Chapter 1: Kill Me For Fun?
Perspective: Eric "Niveus" Coulter
This is our fabricated world. Gamers and role-players with time on our hands. It's where we go when we want an entertaining escape from reality. We sit in chairs, in front of screens, and pretend that this is our reality instead.
It's not. It's just numbers and pixels, all to be broken down into the ones and zeros of binary. I may know a little about programming, but I'm not in control here. At least, not as much control as I'd like.
And if I had that control, I wouldn't play God with it. Correction: I wouldn't play selfish God with it. Because this little piece of digital fiction is a world that doesn't like our God. No matter how agnostic, aethiestic or believing we may be in our spirituality and religion in the real world; in this digital world we hate our God. At least, most of us do.
Some say I'm his right hand man. I know the truth, though. I'm one of the shadows behind every good decision he makes. I'm the thorn in his arm. I'm the reason this place is tolerable.
One of the artists who dwells at the world's edge, building something where there once was nothing. Black 16x16 tiles. Empty data. No monsters in these shadows.
Players reach this darkness, and turn back. But I stand against it, and mold it to my will. I am in control. And I don't follow orders. At least, not from him. I'm a rogue. Well, actually, I'm a Wizard, but I wasn't referring to my main character's class.
Niveus, the Level 37 Wizard, Blue of the Gleaming. Legitimately leveled, too. I never abuse my powers. Unlike someone! It's bad enough that I know two thirds of the world like the back of my hand. That's privileged knowledge, and I try not to benefit too much from it.
It's not as bad as Mandark. He writes most of the scripts. What all those non-player characters say. All their quests of loyalty and tales of magic. Every job and hint. He knows people, and I know places.
Kira stands beside me, a flamberge twisting up in the dungeon light. The walls are jagged and gray rock, and the floor is like a coating of ashes.
Around every corner, we find small little creatures that run towards us with twisted horns and stolen weapons. They're too short for the weapons of men. Broken leather armour and swords too large for them to wield efficiently.
Occasionally, they're joined by a troll. A big, looming, green shadow. A wooden club that smacks the ground only slightly harder than their gargantuan feet.
Blood is drawn between them. The graphics aren't that great, but we have imaginations and text. We'll survive. This time. Even if we should be mapping.
I've got light blue hair. I blow out my candle, and shoot a flare to light the cavern. That's the only spell I know that isn't freezing cold.
The two-handed sword swings, and the little creatures die. The loot remains on the ashen floor. I miss the good old days, before the project was sold. Now we work for a God our world doesn't like. I wish that troll was him.
Ice is flung from my staff. I mapped this place two days ago. It's fresh in my mind. The layout and the spawns of monsters. So I let her lead. Kira's one of us. One who nurtures the world's contents. This is her reality too, between meals and homework. Between school and sleep.
My HP is fine. 30/30. So is my stamina. As much Constitution as a Level 0. I'm a fragile little thaumaturgist. And she's the tank. A blazing display of swordplay, a few more blasts of frosty goodness, and the troll dies with a familiar sound effect.
Kira says: "I don't think we should keep this up, Eric. He might log in soon... :-("
Niveus says: "Oh, and the server was doing so well last night when we had 16 players online, half of which logged off when the game started lagging."
Niveus says: "Why? Because 10:30 is when he always starts downloading porn. And when was the last time he did any work on the game other than resetting the server when it crashes?"
Kira frowns, >:-(.
Niveus says: "Want to role-play? Felicia might login soon."
Kira says: "I'd rather map. I have a town to finish, since Mandark is writing new NPCs for it."
NIveus says: "Yeah, I suppose I should get back to work too. Before the players catch us off duty."
Jordan666 says: "u 2 rnt the only 1s in dis cave man"
Kira picked up Broken Leather Gambeson.
Kira says: "holy crap where did you come from???"
Niveus says: "One of the other two entrances."
Kira picked up Troll's Spiked Club.
You have been hit with fireball for 22.7 damage from Jordan666.
Jordan666 has been hit for 14.3 damage with your glacial orb.
Kira says: "Woah guys, calm down!"
Jordan666 says: "hahahahah!!!1"
You have been hit with fireball for 24.4 damage from Jordan666.
You have been slain!
You lost 56 copper coins.
Kira says: "Back off!"
Kira says: "That's right, run you coward..."
That was definitely a sign. When players kill the developers of this little game for sport, it's always a sign that something's up. Maybe it was a meaningless act. But I doubt it. Now, someone might react different. He might teleport Jordan666 onto a desert island and leave him there, abusing administration commands.
Well, that ain't my style. If I want vengeance, I'll dish it out. But quite frankly, I'd rather get to work.
Kira (TROUPE): "That was rough. He ran off, man. Lose many coins?"
Jordan666 tells Niveus: "better luck next time"
Jordan666 tells Niveus: "ill kill ur bodyguard too"
Niveus (TROUPE): "I revived in town. I'm gonna go map now."
Niveus says: "Anyone here got any Manastalk Mushrooms for sale?"
Niveus (TROUPE): "We can raid dungeons another time, maybe before bed?"
Kira left your troupe, The Wanderers.
The Wanderers has been disbanded.
None of the other players in town answer my query, so I enter into a shop. Wooden walls, some paintings, a desk, a few candles on the wall. No windows. Someone else mapped it, I think it was Lynn. I've got nothing much to sell the shopkeeper. After all, Lynn had to make her character, Kira, pick up all of our loot when that psycho showed up. I spot a spelling mistake in the shopkeeper's dialog. Probably Mandark's fault. But I can't help but blame our apparently-flawless leader.