I read in the manuscript Superior had typed up: "Shadowlords. Aligned toward the energy axes of law and evil. They are the great puppet masters of the Plane of Dendroth, the lords of that place. Their bodies are weak in themselves, all flesh and fluid. But a Shadowlord would never let a player character approach it. It uses others, player characters and non-player characters, as tools and as slaves. Unless a willpower check is successful, it possesses minds and bodies with great tentacles and transforms humanoids into zombies." I read this aloud, slowly. I took a sip of my soda. I crunched some corn chips.
"Nasty fellers," Monty said. He packed his pipe with his thumb. He lit it.
I flipped a yellowed page in the spiral-bound Optima handbook Monty had given me. We hadn't played the game yet. He was helping me "make my character," whatever that meant. But we hadn't played yet. He made that very clear. In fact, I was still trying to figure out how you played it.
"How do you play it?" I said.
"Well," Monty said, pouring himself another cup of coffee into a ceramic mug. "It's kind of like storytelling, see. There is the Master. He kind of controls the story."
"How does he control the story?" I said.
He took a sip of his steaming black coffee. He puffed his pipe, cradled the bowl, sat. "Well, the Master doesn't control the story. That's shared. Instead, he controls the universe. He controls the monsters. He gives treasure. He takes it away."
"You're confusing me," I said. "He doesn't control the story?"
"Yes and no," he said.
"And you played this with Great Grandpa Superior?" I said.
He chewed his pipe. He grinned nervously.