A Classic Adventure Story for 2015
Many years ago lived an adventurous little halfling. (Don’t call him a hobbit, as some folks are offended if you use the term; only they can use it.) After years of toil for nothing but scraps of copper, he decided that he was not happy and moved to rectify the situation. He left the city and returned to a small town on the edge of nature and sought his fortune panning for gold. Initial successes suggested that this could prove lucrative and, in any event, he was pleased to pursue his real adventure, instead of the pale imitation that had been sold to him previously.
However, as the years progressed, there were lean times. Some years the stream dried up completely, and even when there were enough gold nuggets to indicate that fortune was imminent, it never came to pass. As the successful years became fewer and the struggles more regular, he became less happy, though he still pursued his dreams.
Then one day the stream suddenly stopped flowing entirely. After an initial panic, our hero made due for a while with the few grains of gold he could find in the quickly drying mud, hoping that the water would return. Alas, upon further investigation, he discovered that the mountain people had dammed the stream in an attempt to keep every last scrap for themselves. With the coffers empty and the cupboard almost bare, he relented.
So, the halfling and his warrior princess, who somehow continued to believe in him, left their rustic comfort and moved to a bustling metropolis. He accepted a position mining for gold, and he decided to imitate his friends, the dwarves, by putting on a smile and singing a happy song. “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go!” To his astonishment, it worked. Though the mine was much twistier and confusing than he was led to believe, he found a place of comfort and a way to enjoy himself.
Besides, minted gold coins beat the hell out of irregular nuggets of gold among the rocks.
And so our Adventure begins…
As a player, I was able to complete the first level, in which the halfling travels faraway to the big city and has to find suitable accommodation once there. This was actually harder than it sounds, involving not only normal adventuring and RPG aspects, but also elements of time and resource management games.
In the second level, the halfling has to deal with remote threats from an evil villain and a crazy witch, all while facing the prospect that the gold mine may not stable. I was able to play to the end of this level by concentrating on the most imminent issue, and properly equipping the warrior princess to dispatch the witch, we she did, albeit not without first having to bait her with some of her personal treasure. I just finished that level.
For the next level, as far as I can tell, the goal is for the halfling to seek out the evil villain, who survived the previous level, and destroy him. Armed with a war chest from vanquishing the crazy witch, along with significant information about the villain’s strategic weaknesses, it looks like our hero will be able to both defend his “castle” and take down the malefactor without too much trouble, though the villain is too dimwitted to realize this.
Outside of the game, this year I am thankful for all of my friends, both old and new, who provided support during the challenges and continue to keep me connected. I am thankful that my family has managed a significant level of upheaval in the last year with grace and fortitude, especially my wife, who sacrificed a great deal to move to Los Angeles with me.
I am especially thankful that my choices this year, though not free of ramifications, have worked out essentially as planned, that I have been able to greatly expand my opportunities, and that I have found comfort within a brand new adventure.
Oh, yeah… I am thankful that tomorrow is Curmudgeon Day!