“Ok, you can do this,” Jeremy Fitzgerald stares at himself in the clear mirror of the bathroom. His smooth angular face is reflected against the white tiles of the room. A stray lock falls out of his blonde, scruffy hair. He pushes it back into his head and continues to look himself dead in the eyes.
He takes a deep breath in, holds it for two minutes and lets it out slowly, “Calm down, Jeremy. You can do this. This will be these kids first time playing a Tabletop RPG and it’s your job to make sure they have a good time.”
As if on cue, Jeremy hears Mike Schmidt, his best friend, talking to one of the four children he is talking about. Judging by the light and friendly voice, it’s Ib, the little girl with the red dress. Jeremy listens as Mike gets all of them to laugh by telling them a joke of some sort. A smile crosses his face. Mike always has been better with kids then he was.
He looks back over at the mirror, face set as determined as he can make it. After a few minutes though, he lets it fall out with a sigh.
The bathroom door opens with a small squeaking noise. Mike walks in waving behind him, “Have fun you kids. And remember ‘Me casa es su casa’. If you get hungry, thirsty, or anything just ask for it and Uncle Mike will get it for ya.” He closes the door to childish giggles from his audience.
He sees Jeremy, the bigger man patting him on the back with one hand, “I got them all warmed up for you Jere. Good luck, man!”
“Y-yeah, thanks,” Jeremy says, unenthusiastically.
Mike raises an eyebrow, “What’s wrong, dude? Nervous?”
“No,” Mike stares at the younger man until he gives in, “Well, y-yes. It’s just….I’ve played tabletop roleplaying games before. I’ve run a few DnD campaigns, I’ve made my share of PCs, done my share of cool stuff, you’ve even gamed with me a few times!”
Mike smiles, nodding along, “Yeah that’s true. Though it’s not my cup of tea I can see why you like this kind of shit, Jere. It can be pretty fun.”
“Exactly! You were a complete newbie to Tabletop and I was able to at least get you interested in it. But the thing is, you’re a grown man Mike. If I’m GMing I can tell all kinds stories and throw things at you that you can take in stride. My current group though—”
“Are a bunch of little kids who haven’t played one of these games before.”
Jeremy nods, hands going to his head, “And that’s what’s making me nervous. How much should I pull back when it comes to the ‘Mature Rating’ on my game? Should I make it dark? Light-hearted? How should I challenge their characters? Should it focus on physical combat or social combat? Not just that but look at this!” Jeremy takes out the tablet bought using the money from suing Fazbear’s Entertainment. Turns out, having video evidence of putting your employees in actual physical danger does wonders for a court case.
He flips through the tablet until he gets to his Adobe PDF app. There he opens up a book entitled “Fellowship: A Tabletop Adventure Game.” He flips through some of the pages, “This game just came out a couple of months ago and not a lot of people have played or know much about it. Couple that with how they use a hacked version of the ‘Apocalypse System’ and you’ve got a unique gem of a game.”
Mike nods while looking in the mirror and checking his five-o'clock shadow, “Ok. So what’s the problem?”
Jeremy puts the tablet down, “I’ve never used that system before! I’m completely out of my element! Powered by the Apocalypse Games are made so that GMs can just throw a session together without having to do any prep work.”
Mike nods along, “That sounds pretty good.”
“No it isn’t!” Jeremy shouts, then puts his hands on his mouth when he realizes that he said it outloud. The two friends glance at the door, waiting in case anyone heard them. After a few seconds of silence, Jeremy continues, “I’m all about prep work. Sure most TRPGs suggest GMs be able to make things up on the fly, but in this game it’s almost required. I’ve never had to improvise that much before. I’ve always had some kind of plan ready for any occasion. What do I do if I mess up? If I throw something at them they’re not ready for? What if—”
Jeremy’s ramblings are stopped when Mike slightly slaps the man across the face. Jeremy looks up his old friend who is smiling, “You worry too much man. Just go out there and do your best. I’m sure the kids will love whatever it is you come up with.”
Jeremy looks at the tiled floor, “Th-th-thanks. But what if—”
The older night guard's hands come down gently on Jeremy’s shoulders. The friends look each other straight in the eyes. Mike speaks with total conviction, “Don’t doubt yourself. Be confidant. Now go out there and give these tikes a game to remember.”
Mike lets his friend go with a appreciative slap on the back. Jeremy stares at the floor for a bit longer, before drawing in a breath, puffing out his chest, and walking out the door to the dining room, tablet held firmly in his hand.
Jeremy peaks his head around the corner. His gaze settles on the dining room table, currently taken up by the four children he’ll be in charge of today.
The two sitting on the right side of the table were the girls Ib and Mary. Their guardian said that they were sisters, and Jeremy was very much inclined to believe the guy. Though he’s been told that Mary is adopted, the both of them have very similar features. The same height, same round faces, same length blonde (Mary) and brunette hair (Ib). Even their dresses were very similar, both being the same length, only difference being the color palette. Ib’s was red and white while Mary’s was mostly green.
The real differences, Jeremy found out, were in their personalities. Ib was the mature one of the two, sitting quietly with her hands in her lap. Her playbook (Apocalypse World version of a Character Sheet) was placed neatly in front of her, while she smiled at Mary.
Mary by contrast, was a whirlwind of activity. Jeremy heard her constantly asking Ib what she thought was gonna happen in the game, before moving on to the color of the walls, before taking out some candy she brought with her and eating it. Jeremy sighed. She might be a difficult one to keep engaged.
Across from them sat Frisk and his brother Asriel. Now this time Jeremy could tell that the adopted sibling was Frisk. How? Because Asriel was a humanoid goat creature. While Jeremy was surprised about that at first, it didn’t really bothered him much. He has seen stranger after all. He feels an involuntarily shivers as the memories of Fazbears temporarily resurface.
After spending sometime with them, Jeremy was able to discover a bit about the two kids. Asriel was the oldest, and he was obviously the one to who got Frisk interested in this game. Jeremy could tell, because of what happened during their Session Zero where he pitched the game to all of the kids while they made their characters. When he got to the part about how they have the final say on the entire history of their people, that their characters can look like however they want, and that they can form bonds with just about anybody, the goat kid literally squeed in excitement.
Jeremy can already see him getting most into this game. He was wearing some kind of purple robe that fell all the way down to his flat feet. His paws were on the table, while his head and wide excited eyes glanced around looking for Jeremy.
Frisk though….that one is hard to read. The kid is nice enough. He’s become fast friends with everyone at the table and is obviously very enthused about this game. However he’s kind of...eccentric. He’s openly flirted with Ib, Mary, Asriel, Mike and Jeremy all on separate occasions. And not as a joke. He was completely serious with everything that he said. That was strange in and of itself, but then he decided that his character would be androgynous. There’s nothing wrong with that, it just seemed a bit odd to Jeremy that a first time TRPG player would want to play a character that no one can tell is a boy or girl.
Frisk is sitting next to Asriel, looking over the Cheat Sheet Jeremy had printed out to help them with the game when they’re not sure what to do. His eyes are closed, but Jeremy knows that the kid can see as well as anybody at that table.
The table itself was brown mahagony wood, and had cost both Jeremy and Mike a pretty penny to get. In the center stood the map of the world of Atlas which would be their fantasy setting for this game. Along with that were four small containers each with four six sided dice inside of them. Since Apocalypse Games only ever use six sided dice, this should be enough for everyone. Finally, at the front of the table, his seat stood vigil with his Overlord Playbook waiting for him.
Jeremy ducks back around the corner.
He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath in, then lets it out.
He opens up his eyes, steps out into the dining room with as much swagger as he can gather into his walk.
He shouldn’t be that worried.
After all, they are just innocent little kids.