Craig joined the fingertips of his hands together in a gesture that he must have thought made him look cool and not like a stock anime villain. Most of the people who had expressed interest in joining his… questionable manual debut had turned up on time, bringing with them plenty of snacks and a surplus of creativity to make up for his lack of it. The various greetings that he received were met with an enthusiastic grunt, as Craig was too busy viciously eyeing his friend´s sandwiches. He stacked two of them on the map he was using, right next to a condensing bottle of soda. Any seasoned player would have cringed at the sight, but it was hidden behind his dungeon master screen.
One by one the character sheets rolled in, and one by one he accepted them without thinking too hard about it.
"Milon? Alright, heh heh..."
The rest of the sheets were accepted through what linguists refer to as "sandwich speak", a scientific term used for those attempting to formulate words and sentences with a sandwich in their mouth. A team of experts have provided a translation for Craig´s words below, with special care taken to be as accurate as possible. His response to Jacob had unfortunately been classified as "completely incoherent" and left to the reader´s imagination.
"Fairy chick? Fairy chick. Knight man? Knight man. Emo magician? Heh... emo!"
Craig was satisfied at his attempts at humor and went off typecasting all of the characters, as if by doing so he could skip having to pore over their sheets entirely. I already get this character, so there´s no point in continuing to read was his general opinion. Anyone unlucky enough to have written their character sheet on a notebook would soon receive the gift of orange fingerprints. Craig wasn´t going to get away with committing crimes anytime soon, no doubt. He continued this unfunny routine until reaching the last character and then stopped as he had exhausted all possible creativity from his limited brain cells.
"Machine guy?... Machine... guy!"
It was now time to begin the second phase of preparations. The armless parlor chair that once supported his large body shrieked as he dragged himself out. He walked around the room and began to undo all of the curtains, restricting the lighting to nothing other than the chandelier that hung above them. The large doors that served as the room´s only entrance were also locked, their ancient clunking threatening to trap everyone inside unless Craig handled them more delicately.
Even if the attendees were sure of the roleplay´s status as a total clusterfuck, it was tough not to feel the sudden change in atmosphere. Another sound took center stage, the sound of an Epic Fantasy Music 10 Hours Mix video being played through a smartphone. He was very noticeably out of breath from having done all of this. The room was large and he had childishly rejected any help, so it wasn´t irregular for him to be tired. His breaths, however, were very labored, and anyone who was used to his antics would immediately figure out that he was exaggerating them for dramatic effect. His eyes darted around the room in a desperate search peer approval and didn't stop until he had delusionally assumed to have received it. He clapped his hands with a sound that was damper than it had any right to be.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let us now begin this most epic adventure!” and as he said that, emphasizing the word epic, a rumble could be felt. Soft, ominous, present.
It was impossible to deny but possible to downplay. Maybe some weird foreign cheese had been placed in those sandwiches, maybe the music mix had included some obscure and offshoot metal genre, maybe a dozen other probable events happened. Those present had little time to reason before the second wave hit. Enormous, threatening, all-consuming.
The cabinets around them all came crashing down at once in a cacophony of broken glass and porcelain, their table trembled like a homicidal rocking chair, the chandelier threatened to fall and crush someone at any second. Nowhere was safe. Strangely though, the manual didn´t budge.
Not just that, but it began to float in the center of the room in a calm fashion. If assigning emotions to books were normal, then those trapped inside the room would definitely agree that it looked pretty indifferent as far as books went. Perhaps its next actions wouldn´t have been noted, however, as they struggled to survive the whole world crashing around them. It flipped its enormous pages before settling on a particular one, whose luxuriously colored images were impossible to make out with any reasonable level of clarity among the surrounding chaos. A light the color of the sun engulfed the room, setting everything ablaze.
A vague sensation of being fizzled away. Not painful, but bizarre. Nothing but a golden light. Nothing.
Something. More things. More colors. Muddled browns, dark and earthy tones. Voices nearby, steadily growing louder. They´re at a bar. No, a tavern? They´re seated on a round table made of wood. In fact, just about everything is wooden, maybe metal or stone. Their snacks were there too, as if pretending that nothing had happened.
This would have been a bewildering situation on its own, but things would soon take a turn for the (more) worse. Upon establishing eye contact it became apparent that everyone present was now the character that they had created. Everyone except Craig. He was gone.