A Short D20 Tale, by Stuart J. Whitmore
Kallmarn is a mighty warrior (and a character played by Alice). He stands in his shining suit of plate armor by the well in the center of the small town of Bierne. (Bob, the Game Master, which means the person who runs the adventure by designing the setting and populating it with people, monsters, etc. says:) An old woman runs up to Kallmarn and begs for his help. For a reward of 20 gold pieces, she wants him to go to her home and get rid of the Orc (a humanoid monster, similar to the type seen or read about in The Lord of the Rings) that invaded her home, threw her into the street, and began eating all her food. (When Alice created him, she decided that) Kallmarn has an alignment (a mix of personality and ethics) of Lawful Good, so (Alice decides that) he immediately agrees to help the woman.
As Kallmarn follows the woman toward her home on the edge of town, (Bob announces that) a young man wearing a dark, monk-like robe steps out of the shadows and tries to cast a spell on him and the old woman. (Bob rolls a 20-sided die, where Alice can't see it, and announces:) The old woman is not affected by the spell. (Alice rolls a 20-sided die, where Bob can see it, to see if Kallmarn makes his "saving throw" against spells. The number on the die is higher than the minimum he needed, so) Kallmarn is also not affected by the spell. (Bob explains:) The young magic-user sees that his spell failed and flees in fear. (Alice decides that) Kallmarn will not pursue him because he already has a quest.
Upon arriving at the woman's home, (Alice decides that) Kallmarn draws his +1 sword (a sword that has been magically enhanced to do more damage to enemies and make it easier to hit them) and rushes into the home. (Bob rolls a die, although once again Alice only hears this and can't see what was rolled, and Bob clarifies that) Kallmarn catches the Orc off-guard, but he also sees that there are now two Orcs.
What would you do? Would you have your character attack? Try to negotiate? Retreat and demand a higher reward?
(Alice decides that it is important to a Lawful-Good character to wipe out evil wherever it exists, so she says that) Kallmarn attacks the closest Orc. (Alice rolls a 20-sided die to see if Kallmarn made contact. She rolls an 18 which is more than enough considering his experience level, the +1 bonus, and the Orc's armor class, which specifies how well a character or monster is protected from attacks. Since the roll was high enough) Kallmarn's sword slices into his opponent. (Alice rolls an 8-sided die to see how much damage was done. She rolls a 7, so with the +1 bonus Kallmarn did 8 hit points of damage. Each character or monster in the game can take a certain amount of damage, measured in hit points, before becoming incapacitated or dead. Bob tells Alice:) The Orc falls to the floor, apparently dead.
(Now that Kallmarn has had his turn, it is the surviving Orc's turn. Bob announces:) The other Orc, sword already in hand, rushes to attack Kallmarn. (Bob asks Alice what armor class Kallmarn has. Based on his plate mail and lack of a shield, Alice knows that his armor class is 3, so she tells that to Bob. If Bob had his act together, he would have collected that information at the beginning of the game, but he was not thinking ahead this time. Out of sight of Alice, he rolls a die and says:) The Orc hits Kallmarn. (Bob rolls another die and announces that the Orc did 3 hit points of damage to Kallmarn. Alice uses a pencil to take note of this temporary reduction in how many hit points Kallmarn has remaining. He started with 14, so) Kallmarn survives the attack.
(Alice says that) Kallmarn strikes back at the enemy. (After a quick bit of dice-rolling,) Kallmarn finishes off the second Orc. (Alice tells Bob that) Kallmarn searches the bodies. (Bob tells Alice:) He finds a total of 35 gold pieces, two cheap swords, and a curious-looking ring. (Bob also tells Alice how many experience points Kallmarn gained, which moves him closer to the next level, when he will gain more hit points, etc. Alice decides that) Kallmarn hauls the dead bodies out of the woman's home. (Bob explains:) The woman pays Kallmarn the reward she promised and then goes into her house. (Alice decides that) Kallmarn goes back into the Bierne town center to find a healer to take care of his battle damage.
If you want more stories like this, play the game! That's the best way to experience it and build your own stories.
If you liked this short-short story and want to read more by the same author, you can do that too! For just 99 cents you can get an e-book -- Journey to Yandol, and other stories -- with four longer stories by the same author (unrelated to D20 games and without the parenthetical comments). A print edition is also available. See: http://new2u.info/Yandol