I’m upholding my promise to novelize this game. It’s too good not to. And I owe all of that to the players. So, before I begin, let me extend a hearty thanks to James, Taylor, John, JJ, and Savannah for giving me simultaneously the easiest and most difficult DM job I’ve ever had. For those of you interested, our game is a home-brew hybrid of D&D 3.5 and 4th eds. with sprinklings of White Wolf-levels of roleplaying and storytelling. The world is mostly steampunk with touches of D20 Modern thrown in for joy-joys. So, if this snickersnacks in your bandersnatch, savor the following.
I promised you the story. Here it is.
“Prelude to Millennium”
Part 1: A Detective’s Protocol
14-32-7:18n, third moon of Esther
As you well know, friend, I occasionally, I let my head get out of sorts. I need to let my brain out of its cage and cautiously follow it, like some dog owner trailing his unleashed hound. She’ll sniff down new alleys where I would normally never tread; maybe she’ll pick up something I didn’t see before. Maybe she’ll find another un-tethered mind just to sniff its ass. In the approximately twenty times I’ve done this in the past six months, only once have I found something extra.
It happened today, and I wish it hadn’t.
The “anonymous” contact I’m meeting tonight is a Vanderbilt. When you meet a Vanderbilt for the first time, allegedly, the social contract automatically kicks in. I gotta be cordial. At least that’s what a century of circumstance has instructed me to be. I hate being cordial. And Vanderbilts expect it.
I hope he doesn’t want me to bow. I refuse to bow.
I’ll speak better. (Hell, I’ll just speak.) That’s what I’ll do. I’ll just speak better and hope that counts. First condescending look and I’m outta there, though. And if he mentions his daddy, I can’t promise I won’t roll my eyes. The Vanderbilt family crest is a big maroon “V” formed by two epees, and I think the Raith sigil is a pair of rolling eyes. You get good at it when you learn how the world really works, what’s behind the hazy veil.
Whatever Dad stared at, stared back. And he just rolled his eyes.
Vanderbilt’s gonna take one look at my threadbare duster and want to roll his eyes so godsdamn bad. He’ll remember when he wore my same style of vest six seasons ago when it was chic and rattle off three rapid quips in his head. They’ll probably be:
“When – shit, I mean – Where did you buy that?”
And something vague but pretentious like: “How incredibly interesting.”
However, in the end he’ll probably just stare and smile like all aristocrats are pressed to do. Probably actually say: “Pleasure to meet you. I’m Blah-Blah Vanderbilt of the Kaarlsen Vanderbilts.” Cursed be if he’s of the Rygharian Vanderbilts. Heavens help us if he’s of the DeVilssa Vanderbilts. That conversation will take approximately four hours before I realize I’ve just had an intricate, yet vaguely misleading, history lesson on the Vanderbilt name.
Frankly, I’d rather stare down the barrel of my .38 during an earthquake.