Grignak Ultencrow, the former half-orc chieftain from the South, leads the party of four forward into the dungeon’s abyss, the stone hallway twisting and bending around the warm glow of his outstretch torch. His footsteps padded by enchanted soles, he walks paces ahead, aware that even the lightest footstep can set off any one of a multitude of traps, left centuries ago by wary architects, seeking to ward off those who might seek to use what lay inside the vault at the end of the maze. It had been agreed that Ultencrow would walk first— his thick hide (reminiscent of the genetic birthright of his people) would be most likely to withstand the sudden dangers they had been warned about. Leitrus, the human cleric, reads aloud from his notes on the location as they walk.
“… Bursts of flame, followed by arrows… probably poison-tipped. And that’s only if you’re lucky, and don’t accidentally rest on a circular stone.”
The elf, their guide through the forest that lead them to the overgrown remains of the outpost, stops Leitrus with a slender arm. Grignak saw it, too: the movement. Ahead of them, the rectangular slabs of stone ripple and shift and bubble, forming all at once the shape of the minotaur: the silent guardian of the deep labyrinth. Heaving all of his weight forward, Grignak leaps at the stone soldier, thrusting both arms forward.
High above, at the table of the place known as “Kyle’s Mom’s Kitchen,” the young (but incredibly powerful) man known only as the Dungeon Master admonishes Kyle, he who plays the role of Grignak Ultencrow, to perform the impossible maneuver known as “the grapple check.”
This is what any Dungeons & Dragons player will tell you is the worst moment of any game: when the action of the story is broken up by the call for a game mechanic that is nonsensical, broken, and (most notably) “stupid.”