies?'
"Senpai, as you attach the lid to the coffin, the doorbell rings. It appears the brat is here," Yukari explained.
"All right, I'm almost done here," Ranma said, "I'm going to attach the crucifix to the top. Rolling to hammer it in."
Kurumu frowned as she watched Ranma toss a D20, which landed on 11. "You know, I didn't really consider this before, but this technique of yours really takes a lot out of the game."
Ranma frowned. "You think so?"
"Rather than that," Tsukune began, "if you can somehow manage to roll 10's and 11's all the time, what's stopping you from making a technique to just roll 20's constantly?"
"You wouldn't understand," Ranma insisted, "it's a principle of martial arts roleplaying. The use of ki to manage luck is just unstable like that."
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," Moka said bluntly, "really, I think we all lost a batch of brain cells just listening to it."
Tsukune looked taken aback by the scathing criticism. "That... That was Evil Moka just now, right? She did that thing where she suddenly speaks through you?"
Moka suddenly looked embarrassed. "Yes, it was! I'm sorry, I didn't mean that!"
'Hey! That wasn't me! You liar!' Evil Moka complained.
'Oh, hush. You were thinking it too.'
"So is anybody going to get the door?" Yukari asked.
Tsukune sighed. "All right, I'll-"
"My manager pushes Tsukune's accountant aside and reaches the door ahead of her," Moka said suddenly, though she looked uncertain about interrupting Tsukune. "She answers it first."
Tsukune looked confused, but fell silent as Yukari responded.
"All right, when you open the door you see that there are two unfamiliar people who look somewhat similar to Tsukune's accountant, plus a little boy. The father-"
"My manager promptly grabs the kid, says 'see you tonight,' and then pulls the boy inside before slamming the door shut and locking it," Moka said, looking quite confused but seeing no obvious reason not to relay her inner self's intentions.
"Uh... Okay, then. The child, who can't be more than eight years old, looks up at you, his eyes bright and full of wonder. 'Wow, you're really pretty,' he says, 'I'm Shutarou, what's your name?'"
Moka flushed and smiled as she imagined the scene in her head. "Aw, that's sweet!"
'He was talking to me, not you. We're different people in this, remember?' Evil Moka mentioned.
'Oh, so what? We're still... Wait, what's your manager's name?' Moka thought back.
Evil Moka's tone, insofar as one was possible via telepathy, was indignant. 'It's Moka, of course. Everybody is using their own names for this, remember?'
'Then what does that make me?'
'A wallflower, just like usual.'
Everyone waited patiently as Moka suddenly made an irritated face, and then the vampiress turned a strained smile toward Yukari.
"My manager tells the little boy, 'My name is Evil Moka. It might sound like a strange name, but it's quite appropriate.'"
'When I finally kill the hippy, I'm definitely not sharing his things with your character,' Evil Moka said bitterly.
"Well, we'll have to leave the babysitting to you and the bloodsuckers," Ranma said as he placed a hand on Tsukune's shoulder, "me and Kurumu have a coffin to finish."
"Hey, if this babysitting thing is happening at the same time as the funeral, then isn't a little late for us to provide materials for it anyway?" Kurumu asked, scratching her head, "what's with this timing?"
Yukari suddenly rolled a D8. "Your maid slips on some sawdust and bangs the back of her head on the floor, suffering 6 damage."
"What? Hey! I was just standing there!" Kurumu complained.
"Sawdust can be quite dangerous on a wooden floor. You should probably start sweeping it up rather than undermining the plot," Yukari said with a bemused expression on her face.
The succubus fumed, but reluctantly recorded the damage and then mumbled, "My maid starts sweeping."
"Good. Tsukune, Moka, Evil Moka, what's happening?"
"Well, I should probably put on a movie or something for Shutarou, right?" Tsukune asked.
Moka looked perplexed. "My manager, um... wants to convert Shutarou."
Her expression was soon matched by everyone else's.
"Convert him? Convert him to what?" Yukari asked.
"A... suicide death cult?" Moka asked, looking somewhat horrified once she realized she had said that out loud and divulged Evil Moka's intentions. "No! Wait, my manager doesn't do that! That's terrible!"
"Roll to resist corrupting the youth for your own ends," Yukari demanded.
Moka nervously rolled the D20, and a sweatdrop rolled down her head as it came up 3.
"Well, it looks like someone is adopting a new god tonight," Yukari said with a smirk.
"Wait! Can't my nurse stop her somehow?" Moka asked in a panic.
"I don't see how. She killed four wolves with a pair of letter openers," Kurumu muttered, "I wouldn't wanna mess with that."
"Moka, what does Evil Moka want to say, specifically?" Yukari asked.
Moka groaned as she held her forehead. "She says, 'Shutarou, your parents are heathens denying you entrance to paradise by selfishly hiding the truth. Eternity exists only in service to me, EVIL Moka,'" the vampiress ground out, putting a great deal of emphasis on 'evil' before she rolled her D20 again.
"A 6! There's no way that's good enough, right?" Moka asked hopefully, "not for such a ridiculous lie!"
"Isn't lying her best skill?" Ranma asked.
Yukari shrugged. "In any case, Shutarou's wonder-filled eyes are now filled with fanatical devotion to you, his goddess, and he promptly gets on his knees to bow in feverish worship as he sings your praises."
"That was quick. Some parents have to spend years turning their kids into religious nuts," Kurumu noted.
"Well, I think our GM is drawing from personal experience, here," Ranma said, "can you help me polish the coffin exterior now?"
Tsukune sighed. "We're going to fail this quest too, aren't we? We only get experience for completing the quest if the kid is ALIVE at the end of the night."
"Evil Moka says that success in life is the same as success in business; it's about risks and rewards," Moka said wearily, "and she gives Shutarou one of her letter openers before consecrating him in preparation for him to carry out her EVIL will."
"Uh oh," Ranma mumbled, "buff faster, Kurumu! We don't have much time!"
"Buffing faster!" Kurumu shouted as she rolled her dice. "Drat! A 4! No good!"
Tsukune rolled his eyes. "All right, that's enough. My accountant interposes herself between Shutarou and Evil Moka, and demands that the manager stop corrupting him!"
Yukari kept a carefully neutral expression as she nodded. "I see. Moka, what does your manager do?"
"She backs down and apologizes for what she tried to do!" Moka said firmly.
"Moka, you already failed your roll to resist evil. What does your manager do?" Yukari asked again.
Moka winced. "She uses her kickback power on Tsukune."
"Moka, we already went over this. That isn't an attack," Tsukune said.
"She knows. She's bribing you not to interfere," Moka mumbled.
"All right, Moka, make an attack roll. Tsukune, you have to make a will save equal to or greater than the attack roll to resist doing what she says," Yukari explained.
"Oh for the love of..." Tsukune grumbled as he rolled his D20, "I got a 12."
"I rolled a 9, so with my bonuses that's a 14," Moka explained.
"Tsukune, what's your bonus?" Yukari asked. "If it's two or more, you resist the Power of Money."
"I don't have any bonus," Tsukune grumped.
"Really? I would've thought that an accountant would have good mental stats. What's your wisdom score?" Yukari asked.
"It's ten. Same as all my ability scores," Tsukune explained somewhat morosely.
"You... rolled a perfectly average character?" Kurumu asked, looking quite perplexed.
"As expected of the origin of Aono-fu," Ranma said sagely, "it seems I have much to learn."
"So, I guess this means I have to back down?" Tsukune asked, looking none too pleased about it.
Yukari rolled some dice while writing on a notepad out of view of the players. After several seconds, she looked up. "Actually, no. You don't obey Moka's Evil will."
Moka sighed in relief as her inner self started grumbling to herself. "Because the purity of her soul and good will boosted her resistance?"
"No because Shutarou backstabbed her while she was distracted by the wad of money for daring to oppose his goddess," Yukari explained, much to the players' shock, "you take 24 damage."
"Wh-What? That's more than my hit point total!" Tsukune complained, his eyes bugging out.
'Huh. Didn't see that one coming,' Evil Moka thought. 'Your nurse can fix stab wounds, right?'
"My nurse rushes over to stop the bleeding!" Moka shouted in alarm.
"Wait, Moka, you should be careful of-" Ranma started to speak before Yukari rolled her D20 again.
"Immediately deciding you're an enemy, Shutarou goes for your nurse's throat," Yukari said.
"Why isn't Evil Moka stopping him?" Tsukune asked.
'Good idea. My manager tells the squirt to stand down,' Evil Moka decided.
"My manager tells Shutarou to stop!" Moka shouted desperately.
"Sorry Moka, you already failed your roll to misrepresent Evil Moka's decisions," Yukari apologized as she rolled the D20 again. "Ouch, a critical! Your nurse is down and she's not getting up again."
"But I wasn't lying this time!" Moka protested.
"I can't know that, so I'm going to have to rule in favor of destructive impulses, which in this case means killing everyone in the manager's way," Yukari explained, shrugging.
'Well, well, well, look who just swallowed a big fat spoonful of irony. Does it taste bitter? Hmm?' Evil Moka asked as Moka covered her face with her hands.
"Man, kids these days sure are brutal. MY Pop taught me never to go straight for the throat when ambushing someone," Ranma said, shaking his head.
Kurumu tsked. "I blame the video games."
"Why aren't you two helping?" Tsukune asked, though his voice had lost any semblance of outrage and just sounded tired.
"We're almost done with the coffin," Ranma said, "but we can't rush this without compromising the quality. Kouma was my friend and I'm going to give him the best coffin I can build."
"Why don't you stop the kid and THEN finish the coffin?" the younger human demanded.
Ranma blinked. "That's... really the kind of quick thinking and common sense you should have used when you were alive and conscious."
"Yeah, we could have saved your life!" Kurumu agreed.
'Well, no helping it now. It's too bad we have to kill the carpenter now, though,' Evil Moka mused.
'Why is that too bad? Isn't killing him the reason you did this in the first place?' Moka thought bitterly.
'Yes, but now we're going to have far more bodies than coffins,' Evil Moka explained, 'hmn. If I hadn't used up my kickback power then I could bribe him to build more first... Oh well.'
"Moka, Shutarou awaits your Evil orders, his hands slick with the blood of heretics," Yukari said.
"My carpenter draws his chainsaw," Ranma said, "Kurumu, try sweeping a cloud of dust at the kid when he lunges. I'll follow up."
"Are we going to get in trouble for killing the child we're supposed to be babysitting?" Kurumu asked.
"Don't know. Our lawyer's dead," Ranma said, "but given that we've also lost Tsukune and Normal Moka, we're kind of already in trouble."
"My manager uses her Pay For Performance power to boost Shutarou," Moka said in a monotone, tossing her character sheet over her shoulder.
'Oh, don't be such a buzzkill. This is a game! Have a little fun! I'm going to have plenty of chances to kill Ranma, you know, but this might be your only one!'
"All right, let's go!" Kurumu said, tossing her D20, "for Tsukune!"
Yukari frowned. "Kurumu, you're straight. Re-roll that and shout something else."
"Aw, damn it! But I got a 16!" the succubus complained as she rolled the die again. "Then, for getting blood and corpses all over the floor right after cleaning day, I will punish you! Bleagh. A 7."
"It'll have to do!" Ranma said as he rolled his own die. "An 11! That makes my total attack score 15! Suck chainsaw, brat!"
"As the way of sawdust blows toward him, Shutarou leaps into the air, landing on his hands and then flipping over Senpai's attack to end up behind the both of you. Then he slashes for Senpai's back."
Yukari rolled her D20, apparently ignoring Ranma's perplexed expression. "Ah. A 4."
Kurumu sighed in relief. "Thank goodness. My maid-"
"Wait, is an 18 too low to hit you? Yukari asked Ranma, causing the martial artist's eyes to bug out.
"18? How is this brat so strong?" Ranma demanded.
Yukari looked a bit embarrassed as she explained, "Well, in order to make him hard to deal with during the babysitting quest, I gave him a lot of skills and feats. But the only way to make the stats honest was to start him out at level 16. Of course, that also means he's really hard to hit and gets crazy attack bonuses. In addition to Evil Moka's buff. Didn't really think that would come up, but here we are."
"That's completely unreasonable!" Kurumu said, throwing up her arms.
"And unnecessary, apparently. The only thing he's used so far is the 'Why Can't I Run With Scissors?' feat. By the way, Senpai, you take 9 damage."
"Damn it! I attack again!" Ranma said as he rolled the die. "Another 11!"
"Another miss," Yukari deadpanned.
Everyone was silent for a moment as they stared at Ranma.
"If you it didn't hit the last time, and your technique makes you roll the same thing every time, why would you keep using it?" Tsukune asked, "I mean, logically, if you can be sure you'd never roll higher than an 11, why would you bother?"
"Ah, so you've already discovered the weakness of Aono-fu. As expected of an accountant," Ranma murmured.
"I think we've all realized it by now," Moka deadpanned, "why don't you just roll the dice normally?"
"What, like a n00b? No way will I disgrace my sensei like that!" Ranma proclaimed.
"Okay, so he stabbed you again, so you take 8 damage," Yukari noted as she made the damage rolls.
"It's fine," Ranma said as he wrote down the damage, "I'm still alive, and I go before him. I'll use crit or miss, and then use the power I gained with proficiency: Chinese martial arts to get a free attack. Then, I'll-"
Moka suddenly spoke, "My manager charges with her other letter opener," she said despondently.
Yukari blinked. "Oh! Right! Kind of forgot that she was still there. Go ahead."
Ranma blinked. "What? Hey, wait a minute! If she suddenly gets a turn, what about Kurumu?"
The succubus winced. "You think I wanna end up as a coat? I'm not getting in her way!"
"What? But she'll-" Ranma was cut off as he watched Moka's D20 land on an 18.
"Okay, and for damage..." Moka sighed as the D6 came to a stop, "9 damage total. Sorry, Ranma."
'Can you tell him I'm not sorry? I want to make sure he knows I'm not sorry,' Evil Moka asked, her mental voice practically giddy.
'I'm sure he knows,' Moka thought back bitterly.
Ranma stared down at his character sheet for several seconds, and then shoved it to the side as rested his elbow on the table and propped his chin on his palm. "Oh, whatever. This game is stupid, anyway."
"Come on, Senpai. Don't get all pouty because you lost at something," Yukari chided.
"No, actually, he's right. This game is really stupid," Tsukune agreed. "Its premise is stupid, its rules are stupid, and - no offense, Yukari - this campaign has been stupid. Exploding laundry machines? Wolf attacks in the middle of cities? Children in deadly assassin cults?"
"Hey, I wasn't responsible for most of that last one!" Yukari protested.
"It was still pretty stupid, is my point," Tsukune reiterated.
'If it was so stupid, why did it work, eh? Can you tell him that?'
'No, I won't tell him that,' Moka thought firmly.
'You know what? I don't even care. I killed Ranma Saotome! That's plenty satisfying on its own!' Evil Moka said telepathically, sounding delighted.
'You killed an imaginary carpenter who he happened to control,' Moka thought back, 'who, by the way, never did anything to you!'
'Same difference. Now all that's left is to finish off the maid.'
'Why?' Moka demanded. She had tried to express horror through the telepathic link, but given how the session had been progressing she hadn't been able to summon up any genuine surprise. 'You killed Ranma, and you said that you didn't mean to kill the others, why can't Kurumu live?'
'Well, obviously, she might report me to the police. Also, I never liked how she's always flaunting how she has more "charisma" than me.'
Moka frowned. 'Our charisma scores are the same.'
'Yeah, I'm not talking about the game.'
Moka almost growled as she suddenly spoke up, silencing an argument between Yukari and Tsukune about the progression rates of different cancers.
"My manager turns toward Kurumu, her letter opener in one hand, and beckons to Shutarou with her other hand. She says, 'It's regretful things had to turn out like this, but it's time that you too learned your place, servant.'"
Kurumu grit her teeth as she gripped her character sheet tightly. "Oh, really? You think I don't know my place? I'll show you exactly where 'my place' is!"
The succubus turned toward Yukari. "GM! Do I need to roll anything to change religions?"
Yukari blinked. "No."
"Good! Then my maid drops to her knees and prostrates herself before her new goddess, the management guru Evil Moka!" Kurumu said firmly and without a hint of shame.
"Kurumu! What the hell?" Ranma demanded.
"She killed wolves and she killed YOU. What am I gonna do, smack her with my broom? I'm getting in this cult thing early while I still have all my hit points," Kurumu said shamelessly. "Don't worry, I'll make sure Kouma gets your coffin."
"And what about MY funeral?" Ranma demanded.
"Well, I'm pretty sure cleaning up the corpses so that nobody can find them is going to be my first service to my new religion. It's going to be a long time until anyone knows you're dead."
"Evil Moka wants you to know that she is pleased, Kurumu, and that she forgives you for always flaunting all your extra charisma in front of her," Moka said in a deadpan voice.
"I thought our charisma scores were the same," Kurumu said, quirking an eyebrow.
"I wish," the vampiress mumbled as she stared down at her chest.
'Well, this is a surprise! What a lovely ending! I think I might like this game!' Evil Moka thought with a mental laugh.
"Moka, Shutarou returns to and bows, asking if it is time to for you to shed this mortal shell and ascend to paradise," Yukari said suddenly.
Inside Moka's head, the laughter slowly trailed off into a confused mumble.
"What's this about shedding shells?" Ranma asked.
"Well, she did say a SUICIDE death cult. What did you think was going to happen after she murdered everyone else?" the young witch asked.
'Huh. I forgot about that part. Well, let's get the brat to go first,' Evil Moka decided.
'You are the WORST babysitter,' Moka quipped in her head before she spoke. "Evil Moka wants Shutarou to go first. Rolling to convince him... it's a 13."
Yukari shook her head, much to Moka's surprise. "Shutarou looks quite doubtful as you make your case, and responds by saying, 'But my goddess, without your holy presence to guide me, how will I know the way?'"
'Precocious little runt, isn't he?'
'He stabbed three adults to death. I don't think "precocious" really covers it,' Moka thought wryly.
'Okay, let's hold on and think about this. He's still fanatically loyal to me, and I have high negotiation skills. Maybe if I try-'
Moka suddenly spoke, her eyes narrowing. "My manager, enraged that her pawn would dare defy her, attacks Shutarou."
'HEY! I did NOT do that!' Evil Moka complained.
'I'm sorry, what? I can't make out what you're saying, I think I'm getting bad reception,' Moka thought as she poked at the Rosario, a vein bulging on the side of her head.
Yukari nodded. "Right. Shutarou prepares to defend. Roll initiative."
"My maid hides in the broom closet," Kurumu said, "and listens carefully for the sound of combat to stop."
"You know, I really have to take this situation against the theory of the game," Tsukune said while Moka and Yukari continued rolling in their one-on-one combat, "a little kid killing four adults just doesn't happen in the human world. Not during a babysitting, at least!"
Ranma grunted. "Probably true. I've only seen these things happen in school."
"You've seen a kid around here who's that dangerous?" Kurumu asked.
"No, no, I was talking about my human school," Ranma corrected, waving his hand in front of him. "This one little girl was a real pain in the ass. Never killed anyone, but she would knock out entire classes at once some days."
"Ranma, I really wish you wouldn't undermine my idea of reality faster than Youkai Academy does," Tsukune mumbled, massaging his temples.
"Then you should probably never bring up the elderly when I'm within earshot," Ranma noted, "the stories I have would BREAK you."
"Ah! Darn! It looks like my manager is at 0 HP!" Moka said with mock concern. "It seems she's been laid low by her own violent, short-sighted scheme! And there's no NURSE to help her, either!"
'See, now why do you have to be like that?' Evil Moka asked, 'I had ascended to being an object of worship, the most annoying man I've ever met had died painfully, and everybody was having a good time. And now it's ruined.'
'You got everyone except Kurumu killed! Nobody was having fun except you! And maybe Yukari. She keeps giggling when she thinks nobody's looking.'
'It was all to kill Ranma! You can't tell me that wasn't worth it!'
'It wasn't worth it!'
'You used to be cool.'
Yukari spoke up after she finally finished recording her notes. "And so Evil Moka, business manager, has fallen to a glorified quest item! Kurumu, make a stealth roll as he searches for new victims."
The succubus gulped as she rolled her die. "Is a 17 enough?"
"Okay. Shutarou pouts as he fails to find anyone else, and promptly gets bored of playing assassin. Also seeing that all the blood is starting to slick up the floor, he decides to leave the house. Kurumu, you hear a distant click as the front door opens and then the sound of it closing."
"Wait... playing assassin? He was just playing?" Tsukune said, gaping.
"Well, you didn't seriously think a level 2 manager could really control a level 16 character, did you?" Yukari scoffed. "He was just playing around."
Moka winced as her head was suddenly bombarded with angry profanities from within.
"He killed four people!" Tsukune protested, slamming his hands on the table.
"No wonder his parents were so keen to get rid of him for a weekend," Ranma said, "they didn't even come back after some stranger snatched him up and slammed the door in their faces."
"So... does this mean I win the game?" Kurumu asked cautiously.
Yukari scratched her head. "Well... In theory, no, but seeing how you're the only survivor of the household, it's hard to really argue otherwise."
The succubus cheered, throwing her arms up into the air (and incidentally treating the boys to a lovely view of her bouncing cleavage). "Yes! I won!"
Ranma snorted as he got up to leave. "Spoony maid."
Adventures in Tabletop Gaming: Session Complete
Evil Moka is hereby banned from game night. - Tsukune Aono