Now, the premise for today’s scene is my longstanding idea that they would still have a game like Dungeons & Dragons in a Dungeons & Dragons-esque world, on the grounds that not everyone can be a famous adventurer and people would want to live vicariously as a famous adventurer through fictional games:
Ultimately, I’m hoping to expand this into a full-length story as a follow-up to a story that does culminate with Kat tackling the bad guy off a roof.
Also, while the game they’re playing is supposed to be an equivalent to/parody of Dungeons & Dragons, I though that the typical approach of [Things] & [Places] is a little overplayed, so I decided, at least for now, to make the name a reference to DnD co-creator Gary Gygax‘s earlier game Chainmail, by naming it after a kind of armour.
“Oh dear,” Amara mutters as she steps into Kat’s bedroom. “It’s worse than I thought.”
A recent attempted heist at Porthaven’s Civic Art Gallery was stopped almost single-handedly by Kat, who heroically tackled the leader of the thieves off the roof and into the alley below. Though this brave act allowed for the thief’s apprehension and has led to Kat being lauded and feted as a luminary of the city, she suffered a broken leg as a consequence of her heroics.
And clearly, she is no adjusting well to life as an invalid.
Dunstana and Annie have been trying to keep Kat’s spirits up and her mind occupied on something other than her current sorry state. And, Amara notes, Kat does not seem to be taking to their attempts. Her skin is pale, her hair is dishevelled, and she has deep bags under her bloodshot eyes — she is clearly skirting the line between stir-crazy and properly crazy.
“Hello, Katherine,” Amara says as she approaches Kat’s bed.
“Sweet, loyal Amara,” Kat says, pulling her friend close. “True friend in true need.”
“Yes, yes,” Amara says, gently rubbing Kat’s back. “I love you, too, Katherine.”
“I’ve been so lonely,” Kat murmurs pitifully.
“Hey!” Dunstana exclaims.
“Pay her no mind, Dunstana,” Amara says. “I’m sure she’s very grateful to have such an attentive little sister looking out for her.”
“She’d better,” Dunstana mutters. “Or she can get her own dinners.”
“Katherine, my dear,” Amara offers, sitting on Kat’s bedside. “You need a hobby. Something to occupy your time while you’re stuck here in your room. Knitting, maybe. Crossword Puzzles. Or, uh, scrimshaw.”
Dunstana eagerly surges to her feet. “I’ve got just the thing! Annie, come help!”
Dunstana scurries out of the room with Annie following close behind and they return with a pile of boxes and books in her hands.
“We can play Coat of Plates!”
Kat rolls her eyes. “Dunstana, I don’t need to play a game about being an adventurer,” she protests. “I am an adventurer.”
“No, no, Katherine,” Amara says, putting a hand on Kat’s shoulder. “It sounds fun.”
“Great, let’s play,” Dunstana says, unfolding a map on the floor. “You’ll be the adventurers, and I’ll be the Dungeonarrator.”
“Fine,” Kat says.
“First thing we do is draw characters,” Dunstana explains, reaching into one of the boxes. “Kat, you get to be —”
Dunstana gives Annie a nudge with her elbow. Annie rolls her eyes and hums a little fanfare.
“Miriel of the Stars!” Dunstana exclaims, offering Kat a little figurine of an Elf woman in a robe. “She’s an Elf Thaumaturge who derives her powers from the light of the moon and stars.”
“That actually sounds kinda cool,” Kat mutters.
“And, Amara,” Dunstana says, reaching back into the box. “You Krimson Katja,” Dunstana explains. “You can tell she’s cool because they spell it with a K.”
Amara sceptically studies the figurine in her hand. The woman has long red hair, a confident expression on her face, and a rather impressive sword in her hands, though she only seems to be wearing one third of an outfit.
“Where are the rest of her clothes?” Amara asks, blushing fiercely. “Is she adventuring to the beach?”
She rolls her eyes.
“How vulgar. Clearly, this game was created by a man.”
Now, I am a little leery about the Fantasy genre’s whole “men designing female characters wearing not much clothing” trend, but I’m not actually that bothered by characters wearing ridiculous armour on principle, if the world isn’t particularly grounded in reality to begin with.
And I will admit a certain stuff spot for Frank Frazetta-style Fantasy art simple because it’s so ludicrous by every possible metric. Incidentally, much of said art will likely be considered NSFW, so proceed with caution — though nothing immediately visible on any of those links I, uh, linked to is particularly salacious.
Things like video games and anime are visual media and the characters need to be visually distinct and interesting, something that realistic, head-to-toe armour doesn’t really conduce — and basically the reason why, in real life, the guys wearing full head-to-toe armour also wore something with their coat of arms on it to help them stand out.
And, final sidebar, the name “Miriel of the Stars” is a somewhat convoluted reference to Varda, essentially the patron goddess (well, technically, Vala) of Tolkien’s Elves and creator of the stars, whose title Elbereth Gilthoniel is rhymed with “míriel” (which means “sparkling like jewels”) in the most prominent hymn to her sung by the Elves.
In my defence, I initially forgot that míriel was not, in fact, just the word for “stars”…
I do I believe I am now more than half way to the end of the month. Follow along for me writing every day for the rest of August via WordPress, social media, or my email list: