M/M/M/M/f, non-con, bad rolls. The rest can be found at: https://archiveofourown.org/works/17375129/chapters/40889561
Paige stood on the doorstep, shifting her bag from one shoulder to the other as she waited. She had started to think that she’d gotten the address wrong when the door opened.
“Come on in.” Ian stepped aside for her to enter. “We’re all set up in the garage.”
“Thanks again for inviting me.” She followed him through the house. “I was dying to play but I could never find a group that didn’t flake after two games.”
He laughed and opened the door to a chorus of voices. “Can’t promise this will be any better.” Paige smiled. She hadn’t known Ian very long but he was one of her favorite regulars, even more so once she had found out he ran a gaming group. The three other players she didn’t know and when she entered, they were sat around a table arguing over spells.
“Well, why the fuck is it called ‘Chill Touch’ if it’s not a touch spell and it’s not cold damage?”
“I didn’t write the spell, I’m just telling you what it says.” One of the players, a guy about her age with dark hair and a pair of glasses, shot back. “Look, it’s right here in the book.”
He pushed the book away. “I’m just saying, we should change the name. It’s confusing.”
Ian indicated an empty spot on the lumpy old couch and Paige took it. “Guys, this is our new player, Paige.”
Glasses snapped the book shut. “Hey Paige. I’m Jake. What kind of character are you playing?”
She dug around in her bag and retrieved her character sheet. As if she needed to look- she’d spent a good couple of hours coming up with her character and writing out a detailed backstory. “I’m an elf ranger.”
“Oh, thank god.” Said the player across from her. He was the youngest of the group and looked to be barely old enough to drink. “We needed a ranger.”
“Yeah.” The last player, a guy who looked like he was more suited to football than tabletop gaming, cracked a beer and rolled his eyes. “None of you fuckers ever keep out of range enough not to get hit.”
The kid tossed a pencil at the football player. “Shut up, Ethan.” He reached across the table and shook her hand. “I’m Ryan. That’s Ethan. He’s supposed to be our cleric. Jake is a dwarf fighter and I’m a half orc bard.”
“A half orc bard?” She asked with a laugh. “How does that work?”
Ian handed out a couple bottles of beer and Paige took one. She wasn’t much of a drinker but this group seemed fun and she decided that she ought to lighten up a bit.
“He put all his points into intimidation and performance.” Jake said. “Believe it or not, it works. Most of the time.”
“Alright.” Ian gathered up a few sets of colorful dice. “Who wants to catch our new ranger up?”
They had been playing this campaign for a while. It took more than ten minutes to cover the gist of all that had happened so far, with extra time for arguing over who had screwed up or let that villain get away. By the time they reached where they had left off the last time they played, she thought she more or less understood the quest.
Paige searched around in her bag for the little box that held her dice but it was nowhere to be found. Just as she finished looking in every pocket a second time, she concluded that she must have left them at home.
“Shit.” She turned to Ian. “I can’t believe it. I forgot my dice. Do you have an extra set?”
Ryan started to slide a set of bright orange dice to her but Ian stopped him. “Actually, I have a new set. Got it today. New player, new dice-you can break em in for me.” He reached into a drawer in the table and passed her an ornately carved wooden box.
There was a little metal latch keeping the box closed. She flicked it open with her thumbnail and took a look. The colors almost looked like they were moving as the light shone on them. Swirls of gold and copper and a dark green swirled into the deepest black she’d ever seen.
“Wow. These are beautiful! I almost don’t want to be the first to use them.” She said.
Ian grinned. “Nah, go ahead. But I want them lucky so don’t roll any 1’s.”
From beside him, Ethan whacked him on the shoulder with the back of a meaty hand. “Dude! You probably jinxed her! Let her at least play one game first.”
After a bit more bantering, they finally got into it. “The three of you wake up the next morning in the inn, fully rested and ready to get on the road again.”
“I’m going down for breakfast first.” Ryan declared. “Durgash needs eggs! And ale!” He pounded the table, nearly spilling his beer.
“Balmir’s gonna join him. In case they’re out of eggs.”
Ethan shook his head. “Fine. I’ll go too to heal anyone who gets between Durgash and his eggs.”
Ian set the scene as the characters came down the stairs. The inn wasn’t very crowded as it was still early in the day. A few patrons sat at the bar and a man- human- stood behind it, filling drinks and wiping glasses with a rag. At the end of the bar was a figure with a hooded cloak and a bow strung across its back. Ian asked for perception checks from the half orc and the dwarf but neither were interested in the mysterious patron and chose not to roll. Ethan’s cleric, however, was curious.
“I got a seventeen.” He said, examining the d20 when it had settled.
“Ok. Romas, you notice the figure at the end of the bar and under the hood you see…” He gestured at Paige, who took the cue.
“A young female elf with short, curly hair dressed in leather armor.”
She didn’t have much to do yet. Ryan escalated a fight with the barkeep while Ethan and Jake tried to de-escalate with little success. Finally, there was an opening. “I’m gonna fire an arrow right next to Durgash’s head to try and get him to stop strangling the barkeep.”
“You better not miss.” Ryan said. Paige only smiled as she reached in the box for the d20.
“Nyna never misses.” The die rolled out of her hand and clattered across the table. She leaned forward and picked it up to inspect the number. “Hm. Eleven. Plus three so, fourteen all together.”
Ian thought for a second. “Okay. So, you don’t hit him but with all the chaos going on, you’re a little distracted. Your arrow sticks in the wall right next to his head but it grazes his cheek a little. Durgash, you feel a trickle of blood drip down your face.”
Ryan wiped his own cheek dramatically and looked at his hand, then back to Paige. “Durgash drops the barkeep and laughs, turning to see who shot at him.”
They played through the introductions and, as the game went on, she really felt like she had finally found a group that she connected with. It had always been hit or miss but there was none of the awkwardness of a new group with them. They certainly didn’t give her less shit for being the new player, either. They razzed her for bad rolls and cheered when she found the secret entrance to the dungeon.
It was almost midnight when Paige started to feel a little lightheaded but she chalked it up to the beer. She had only had two and they were about to work their way into an underground cave system. She was determined to keep playing, dizziness or not. The first chamber was empty, the second too but in the third, they ran into a group of bandits.
“Is there anything I can use for cover?” She asked.
Ian scribbled a few shapes on the graph paper. “There are some rocks here and here. They’re about four feet high.”
“Okay. I’m going to jump behind those and hold my action until I can see one of them.” She set her figurine down next to the rocks.
The rest of the party took their turns but none of them seemed to do much damage. Ian was rolling hot though and within a couple of rounds, the cleric was down, Jake was within ten points of unconsciousness and Ryan wasn’t much better off.
“Come on, Paige.” Ryan said. “Kill something or we might have a TPK on our hands.”
She tried to come up with a strategy through the increasing mental fog. If she killed the bandit fighting Jake, she could slip him a healing potion. Then on her next turn, she could stabilize Ethan. It was a long shot but maybe she would get lucky. If there was ever a time when she needed a critical hit, it was right now.
The die clattered onto the table. Paige could still feel the weight of it in her hands, even as her fingers started to tingle. She suddenly had the feeling that something was terribly wrong. The d20 rolled across the table and there was a sharp intake of breath as it wobbled once and landed on 1.
“Oh shit.” She said. And then she was falling.