Mike Mearls was a lead developer on 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons and is now the senior manager of the D&D Next team. Mearls co-wrote the 4E Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 with Greg Gorden and Robin D. Laws. He also wrote Mastering Iron Heroes, the game master’s guide to Malhovoc Press’s variant rules for heroic combat. Today, though, Mearls looks back to his early days of AD&D . . . and silent boulders.
DAY FIFTY-FIVE (later)
Planning—and subsequently executing—a company picnic is significantly harder than I initially expected.
Here’s my whole freaking Saturday basically wasted, and I’m no closer to having that punch made than I was this morning; just getting the boxes of streamers, tablecloths, and party hats out of their crates and over to the strategically important fountain from Jimbo and Princess Leafy’s room has been a pain, and blowing up thirty-six thousand toxic-slime-mold-based balloons so that I can properly spell out “Welcome, One and All, Friends & Monsters, to the 19X,j78th Annual Celebration of the Azathrax, Hastur, Hastur, Stonebook, Fronkuhnshteen, Devil-Guy, Hastur, and He Who Shall Not Be Named But Who Is Nevertheless a Founding Partner of This Very Large Multidimensional and Exceptionally Evil Corporation Company Picnic: Monsters That Will Kill You, since—872,931 GQM, Let’s Have a BLAST!” on the big banner in the company-appropriate colors has left me dangerously light-headed.
DAY FIFTY-FOUR (date in t-minus 7 minutes)
I owe my friends. BIG TIME.
Quite literally, actually. I very specifically had to sign actual paperwork documenting that I, in fact, owe my friends and that, very specifically, what I owe them is quote-unquote BIG TIME.
So now I’ve got clean pants, and money, and reservations to what is apparently a very nice restaurant on Level 77 with a name that I initially took to be Italian for “The Palace of Galloping Curds,” except that when I said that, Kyle the evil pseudodragon slapped me right in the face and told me to never speak those words again.
DAY FIFTY-FOUR (I think. Later than this morning, most likely in the . . . I’m going to go with mid-afternoon, now, probably? Also, I’m pretty sure the dates on this diary have gotten a little mixed up.)
Locked—as is so often the case—in the bathroom.
Just woke up in the middle of a large—and seemingly quite important—business meeting and hastily excused myself to use the lavatory. I have no idea who any of the people in that boardroom were, or what level of the dungeon I’m on, or even what the presentation was about, precisely, although judging by the overhead slides it appeared to be on the topic of some major developments within the Exceptionally Evil Corporation, particularly with regards to purchasing . . . something?
DAY FIFTY, late night, [panic mode activated]
Aaaaaagh! Date on Friday AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!
DAY FIFTY (very early)
With . . . with . . . Abliguritia Thundersmasher-Roth! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!
It is Tuesday now. Lots of stuff going on around here. I do not care about any of it.
Or, I suppose—more accurately—I am earnestly, completely incapable of caring about any of it. At all.
Feelings of rawest, most abject mortal terror are most decidedly settling in, kicking holes in the walls, pouring beer into the couches, and otherwise making themselves right at home inside the parts of my skull where the jangling, overstimulated raw nerve endings of my ganglia are most directly related to the interlinked tasks of reminding me that I have nausea-inducing stomach pain and that my chest is pounding very hard, like it is being slap-bongoed with sledgehammers, except from inside.