Social Anxiety Barbarian, Book 1 Part 1
Had a fun little improv adventure time in the BBJ forums on town today. Here is a dump of the posts. “Part 2” is already underway, so I should be able to post a follow-up before too long 😄
All posts in this series:
- Part one: At the mouth of the caves
- Part two: Cave Lads
- Part three: Lullaby for the dead
- Part four: Deadspace and Beyond
- Part five: The Owl's Haunt
0 ~dozens @ 16:11 2021/08/30
So here you are. You look down at the crumpled map in your hand, the one that you snatch from the Bulletin Board in town and which is for some reason slightly sticky with jelly. Yep, this is the place.
The reward for this job, should you be able to pull it off, will be more than enough to clear your debt with the Guild.
You peer into the clearing and see a smoldering campfire near the entrance to the cave. A figure is reclined and seems to be sleeping by the fire. You don't see anybody else.
1 ~dzwdz @ 01:24 2021/08/31
PULL OUT MY COMICALLY LARGE SWORD
2 ~dozens @ 08:04 2021/08/31
You peer over your shoulder at the small trench your Comically Large Sword had carved into the ground behind you. You haven't figured out a way to carry it without the tip dragging on the ground. It's a blessing and a curse: you're laughably easy to track if anybody decides to follow you. But you also pretty much can't get lost. Built in bread crumbs!
You shrug and draw the sword. Should you even be able physically able to lift this thing? Anime physics apply to BBJ: the RPG I guess.
You sneakily sneak into the clearing and up to the campfire. The sleeping figure appears to be a groll, and they continue to snooze soundly. They're wearing a coat of many pockets and a belt of many pouches. The remains of a cooked meal sit by the fire. The dark cave opening looms ahead.
3 ~opfez @ 08:14 2021/08/31
REMIND MYSELF OF THE TASK I AM HERE FOR
4 ~dozens @ 08:36 2021/08/31 [edited]
You stand uffishly in thought for a moment staring into the fire. What is it you're doing here again?
Oh yeah! You're here to retrieve a stolen item from the cave! (Those pesky Cave Lads stole chests full of blankets and costumes needed for the Festival of Remembering tomorrow night, or else all the children and grandmas will cry!!) And then claim the cash reward, and then pay off your debt with the Guild. Easy peasy.
You snap out of deep thought—wiping away a tear at the thought of brokenhearted grandmas and children—when you hear the groll stirring behind you. It mumbles uneasily in its sleep, “The sky is a neighborhood ... no way back ... my poor brain...”
5 ~dzwdz @ 08:55 2021/08/31
2 > Should you even be able physically able to lift this thing? Our hero is just /that/ buff.
4 > WHAT DO PAT THE GROLL
6 ~dozens @ 09:13 2021/08/31
You stoop down and gently stroke the groll's fur, quietly singing a little song about crows and bones to soothe it. It smiles and murmurs happily and settles back to sleep.
As it rolls over, its Coat of Many Pockets falls open and a small pouch tumbles out with a jankity clank and comes to rest at your feet.
7 ~dzwdz @ 12:01 2021/08/31
PUT IT BACK IN THEIR COAT. heroes don't steal.
8 ~dozens @ 13:37 2021/08/31
You awkwardly pass your Comically Large Sword into your offhand and bend down to pick up the pouch. The contents of the pouch shift abruptly in your hand like a bunch of jump beans, and you fumble the pouch as you try to return it to the groll.
The pouch hits the ground, and the leather cord around the opening comes loose, spilling its contents: a few dozen small, smooth pebbles scatter across the dirt in front of the fire.
As you watch, the pebbles flip end over end, tumbling toward each other, and then pile on top of each other forming a tiny little humanoid shape about the size of your hand. Two small dark stones in the center of its “face” look up at you. The human shape collapses suddenly with a soft clickety-clack-clack as the stones hit the ground and flip around and spell out an “H” and an “I”. Then the stones assemble back into the (adorably cute) little pebble golem.
9 ~chorigato @ 16:15 2021/08/31
10 ~dozens @ 18:25 2021/08/31
You consider curling up next to the groll by the fire and taking a rest, but decide now is not the time.
You hear some faint shuffling footsteps and low voices coming from just inside the mouth of the cave. What's this? A patrol? Some nefarious cave creatures coming to devour you? What are they going to do, disarm you and swallow you whole? What do they think of you as, some kind of tasty meal? Are they going to eat you? Would they start at your feet and work their way up, or swallow you head first?
You shake your head to clear the intrusive thoughts and grip your Comically Large Sword tightly in both hands. You'll be nobody's meal today! And then you notice that the pebble golem has started running ahead of you on its tiny little legs, click-clacking toward the cave entrance.
OH NO WHAT DO YOU DO
11 ~dzwdz @ 23:53 2021/08/31
A single Comically Large Sword won't be enough for this.
PULL OUT MY OTHER COMICALLY LARGE SWORD
12 ~dozens @ 08:50 2021/09/01
You are now dual wielding two Comically Large Swords, one in your left hand and one in your right, like a ninja with comically large katanas.
Two cave brats emerge from the dark mouth of the cave: feathery feline floofy owl-cat looking creatures with huge eyes and vestigial, gossamer, insect-like wings folded across the back of their shoulders too small to allow flight; they might be able to glide short distances at best.
They shuffle forward and stop as the pebble golem rushes toward them. It stops in front of the brats and looks up at them, and they look down curiously at it.
They are much bigger than the pebble golem but much smaller than you.
IT'S GETTING KIND OF CROWDED IN HERE
13 ~dzwdz @ 08:54 2021/09/01 [edited]
GO AWAY. I HATE CROWDS AND I'M FEELING ANXIOUS ALREADY
14 ~dozens @ 09:34 2021/09/01
You start to get kind of nervous and sweaty. Two cave brats, a pebble golem, and a groll is... kind of a lot. You don't do that well with crowds. It's just a lot of pressure, you know? What if you do something foolish or say something dumb and they start to judge you? Are your comically large swords /too/ large? Argh, what were you thinking! Should have just gotten normal sized swords! Omg are they looking at you now?
You dive behind a large knobby gourd and take a few deep breaths. Okay. You've got this.
If the cave brats were to look your way right now, they'd see what looks like a strange pumpkin with two comically large swords sticking out from behind it.
You calm your nerves a little bit and peek out from behind the kobby gourd only to see the pebble golem leading the cave brats right toward you!
GET IT TOGETHER MAN
15 ~josh @ 09:41 2021/09/01
THEY'RE DEFINITELY JUDGING MY SWORDS. DROP THEM AND WIELD THE PUMPKIN
16 ~dzwdz @ 09:47 2021/09/01
NO BUT WHAT IF I GET ATTACKED CHANGE MY MIND, PICK UP THE SWORDS AGAIN
17 ~nihilazo @ 09:55 2021/09/01
THROW THE SWORDS TO THE PEBBLE GOLEM, THEY ARE A FRIEND
18 ~bx @ 09:57 2021/09/01
THROW ONE SWORD TO THE PEBBLE GOLEM AND DUAL WIELD THE REMAINING SWORD AND PUMPKIN
19 ~josh @ 09:57 2021/09/01
THIS IS TOO STRESSFUL! CRY.
20 ~dozens @ 10:18 2021/09/01
Ah, at long last. This is the moment of your Awakening. You've been wondering for ages what your Archetype is. Fighter? You're handy with a sword. Thief? Yes, you can do a sneak. Ranger? You can hunt and track.
No. You are apparently a Barbarian. Fueled not by rage, but by social anxiety.
You fly into a Panic Attack!!!
You leap out from behind the knobby gourd and startle the cave brats. They screech and hiss. The pebble golem runs up to you thrusting its tiny arms into the air and seems to be cheering you?
You drop your swords on the ground, and then self consciously pick them back up. Then you drop one sword and wield the gourd. Then you drop the gourd and arm the pebble golem with the one sword you're still holding (it just stands menacingly next to the sword like an angry kitten since it cannot /possibly/ lift the thing). Then you throw your remaining sword at the cave brats: it spins end over end like a whirring blade frisbee and slap chops one of the brats leaving a cloud of feathers and fur. Finally you once again wield the gourd like a club and rush toward the remaining brat, with a rousing battle cry of, “I JUST NEED SOME SPAAAAACE!” and then pulverize the brat with the knobby gourd.
You stand heaving, catching your breath, gourd gripped in your hand, cave brats obliterated.
There's a “whizzzBANG!!” and a heavy impact kicks up the dirt at your feet. You spin toward the campfire to find that your antics have awakened the groll. They are pointing a crackle twig right at you!
WEAPONIZED SOCIAL ANXIETY!
21 ~dzwdz @ 10:22 2021/09/01
it just stands menacingly next to the sword like an angry kitten since it cannot /possibly/ lift the thing
ENCOURAGE THE GOLEM TO NEVER GIVE UP WITHOUT TRYING
22 ~dozens @ 10:40 2021/09/01
You take a moment to inspire the pebble golem with a rousing pep talk. It shifts a couple pebbles up to its arms to make it look like it has extra large pebbly biceps, and looks at the Comically Large Sword with resolute fierceness.
It cannot wrap its hands or even its arms around the hilt, so it falls apart into individual pebbles and burrows beneath it and tries to lift it from below.
The Comically Large Sword is lifted up off the ground a couple inches by a small pile of pebbles!
GOOD JOB LITTLE PEBBLE GOLEM!
23 ~cassii2 @ 10:59 2021/09/01
ATTEMPT TO NEGOTIATE WITH THE GROLL, TO LET THE GOLEM FREE WITHOUT A FIGHT SO YOU MAY JOURNEY TOGEHTER
24 ~josh @ 11:15 2021/09/01 [edited]
WAIT, NEGOTIATE?? THAT SOUNDS SCARY. WHAT IF WE JUST AWKWARDLY WAVE AT THE GROLL INSTEAD?
25 ~dozens @ 11:20 2021/09/01
You beam proudly down at the pebble golem. Good job little fella!
The high pitched whine of the crackle twig catches you attention as it recharges for another blast. You stand up and address the groll. “Hold on, groll! This is between you and me! Let the pebble golem go! They have nothing to do with this!”
The groll grins wickedly. “I'll tell ya what, hero. How about a trade? You give me both of your Comically Large Swords, and I'll let the little pile of rocks go. Sounds fair to me. What'dya say? Have we got a deal?”
WELL? HAVE WE GOT A DEAL, PUNK?
26 ~dozens @ 11:48 2021/09/01
You awkwardly wave at the groll.
”...what does that mean? That is not sufficient to create a binding contract. I need your verbal content: swords for pebbles. Do we have a deal or not?”
YES OR NO
27 ~cassii2 @ 11:49 2021/09/01 [edited]
IT'S NOT LIKE THIS GROLL CAN WIELD THE SWORDS, AND THEY'RE CUMBERSOME AND A BIT ANNOYING TO CARRY AROUND ANYWAY. ALSO I SEEM TO BE ABLE TO PULL THEM OUT OF THIN AIR WHENVER I WANT SO IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER. I ACCEPT THE TRADE
28 ~dzwdz @ 11:56 2021/09/01
BUT WAIT, HOW DO I KNOW THAT THE PILE OF PEBBLES IS REALLY MY FRIEND? WHAT IF IT'S BEEN FAKING IT THE WHOLE TIME? THAT'S WAY MORE LIKELY THAN SOMEONE LIKING ME AND MY TWO COMICALLY OVERSIZED SWORDS
29 ~cassii2 @ 12:03 2021/09/01
I HAVE TO MAKE A CHOICE. DO I RUN AWAY FROK A POTENTIAL NEW FRIEND JUST SO I CAN AVOID THE POSSIBILITY OF EMOTIONAL PAIN? BUT WHAT IF THIS LITTLE GOLEM SEES THAT I'M ABANDONING HIM AND I TURN INTO THE ONE THAT HURTS OTHERS BY TAKING AWAY A FRIENDSHIP THAT THEY NEED JUST AS MUCH AS I DO?
I AM LOST TOO DEEP IN MY THOUGHTS TO MAKE A DECISION
31 ~dozens @ 12:33 2021/09/01
You nod and reach for your swords, but then stop. You hesitate, suddenly suspicious of the pebble golem.
On the one hand, adventures and friendship with the little golem sounds fantastic! On the other hand, how likely is it that this little guy is actually your friend? After all, didn't it just fall out of the groll's own pouch like, 11 or 8 minutes ago? Can you really trust it?
You wrestle with feelings of doubt and self-worth in a frozen stoop, hand outstretched toward the Comically Large Sword, unable to decide.
And then the sword slowly wobbles up from the ground toward your hand! It's the pebble golem! They're using all of their pebbly might to lift the heavy blade up to your outstretched hand, thinking they're helping you!
You close your eyes and whisper a heartfelt, “Thank you,” and grab that, and the other, Comically Large Sword, and toss them both down on the ground at the feet of the groll.
“I consent!” you declare confidently. The pebble golem tumbles over and stands on top of your right foot. You smile down at it before looking back to the groll. “We have a deal!”
The groll snickers and kicks the swords behind it so they lay next to its pack by the campfire.
“You made the right choice, hero,” the groll sneers. “FOR ME THAT IS!” the groll cackles, “Pebbles! Back in the pouch!”
The pebble jumps and looks up at you almost apologetically before falling apart and pebble tumbling back toward the groll.
32 ~dzwdz @ 12:38 2021/09/01 [edited]
RUSH AT THE GROOL, CRYING (remember that i'm extremely buff. enough to dualwield two comically large swords.)
33 ~cassii2 @ 12:52 2021/09/01
I'VE BEEN BETRAYED BY THE ONE FRIEND I'VE FOUND IN THIS WORLD. LOST, CONFUSED, UPSET AND MAYBE EVEN ANGRY, I DRAW MY THIRD COMICALLY LARGE SWORD.
34 ~dozens @ 12:55 2021/09/01 [edited]
You fly into an emotional crisis!!!
The pebble golem leaps up into the groll's outstretched hand as the groll takes its time and aims its crackle twig at you. It seems to be waiting to fire off a shot at point blank range.
You are extremely buff and extremely crying and are about to get extremely blasted back to the stone age.
You don't care. The betrayal hurts too much. Your vision is blurry with tears, but you can see the groll smile with satisfaction as it starts to flick the crackle twig. And you can also see the blob of pebbles lurch from its one hand to the other, pebbles slamming against knuckles, knocking the crackle twig from its hand.
The groll cries out, wide-eyed in shock at both the pebbles' insubordination and at having its knuckles bruised.
It looks up to see you barreling toward it like a blubbering, screaming locomotive. It stoops down desperate and panicky to pick up the crackle twig, but the pebbles keep knocking it out of its grasp, and also bashing against its already bloodied knuckles.
You're on top of the groll now, hoisting your knobby gourd overhead, and you growl, “I. NEED. SOME. SPAAACE.” The groll shrieks and lifts its hands up defensively, but it cannot block the raining blows.
Afterward, you stand, chest heaving, trying to collect yourself again.
The pebble golem rolls over and settles contentedly in a pile on top of your right foot.
THE REAL FRIENDS ARE THE PEBBLES WE FOUND ALONG THE WAY
35 ~dozens @ 13:01 2021/09/01 [edited]
You slip your hand into your trans-dimensional hip pouch and grope around for your third Comically Large Sword, but come up empty handed. You must have only packed two Comically Large Swords for this outing, which is very unlike you actually. Your Aunt Gladys would click her tongue and wag her finger at you for packing fewer than half a dozen Comically Large Swords, and honestly you would deserve it.
MAKE DUE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
36 ~cassii2 @ 13:17 2021/09/01 [edited]
NEW FRIEND IN TOW, FEELING UN-BETRAYED AND A BIT HAPPIER NOW THAT YOU HAVE A FRIEND, YOU FINALLY ADVANCE TOWARDS THE CAVE TO GET THE STOLEN ITEMS. LIKE YOU WERE ORIGINALLY HERE FOR. SURE HOPE THAT NO ONE SAW YOU GET EMOTIONAL, THAT WAS A BIT EMBARRASSING.
TO BE CONTINUED IN SOCIAL ANXIETY BARBARIAN BOOK 1 PART 2