• Published 14th Mar 2019
  • 262 Views, 19 Comments

Grounded In Fantasy - Frocto



While Gamemastering a PnP RPG for his lady friends, Sunburst finds himself dealing with one disaster after another.

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Everypony Introduces Their Characters

"Alright everyone," announced Sunburst to the gathered crowd of fillies at large. "Who's ready to start their foray into the realm... of imagination?"

Seated opposite him at the table, Starlight Glimmer, Trixie and Maud Pie returned deadpan stares. Only Twilight Sparkle seemed excited, clapping her hooves together excitedly.

Trixie rolled her eyes. "Seems kinda... gay. Especially if Twilight's into it. But yes, Trixie is ready to play your board game."

Starlight nodded. "Uhuh."

"It's not a board game, you guys! Pen and paper roleplaying games are a premier form of entertainment among ponies, young and old, and Ogres & Oubliettes is one of the best!" Sunburst pouted.

Starlight scoffed. "Did Twilight tell you to say that?" immediately drawing a bout of sniggering from Trixie.

"Well he's right!" answered Twilight. "Geez, Sunburst, I don't know why you wanted these two to play, they're going to be like this all session. It's like when Rainbow first joined my game."

Maud set her pet rock, Boulder, atop her character sheet.. "Sounds fun... I can realize my dreams vicariously through my character."

“That's the spirit, Maud!" said Sunburst, regaining some traction. "Ever since I saw Twilight running her game for her friends, I wanted to try it myself... And I can't think of a group of ponies more deserving of the action, the adventure!"

Trixie picked up a twenty-sided die, examining it critically. "Well, true we are deserving... But why is Twilight here, then? She already has a group."

"Twilight wanted to take a break from Gamemastering. She wants to sit at the other end of the table for a change. Designing the adventures and playing them out is a lot of hard work!"

Twilight nodded. "That's right! I'm sure you'll do great, Sunburst."

“Thanks! So, as you all know, we're playing "The Tengu's Treasure" from "Ninja Adventures In Neighpon" today. Everypony’s got their character ready to go, so let's go around the table one by one and talk about them. Starlight, you're up."

Starlight glanced down at her sheet, then back up at the assembled players. "Right. My character's name is Moromane and he's a travelling swordspony by trade, exploring the countryside, saving peasants, all that sort of thing. His extensive tour of duty battling against demons has granted him mastery of the Demon Slaying combat tree, including Astral Blade Manifestation, Level 3 Banishment Rituals, and - "

Sunburst's eyes shot up. "What?! Forming an Astral Blade alone requires the severing of twelve demon's heads from their bodies, and then an elaborate ritual that takes a month, how did..."

"Yeah, obviously he did all that before the game started."

"Most people in the game setting have never even seen a demon, let alone had a 'tour of demon-slaying duty.'"

Starlight shrugged theatrically. “Well that just isn’t true at all, that adventure you’re planning on running starts with a bunch of monsters attacking a village and then - “

Sunburst couldn’t believe his ears. “You read the module?”

“Maybe a tiny bit! And even if I have, it says The Tengu’s Treasure right there! We’re obviously not gonna be up against the Evil Magistrate, are we?”

“Now, you said I could write anything I wanted for my character backstory, so I wrote this."

Sunburst sighed, knowing he wasn’t going to be able to take this bull by the horns. "Agh... Alright, anything else you want to declare?”

“Yes, actually,” giggled Starlight, looking positively giddy with herself. “I also dropped the remainder of my points into picking up an Ancestral Heirloom of my own design... It’s a Greater Family Boon with 7 Ancestor Spirits sealed inside it... It was not cheap but it was so worth it.”

“That’s a lot of points to spend on a sword... Won’t you struggle if it gets knocked out of your grip or something?”

Starlight pshaw’d. “If that happens, you guys can get it back for me!”

“So what does it do?”

“Yes, of course! I’d like to introduce you all to Nyghthorne the Ravenblade, the last word in demon-slaying paraphernalia. It can sense when demons are nearby, creates a sealing circle on each successful attack - and I get two attacks per round - and deals 49 bonus damage against demons.”

“I, ah, think I’ve heard enough! I just hope everyone else has such a good grasp of mechanics. Moving on... Trixie?"

Twilight winced in anticipation. She had her head in her hooves already and it was only 11 AM.

Trixie perked up, happy to be the centre of attention. "Yes! Well! Trixie wasn't terribly happy with the core materials, so she went ahead and dove into the splatbooks. I present to you… Peach, the Oni-Blooded Brawler! Using secrets plundered from ‘Mysteries Of The Far East’ she may be classified as a human but has been granted superhuman strength, durability and an ability to locate and commune with hidden demons!"

Starlight thumped her hoof on the table. "It was Peach who introduced Moromane to all the demons!"

"To decapitate them?"

“You bet!” Trixie and Starlight chorused, right before high-fiving. “And she does it with a custom Martial Art I made for her, which I call 'Art of the Delayed Fist.'"

"Oh… From 'Martial Masters'?"

"That's right! In essence, it allows one to deal more damage with their attack the longer they wait between attacks. I set my damage thresholds and came up with... this much."

Sunburst checked her sheet, and immediately wished he hadn't. "You must have done the math wrong. This says she does 1,000 damage on a regular attack. That's... enough to kill a dragon."

"Trixie does not make mistakes! It was all triple-checked for me by Twilight Sporkle!"

Twilight nodded, reluctant to admit her part in all this as Sunburst continued down the sheet. "Death Blow has an optional charging-period between uses, and Trixie took the largest possible one to get as many points as possible. Peach can only attack..."

"Once a month!” Trixie nodded gleefully. “Every time Peach vaporizes the enemy, we're all going to bed down and not move a muscle until we've rested a full 30 days. I already talked it over with the others."

Maud shrugged. "Monks are cool."

Sunburst looked to Twilight with cautious optimism. “Well, I’m sure at least you made a sensible character...”

"Yeah. Great start, you two, I'm not sure I can top it. Ehem. My character's name is Sakura Petals. She's a courtesan, actually."

Starlight and Trixie made plenty of noise about that, but finally allowed Twilight to continue.

"During that period of history, women were considered secondary to their male counterparts... Men held positions in the government and military that were barred to women, but many women, even those of common descent, were still able to reach impressive positions of power by being on the ears of these men, offering counsel and wisdom. Sakura has been an aide to several great generals and influenced the standing of many major houses, beguiling them with her beauty and appeasing their intellects with her fine words."

Trixie tilted her head. "Okay, but how does she kill shit?"

"She doesn't! I made an entirely non-combatant character, someone the party can rely on to negotiate difficult situations and avoid resorting to bloodshed. She has a vision of a peaceful Neighpon."

"Well, she'll come in handy when we need to explain to the police why we piled up so many dead bodies."

"I suppose that could be one of her functions, but she's heavily invested in bringing about peace between the region's various clans, so... Don't get too horny with the katanas, okay?"

Sunburst nodded. "That's a very interesting character, Twilight. Unconventional, but I'm sure she'll find ways to help everyone out. And you worked in the setting backstory in a lovely fashion. Maud?"

Maud took Boulder off her sheets to start reading over them. "I made a peasant. His name is Roku. He's a rock farmer. From a family of rock farmers."

"Equipment: pickaxe, helmet, bags."

"Skills: Geology, pickaxe mastery, mountaineering."

"He used to farm rocks, but... he stopped."

Sunburst waited for Maud to blink. It never came.. "Ahah... So he decided adventuring was his calling?"

"He wants to see some new rocks. And help people along the way."

"Great! Now let's get started."

Author's Note:

One of the rejected titles was "Pones Rollin' Bones."

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