May 19, 2011

The Cheerful Charlies

So yesterday, I was picked up from school by my buddychum Henry's stepmom Jennie. We were going to Friendly's for his nine-year-old stepbrother Sam's birthday. We picked Sam up from his school and went on our way.

Shortly after picking Sam up, Jennie asked, "Would this technically qualify as a meeting of the Cheerful Charlies?" Henry and Sam were both unsure. I asked what a Cheerful Charlie was; Jennie told me to hold on for a minute while she got on the phone with the Grand Poobah.

We called the Grand Poobah (using a hands-free wireless device) and put him on speaker. He turned out to be Jennie's father. Jennie asked whether this would count as a meeting of the Cheerful Charlies even though it's not a Friday, and if so, could Greg be initiated, and if so, would you like to come by and initiate him, and if not, can you talk to him and give him a brief explanation of what this is all about. Thus came the Grand Poobah's response:

"Now, the Cheerful Charlies typically only meet on Fridays. That is in the bylaws. However, a Lodge Meeting may be held if there is some sort of special occasion, and as today is Sam's birthday, there is reason enough to hold a Lodge Meeting. The Grand Poobah of a Lodge is not needed for initiation, so you as the senior member would be in charge of initiating him, but really, anyone can. Now, put me on with him." (Clearly not recognizing that he was on speakerphone.)

After a brief introduction, the Grand Poobah continued: "The Cheerful Charlies are a society dedicated to the consumption of Friendly's ice cream. We are a non-denominational, multi-generational, multi... multi-everything group. The Greenwich Lodge is very small, but there is a Lodge over in Boston that's relatively active. Lodge Meetings only occur on Fridays or particularly special occasions. There is no limit to how much ice cream you eat, so long as you enjoy it. This is a very low-commitment group, and I wish you the best of luck with it."

We chatted a little, and he wished Sam a happy birthday and promised to sing to him later (much to Sam's dismay, as the Grand Poobah apparently sings a somewhat morbid rendition of the birthday song). One breath-holding contest later, we found ourselves at Friendly's.

Since it was still early in the day, we made the executive decision that we would be having lunch in addition to our ice cream. Upon sitting down and beginning an inevitable game of crayon-placemat-hangman, I was told that it was time to begin my initiation.

Jennie held up one of those tiny containers of half-and-half you get with your coffee, and told me that in order to be initiated, I had to create butter simply by turning my tiny half-and-half container over and back in my hand.

I worked steadily through my soft-pretzel bacon-burger (in related news don't attend Friendly's if you are at risk of heart disease), churning my milk all the while. I had it explained to me that active non-members of the Cheerful Charlies are called Grumpy Gretas - that is to say, those who are offered initiation but choose not to join. At one point, Sam, who had been bouncing around next to me throughout the entire meal (literally bouncing, because that would push my side of the booth upward and send me flying a little) bit into another half-and-half that he just wanted to drink, sending milk flying all over my face and jacket. I received official word from the standing senior Lodge member Jennie that this was the first time that that had ever happened during initiation.

By the end of the meal, I was coming to question whether this milk was actually churnable, or whether the entire initiation was but a playful ruse. I didn't want to open my container yet because it still sounded very liquidy, but Jennie gave it a shake, and officially decreed that I was making good progress and that I had the special situation of being milked upon, and that therefore my initiation was complete: I was a Cheerful Charlie.

I later returned to their house for some gaming, and discovered that my churning was ultimately successful. I had a healthy wad of half-and-half butter sitting in my tiny milk container.

Now, the year is just about over, and Friendly's is a bit of a hike from my house, but I just so happen to be going to college about fifteen miles from Boston, where there is reputedly an active Lodge of Cheerful Charlies. I plan on finding their Grand Poobah and requesting membership; moreover, I encourage all those reading this post to seek out a local Lodge, or if none exists, to create one , and thus be your own local Grand Poobah.

May 16, 2011

Brol Tenwyl, Sexy General

CAVEAT: The below is strikingly nerdy - more so than the rest of my blog. I have endeavored to keep it reader-friendly by not delving too far into detail and by explaining anything that's absolutely crucial, so you shouldn't feel left out of the party. END CAVEAT

I enjoy playing tabletop RPGs. That means Dungeons and Dragons and other games of that ilk. I haven't actually played D&D in the last several years; I instead run a campaign, as the Dungeon Master. (Occasionally. Rarely. Well, it's a nice thought.) More recently, however, I was a player in a similar tabletop game called Exalted.

The very very general gist of Exalted is that everyone is a superpowered superhuman with superpowerful superpowers. It's more based on creating a manly fancy cinematic story than it is on winning, so everyone needs to have a really cool character. And lo, I came up with Brol Tenwyl.

Brol was originally the general of a rather large city. He was amazingly buff, and AMAZINGLY good-looking. (The character sheet had an "Appearances" attribute, and a 5/5 equates to being the most attractive, desirable person anyone has ever met. You would have done the same.) He was rather stupid, but that was okay; he was buff enough and charming enough to do what needed to get done, and knew how to react to wartime situations.

One day, the princess of the city decided to marry Brol. Brol was ecstatic about this royal wedding - the incoming queen, married to the general? What could be better? Unfortunately for Gen. Tenwyl, he soon discovered that the princess had only wed him as a publicity stunt - favor from her constituents was down, and she knew that by marrying the handsomest general in the world, she would gain favor once more. In a fit of blind rage, Brol smashed the princess's head against a wall, killing her.

Brol fled town and was soon imbued with his Exalted powers. (Previously he was just really strong; this is where he became larger-than-life strong.) He was wanted for murder, and thus could never return. (Yes, he could probably have destroyed the city if he wanted to, but he was a nice guy - he just lacks in temperament, and killed the princess during a moment of weakness. (He reached his Limit Break of Berserk Anger, for the Exalted-literate among you.)) Some of the townfolk were still enamored by his awesome hot buffpants, and in fact made a cult of several hundred people worships him daily, allowing him to restore extra Essence (basically magic-power).

Oh and also, I dedicated a fair amount of my character to being able to use the Husband-Seducing Demon Dance. The name alone should be a tip-off that this is the bossest ability in the world, but basically, here's what happens. Everyone who can see Brol's dance has to roll a die and add some fancy numbers from their character sheets. If they roll too low, they instantly fall in love with Brol, regardless of gender or sexual preference.

And it's a pretty hard roll not to fail.

So our group only actually met for gameplay once, but so basically. After some ridiculous shenanigans with capturing some evil woman (on whom the Demon Dance did not in fact work), we were met by two desert-lions, one purple and one green. More accurately, they may have been Scorpiores or Manticores or something, but they looked sorta lionesque. They could also talk. When we began, our sorcerer tried to exert a powerful influence upon the lions. One of them was rapt with attention by his persuasive speech; the other couldn't care less.

So I whipped out the Demon Dance.

It worked splendidly, and both lions were totally enamored with Brol. They tried to lead us into a trap that meant certain death, but couldn't bring themselves to harm or even inconvenience such a beautiful stud of a man. Trap: avoided. Awe yeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

And to top it all off, apparently when I first created this character nearly a year ago, I wrote on the line marked "Concept" (supposed to be Explorer, Vendor, etc): Sexy General.