Today, we are proud to welcome “You-You” by Grayson Morley to our New Voices library. We are publishing this story in two parts, and the second installment will launch on the blog in two weeks. “You-You” takes you inside the mind of a college freshman who suffers from depression, who struggles with confidence and body image, who plays D&D, and who really, really wants to ask out a girl in his science class. “You-You” offers us a refreshingly unique and honestly drawn male protagonist.
“But it isn’t his DPS that makes Verner fun to play for you. It’s that he is what you want to be. Confident. Sexy. Slim. And while you don’t necessarily want to be the kind of guy who makes out with two women at a bar, you don’t not want to be that guy.”
You walk into the Chortlin’ Hog. The tavern is filled with miscreants, the kind you expect to find in a town such as this. You are far from high society, here in the Harrowed Hills, which, per its name, is a pretty hardscrabble place. The most popular occupation here is Hog Farmer. You are not a Hog Farmer. You are an Adventurer. You, Verner Ignobis, are not from such a low place as this. You come from high society, from a royal bloodline, even if you’re more second cousin than rightful heir. Regardless, you are beautiful, and you know it. So much more beautiful than the pathetic denizens of the Chortlin’ Hog.
Or so you picture it. You’re not sure how your friends picture Verner or the Chortlin’ Hog. The Game Master can only say so much. The rest is up to each player, in their head, to summon up. The only thing you were outright told by Mark, the GM, was this: “You walk into the Chortlin’ Hog, a local tavern. Before you is an assortment of locals, drinking and talking, and at a few tables even playing cards. The bar itself is busy, with only a single seat left open. What do you do?”
You are not Verner Ignobis, of course. You are you. Nondescript you, chubby you, nobody-looking-at-you you. But when you play with Mark, Ben, and Will, you are not you anymore. You can be free of you and instead be Verner Ignobis. Sexy, confident, sizzling Verner Ignobis, the flame-focused Sorcerer.
What would Verner do? you ask yourself.
Something you wouldn’t do if your life depended on it.
“I walk up to the bar,” you say to Mark, the GM. “And I flirt with the first person I see.”
He asks you to roll Charisma. You roll a d20 across the card table Mark set up in his dorm room, which barely fits in the cramped space. After clacking across the plastic surface, the die comes to a rest.
A 20. Critical Success. Rejoice, for tonight, you are kissing not one, but two buxom blondes.