The city's glimmer outside your window begins to dull as the violet clouds fade into a muted navy.
Most people have gone home by now, but your work has just started.
The night shift.
[[Just some every night shit.]](enchant: ?page, (text-colour: #639FCB) + (background: #CA133F))
(set: $gm to (text-colour: #800000))
(set: $p to (text-colour: #4B0082))
(set: $a to (text-colour: #6B8E23))
(enchant: ?link, (text-colour: "white"))
You plug your headset's many wires into the console and flipped on the switch. Your body shivers as the view of the city's skyline dissolves into a vortex of neon lights.
Your vision refocuses and you see a holographic sign blinking (set: $blink to (text-style: "blink") + (text-colour:#E6E6FA)) $blink[Welcome back GameMaster #12]
[[You wave your hand across the screen and the scenery changes again.]]You are now on a beach. Your body is translucent and you have a variety of commands that pop up to your side.
A screen displays (text-colour: #4B0082)[Player "Ash77" is connecting.]
You sit down on the sand and wait. You now see a player with the text "Ash77" above their head wandering the shoreline.
[[Spawn some chickens]]
[[Spawn a demon]]
[[Talk to the player]](set: $h to (text-style: "bold") + (text-colour: #FFA07A))
[[Play|Play]]You spawn a couple chickens on the shore for the player.
The player pokes a chicken and it wobbles away. The player seems confused and continues to wander aimlessly.
[[Maybe they need some help. |Talk to the player]]You spawn a towering and menacing demon on the shore behind the player. In one swoop, the demon reduces the player to nothing but a pile of guts and blood. You chuckle to yourself.
You see your text box lighting up.
$p[Ash77]: What the hell asshole? Why would you do that? This game sucks.
$p[Ash77 has disconnected.]
[[Aw crap. The boss had said not to mess with new players anymore... he won't like this. | End #1]]
You type into the chatbox.
$gm[GM 12]: Hey, do you need some help?
$p[Ash77]: Yeah I just got this game! What should I do? Can you get on voice chat?
$gm[GM 12]: It's an open world game. You can do anything you want. I'd recommend you get some weapons and armor. Also, no. As a Game Master, I can only speak to you indirectly through the chat. I can see you, but you can't see me.
$p[Ash77]: Oh that's cool. Well, I'm not too big on going around slaughtering mobs. I just like exploring.
$gm[GM 12]: Well you should still probably get some items just in case. There's a shack a little west of here with some starter items for you. Then you're free to go anywhere you'd like. I'll be here, let me know if you need anything.
$p[Ash77]: Wait! Uh. I've never really played a game like this before. Do you think you could come along with me to explore?
You think for a moment.
[[Pay attention to the player's gameplay and talk to them]]
[[Continue with your job and just moderate.]] You bully some more new players throughout the night and laugh maniacally as your text box is filled with expletives.
You are fired promptly the next morning.
[[Play Again |Intro]]No one's ever really asked you to play with them before. Eh. Fuck it. Not like you have anything better to do.
$gm[GM 12]: Sure. Let's go.
$p[Ash77]: Awesome! You can call me Ash btw.
$gm[GM 12]: Alright, you can call me [[...]]
$gm[GM 12]: Sorry. I got other players to watch over. I'll be here if you need anymore help, just use the chatbox.
Also! We have a buy one get one random loot chest for $14.95 this weekend only. Let me know if you're interested.
$p[Ash77]: Uh... no thanks. I'm good for now.
Ash walks off in the wrong direction.
You pull up more screens and watch over some other games apathetically. You follow corporate's script and push some microtransactions over the next few hours.
You feel a bit burnt out and you think of $p[Ash77]. What an odd player. Nobody's ever asked you to play with them before. Maybe you should've taken their offer. Just as you were about to check in on them, you see the words: $p[Ash77 has disconnected.] pop up.
[[Shame. They seemed nice.|End #2]]You never see that player again. Morning comes. Then night. Then morning. And night again. You sell skins. You unlock levels. You peddle weapons. You mute him. You ban her. You endure the hours of monotony that come with every shift.
You think back to a time when you still enjoyed games and sigh. Oh well. Everybody's gotta make money somehow.
[[Play Again |Intro]] (set: $name to (prompt: "What is your name?", ""))
$gm[GM 7799]: My name is $name.
$p[Ash77]: Nice to meet you $name. Let's go to the shack you talked about!
You watch Ash walk into the shack. Ash picks up some [[bread]], a [[wooden sword]], and a [[fox fur vest]].
$p[Ash77]: Neat. Where should we go next?
[[Let's explore the mountains.]]
[[Let's explore the forest.]]
[[Let's explore the desert.]]
$gm[GM 12]: Let's explore the forest.
$p[Ash77]: What's in there?
$gm[Gm 12]: I haven't spent much time in there, but I think there's a shrine where you can offer food in exchange for items.
$p[Ash77]: I can offer my bread!
You laugh to yourself knowing that bread is probably just going to give junk, but you don't say anything as Ash seems to be having fun.
After a bit of adventuring, Ash discovers the [[shrine]]. $gm[GM 12]: Let's explore the desert.
$p[Ash77]: What's there to do in the desert?
$gm[Gm 12]: I believe it's a popular spot for players to gamble. There's a casino pyramid there where you can gamble your money and items.
$p[Ash77]: Sounds dumb, good thing I don't have any money to gamble. We could explore around the desert anyway!
[[Ash walks in the direction of the desert]]$gm[GM 12]: Let's explore the mountains.
$p[Ash77]: Cool. What's there, $name?
$gm[GM 12]: Well it has Mount Nyquilus, the largest mountain in the all the lands. It's said to be the home of the Great Owl.
$p[Ash77]: I LOVE OWLS THEYRE SO CUTE. LET'S GO.
You chuckle to yourself. You and Ash head off towards the [[foothills]].
You watch Ash walk up the rolling hills that lead to Mount Nyquilus.
Their character suddenly doubles over and respawn at the entrance of the hills.
$p[Ash77]: Hey what gives? Is my VR gear faulty or something? I swear I'm moving but I keep ending up here.
$gm[GM 12]: No... that's just the passive effect of the hills. The Great Owl placed a spell on the mountains so intruders will fall asleep if they attempt to go up.
$p[Ash77]: Okay, how do we get up there then?
$gm[GM 12]: You'll need coffee to "stay awake." For .25 cents, I can give your character 10 coffee cups and we can head right on up.
$p[Ash77]: .25cents?! fuck that. Just tell me how to make it and I'll do it myself.
You tell Ash the ingredients needed to make coffee.
Ash scavenges around for nearly 40 minutes finding coffee beans. You might have spawned a few nearby just because it was taking so long.
Ash finally made enough [[coffee cups]] for the mountain trip.
[[Ash sets off for the hills again.]]After a long journey, Ash finally makes it to the nest of the Great Owl at the top of Mount Nyquilus.
$gm[GM 12]:Oh wow you actually made it. Well now that you're here you can slay the Owl for a rare, collectible artifact. But... oh wait... we never actually got you any decent weapons or armor. You won't be able to even scratch him with that flimsy twig. I think you can buy an armor pack for like $10. That'll give you more than enough strength.
$p[Ash77]: Whose fault was that?! And no. Jeez, does everybody just buy their way through this game? If I could solve the coffee thing without paying, then I can figure this out too.
$gm[GM 12]: I suppose you could solve his puzzles and riddles, but those might take awhile. Honestly, I don't even think I did them back when I played.
$p[Ash77]: We can solve them together!
Together, you and Ash spend another hour tediously decyphering the Great Owl's puzzles and riddles. To your surprise, Ash actually read all the lore and didn't just spam click through the cut-scenes. After a lengthy monologue about life and death, the Great Owl bestows Ash the [[Coffee Pot of Unfathomable Bitterness]].
[[Ask Ash what to do next.]]This golden coffee pot allows all players to bypass the Sleep Sickness on the road to Mount Nyquilus.
[[Back |Ash sets off for the hills again.]]Slightly burnt, but edible.
[[Back |...]]Brown and stick-y.
[[Back |...]]A lightweight fluffy vest. While it may not physically weigh much, you must bear the weight of what you did to that poor fox on your conscience.
[[Back |...]]Coffee made from coffee beans found in the StarBush plants.
[[Back |foothills]]$gm[GM 12]: What are you thinking about doing next?
$p[Ash77]: Get some sleep haha. I'll probably play some more tomorrow. This game was a lot more fun than I expected! Thanks for going through it with me $name.
$gm[Gm 12]: No problem. I had quite a bit of fun myself. Hope to see you soon.
$p[Ash77 has disconnected.]
[[You unplug from the console]]In front of Ash is the [[Shrine of Black Sheep]].
Ash places the bread at the steps of the shrine. Lightning strikes down from the heavens and the bread transforms into a pair of battle-worn, unwearable, tathered boots.
$p[Ash77]: ??? I want my bread back.
As you're about to tell Ash how the shrine works. Another player rides in on a mountain lion.
$a[SniperGang420]: Whaddup lil bitch.
$p[Ash77]: Uh hi?
$a[SniperGang420]: Hahaha you still have that shitty vest from the shack? By the time I was your level, I already had this [[gear]].
$a[SniperGang420]: Stay Jealous.
The lion-riding player rides off.
[[Mute the player.]]
[[Ash goes to inspect the shrine.]]A white marbel shrine dedicated to some Black Sheep deity.
[[Back |shrine]]You right click and examine $a[SniperGang420]'s equipment.
They are wearing:
Chestplate of the BeerPong Champions
Cloak of the Peacock (Re-skinned; New England Patriot's logo)
Wooden Club (Re-skinned; Grim Reaper's Scythe)
[[Back |shrine]]You mute $a[SniperGang420] for (text-colour:black)[harassment.]
[[Back |shrine]]$gm[GM 12]: Don't worry about that other guy. Most of his gear was low tier, he just bought some new textures to make them look cooler than they really are.
$p[Ash77]: Wowwww you don't say? For a second I thought the patriots were actually in this game. Anyway, I found some weird marks behind the shrine. I think it's a map.
$gm[GM 12]: Never noticed it. Let's see where it leads.
[[You follow the map.]]After following the map around the entire forest, you and Ash find a large, maple tree.
$p[Ash77]: What do we do now?
$gm[GM 12]: Maybe you should try...
[[Hugging the tree]]
[[Hitting the tree]]
[[Stabbing the tree]]Ash hugs the tree. It does nothing and Ash looks ridiculous doing it.
[[Back |You follow the map.]]Ash hits the tree. It does nothing and deals 2 damage to Ash.
[[Back |You follow the map.]]Ash stabs the tree with the wooden sword.
A gush of cognac colored syrup pours out.
[[Tell Ash to scoop up the syrup]].Ash scoops up the syrup in their hands.
Ash has obtained [[Ancient Maple Syrup]].
Ash runs back to the shrine pours the syrup on top.
Lightning strikes down from the heavens and a thick, midnight-colored leather jacket lays at Ash's feet.
Ash has obtained [[Leather Jacket of the Black Sheep]].
$gm[GM 12]: Woah that's pretty rare. I think it's an ancient artifact, you can collect a lot of those in this game.
$p[Ash77]: Really? That's so cool! Let's try to collect all of them!
[[Ask Ash what to do next.]]You'll probably get a new form of diabetes if you try to eat this.
[[Back |Tell Ash to scoop up the syrup]]The jacket is majestic and jet black... like a jet.
[[Back |Tell Ash to scoop up the syrup]]There is a fork in the road.
Do you encourage Ash to take the road to the [[Desert]] or
take a detour to the [[Swamp]].
Ash goes into the desert and sees the grand Casino Pyramid.
The sight of the beautiful pyramid is undercut, however, by dozens of players begging for money.
$gm[GM 12]: Those are the players who gambled everything away at the pyramid. You can either a chance to gamble with items or real money. Odds are these guys were a mix of both.
A player comes up to Ash.
(text-colour: #F0E68C)[justanoob]: Please could you spare some items or money?
$p[Ash77]: I'm feeling generous, I'll give him the fox vest.
$gm[GM 12]: Are you sure? That's your most rare item, which isn't saying much..., but still.
Ash hands over the fox vest to the noob player. With a twirl, the player transforms into a Genie.
(text-colour: green)[Genie]: Thank you for giving me your prized vest, I will give to you the very best.
The Genie gives Ash a [[Lamp of a Thousand Suns]] and vanishes.
$gm[GM 12]: You really are a nice person. You can only get that collectible artifact if you give the "noob" your most expensive item.
$p[Ash77]: There's more?!!
[[Ask Ash what to do next.]]
Ash goes into the swamplands.
$p[Ash77]: Oh God, why is the swamp red?? Is this some kind of bloody murder swamp??
$gm[GM 12]: No, this is actually the Swamp of Sauce. I'm actually not too sure what goes on here. Most players don't go into this area because it's impossible to navigate.
[[Ash jumps into the Sauce Swamp.]]
[[Go back to the fork|Ash walks in the direction of the desert]]The overwhelming force of meat, onion, garlic, and spices submerge Ash's character.
Do you tell Ash to:
[[try and beat the current]] or [[get lost in the sauce]]$gm[Gm 12]: Try and swim harder!
Ash struggles and flails hopelessly in the delicious swamp. Somehow Ash washes in the [[swamplands|Swamp]].Giving up on struggling, Ash allows their character to be swept away by the swamp.
Ash ends up in an underground cave. A large pasta troll walks over and introduces itself as Gnocchi Mane. It congratulates Ash on "becoming one with the sauce" and gives Ash a pair of [[Gnocchi Flip Flops]].
You are baffled at this turn of event as no player has ever managed to get this collectible artifact.
With two taps of the flip flops, Ash is teleported [[back to the fork.|Ash walks in the direction of the desert]]You feel as though you can see into the Future with these...
[[Back |get lost in the sauce]]I doubt this lamp could fit even one sun in it. False advertisement, much?
[[Back |Desert]]You are back in your office and you feel an odd sensation.
You're smiling. For the first time in a long time, you felt happy doing your job. Happy playing the game (sort of). You were excited to join Ash on another adventure.
[[The next day]]
As the sun set once more, you went into your office and jacked into the console. You were actually eager today for work.
You notice Ash is in and you teleport to them.
(set: $slowTransition to (transition:"dissolve") + (transition-time: 5s))$slowTransition[Several weeks later.]
(set: $s2 to (transition:"dissolve") + (transition-time: 8s))
$s2[After many adventure-filled nights, Ash had finally collected all of the ancient artifacts.]
[[You're happy to find someone who found such innocent joy in the game. ]](set: $alarm to (text-style: "rumble") + (text-colour: black) + (transition:"dissolve"))
You are forcibly ejected from the console. You look down to see a text from your boss.
(text-colour: black)[###SEE ME NOW]
[[You hurry to your boss's office]]You walk into a cold, sterile room with file cabinet-lined walls. Your boss sits facing away from you.
(set: $b to (text-colour: black))
$b[Boss:] Do you think we play games in this building, $name?
[[I mean technically... yeah]]
[[No sir]][[You think about giving a snarky response... you think better of it|You hurry to your boss's office]](set: $b to (text-colour: black))
$b[Boss]: Then why the hell haven't you made a goddamned dime in weeks?
As Game Masters, shouldn't we be helping out players? Teaching them the ropes? Fostering a fun environment?
$b[Boss]: No. You're hired to teach these morons how to mash buttons and buy stuff from the store. This Ash player that the game has you logging so much time with. They damn near completed the game without buying a fucking thing! Because I am a benevolent person, I'm going to give you some choices.
[[You can either be fired.]]
[[You can sell something to that Ash player.]]
or [[You can go back to your console and do your damn job.]] After being in those games with Ash for the past few weeks, you realize that there were still players out there who played by their own rules. Players that never gave in to the flashiness of skins or bought their way to the top.
You would rather leave than to be another person pushing that type of environment on to new players.
You head back to your office and pack your things. Picking up your headset, you jack into the console one last time. Ash isn't online anymore, but you leave them a note.
(text-style:"italic")[GOOD LUCK. I WON'T BE ON ANY LONGER. I WON'T FORGET YOU. DON'T PLAY LIKE ANYBODY ELSE.]
[[You jack out. | End 3]]You decide that your boss is right.
You head back to your office and jack in.
$p[Ash77]: Hey! Wheredya go?
$gm[GM 12]: Had to check up on something. Anyway, we're running some promotions this weekend. Do you think you're going to buy something or not?
$p[Ash77]: No.. why would I?
$gm[GM 12]: Look it'll give you plenty of bonuses. You can be a part of double XP weekend. You can get better gear. You'll unlock new content.
$p[Ash77]: Hey..what are you doing? You're not usually like this.
$gm[GM 12]: Buy something damn it. You don't want to look like a chump forever, right? Christ, it's so slow watching you do things the slow way all the time.
$p[Ash77]:Oh. I thought we were having fun. I gotta go.
$p[Ash77 has disconnected.]
[[You didn't see Ash after that. |End 4]]You go back to your office and jack in, surprised that you were let off so easily.
$gm[GM 12]: Hey Ash sorry about that, had to take care of business.
$gm[GM 12]: Ash! afk?
You could see that Ash was moving.
It finally dawns on you that the boss had added a perm-ignore on you to Ash's account, making it impossible for you to contact Ash or vice versa.
When you attempt to look at the registration files, you find that your access has been restricted.
[[Your efforts are futile |End 4]][[Play Again |Intro]]Work became...work again.
Players came and went.
[[ Just some every night shit |Intro]]