Yahtzee Wrote a Book

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 16 Jun 2010 12:00
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     "Are you the one who OH GOD YOUR EYES HURRAAARRGLAB." He picked some half-digested morsels out of his beard and tried again. "Are you the one who gave Erick the 'lend fifty talans' quest?"

     "Er ... I have a condition," I tried.

     The dwarf's eyes narrowed. "You didn't sign his quest log." He snatched a little black book from Erick's unresisting hands and pushed the latest page under my nose. It read, in an impossibly neat hand, Quest 127815, Undead Minion, Cronenburg: Lend me fifty talans.

     "You ... what?" I stammered.

     "You didn't sign it off, genius! How's he going to register it at the Guild if it's not verified?"

     The rest of the page was filled with a small grid of little boxes to fill in. One for a signature, one underneath that was headed points awarded, and another reading performance: adequate / good / outstanding. A pen was pressed into my hand and I decided that rolling with it was the safest option.

     "Right," said the dwarf, when I'd finished writing. "Pink copy's yours." He made to give me the receipt, then something fired in his head and he snatched it back. "Holy iron, did you just give him 100 points for that?"

     "Er, yeah." I'd flipped back over a couple of pages and it seemed like an average amount. "I was impressed by the speedy service."

     Now my receipt was being passed around the gathering crowd of adventurers and creating excited murmurs in its wake. I could feel the hot breath of incoming disaster on my neck. "I wanna do this quest too," announced the dwarf, digging out his own dog-eared quest journal and wallet. "Fifty talans, right?"

     "Here's my 50 talans!" came a female voice, probably belonging to the slender fist that hung overhead, spilling coins.

     "I do money quest," droned a Syndrome-afflicted mage.

     Somehow I'd gotten backed up against the fountain again. I displayed my rotten palms in futile protection from the coins being thrown in my face. "Whoa!" I yelled over the developing hubbub. "I don't need any more! I needed fifty talans and he was convenient! It was a one time thing!"

     The many fists that clutched money and quest logs went away sadly. Then the fists rematerialized clutching swords and battle-axes.

     "Well okay then," I said. "Can I get that pen back?"

     "Where the hell have you been?" said Meryl, when I caught up with her in the Street of Inns at about three in the morning. "Where did you get that huge bag of money?"

     I dumped it on the pavement, sick of hefting the weight around. "Is there a word for the exact opposite of a mugging?"

     "You've got a coin in your nose hole." She pulled it out helpfully and inspected it. "What happened, exactly?"

     I told her.

     "So wait, they all gave you fifty talans each just so you'd sign a piece of paper and write down '100 points'?"


     "How does that even work?"

     I held my hands out. "I don't know! They wouldn't stop giving me money! And I was actually holding out hope that this continent would be slightly less insane than the last one. This isn't very encouraging."

     She raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, you look devastated. That's a nice new hat, by the way. Gold leaf?"

     "No, Elfweave. Looks like gold leaf, about three times the price." I adjusted the brim. "Give me a break, I've been rotting on a beach for weeks, I'm cheering myself up. Invested in a couple of new mage spells, too."

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