The Yawning Portal Score– by Tarquin The Honest

I feel somewhat loath to recount this tale for I fear you may conclude that whenever we enter a bar we start a fight. Well, on this occasion we did not start the fight; we finished it.

What the Yawning Portal tavern lacks in originality in name it makes up for with accuracy. The centrepiece of the hostelry is an impressive forty-foot diameter hole in its floor that drops hundreds of feet to an undercity dungeon below. We were not in the bar with a view to exploring the dungeon, but simply to receive payment for certain business we had concluded.

The meeting had gone well, our coin purses pleasingly heavier than when we had arrived. I generously ordered a round of beers (on Itiff’s tab) when a black clad figure with an exuberance of swagger joined us in our raised booth. He introduced himself as Viari, an intern for a dubious outfit named Acquisitions Inc. and I took an immediate dislike to the scoundrel. I am a good judge of character, being able to spot a rogue at a distance and there was no doubt in my mind that he was of that ilk, a supposition which was soon confirmed when a sextet of assassins stormed into the bar.

Viari jumped from the booth to confront them, followed by Itiff, who made an impressive leap while simultaneously drawing both his swords. The drop to the floor must have seemed too high for Lori, our dwarven paladin, because she took the more traditional route of the stairs. I, on the other hand, was content to remain on the balcony with Lunar, generally being of the opinion that bar fights were best treated as a spectator sport.

What Viari lacked in charisma, he admirably made up for with his swordplay, dispatching one of the assassins with a well-timed spin and dagger to the back. As moves go it was certainly a 9.5 and would have been worthy of more if he had yelled an appropriate witticism on his assailant’s demise, but alas he merely grunted. I was about to lament the lack of pithy retorts in the modern adventurer with Lunar when a brace of arrows slammed into the oak pillar beside my head.

Annoyed by my upgrade from spectator to active participant I summoned a fiery sphere over the portal and slammed it into one of the assassins. The poor schmuck burst into flames and toppled into the yawning portal. “Fire in the hole,” I shouted, awarding myself a straight 10 for style. If only Lunar could have scored the same, but it was not to be. Her crossbow twanged, the string snapped and the mechanism shattered, earning her a 1 for effort.

“Lend us your arrow thrower,” she hollered at me.

I looked at her, stunned, partly because having proved herself incompetent she now expected me to lend her my artisan-crafted Simith and Westeron sure-shot, but mostly because she’d called it an arrow thrower.

“You’re a gnome, a race legend for their prowess in mechanical mastery; from whence did the term ‘arrow thrower’ derive?” I said.

“Forgot what it was called din’t I?”

“And apparently, also how to use it,” I said, magnanimously handing her my sure-shot.

Below us Itiff slashed one of the assassins with his moon blade, earning him a strong 7, although he subsequently lost marks for letting his foe draw blood with a counter attack. Lori meanwhile was rivalling Lunar for the evening’s worst performance, her warhammer slipping from her grip and skittering across the floor.

Fortunately for Lori and Lunar our hapless Kobold, Komgrirk Simplehead, was about to do something I had hither-to thought impossible and get a negative score. From somewhere about his body he fetched a skunk and hurled it at our enemies (an action that simultaneously made the skunk smell better and Komgrirk smell worse). At least I presume he threw at our enemies because it in fact landed on the head of Eder, our minotaur warrior. Somewhat irate at being hurled the wee beastie clawed Eder’s face while covering him in foul smelling urine.

It was clear I was going to have to once again redeem us. I redirected my fiery orb and smashed it into the rearmost of the assassins. His leather tunic began to smoulder and flames leapt from his shirt, earning me a goodly 7.9.

Lunar loosed a bolt from my sure-shot which true to its name found its mark and another of our foe dropped, upping her previous lowly 1 to a respectable 9.

The weapon-less Lori grabbed her shield with both hands and body charged her opponent.  Standing motionless, the assassin seemed somewhat surprised by Lori’s warhammer throwing antics and even more surprised by being bundled into the yawning portal by a religiously, enraged dwarf. It wasn’t stylish but it was effective and definitely a solid 7.

Itiff finished strong with an 8.75 for his scimitar smack down which left only the smouldering assassin who made the wise decision to run away.

I hurled three blue bolts of magic after him and he stumbled but managed to keep running for the door; a disappointing 7.2 despite my natural aplomb.

From behind the bar Durnan, the owner of the tavern, hurled a frying pan. With a clang, it bounced from the assassin’s skull. His legs gave out and he dropped unconscious to the floor. Earning Durnan a worthy 8.5.

I picked up my mead and took a well-deserved swig, knowing that I, Tarquin the Honest, had once again achieved the best score of the day.

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