When I was in high school I remember reading this book where the characters are high school students and the main characters mother, and they are playing this new game where they actually go into the game. It's a fantasy game, a lot like D&D.

The main character plays an elf, and as such can't use iron weapons or armor. I remember the kid who plays the dwarf takes the roleplaying WAY to seriously, and whenever he introduces himself, it's always "I am _____, son of ______, son of ______..." etc ad nauseam.

Everything seems fine at first, and they're all having fun, but things start to get unsettling when the mother begins to get bad headaches. I won't say what causes the headache, because that's a spoiler, but I will say that it is very important.

Some scenes I remember vividly are as follows:

  • Emerging from a dungeon, the gang is desperate for food. They come across a baker who has only terribly burnt loaves of bread available for them. They buy them anyway, and have to soak them in water to be able to eat them. But the important part of this scene is that they realize the headaches are serious... the baker can't see the mother, even though the rest of the gang still can.
  • Speaking of the dungeon, while they are going into the dungeon for the first time, the main character mentions how it's a lot different from playing a tabletop RPG. Instead of the DM saying 'you've been travelling for hours' they actually have to walk for hours to get to their destination, and it is a strain on their emotions. They do finally encounter orcs, and he mentions they smell like old, spoiled bacon. The orc fighting him repeatedly goes "Heh, heh, heh, warrior elf!"
  • Story is done in first person, and it was rather entertaining, and an interesting concept.
  • Good memory for that "warrior elf" line. I plugged that into Google and got the back with my first search.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 26, 2015 at 14:52
  • I read this book a long time ago. The most memorable thing to me is the magic boots that teleport you back to a specific place if you say "that." Aug 26, 2015 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


User Unfriendly by Vivian Vande Velde.

It's the most advanced computer role-playing game ever: When you play you're really there in a dark dream teeming with evil creatures, danger-filled fortresses, and malevolent sorceries. The game plugs directly into your brain--no keyboard, no modem, no monitor. And for game hacker Arvin Rizalli and his friends, no cash up front, no questions asked . . . and no hope of rescue when the game goes horribly, deathly wrong.

Front cover of User Unfriendly

Yes, the dwarf is long-winded:

The dwarf climbed onto my table. The noise level dropped several decibels more. "I am Feordin Macewielder, son of Feordan Sturdyaxe, grandson of Feordane Boldheart, brother to Feordone the Fearless, great-grandson of Feordine Stoutarm who served under Graggaman Maximus."

With dwarfs, this can go on forever. They always introduce themselves by introducing their ancestors. All their ancestors. And the names always sound alike....

They encounter the orcs in Chapter 18:

Seconds later someone from our group sniffed, very softly.
Carefully I inhaled. It was either two-week-old bacon, or orcs.


.... When the orc saw me, he grinned, displaying many sharp teeth.
"Heh, heh, heh, warrior elf," he said, though it sounded like what he meant was: Oh nice — white meat for a change

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