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TO oct. 21

Dungeon Master: Your party has traveled many hours to reach a small mysterious keep in the heart of the province of Crownsville. You enter at great expense and quickly encounter many local shopkeeps, minstrels, and jugglers. Pubs offering mead and foodstuffs abound.

Fighter-Dwarf: I buy a turkey leg and a pint of mead.

DM: Subtract two from your constitution, two from your dexterity, and three from your intelligence for the next five rounds. As you consume your food, you hear trumpets sounding in the distance. A young squire approaches: “The great King Henry VIII announces a contest of jousting skill amongst his greatest knights for the merriment of all.”

Paladin: I will join this joust with my +2 lance of holy fire and watch the heretics burn as it impales deep in their chests.

DM: Suddenly, a mysterious hooded shopkeeper approaches you. He has a gnarled staff topped with a crystal orb. He says, “I have many rare and valuable items for a party such as yours.”

Magic-User: I say to him, “I would pay handsomely for a treasure such as the Hand or Eye of Vecna.”

DM: He replies, “Uh…we have orbs in several colors and some small blades, but that’s about it. We do accept all major credit cards. Come see my shop near the White Stag Grove before you leave, and here’s my card.”

Magic-User: Before he leaves, I ask, “What is this strange keep deep in the shire of Crownsville? Is it truly, as rumored, a hive of bygone thespians?”

DM: He replies, “Why, of course not, my friends. It is the Maryland Renaissance Festival! Huzzah!” From 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, to Sunday, Oct. 21, and Monday, Sept. 3, in Crownsville, Md. $14.95. For tickets and directions call (800) 296-7304. (Brian Nelson)