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Dungeon Mom and the Dweller in the Basement


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"Um," said Dib. "I... uh... I knock on the door and say 'Can I come in?' "

I kept my face impassive. Inwardly, I facepalmed so hard.


Some friends from out of state had a problem: they were moving back to the Denver area, but needed a place to stay while they got life organized and built up a nest egg and got the kids back in school. So bein' friends of the family, we put them up in the basement; it includes a bedroom, full bath, and the downstairs living area, albeit with a vintage orange velvet couch circa 1973 and my Call Of Cthulhu movie poster in the fancy frame with the bas-relief tentacles. Hey, if they could stand it, it was fine with us.

They were still sorta moving in when Dib approached me with the second edition Player's Handbook from the downstairs bookshelf and asked, "Do you know how to play Dungeons and Dragons? You do? Could you... teach me?"


I am not a young man, and I have done this many times before. Personally, I think Hasbro owes me a royalty of some sort, considering how many customers I have generated for them. On the other hand, RPGs are not everyone's cup of tea, and I can think of several times that a young padawan has just kind of shrugged and moved on to other entertainments, usually involving electronics or oddly shaped balls.

The young Dweller in the Basement, aka Dib, was not one of these kids. Dib fell hard. Within ten days, he had acquired a Starter Set, fifth edition, and had provided me with the included adventure, Lost Mine Of Phandelver, which was technically his property, but he'd sworn not to read until I'd finished. Within twelve days, I'd given him a few Bones from my old Vampire Box that I was never going to get around to painting, and within twenty days, he'd discovered the local FLGS that carried the magical Bones of Power at very reasonable prices, and Fifth Edition hardbacks at prices that could make a thirteen year old whimper just a bit. 

As I write this, early of a Sunday morn, his mother and sister still sleep, but he's watching Laszlo's Hot Lead DVDs on the downstairs entertainment center. Kid has it bad. Makes me feel like I'm corrupting a minor, really. And then I think I'm not corrupting him ENOUGH if he won't stay the hell out of MY paints. But I digress.


"Fools!" said the sibilant voice from the shadows.


Dib looked around the cave. He still couldn't see anything. The voice sounded like it was coming from everywhere at once. He couldn't pin down from where. The big crack in the floor? The stalagmites? The two big pillars? He couldn't pin it down...


"Heeheehee*snerk*hahahahahaha!" hissed the sibilant voice. "Do they come to offer me meat? Hee! Meeeaaaaat... their own? Or someone else's? Heeheeha!"


"Who are you?" said Dib defiantly. "What are you? What do you want?" If Dib could keep it talking... but he was no closer to figuring out where the voice was coming from...

The NPC bard glanced around wildly, on the edge of panic. "Dude," he said, "I can hear our voices... they echo, here, in this cave... but his voice casts no echo!"


Dib's crossbow was ready... but he had no target. He rolled yet another Wisdom check, wildly trying to figure out where his enemy was... and a 4 stared back at him. Dammit!

(I leaned forward over the table. Time to crank it up. I bugged my eyes, flared my nostrils, raised my clawed hands to milk the giant cow... took a deep breath... and...)


The voice in the darkness cackled wildly. "MEAAAAT! BRING ME MEAT OR BE MY MEAT, I CARE NOT!" 

Dib's heart chilled. Sure enough, the thing's voice cast no echo. How was this possible? And where the hell was that voice coming from?

"BURGERS UP!" called Berni from the kitchen. "Hamburgers or cheeseburgers, what will it be?"

Dib jerked so hard he almost fell out of his chair.

I stroked my beard thoughtfully, which also served to cover the awful grin. I'd really been jerking his chain much too hard; his first character, only now fourth level. Maybe I should ease up. "Are there onions?"

"Sliced and ready," trilled Berni. She knows me well. We got up from the table, went into the kitchen, and began hamburger construction. Berni had very thoughtfully laid out the pickles, sliced onions, condiments, everything. 

"Best den mom ever," I said, and kissed Berni on the back of the neck. She grinned.

Dib.quickly assembled a burger and suddenly bit into it. He was still a bit rattled, but the presence of warm food in a conventional kitcheny reality, absent sibilant voices and lack of echoes seemed to have settled him a bit. "These are really good, Berni. Thanks for playing den mom."

"Den mom?" said Berni, sounding affronted. "There's more than one DM in this house, you know!" And Berni's eyebrows knit, and eyes widened. "I am... DUNGEON MOM!"

Dib's eyes bugged.

And I had to fight to keep the mouthful of burger I had....

:lol:  :wub: 


Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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I got the burger down. With difficulty. And for them what's already played Lost Mine Of Phandelver:



Poor Dib was so rattled by the encounter with the Nothic in the cave, he literally knocked on the evil wizard's door and asked if he could come in... giving Glassstaff plenty of time to escape. I felt bad about that. But I do feel that it hammered down an important lesson: MONSTERS WILL OFTEN LIE TO YOU.


Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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My BFF once locked us inside a room by virtue of conveniently not mentioning there was no knob on the other side.  I've played a long time and asked a lot of cautious questions, but never upon grasping a knob and opening a door have I thought to ask if there was one on the other side.  You better believe I do now.


Good job corrupting introducing another to the wondrous land of tabletop RPGing.  "Psst, kid, here....the first minis are free!"

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You, sir, are a bard.


Am I a spoony bard? No, wait, don't answer that... I don't think I want to know the adjective most people would plug into "Dr. Bedlam is a (adjective) bard."


I want to be a dungeon mom! ::D: Great story!


Well, one of the prerequisites is being able to do an uncanny and unexpected verbal impression of Dr. Bedlam doing a bad Andy Serkis impression. Stunned Dib and durn near made me launch a bite of burger at her... I'd say THAT qualifies her, at least in the opening rounds!

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his mother and sister still sleep

One presumes the sister's name is Gaz.



Surprisingly, no... "Dib" is simply an acronym for "Dweller In Basement."


Knew someone was going to take the reference, tho...


It irritates me to think that if Invader Zim had gotten another season, we would have discovered that Dib was actuallyProfessor Membrane's first cloning experiment, which Membrane assumed was a failure because he assumed Dib was insane (as opposed to believing that Dib was in fact investigating an alien invader from outer space that had infiltrated his elementary school...) 

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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