It’s still the NBA offseason. The draft is done, free agency has faded, the sun has set on Summer League, and training camp is still a ways away. We still might not have much actual Milwaukee Bucks content, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use...our imaginations!
MCW Sports Science Center, Milwaukee, WI
Gathered around the table are our fearless fivesome: Mike Budenholzer, head coach and Game Master, at the end of the table. On either side are George Hill, playing a very unique and quirky human farmer called Greg Hill, the twins Robin Lopez and Brook Lopez, playing elvish cousins Brooke and Robyn, and D.J. Wilson, rolling along in the role of the goliath Whidbey Optimus Bartholomew Skrillex, the Third...but you can call him Wobs.
In case you’ve forgotten, the group is playing Dungeons & Dragons, as a team-building exercise. Their adventure is just starting, as their characters arrive at the scene of a most unusual occurrence...
Lower Docks, Anchor, Meridian
BROOKE (played by Robin): Is anyone out there?!
ROBYN (played by Brook): Show yourselves!
GM (played by Bud): You shout into the fog, but you get no response. Just the steady beat of footsteps...
GREG (played by George): ...should we just leave? We could just leave...
WOBS (played by D.J.): Silence, Greg! If they’re foolish enough to attack, we shall smite these curs where they stand!
GREG: ...what’s a “cur”?
GM: The footsteps draw closer, and you can start to make out the shape of something shambling towards you... (to the next room) Kyle, Wes, would you come in here please?
Into the room walk Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews, two of the team’s newest veteran additions. They’re both carrying folders and pencils, and they both wear a relatively bemused expression.
GM: Alright, so...you see the approaching figures coming through the fog, and they say...
KYLE (in a pirate voice): Yarrrrrr, mateys. We...Coach, do I have to?
GM: It’s part of it!
WES (in a less-convincing pirate voice): Ahoy there! We’re the Chasers, and y’all should...man, Coach, are you sure?
GM: Wes, come on...
KYLE: Anyway, mateys, we be the Chasers. We be seeking rings, of all shapes and sizes, and...
WOBS: Hail and well met. I am Wobs, what can we call you?
WOBS: Your names, friends. What are your names?
KYLE (looking to Coach Bud, who responds with a confused look): ...Kyle.
WES: ...and I’m Wes. D.J, I know we just got here, but...
WOBS: Master Wes, Master Kyle, if it is treasure that you seek, then we welcome you into our merry fold!
ROBYN: ...we do?
WOBS: Though I must warn you, my new comrades, that such fantastic rewards necessitate daring adventures and braving mortal peril.
BROOKE (aside): Man he’s really good at this.
GREG: Man, y’all gave me the business for “Greg” but they get a pass for just being “Wes” and “Kyle?”
WOBS: But know this, friends. We fight for the powers of good, and it appears that our alignments may not be in sync. So if you do seek to join us, will you swear to leave behind your lives of pillaging and plundering the Southern Coast?
WOBS (to the GM): I’m not sure if that worked, or if I should roll for Persuasion?
GM: Oh, yeah, go ahead...
GM: Uh...yeah. Yeah! Yeah, that’s pretty good D.J...
WOBS (pointing to his belts): ...
GM: That’s pretty good, Wobs. Kyle, Wes, you find yourselves moved by Wobs’ words and you feel compelled to renounce your criminal past.
KYLE (checking notes): Wait, we were criminals?
GREG: Guys? What if, uh...what if they’re not responsible for the thing that the Goolsby guy mentioned?
BROOKE: What do you mean?
GREG: Well, it’s...(to Kyle) did you guys have anything to do with that stuff, going on along the coast?
KYLE: I mean, we definitely hijacked some stuff.
WES: We’re pirates! See the bandanna?
KYLE: But I don’t think we kidnapped people.
WOBS: Right you are, Greg! One of my Flaws is that I am quick to anger, and I jump to conclusions. Pray to the gods that you forgive me!
ROBYN: This is boring, can we find something to fight?
BROOKE: Yeah, I’m really hoping that Robyn doesn’t make it so we can replace her.
ROBYN (glaring at Brooke): You. Wish.
WES (in a sudden realization after checking his notes): Oh, yeah! We weren’t kidnapping the villagers, but we know who is! There’s a band of goblins about a day west of here, we saw them capture some folks!
BROOKE and ROBYN (in unison): Let’s go!
And so with much enthusiasm (besides Greg), the party and their newfound compatriots set off to investigate this alleged band of goblins that was terrorizing the towns of the Southern Coast. Following the road westward, the party found signs of a goblin raid in an abandoned village, and the clues took them into a dark forest...
The Greenwood, Meridian
BROOKE: Oh, man, this is gonna be great, we’re gonna totally get some goblins!
ROBYN: You mean I’m going to, you’re gonna be left in the dust!
GREG: ...can’t you two agree that you’ll both take out some goblins?
BROOKE and ROBYN (in unison): Never!
WOBS: Hold fast! (lowering to a whisper) Wes, Kyle, do you know when the last time this tribe was sighted in this forest?
WES: ...What? Man, I don’t know.
KYLE: Coach, this isn’t in the notes.
GM: Improvise, Kyle!
KYLE: I know! I’m trying, but this whole thing is-
BROOKE: Maybe I could try and use a skill, I’m extremely skilled at finding stuff.
ROBYN: You sound like such a dingus when you say that.
BROOKE: Yeah, well you look like a dingus ‘cause all you can do is wave your wand and turn into a pumpkin or whatever.
ROBYN (incensed): I CAN LITERALLY BEND THE UNIVERSE TO MY WILL.
BROOKE: Not if I put an arrow in you first!
WOBS: My friends, should we not concern ourselves with the goblin threat, rather than with boasting and braggadocio?
BROOKE: I’ll tell you what, magic gal. You see that apple on that branch way over there?
GM: Oh, uh...yeah. About a hundred feet from where you are, there’s a single apple hanging low off of a branch in this clearing.
GREG: Talk about low-hanging fruit.
George looks around the table, seeking validation for his timely joke. With the Lopez twins too far into their own competition, Kyle and Wes too far out of their comfort zone, and D.J. too far into his, the joke is left unheard. George sighs and settles back into his chair, remembering that this went at least better than the game in San Antonio all those years ago.
BROOKE: I bet you I can knock that apple off the branch with an arrow in one try.
ROBYN: And I’ll fry it to a crisp before you can even shoot!
GM: Okay, so you’re both taking a shot...literally in Brooke’s case...at this apple?
KYLE (whispering to Wes): Wait...is Brook playing someone named Robyn, and Robin playing someone named Brooke?
WES (in reply): I guess?
GM: So Brooke, Robyn, I need both of you to make ranged attack rolls, a ranged spell attack for you, Robyn.
Brook and Robin give each other a grin, trying to out-grin the other, and roll their dice. After consulting with the appropriate sections on their worksheets...
GM: Uh...well, alright. So Brooke, you nock your arrow and draw it back while Robyn starts whirling a fire bolt around her wand, and you both let loose and hit the apple at the exact same time, burning both the fruit and the arrow to ash.
BROOKE and ROBYN (in unison): Awesome!
GM: I’m gonna need some Perception checks, please.
Everyone at the table rolls low, resulting in Coach Bud donning a devilish grin.
GM: Alright, so you don’t hear it.
GREG: Hear what?!
ROBYN: Aw, man.
BROOKE: This is your fault, dingus!
ROBYN: My fault?! You pushed it, double-dingus!
WOBS: I fear we may receive visitors earlier than expected...
Here is where we’ll pause for this chapter! Let us know in the comments what you think of it; give us your feedback and help shape the story! If enough people are interested, we might even keep it going during the season!