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Just the other day I wandered through town in that aimless state of uncontrolled free time that sometimes happens between shifts at the car factory. Ooh look, a book store, let's have a browse and see if there's anything worth reading or better yet purchasing with my new found affluence. So I wandered in and headed for the 'scifi/fantasy' section as it was the nearest section I had any interest in reading. Almost immediately I spotted it. the Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set. Good grief, I remember the Basic Rules from when I was a teenager back in the seventies. Oh what fun we had. gathering around a table pretending to be heroic fighters, rascally thieves, clever wizards, or insidious clerics. Or for that matter, pretending we knew anything about medieval society, Arthurian mythos, or that we'd actually read Lord of the Rings. No matter, the Dungeonmaster would hide his papers behind a cardboard screen and describe the world we were about to set forth into and play merry adventure. D&D always came back to haunt me. For a while in my thirties I ran a game world for a bunch of players. Some might snigger or shake their head, but it was fun, social, and the added maturity of the players resulted in a much more rewarding experience in my opinion. It does occur to me that there must be plenty out there who don't know what a tabletop RPG is all about. I did think computer gaming had all but destroyed the hobby - what a surprise to see the box on the shelf of my local bookstore. Nostalgia is a compulsive beast. My mind goes back to those starting games and so often they began with that first old door in some neglected or forgotten crypt. Listen at the door? An odd sound, like a rasping noise, intermittent but quite audible. Aha, so you try to pick the lock do you thief? Yer can't, 'cos the door ain't locked. Duh! Armed to the teeth with blades and spells, ready for anything, eager to find what was the other side, they ask what's inside. In the centre of the dark chamber is a table and chair. A goblin is sat face down, holding a bottle, snoring as he sleeps off his ill gotten drink. The fact the poor little green creature was incapable of defending himself or that he would know where the treasure was mattered not one jot. The players would burst through the door and in a mad frenzy of rolling twenty sided dice the creature is dispatched to the grave. Then the ritual of searching the body. When they discover all he had was a pair of used underpants the players got annoyed, having risked their lives for so little gain. That's okay. Two levels down in a room far more secure is something they won't be so brave against. Heh heh heh.... Such fun. Reality Check Of the Week With my nostalgia trip over it was time to head into work and resume my quest for a comfortable life. Yesterday I had a bit of a problem. Recently I've been handling packing waste on four baling machines, half the section in total, and believe me, I get swamped out with mountains of cardboard and plastic regularly. On this particular day two of the machines went out of action. Oh no! So I improvised, swapping full and empty waste cages, heading outside into the cold where the big industrial balers were to make sure the cages were emptied, and after a shift long physical exercise regime like that, I was broken. I had, by my own initiative, kept our section from complaints of senior managers for leaving the section looking like a rubbish tip. And no-one thanked me. Nor did I find any treasure. Worst of all, I earned no experience points to advance my 'Level'. Pfah. This real world stuff sucks big time.
Warning: You might nod off while reading this blog, so make sure you’re positioned safely, and that the area around you is free from hazards. In order to protect your safety, I’d better make it just a little bit steamy, just in case. Ah! Now you’re interested . . . . Anyway, are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin. Welcome to GhostOfClayton’s Twice Fortnightly blog. Allow me to introduce myself to new bloggees. I am what I am, and what I am needs no excuses. I deal my own deck, sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuces. Yes, that is another song lyric. It would take more of an effort of will than I can currently muster, to summon up the motivation to look up who sang this. I was always curious about the lyric ‘I deal my own deck’. Is that maybe a little euphemistic? Probably not. It was penned quite a while ago, long before we started to live in such cynical times. 50 Shades Are we living in more cynical times? Certainly the times are more sexually open than they once were. A sex shop opened up near us a couple of years back. Sorry . . . an ‘adult store’. That’s nothing new, I know. A sex shop opened up in our town when I was about 12, much to the great delight and amusement of my schoolboy chums and me. The windows were obscured, and middle-aged men in raincoats with their hands in their pockets were regularly seen walking furtively in and out. That last bit’s not true. I never saw anyone going in or out. Which is probably why it closed down soon after. But this new adult store seems all very overt, and aimed at the young, experimental couples market, keen to find new ways to pleasure and enjoy one-another. Far from the boarded-window shame of the 1970s sex shop, this adult store even goes as far as to stand an advertising board on the verge of the A road, opposite. I first noticed it when it said ’50 Shades toys now in stock’, together with a picture of a collection of sex toys (some of which I really couldn’t identify, or imagine how they were used). This was clearly an attempt to jump squarely onto the ‘50 Shades of Grey’ bandwagon. Have you read ‘50 Shades of Grey’? I haven’t. Here’s what I know about it: it’s about a rich guy called Mr Grey. We know he’s rich, because he owns a dungeon, just for sex. Now I don’t own a dungeon, but even if I were to allocate one of the rooms at OfClayton Towers just to be used for sex, it wouldn’t stay that way for long. Within a couple of weeks, I would be putting other things in there. Christmas presents is a good example at this time of year. Mrs OfClayton would start hanging washing in there to dry when the weather outside wasn’t suitable. It’d be a great place to keep all the things I’m getting ready for my next tour . . . . and wouldn’t it be easier in January to dump the Christmas decorations in there, ready to be put up in the loft the next time I go up (but you can bet they’d still be in the sex dungeon next December). That’s how we know he’s rich – there are no socks on the radiators in his sex dungeon. Then there’s the female protagonist, Anastasia Steele. Now, that name wasn’t just plucked out of thin air. A lot of thought, even maths, has gone into that name. It is calculated to the nth decimal place to be just sexy enough, without being a pornstar name. Imagine, if you will, someone called Anastasia Steele. Conjure a picture of her in your head. You are imagining someone attractive, confident, not to be messed with, but with an underlying vulnerability ripe for exploitation by someone rich enough to have a recreational sex dungeon. I am hugely attracted to Anastasia Steele, but deep down I know that my attraction is to be forever unrequited, because my BDSM dungeon has got Boxes, Decorating Stuff, and a Mower in it.