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Adventures of a "Wanna-Be" Hero was a fictionalized article (in similar vein of FACS guides) originally published in Volume 3, Number 1 (Spring 1990) issue of the Sierra Magazine (later InterAction).

It was a tie-in to the Hero's Quest release and functioned as a kind of advertisement to the game. The article followed Marti McKenna's interviews of three graduates of the Famous Adventurers' Correspondence School and her own journey to become a graduate as well.

Adventures of a "Wanna-Be" Hero


IDIIi' With the Mi

.1 phcnomci

..head, armed on:


by Marti McKenna

M M ero is the title for which all advert r~U turers strive. A hero must be M- JL trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheer- ful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Be he (or she) fighter or wizard, thief or man (or woman) about town; he (or she) is the desire of all women and the envy of all men (or perhaps the other way around). Excerpted from the Famous Adventurers' Correspondence School for Heroes Handbook The tattered notice on the Wash-O-Mat bulletin board read:


Is your job a dead-end ' Are you horcd with your lil Do >ou Ukij; tor adventure !

It you answered YfiS to any ol the

above questions.

'I"he l-amous Adventurers'

Correspondence School lor Heroes

sou.

En your official I- \ ( S diploma

ami you'll he more than qualified to

haitle brigand*,

massacre monsters.

ever) rescue royalty

Write now. and hcjiin receiving

lessons by mail, a life of Ihnlls and

excitement awaits you!


Me, a hero? Wow! I looked around to make sure no-one was watching, then quickly tore the notice down. I read it again during the spin cycle, and scrawled the address on an old sock.

I wasn't entirely sure about this hero' business. Was it dangerous? Did I have the right stuff? Were these guys for real? I decided to check out this Famous Adventurers' Correspondence School for myself.

The Fighter

Simple and straight forward, he views the world as an opportunity In test his strength and courage against the universe. A fighter is one who takes arms against a sea of troubles, and hy opposing, ends them. The fighter relishes every battle, for though he is beaten and Mack


ened and bruised and blemished beyond recog- nition, he knows that he is the better for it all. Excerpted from the Famous Adventurers' Correspondence School for Heroes Handbook

I found several ads for freelance heroes in my local Yellow Pages, all graduates of F.A.C.S. The first one I chose was Max, a fighter by profession — and he sounded mean. I had planned to ask him over for lunch, but after exchanging what I hesitate to call 'pleasantries' over the phone, I thought better of it. Max agreed to meet me at a local bar where we could talk over a couple of 'brewskis'.

I recognized Max immediately; he was seated at the bar look- ing bored and mildly an- noyed. "I'll be the one in chain-mail armor." he had told me. but the longsword he was wear- ing clued me long before I noticed his at- tire. I took a deep breath and strode up to him.

"McKenna s the name, we spoke on the phone," I fought to keep my voice even, "What's your pleasure?"

"Don't start with me. bonehead," Max replied. He turned to the bartender, "Hey Charlie, gimme a couple of stouts, pronto!"

"No problem. Max. Right away." said Charlie.

As Charlie slammed the mugs on the bar. Max said "They're on the nerd, here. And keep 'cm comin'."

"Right, Max." Charlie nodded.

"Siddown. pencil neck. Whad'dya want with me, anyway?" Max asked politely.



Max


"W-well. if you don't mind, just tell me a little about how you came to be the suc- cessful hero you arc today," I replied.

I watched Max run up an awesome bar lab as he told his story. . .

"I owe it all to F.A.C.S." he began. "Before I took the course, I was a wimp. I know, it's hard to believe, but it's true, I swear. I lived with my mother and seven- teen lousy cats. I hate cats. Anyway. I was a shoe salesman in a three piece suit shov- ing size nine feet into size five shoes all day long. Then I saw the F.A.C.S. ad in the paper. I ain't been the same since that day. The Handbook said I could be a Fighter, a Magic User or a Thief.

Well, magic is for sissies and I sure wasnt gonna be any slimy Thief, so I started work- ing out at the local gym like the Handbook said. I saved my pennies for Big Al, here," he patted his sword affec- tionately, "And started practic- ing my sword fighting skills. My mom booted me out when she caught me taking a swipe at one of the cats, and I wasn't making enough at the shoe store to pay my own way. so I looked up the nearest Adventurer's Guild and checked out the bulletin board for odd jobs. Would you believe it. the first job I took was rescuing a stupid cat from a tree. 1 only did it for the money, you can count on that. Since then I've had the pleasure of beating the snuff out'a dozen or so of the meanest cat-dudes around — cheetaurs, ever seen one kid?" I shook my head. "Well you don't want to. They're big and mean and ugly as heck, but if you can kill one. his claws'll


Page 14


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Sierra News Magazine


fetch a pretty penny. Anyway, that's my story. If you want to be a hero, take the course — you won't regret it. Now get outta here ... but don't forget to pay the tab."

The Magic User

Master of mystery, propounder of power, intimate of intuition, the Magic User is the intellectual among adventurers. The Magic User must master his mind to mold the mysteries of the ages. Through the use and control of the magical spell, the Magic User can selectively alter the fabric of the universe and create things out of whole cloth.

Excerpted from the Famous Adventurers' Correspondence School for Heroes Handbook Of the ads for Magic Users, The Great Charvel Steinburger's was by far the most arrogant. 'If it can't be done, I haven't attempted it' the ad declared. Unfortunate- ly, he was the only one who could fit me in to his busy schedule. I invited him for lunch and he accepted, assuring me that the privilege would be mine alone.

The Great Charvel arrived at my modest home precisely on time. Although I was expecting him, the manner in which he chose to arrive nearly caused me to ruin the Fettucine Alfredo I was preparing for lunch; he appeared in my kitchen in a blinding flash of light and bellowed, "I'm here, fool, and my time is precious — DON'T waste it."

In the dining room, I offered The Great Charvel a chair. He rolled his eyes, mut- tered to himself, made a quick gesture and the proffered chair vanished. It was quickly replaced by an ornate throne in which the Magic User seated himself and began to eat.


"I'm interested in becoming a hero, maybe even a Magic User such as yourself" I told him.


As took my seat, he spoke through a mouthful of pasta, "What do you wish of me. ignorant one — and wherever did you learn to cook?" he wiggled his fingers in the direction of the salt shaker, and it jumped into his hand. He salted his food and tasted it again. "Mmm, much better," he said.

I tasted my own meal before answering and it wasn't so bad.



The Great Charvel


"I'm interested in becoming a hero, maybe even a Magic User such as your- self," I told him. "If you wouldn't mind imparting some of your great wisdom to me, I would be ever so grateful." I was learning a little about dealing with these hero types. "I've been considering The Famous Adventurers' Correspondence School for Heroes."

"PAH! A fool such as you can never hope to be as magnificent as I. However, if you ever hope to do anything heroic, you must have an education. I highly recom- mend my Alma Mater, if not for F.A.C.S., I could never have become what I am today." With that he pulled a large hourglass from his robe, exclaimed. "I'm late for a meeting with someone impor tant," and was gone in a wink leaving only the throne and half-eaten Fettucine as evidence of his visit.

The Thief

Sultan of Stealth, Chief of Chicanery, Potentate of Plunder, the Thief is the master of many skills. From subterfuge to housebreaking, Thieves live by their wits. Since the Thief cannot fight as effectively as the Fighter, or cast spells as the Magic User, he seems to he the weakest of the adventurers. However, he is also the most powerful, for he can get away with murder. Excerpted from the Famous Adventurers' Correspondence School for Heroes Handbook I only found one listing with the desig- nation 'Thief. The answering machine at the number given said. 'You've reached da home of Sonny The Snake. I'm probably out stealing your mother's purse right now, so leave a message and I'll get back to youse as soon as I can. Tanks." Sonny returned my call late that evening and agreed to speak with me, briefly and on his


terms. I was to meet him at midnight in an alley behind a local Chinese restaurant. "And make sure you ain't followed, see?". These heroes were getting weirder all the time.

I wailed in the appointed meeting place for nearly an hour with no sign of The Snake. Just as I was about to give up. I heard a harsh whisper from behind a dumpsfer, "Yo, McKcnna — 'dat you?".

"Sonny?" I said quietly.

"SHHHHHH!!! "he replied. He stepped out from the shadows wearing a black trench coat and a hat pulled down to cover his shifty eyes.

Sonny looked around cautiously, and si inked over to stand beside me. "Okay kid, you got me for ten minutes," he said into



Sonny the Snake


the collar of his coat, "After 'dat I gotta get to work, ya know? So what can I do for youse?"

"What can you tell me about F.A.C.S., and about being a Thief?" I asked.

"SHHHHHH!!!" Sonny replied. "Geez, kid! Why doncha just tell the whole world? Look, I took the course, okay? F.A.C.S. taught me the ins and outs of bcin' a master sneak . They taught me how to cl imb a sheer



McKcnna the Magnificent


wall, how to pick the meanest lock and how to throw one of these and hit my target every time." He whipped out a nasty look- ing dagger and when I reacted with an appropriately awed expression, quickly pocketed it again. "But I had to practice. Look, your mother probably told you that crime doesn't pay, right? Just wait'll you lay a diamond ring on her kid, believe me, she'll be singin' a different tune. Next time you're out on an adventure, some goon walks up and drools on you, kill 'im and take his money. Just like that." He snapped his fingers. "Take it from me, kid; take the course and practice. You'll be rich in no time. Gotta go — see ya!" Sonny The Snake slithered out of the alley and into the night, and I wasn't terribly surprised to find that my keys, wallet and Mickey Mouse watch had gone with him.

So, there I had it. F.A.C.S. came highly recommended by its grads, all successful heroes. Next I had to decide on a profes- sion. I settled on Magic User; I figured if I didn't work out as a hero, I could always redecorate my apartment. I finished the course, in fact I got my diploma today. I just got off the horn with my old buddy Max —


he told me where to find my neighborhood Adventurer's Guild. He said something about a 'Hero Wanted' sign he'd seen on the board, for a place, called Spielburg — 'No Experience Necessary'. Hmm, Spiel- burg . . . sounds kinda nice, huh? Maybe

Anyway, if you want to be a

hero, take it from Max,

The Great Charvel,

Sonny, and me —

McKcnna The Magnificent,

The Famous Adventurers'

Correspondence School

For Heroes

is where it's at!


I'll check it out. Anyway, if you want to be a hero, take it from Max, The Great Char- vel, Sonny and me — McKenna The Mag- nificent; The Famous Adventurers' Cor- respondence School For Heroes is where it's at!

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