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Games & Gleaming

SirDubs Nov 20th, 2016 (edited) 1,475 Never
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  1. >Be Anon
  2. >Horseland is weird
  3. >There are a lot of differences, obviously.
  4. >In a world of candy colored (but not candy coated. You checked. Rule #6 is now 'Anon may not lick ponies without their express consent' because only Pinkie Pie is allowed to munch on her cotton candy tail) horses, there are going to be differences.
  5. >But a lot of things are really similar too.
  6. >Like Colta-Cola
  7. >Doesn't taste a thing like Coke, but it's almost identical to Dr Pepper.
  8. >Another striking similarity is the bureaucracy.
  9. >Apparently, you're the only human here.
  10. >Like, ever.
  11. >And since you're the only one, to some chucklefuck that makes you qualified to be an ambassador.
  12. >And ambassadors get
  13. "I'm sorry, what was your name again?"
  14. >"Shield, Ambassador Anonymous. Gleaming Shield"
  15. >Yeah, her.
  16. >According to the Princess (who, by the way, was the only horse around here you can look in the eye) she was a combination bodyguard, tour guide, and "Professional friend", whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.
  17. >"Sir, we really should get going. It's getting dark"
  18. "Right, right. Lead the way, Miss Shield"
  19. >Your new pony "friend" leads the way from the palace to a nearby house.
  20. >Stone, big windows, three stories. Nice place.
  21. >You open the door, and kick off your shoes, because fuck those things.
  22. >Wouldn't wear them at all, but walking on stone barefoot sucks
  23. >Gleaming seems to take her cue from you, removing her helmet and laying it on the coffee table
  24. >Despite that, she stands at what you assume is attention for a pony
  25. "You know, I'm pretty sure we're not going to be attacked any time soon. You can have a seat, relax a bit"
  26. >"Oh thank merciful Celestia, I have to get this finished"
  27. >She makes herself comfortable, and begins fondling herself under her armor
  28. >Or looking for something
  29. >Probably fondling.
  30. "So, want some coffee?"
  31. >You're not going to be sleeping any time soon anyway. Never could sleep in a new place
  32. >"Yes, please. Black, two sugars?"
  33. "Sure"
  34. >As you putter around the kitchen trying to remember how to work a percolator, Gleaming takes a bag out from under her breastplate
  35. >Do they still call it a breastplate? They don't have breasts.
  36. >Meh, whatever.
  37. >She removes a few pieces of paper and a charcoal pencil
  38. "Whatcha working on?"
  39. >"Ehheheheheh.... I'm sure you wouldn't be interested, sir. Just guardmare stuff"
  40. "Try me"
  41. >"W-well...every week, a few of the other guards and myself get together to blow off some steam."
  42. >You pour her coffee and your own, bringing it over and making yourself comfortable on the slightly too small chair
  43. >She sips
  44. "So it's a guest list for an orgy?"
  45. >And now you have seen everything. The spit take is real, say amen
  46. >"N-N-NO! Why would you even say that?! Why would you even think that!?"
  47. "Because you were stalling. So what's the paper?"
  48. >She sighs with the force of a thousand mothers who aren't angry, just disappointed
  49. >"It's my character sheet for Burrows and Basalisks"
  50. "Huh. Game with dice and wizards and mighty thews and shit?"
  51. >"Oh, you've played?" The horse is excited, like you just revealed you're secretly made out of chocolate or something
  52. >Hopefully the no licking rule works both ways
  53. >Seriously, that stare is a little unnerving
  54. "Something similar, a few times"
  55. >Almost every week for the better part of sixteen years.
  56. >"I didn't even know that kind of game existed here. Of course, only being in the palace for three days..."
  57. >"Well, if you want...I know you don't really have a lot of friends here yet, so I could probably find you a spot in the game, maybe?"
  58. >Those hopeful eyes
  59. >That lip quiver
  60. [spoiler]>them flanks [/spoiler]
  61. "Eh, why not? Could be fun"
  62.  
  63.  
  64. >Next day
  65. >Zero sleep
  66. >And Gleaming just will not stop
  67. >Game books everywhere
  68. >You decided to play a minotaur, they're buff, and have hands
  69. >Fuck yeah, hands
  70. >As for classes...
  71. >"I really think you should play a support class, sir. It would put your character further from danger, and increase survivability"
  72. "Yeah, except that's retarded. Monk or bust."
  73. >"Monks don't even wear armor!"
  74. >This has been going for an hour now
  75. >It's sweet, really
  76. >She just wants to keep you safe
  77. >Apparently, that's kind of her thing
  78. >But, you have decided. You're gonna be a big burly bone breaking bruser and that's all there is to it.
  79. >"At least play a ranged class. A Mystic Archer or a Runeweilder"
  80. >She opens the book, showing the Runeweilder class.
  81. >Looks something like an artificer, with a heavy focus on making enchanted weapons and ammo
  82. >Wait
  83. >Heheheheh
  84. >It doesn't say anywhere that they have to be ranged weapons.
  85. "Ok, I think I can live with the rune guy."
  86. >Her face lights up
  87. >"Thank you, sir. I promise you won't lose a single hit point on my watch"
  88. >She actually salutes
  89. >It's adorable.
  90. >It's almost a shame what's going to happen
  91. "So, this is a standard d20 system, yeah?"
  92. >She nods, mane falling into her face.
  93. >She blows it aside
  94. >"Yeah, d20 plus bonuses minus circumstances. Damage dice is by weapon, or by rune in your case"
  95. >You nod. This is remarkably similar to Pathfinder, with a few interesting differences
  96. >"So explain to me why unicorns are the only ones allowed to be arcane casters?"
  97. >She looks almost shocked
  98. >"They're not! Deer, caribou, and reindeer can be too!"
  99. "I'm sensing a pattern here"
  100. >She looks confused
  101. >You reach out and flick her horn
  102. >"Ohhh. Yeah, arcane magic requires a horn or horns to use. It's a realism thing"
  103. "Neat. Never thought I would actually live in a dungeons and dragons setting"
  104. >Even if it is the most G-rated, kiddy tier one possible
  105. >"That's your version of the game from your home, right?"
  106. "Yup. No magic there, so this whole world is the closest I've ever been to the game"
  107. >The game.
  108. >That's what you always called it back home, with your group.
  109. >Because it's the only one that matters.
  110. >Her eyes go wide at that
  111. >"No magic? At all? But how does your Sun work? How do the seasons change? How do you treat illness? Without magic, civilization is impossible! Every race here has magic, of one kind or another."
  112. "In order, physics, the same physics, and specialized poisons."
  113. >"Huh?"
  114. "Never mind. So I think I'm just about done here, all I need for him is a name"
  115.  
  116.  
  117. >You look at your sheet
  118. >The book says that culturally, minotaur names tend to contain a metal
  119. >And you smile, knowing what it must be
  120. "Brass Knuckle, Minotaur Runeweilder. Yeah, I can live with that"
  121. >Gleaming smiles, looking for all the world like a mother watching her child walk for the first time
  122. >"Do you want me to look over your sheet? I know some of the calculations can be confusing for newer players"
  123. "Nah, I got it"
  124. >Can't let her see that you took every Hoof to Hoof feat, Earth Vitality, or Bull Rush.
  125. >The last one is Minotaur specific, allowing use of the horns as weapons on a charge.
  126. >As you finish up the last few items, your stomach makes its presence known
  127. >"Anon"
  128. Yes, stomach?
  129. >"You haven't eaten in 24 hours Anon"
  130. Really?
  131. >"Yes, really. Behold, my displeasure"
  132. >Your stomach growls loudly, and Gleaming suddenly becomes all business
  133. >"We should get breakfast, sir. Give me one moment to get my armor on and I'll clear us a path"
  134. >She dashes off, armor flying around herself in a display of telekenetic precision that is beautiful to watch
  135. >And a little scary, to be honest
  136. >As her helmet seats itself, she turns to you.
  137. >"Pancakes, sir?"
  138. "Sure, sounds good"
  139. >"Excellent. Please stay a few paces behind me"
  140. "Why?"
  141. >She looks a bit sheepish
  142. >"Well, I am your guard, sir"
  143. "Oh, yeah"
  144. >You had almost forgotten, she was being such a bro.
  145. >Kind of sad to think she's only here because she's getting paid.
  146. >Wait, why is that sad?
  147. >She's a guard, she's doing her job.
  148. >But, having her here is almost like having a friend
  149.  
  150. >Morning in Canterlot shimmers
  151. >Literally, the dawn on the marble gives everything a gleam of red gold
  152. >It's beautiful.
  153. >Unfortunately, it's not getting your stomach filled
  154. "So where are we going?"
  155. >"The Stack House. They do all sorts of pancakes, different fruit syrups and toppings. My little brother always gets the chocolate chip ones"
  156. >Sounds like IHOP
  157. >IHOP is love, IHOP is life
  158. >Gleaming is as good as her word, walking a few paces ahead and glancing around for danger, but keeping one ear cocked back to hear you
  159. >The streets are fairly empty this time of day, but that doesn't stop every pony you pass from staring, either openly or otherwise
  160. >Kinda creepy
  161. >But, worth it for delicious pancakes.
  162. >Oh, there's the place.
  163. >It looks like a pretty normal house for this area, except that there's an unusually large amount of patio furniture
  164. >Gleaming opens the door, glances around then motions you in
  165. >You enter, and are overwhelmed with a sense of homesickness
  166. >This place even looks like an IHOP
  167. >You sit at a booth near a window, and soon a lanky green pegasus stallion makes his way over, pencil in mouth
  168. >"Hih, Imh Thall Schatch-"
  169. >Gleaming rolls her eyes. "Pencil, Tall"
  170. >The stallion glances down, then blushes, sticking the pencil in his mane with a wing
  171. >"Sorry Gleam, you know how it is. Anyway, as I was saying. Hi, my name is Tall Stack, I'll be your waiter this morning. Do you know what you want, or do you need a bit to look at the menu?
  172.  
  173. >Not knowing what they have here, you opt for the latter
  174. "Give me a few to look it over, please"
  175. >"Sure, sure. If you need anything, just flag me or my sister Short down.
  176. >He wanders off, humming
  177. >Menu acquired
  178. >Hmm. Lots of fruit pancakes, lots of sweets...
  179. >No bacon.
  180. >No. Bacon.
  181. >What travesty is this, that there should be an IHOP without bacon?
  182. >Oh, right. Herbivorous species.
  183. >Huh...
  184. "Hey, how is this spinach and cheese pancake? I've never heard of one like that."
  185. >Gleaming glances up from her own menu
  186. >"Oh, it's actually really good. Kind of the house specialty. Just make sure you get some juice to go with it, it can be kind of strong by itself"
  187. >You nod
  188. >If you can't trust your guard to pick something, who can you trust?
  189. "Know what you want?"
  190. >"Yeah"
  191. >Gleaming lights her horn
  192. >Weird... and yet, not thirty seconds later, a small purple earth pony arrives
  193. >"Hey Gleamy. Who's the hunk?"
  194. >If you had been drinking, you would have repeated the glorious spit take
  195. >Gleaming doesn't seem to think it strange though.
  196. >"He's the new Ambassador for his species. Anonymous, this is Short Stack"
  197. "Its nice to meet you, Miss Stack"
  198. >"Short, please. The *pleasure* is all mine. So, what can I do you for?"
  199. >I-is this pony hitting on you?
  200. "I'll have a short stack-"
  201. >"I bet you will" the waitress winks
  202. "Of the spinach and cheese pancakes, a glass of orange juice, and a cup of coffee"
  203. >Gleaming lays down her menu. "Apple cinnamon challenge. Go."
  204. >"Ooooo, someone's feeling her oats. Remember what happened last time you tried that?"
  205. >"I have a secret weapon this time. Make it happen, Shorty"
  206. >Short Stack shrugs. "You're the boss mare, boss mare."
  207.  
  208. >These pancakes are actually pretty good.
  209. >Savory, buttery, a bit cheesy
  210. >And a deep green color
  211. >Gleaming has a stack of pancakes taller than her, and an hourglass
  212. >As you understand it, if she eats them all in an hour, it's free
  213. >If not, Short gets a date with you
  214. >You did not consent to this
  215. >"So, are you going to help me with this, or do you want that date with Little Miss Heated?"
  216. >You frown
  217. >She can't see it over the pancakes, but it's the principle of the thing
  218. "Fine, fine"
  219. >You were just finishing yours up anyway
  220. >You take about half the remaining pancakes and begin digging into them, stopping only to appreciate the flavor.
  221. >These ponies can make some damn fine pancakes
  222. "So, why did you offer up my dick to settle a bet? Aren't you supposed to be protecting me?"
  223. >She snorts, trying not to laugh with her mouth full
  224. >"It's not like that. She's a flirt, and she's always ready to play, but she's a perfect gentlemare."
  225. "Looked like that. She looked at me like I was covered... in... chocolate"
  226. >You suddenly remember last night
  227. >When you told Gleaming that you knew the game.
  228. >She looked at you much the same way
  229. >At first you took it for excitement, who doesn't love finding a new player?
  230. >But all those ponies on the street were starting
  231. >And now the waitress
  232. >All with that same look of excitement
  233. >Or, maybe, hunger
  234.  
  235. >What the actual fuck?
  236. >You're not even the same species!
  237. >This is bullshit.
  238. >You're just new and different and interesting to look at
  239. >And Short is a slut
  240. >Sure, that must be it
  241. >The hourglass is running down, but there are only a few pancakes left
  242. >You can do it
  243. >You won't have to give a horse the D
  244. >Just keep eating
  245. >Just
  246. >Keep
  247. >Eating
  248. >One pancake left
  249. >Your stomach complains
  250. >"Don't do this to me, man. Don't do it"
  251. Shut up stomach, take one for the team
  252. >"Dick is on his own on this one, if you eat that last pancake, I can't be held responsible for my actions"
  253. Suck it up stomach, 'ere we go
  254. >You struggle to swallow the last few bites of the pancake
  255. >But, in the end, human will triumphs over pony cooking
  256. "Never again"
  257. >Short saunters over, tail swishing, before breaking into a pout at seeing the clean plates
  258. >"Oh, sauce. Now I'll never be able to give him his pony ride"
  259. >Gleaming glances at you
  260. >Gleaming smirks
  261. >Don't do this to me, guard horse
  262. >You were supposed to be a bro
  263. >"Well, if you want to see him that bad, you know about the game tonight, right? He's coming, you are welcome to join
  264. >DO NOT WANT
  265.  
  266. >Short beams
  267. >"Well, I actually have tonight off. My character may be a little rough..."
  268. >Gleaming airily waves a hoof
  269. >"It's fine. Don't you have that Love cleric you never got to use? Level her to six and run her"
  270. >Love cleric?
  271. >Gleaming, y u do dis?
  272. >"Oh, yeah, I forgot about Heater. That'll be *juuust* fine"
  273. >"Cool. Night guard barracks at 8:30, bring snacks"
  274. >"All right. Stay sexy, sugar" Short winks at you again, before taking your plates and payment
  275. "I guess it's time to get home?"
  276. >"Yeah, you look dead on your... whatever it is you have"
  277. >Gleaming once more leads the way.
  278. >The streets are more full now, and the stares more pronounced
  279. >This is starting to remind you of that one Twilight Zone episode
  280. >The one with the pod people
  281. >Regardless, the trip is short
  282. >You manage not to pass out before making it to bed.
  283. >Gleaming knocks
  284. >"I'm going to go off shift now, sir. If you like, I can stay here. Make snacks and such"
  285. "Do whatever you want, a stampede won't wake me"
  286. >"All right, sir"
  287. >The bed is remarkably comfy
  288. >Despite that, your last thought before sleep is that it's really too big for one person
  289.  
  290. >Waking up hurts
  291. >You have horrible indigestion
  292. >But, it's worth it, your horse-virginity remains unsullied
  293. >You smell coffee
  294. >Gleaming must be getting ready
  295. >You glance at the bedside clock
  296. >8 pm
  297. >Just enough time for the triple s and a cup of coffee before you have to go
  298. >Shower, check
  299. >Shave, check
  300. >Shit, check
  301. >Coffee, acquired
  302. >As you sit on the couch, getting into character, Gleaming sits across from you
  303. >"Excited, sir?"
  304. "Oh yes, this is going to be great. I have such plans"
  305. >You smile the smile of a man who has derailed a thousand campaigns, and forged empires of bloody conquest from the ashes
  306. >"Good. We need to move out soon, our GM likes to get running promptly."
  307. "Who's the GM?"
  308. >"Oh, nopony you know, but she's fair. Firm believer in story over mechanics too, so if your idea is cool enough she'll usually let it ride"
  309. >Best kind of GM, in your opinion
  310. "Anything else I should know?"
  311. >"Just don't eat her cheese puffs. Anything else on the table is fine, but the cheese puffs are hers, and she gets a little... intense about them"
  312. "I shall resist the temptation"
  313. >Gleaming pops on her helmet and nods at you
  314. >"Then let's move out
  315.  
  316. >The castle is beautiful in the moonlight.
  317. >The whole world is, really
  318. >It is game time, and your body is ready
  319. >The night guard barracks are in the "basement" of the castle
  320. >Because everyone is too polite to call it a dungeon
  321. >Perfect setting for the game, actually
  322. >As Gleaming leads, you start to wonder about the other players
  323. >Social anxiety has never been huge at this kind of thing, but it's a lingering background tension in your mind
  324. >"Here we are, sir"
  325. >Gleaming stops in front of an enormous oak door, reinforced with iron
  326. >DC 20 to break, easy.
  327. >Maybe 25
  328. >"Just relax. We're all here to have fun, sir. And if all else fails, Octavius always brings an obscene amount of gin"
  329. >You nod
  330. >It's go time
  331. >The door opens, and suddenly, four pairs of eyes are on you
  332. >Short Stack, purple as ever
  333. >A pair of stallions, white and grey. The white one has a pretty sweet set of purple shades
  334. >And a cream coated mare with the most garish red and blue mane imaginable
  335. >"Hey everypony. This is Anonymous, our newest ambassador. Anonymous, you already met Short. That's Vinyl and Octavius on the far end, and our own inimitable Flank Charge, GM extraordinaire"
  336. >You take a seat across from the guys
  337. >You know the code
  338. "Hey, call me Anon"
  339. >"Well hey, all right, new guy" The white stallion,
  340. >Vinyl, his name is Vinyl
  341. >Vinyl says, beaming
  342. >"Indeed, it will be pleasant to have another gentlecolt around." Octavius adds
  343. >He's giving you the chocolate-dipped look too
  344.  
  345. >Flank Charge clears her throat
  346. >"Before we begin, since this is a new campaign I would like everypony to introduce their characters."
  347. >Vinyl jumps to his hooves
  348. >"Glass Hummer, Bard and Sorcerer. I drop the bass so hard ponies die from it"
  349. >Octavio produces a handle on gin from seemingly nowhere, pours himself a glass and takes a long sip
  350. >"Graceful Counterpoint, Grace if you must. Samurai and bard."
  351. >Short fiddles with her papers
  352. >"Red Ribbon, Cleric of Love. With the power of Love, nothing is impossible!"
  353. >Gag. But she actually seems to believe that.
  354. >Questions for later
  355. "Brass Knuckle, Minotaur Runeweilder. My greatest weapon is knowledge. My second greatest weapon is my rune carved knuckledusters"
  356. >Gleaming looks at you, shocked
  357. >"You can't do that, Anon! Runeweilders are a *ranged* class!"
  358. "Show me where it says I can't engrave a melee weapon"
  359. >Gleaming glares
  360. >"We will discuss this later. Shield Wall, Paladin of the Sun. Let my body be a shield for the innocent"
  361. >Flank smirks at you
  362. >She knows your kind
  363. >"Excellent. Go ahead and get into character, we'll start as soon as Octavius has poured one of those for everypony"
  364.  
  365. >Be Brass Knuckle
  366. >Be pounding mead in some dive tavern.
  367. >The rest of the party is drinking fruity girly shit, except for Grace.
  368. >Gin and tonic.
  369. >Classy as fuck
  370. >This is your last night in town
  371. >Tomorrow, you've got a job.
  372. >Local cemetery is getting a bit full, so the local dead are naturally looking for a bit of elbow room
  373. >Unfortunately, they're looking for it in the homes of the living
  374. >After that, getting paid, and the real work begins.
  375. >You've never liked cities much
  376. >But, this is where the College of Runes is
  377. >If you can't bring the mountain to Moohamed, Moohamed must go to the mountain
  378. >And they pay *very* well for new devices
  379. >With any luck, you'll be able to sell your designs and retire from the road.
  380. >"Oy, Brass!"
  381. "What, Grace? I'm busy"
  382. >"Busy guzzlin that fookin swill, nah ya gobshite, pay attention. We gots to talk about how wez gonna smash da skellies"
  383. "Glass shakes them apart, you and I wade in, Red throws her good vibe mojo, and Shield pitches in as needed"
  384. >"Oh, yah, o'course. I'm talkin about after. We're getting paid, yeah? So where's the mares at in this Sunforsaken place? Oi wanna get me knob polished when we're done."
  385. "Hell if I know. Bother Glass about it, I need to double check my runes"
  386. >"Yah, yah, go on then, ya no fun bastard"
  387. >You remove your namesakes from your pocket.
  388. >Four lightning runes on the right
  389. >Four thunder runes on the left
  390. >And a very tricky little life rune that requires bringing your hands together to complete
  391. >That's as good as dragonfire against the walking dead, but you can only do it once
  392. >Best to hold it back until you really need it
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