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A Customer Draws Near!

The Saga Begins

"Wait, why is this called The Saga Begins? It's the tenth episode."

"It's a flashback episode."

"Are you sure? Because it feels more like an attempt at a reboot after what was originally meant to be the last episode."

"Most likely. Hey, it worked for Star Wars, didn't it?"

"Must... kill... Jar-Jar..."

"Right. So, going back to when it all began..."

"And what's up with all the Star Wars jokes? I don't even like Star Wars."

"Hey, respect the narrative flow much?

"Sorry. Please, continue with your pointless drivel."

"Do you remember when your first customer drew near?"

"Like it was yesterday."

"It *was* yesterday."

"That's not going to stop you from telling me all about it like I wasn't even there, is it?"

"I believe it went a little something like this..."

(Flashback dissolve)

"A Customer Draws Near!"

"Wait, what?"

"I said 'A Customer Draws Near!' What is your response?"

"But I just got done creating my character."


"You haven't even explained the rules of the game yet!"

"I'm not really seeing your point."

"Well, how in the hell am I supposed to know what to do?"

"Don't worry, you'll pick things up as we go along."

"I hate my life."

"See? You're learning already."


"The customer gains combat initiative, bypassing your opening scripts and going directly into explaining what his problem is. The Supportinator suffers 2 points of frustration damage, but gains an opening for a counterattack."

"What's the customer's issue?"

"The customer says that his computer is broken."

"Um... okay. I attack, I guess?"

"You're going to have to be a little more descriptive than that."

"Oh, the irony."

"I'm waiting."

"Fine, I'll... um, use my Gather Customer Information skill."

"Let's see... you're level one, so the attack suffers a -7 success penalty... apply the customer's 35% resistance to rational thought..."

"Okay, yeah, your attack fails miserably. The customer begins loudly yelling at you that his computer is broken and he insists you fix it now. This attack deals 3 HP of beratement damage."

"Hold on, I think I can defend against that with my feat of Not Giving A Rat's Ass."

"Well played. The customer's attack deals no damage and the move is now yours."

"Okay, so now I guess I have to figure out what's wrong with his computer. I ask the customer if he is at his computer."

"The customer replies uneasily, 'um... ah... I... might... uh...'. The customer is temporarily stunned by confusion."

"That... really wasn't a difficult question. All I asked was whether or not this guy is sitting at his computer."

"The customer begins describing his immediate surroundings. He sees a wall... a couple of windows... the carpet on the floor has some kind of weird stain that's been there for years... it might be ketchup or maybe ranch dressing."

"What the hell? Is he at his fucking computer or not?"

"The customer begins to get irate. He goes into a berserked state and angrily states that he is not a very technical person and doesn't understand any of your fancy lingo. That's why he called you for help."

"Well, there's clearly no helping this waste of space. I drink a beer from my pack and wait for the customer to die of stupid."

"The customer fails to die on his own. You're actually going to have to help him."

"Oh, I can help him die. That's easy."

"No, BTB, I mean you have to help him with his technical issue."

"But how? He's hopelessly unassistable. How am I supposed to help someone who probably isn't even allowed to eat with a fork?"

"Welcome to the world of tech support."

*Sigh* "Fine. He says his computer is broken. That's gloriously unhelpful. What I need is a way to figure out what's wrong with it so that I know what to fix."

"That's the idea, yes."

"I ask the customer what the problem is."

"The customer says that his computer is broken. Are you stupid or something? Your patience is drained by 1."

"Yes, but what specifically is the problem? I get that he thinks that his computer is broken, but what eaxctly is it doing to make him think that? Give me something to work with, here."

"The customer says that it doesn't work. He casts 'Why Haven't You Fixed It Yet?', which deals 5 points of insulting damage."

"Fuck. Well, I'm wearing a standard-issue headset and a faulty name tag. It's shitty, first-level equipment, but at least it'll block some of the damage."

"You take 6 points of damage."

"Dammit! How in the hell is a first-level tech support agent supposed to get anything done?"

"It involves copious amounts of hold time."

"How will putting the customer on hold in any way help me fix the issue when I have no idea what the issue is?"

"Because then you can consult with other technicians."

"...who also have no idea what the customer's issue is."



"...and the move is still yours."

"Okay, whatever. I use an enchanted stone of holding from my pack."

"The stone of holding successfully places the customer on hold."

"Okay, now what?"

"It's your move again."

"Can I consult with another technician now?"


"Yeah, I do that."

"You approach the desk of the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-encompassing second-level agent. He is a hardened, crusty soul with a scraggly, unkempt beard and a half-eaten sandwich on... you know, I'm getting the strangest feeling that I've said something just like this before. Anyways, he asks you what you want."

"I ask him how to get rid of my customer."

"He asks you what troubleshooting steps you have done."

"None. I don't even know what the problem is."

"He asks you what problem the customer is having."

"Dammit, I just said I don't know!"

"The second level agent banishes you from his desk, telling you to go back to the customer and find out what the issue is."

"Well, that had absolutely no effect whatsoever."

"Actually, his disposition toward you lowers by 3 for asking such a stupid question, and he now thinks you are a complete idiot. Approach him with caution in the future."

"Okay, so it was actually counter-productive, then."


"What the hell?"

"Yeah, tech support is like that. You return from hold to your customer and thank him for his patience. It is now time to tell the customer what you did during the hold time."

"I got told to go to hell by the internal help desk."

"That wasn't a very efficient use of your time. Your manager scowls at you and you suffer a -1 penalty to your confidence."

"But my character is immune to confidence drains..."

"Yes he is, but you're also first-level. So, yeah, sucks to be you."

"Okay... I ask the customer how long his computer has been broken."

"The customer replies that it's been broken ever since the electric company turned off his power last week."

"Great. I attack him with my Bamboo Pole of Misdirected Call and end the conversation."

"The customer counters with his passive feat of Minor Refusal to be Helped and demands that you fix his issue now."

"His issue is that the power company shut off his power and now he can't turn on his computer."

"It would seem that way, yes."

"And I am very clearly not the power company."

"That is also true."

"And yet the customer wants me to help him with this problem."


"I drink a beer from my pack."

"You gain 3 HP. The customer attacks you with his Mace of Impatience for 4 points of damage."

"I counter with a Stone Wall from my pack."

"Your Stone Wall succeeds, nullifying the damage from the customer's attack and preventing all further request for assistance attacks. The customer counters with Gottfried's Whine, stating that his computer was working just fine yesterday."

"Wait, didn't he just say that it hasn't worked in over a week?"

"Well, yes, but it started working again for a little bit yesterday."

"But it stopped working a week ago because his power went out."

"Yes. What's your point?"

"I... but he... power off... computer... trees..."

"You're thinking too hard about this."

"I think the problem is that I'm thinking at all. The alternative is... well, I'm talking to the alternative."

"Yes, and you're losing quite badly to it."

"So, what, do I have to be just as insane as the customer to get anywhere with him? Fine. I drink another beer from my pack and ask the customer how his pink elephants are doing."

"The customer says that they are doing just fine and thanks for asking. However, they appear to be rather hungry one of them just bit both of his hands off. A critical hit! The customer suffers 12 points of damage and suffers a -3 penalty to his smarm."

"So real logic fails, but acting like total retard actually gets me somewhere?"

"It's called dealing with the customer on their level. It's a very important skill in tech support."

"I'm beginning to see why the list of '10 worst jobs ever' ranked tech support below Spinal Tap drummer and train wrestler."

"There you go with the thinking again. You suffer 3 points of thinking damage."

"Look, this is starting to get old. I tell the customer that I can not and will not help him with his problem, and that any further conversation with me will be an absolute waste of both his time and mine."

"The customer seems confused. He says he's not sure what you're trying to say."

"I'm telling him that this conversation is over."

"The customer swears at you for 2 points of curse damage, says that he'll have your job, calls you several names that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush, and hangs up."

"Good riddance."

"So, that's your first customer encounter. What do you think?"

"I talked to a man who was clearly suffering from severe clinical retardation about issues I have nothing to do with, got cussed out for not doing things I can't do, and then hung up on."

"Yeah, it's fun, isn't it?"

"You are one sick son of a bitch."