Monk Versus Soldier: Agency

Posted: June 23, 2009 in Game Design, Games
Tags: , , ,

Monk was walking through a mountain pass, enjoying the summer breeze and the blue skies above him. The wind felt good against his warm skin and the trees around him swayed creating a texture to the sounds of the day. Monk considered his stomach and began pondering how to prepare the fish he was going to catch when he heard the clinks and grunts of sword play.   They came from nearby, most likely, around the next bend. The draw of action and spectacle overcame his humility and desire inner piece, he was after all a monk in training.  Monk tightened his belt, drew up his robes to free his legs and threw a smirk on his face as he ran down the path towards the ensuing fight.

As he turned the corner, there was Soldier, his old friend hacking at three bandits; The three that were still alive that is. On the ground were several other bandits and what looked like an ogre. Soldier glanced up to see monk. He waved and smiled and returned to hacking at the bandits. The bandits, taking the opportunity to close and flank the opponent did so, yet Soldier still smiled. His big muscles and enormous sword made short work of their shoddy armour and soon Soldier was left standing with no more villians to defeat. Smiling still, took the thieves’ gold, looked up to his friend and trundled over with bloody hand extended in greeting.

Monk, whiled turned off by the blood and carnage, yet still happy to see his friend made a queasy smile and shook the Soldier’s hand. Beaming, Soldier proclaimed to the monk. “Look Monk, I have made the roads safer. There are a few less bandits and one less Ogre.”

“Safer for bandit children and ogre spouses?”, quipped the Monk with a wry smile.

With no smaller a smile on his face, Soldier boomed “No my dear Monk, safer for towns folk and traveling merchants. And with the coin I received from these villains, I’m free to return to town to buy new armour and train with the pugilists.”

“Why not buy some food with the money? And share it with your friend Monk?”, said the monk, not dropping his smile.

There was a touch of confusion on Soldiers face but then a return to confidence and dedication. “There is time for that later Monk, there are more bandits and ogres to slay.”

“But what will you do with the money you receiver from them?”, puzzled the monk.

Complete confidence returned to the Soldier’s face. “Train with the supreme swords man of the Town. And when there are no more villains in the forest, I will seek new lands to explore and villains to slay.”

The monk’s face soured, he knew eating hot food tonight was not going to happen. Maybe there was a chance. “Soldier, I will make you a wager on a simple game of chance. If I win, you share your winnings with me and I will eat like a lord for an evening. If you win, I will teach you a martial form that will defeat a single opponent of slightly greater skill with one blow.”

Soldier looked confused. Then he shuffled his feet. Finally he said, “How do I know you can teach me such a form?”

The Monk feigned pain, “First Soldier, I am your friend, would I lie to you? Second, I am a monk, monks must always tell the truth.” He paused, letting the soldier search his words for meaning but without letting him think on it. “Besides, this game is simple and easily won by a player such as yourself”.

The promise of future glory and all the coin he could earn from the new skill was too much and he reluctantly agreed, besides, with even half of his earnings, he had enough to train to the next level anyway. “Alright, Let’s hear about this game of yours”.

Monk smiled and dreamed of his hot meal. He drew out a pouch and dangled it in front of Soldier. Turning it upside down a set of dice fell out with a small collection of coloured stones. “This game is called ‘Grinding’, and anyone can play it.” claimed Monk, “Each of us rolls two dice, adds the results together and whomever has the highest roll wins a stone. The first person to win five stones wins the game.”

Soldier grinned and said “A simple game and I am lucky in my life. Let’s start this contest”.

With that, Monk handed over a pair of dice to Soldier and they each rolled. The results as follows:

Monk – 4 [3,1] Soldier – 7 [5,2] Win: Soldier

Monk – 6 [4,2] Soldier – 9 [6,3] Win: Soldier

Monk – 10 [5,5] Soldier – 4 [2,2] Win: Monk

Monk – 5 [4,1] Soldier – 11 [6,4] Win: Soldier

Monk – 7 [5,2] Soldier – 8 [4,4] Win: Soldier

At this point, the soldier’s eyes gleamed and he glanced hungrily at his collection of four stones. Each of them glittering in the sunlight. Monk, wore a face of concern, but inside he was still looking forward to his soup and dumplings.

Monk – 5 [3,2] Soldier – 2 [1,1] Win: Monk

Monk – 10 [6,4] Soldier – 8 [5,3] Win: Monk

Monk – 8 [5,3] Soldier – 6[5,1] Win: Monk

Now Soldier looked like he’d been punched. His face was all sucked in, his eyes wide and his hands were rubbing together feverishly. Monk felt for his friend but the draw of a warm meal was too much to pass up. He rolled….


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