This just came to me tonight. I wondered what real life would be like if it was run like a role playing game. Let’s face it, the real world is pretty boring. Yet when you factor in relatively standard RPG mechanics – it is still dull but kind of funny. Please enjoy this glimpse into the world if a Game Master was following you around with a bag of dice.
At the House
GM: Your Westinghouse 210 Sentry-model alarm clock goes off at the time you set it for last night. From the light creeping in from the drawn curtains, it appears that the clock is on time. It may be slightly cloudy outside, judging by the dimmed light streaking across your bedspread.
Me: Okay, I get out of bed and go shave and shower.
GM: I need you to make a Constitution roll, target of 13 to see if you avoid hitting the snooze feature.
Me: Why so high?
GM: You had two beers before you went to bed and your health levels were low. Make the roll dude.
Me: A 16.
GM: You successfully wake up.
Me: I go to the bathroom. Do I notice anything out of the ordinary?
GM: Rolls dice behind screen. No you do not notice anything out of place. In fact, it looks much like you left it the night before.
Me: Okay, I’m still on guard here. I take out my shaving kit and shave like I do every day.
GM: Good. I need you to roll a Dexterity roll, target is 3 or better.
Me: Aw crap! I rolled a 1.
GM: Oh, that’s gonna hurt – critical failure. You take 1 HP from a razor cut. I’m going to need you to roll against your Dex again with a 1D20 to see if you nicked an artery.
Me: You’re kidding me, right? I have been shaving for 32 years. There’s no way I would nick an artery.
GM: Look, I don’t make the rules. Let me pull up the Shaving Mishaps table. Go ahead and make your roll.
Me: A 16. Satisfied?
GM: Okay, you didn’t kill yourself shaving, but you are bleeding slightly from the wound.
Me: I’m going to use a piece of toilet paper to put on the cut.
GM: How big of a piece are we talking about?
Me: You know, small, a corner, no larger than a ½ inch.
GM: Alright, that action prevents you from taking further damage.
Me: Good. I start the water flowing and strip to take a shower.
GM: So you have removed your pajamas?
Me: Good point. I do a quick check of the bedroom, to make sure no one is hiding there.
GM: Rolls behind the screen. The room appears to be empty.
Me: I carefully get into the shower, watching my footing and making sure there is no soap or other slippery objects on the floor of the shower.
GM: Rolls behind the screen. You have successfully entered the shower. The water appears to be hotter than normal.
Me: Like scalding hot? If it is, I’m moving out of the stream.
GM: No, just a few degrees warmer than usual.
Me: Whew! I was worried there for a minute. Okay, I turn it down just slightly, checking the temperature as I go to make sure I get it just right.
GM: I’ll allow that. You are now standing naked, in the shower, with the water at the desirable temperature. It has washed away that piece of tissue you put on your cheek though.
Me: I’m not bleeding am I?
GM: Rolls behind the screen. No. You’re fine. It looks like your wound has stopped bleeding.”
Me: Sweet. Alright. I’m going to shampoo my hair.
GM: Are you sure that’s what you want to do?
Me: Why? I double check, is anyone in the bathroom?
GM: Rolls behind the screen. No, you don’t detect anyone.
Me: That’s not the same as, “no one is there.” I’m going to keep one eye on the shower door while I put on the shampoo.
GM: Hang on, I need to pull up the dandruff tables…
Arriving at the office…
GM: Your badge appears to have been accepted by the Honeywell Mark V Security Door reader. The gate to the parking garage rises slowly, hesitating slightly on the way out, as if it is in need of maintenance.
Me: Alright, I carefully accelerate, keeping my speed slow. I’m watching right and left and doing a check of my rearview mirror.
GM: You notice that Buick that was behind you has moved up to the reader. The driver seems to be hesitating, like she can’t find her badge…or perhaps she doesn’t have one.
Me: I don’t like that sound of that. When I get into the garage, I’m turning right. Are there any open spaces in the first row?
GM: Rolls behind the screen. On the right side there are approximately a dozen cars of various makes and models, filling the spaces. One Honda appears to be sticking out slightly, as if the driver deliberately didn’t pull in all of the way. On the left side there are about ten cars that you can make out. A large black Toyota Truck, a Tundra, is blocking your view of the last two spots. The truck stands out because you’ve never seen it parked here before. The lighting is dim in the structure. It looks as if some of the lights at the far end are out, or have been broken.
Me: I proceed forward with caution. I’m checking that chick behind me, I don’t trust that she ‘forgot’ her card…could be a ploy to trick me. I remember that stunt that guy tried with that Jeep two sessions ago. Bastard swung around and stole my spot.
GM: She still appears to be checking her purse. How slow are you driving?
Me: Two to three miles per hour. No showboating here, I’m being very careful. I’ll angle the car so no one can pass me easily – down the middle of the aisle.
GM: As you advance down the row, you notice there is an open spot between the Tundra and another gold colored car. There is a problem though, the car flanking the spot is a gold Mazda, late model 2001. It has numerous dents and dings along the side of it as you come into view. Whoever the owner is, he or she is sloppy. You see an empty McDonald’s bag wadded up on the dashboard. A string of Mardi Gras plastic pearls, green hang limply from the rearview mirror. This car has all of the signs of being mistreated and seems oddly out of place in your parking garage.
Me: Alright. Anything from the woman at the security gate?
GM: Rolls behind the screen. Nothing yet.
Me: Can I fight my car into the space?
GM: You can, but it will be a tight fit because of the Mazda, its front driver’s side tire is right on the parking stripe.
Me: Okay, I’m going to try and park.
GM: I need you to roll against your Parking Skill, with a -3 modifier.
Me: Alright, I’m taking this slow. If it looks like I’m going to even get close to clipping a car, I’m going to pause. No point in trying to be a hero here.
GM: Go ahead and make your roll…
In the staff meeting….
GM: Just as you were about to start your presentation, Judy enters. I need you to make a Perception roll.
Me: A 12. What do I see?
GM: Judy sits down next to Dave. She’s wearing the same blue outfit she wears every Tuesday, but this week you notice the same stain that was there last week on her left lapel. Her hair is unkempt, as if she has rushed into the building late. She appears to be breathing heavily.
Me: Hmm…maybe she was late and ran in. Does she have her usual StarBucks with her?
GM: No. Oddly enough she did not come in with her usual coffee.
Me: That’s strange. I’m checking on her as I double-click on my PowerPoint presentation.
GM: Okay, I need you to make a Computer Operating System Skills check with a target of 14.
Me: Why so difficult? I’m just loading up a slide show.
GM: The PC in the conference room is overdue for its loadset update. The cutbacks at the help desk we talked about in the last game session meant that they haven’t had a chance to update the drivers. There’s a chance that your presentation will fail.
Me: Damn it! If I had known that I would have brought my own laptop rather than try and run this off of a thumb drive. I told them it was a mistake to adjust the budget to keep up the IT Department funding.
GM: Yeah, but you bombed your Persuasion and Negotiation rolls, especially when Robert prepared that awesome pie chart of the cost savings.
Me: I hate that guy. I am going to take him out, I swear it. Not today though. Wouldn’t I have seen an error message when the PC booted up?
GM: I’m sorry, you didn’t do a check of the PC when you came into the room. Remember, I asked and you said you wanted to make small talk with Loren to help you with your modifiers when you make your pitch. If you had you would have checked the PC you might have noticed the Windows warning in the lower right corner of the screen. Do you want to try and load the driver yourself, or are you continuing with trying to fire up your presentation?
Me: Pause. I’ll go for loading the presentation. My operating system skill level is pretty crappy. I hope Lance at the Help Desk is available if this thing bombs.
GM: I can’t say until you call in the help desk. Make the roll.
Me: A 15! Freaking sweet.
GM: You hear the hard drive on the PC purr slightly and can feel the warmth rise up from the desk where it had been running for two hours. It feels oddly calming to you. There is an hourglass icon where your mouse pointer was, and it is spinning slightly as you wait to see the slide deck load. The little green light on your thumb drive is flickered a dull green color…perhaps an indication that something is happening.
Me: Does it load?
GM: Rolls behind the screen. Yes it does! Your presentation flickers to existence on the screen in front of you. The overhead projector flickers and the image appears on the whiteboard at the far end of the room. It is dull, almost hard to read thanks to the bright light coming in from the windows, but you can make out the title well, though the smaller text is a little harder to read.
Me: Damn, this is an important presentation. Do I see the controls for the vertical blinds?
GM: Rolls behind the screen. You see a long brown slender rod hanging on the far side of the vertical blinds. It may be some sort of control, I can’t tell for sure until you try it out.
Me: I don’t want to botch this. Okay, I’m going to go over there and try to turn it to see if I can adjust the blinds.
GM: Okay, it appears to be something you can twist. Which direction do you want to try?
Me: Pauses, using my hands to experiment with lefty-loosey, righty-tighty. I try it to the left.
GM: The blinds slowly began to draw shut. The dull gray background of your presentation becomes clearer with each gentle twist.
Me: I don’t close them the entire way, I still want the participants to be able to make notes.
GM: Noted. Okay, you’re done with that task.
Me: I return to my seat and check the screen one last time.
GM: You notice that your PowerPoint is still in slide mode.
Me: Crap! Okay, I’m going to fire it up in Presentation mode.
GM: Gotcha. I need you to make a PowerPoint Presentation Skill roll, +3 because of the adjusted lighting.
Me: A twenty! A freaking twenty!
GM: Wow, critical success. Great job! Let me check the PowerPoint Action tables…
Me: Damn right! Who’s the man? I am! Oh yeah!
GM: Don’t get cocky. Your boss, Phil, just got a call his iPhone and he’s taking.
Me: Oh no he’s not! I’m prepping a stern glance of displeasure to toss in his direction.