Epic Moments in Role-Playing

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Lift yer pints and gather ’round the tavern table, ye Commoners. It’s story time!

When we were in Junior and High School me and my friends got really into Dungeons & Dragons. For those of you familiar with the subject this was right around the release of the 3.5 Edition (Early 2000’s for the layman.), which is my favorite version because it’s as far as we ever got. I’d love to get back into the game even if it means dealing with changes I wasn’t a fan of at the time as well as learning the new things added in 5.0, but I digress.

We each had our own style of running the game, or being the “Game Master”. One of us was into political intrigue and fleshed-out NPCs (Non-Player Characters), another for deep layers of plot with Red Herrings being played by a shadowed puller of the strings, and I was all for throwing lots of monsters at everyone before unleashing a boss on them, typically in a swamp, and rewarding their victory with a chest full of “phat loot”.

This particular account involves our Political GM and a series of events somewhere around the start of the adventure. I am notorious for making characters that are either Human or Gnome Rogues, or Orc Fighters/Barbarians with one-syllable names that sound like burps. For whatever reason, I chose to play as a Bard for the adventure in question. Bards, unless you’ve put thought into making them or are experienced with their potential, suck. Since this was my first Bard, he sucked. He sucked so much in fact that at the first opportunity I multi-classed him to a Bard/Rogue.

Our motley bunch of adventures had been hired to look into the choking encroachment of a swamp into the neighboring lands and beat our way into the cave den of a Kobold clan that was becoming far too emboldened about pestering the local towns than any group of kobolds have a right to be. I don’t recall what my instrument was as a Bard. I wanted a fiddle so I could play “Devil Went Down to Georgia” whenever we entered combat but didn’t get that, but it doesn’t really matter because since this was my first Bard I kept forgetting to play it in order to buff the group.

So we fought our way into through the kobolds’ outer defenses and made our way deeper into the den. After navigating through the cave system and spending fifteen minutes searching an underground pool of water that held no significance beyond being an underground pool of water (Every GM with me now: “I lay out the path for them and they spend an hour puzzling over a random boulder!“), we come to a guardroom. Now beyond the guardroom was a large open cavern housing a ‘Very Young-Stage” Black Dragon, one of the causes behind the kobolds being more inspired. Kobolds revere dragons and even a Very Young dragon, which are classed as “Small” monsters so about the size of a cat or medium-sized dog, can pose a serious threat to a party of clowns who aren’t ready to deal with it.

This story isn’t about that first awesome sub-boss encounter. This story is about the stupid shit that went down in that guardroom. When we engaged the kobolds in our “We want a fight right now” style, the Fighter dealt with the majority of the pack while our Monk dashed off after the one kobold that tried to flee down the tunnel to raise an alarm, tackling it to the ground. I didn’t have the hit points to jump in with the Fighter so I chose to engage the struggling kobold with my sling. As a Bard, the weapon was one that I had automatic proficiency with and because we were in a cave there was always a ready supply of stones wherever we happened to be. So I swung up my sling and let the stone fly.

Now would be a good time to briefly explain the dynamics of entering ranged combat with an enemy who is currently engaged in melee combat with another character or such. Before making your attack and damage rolls you must make a percentile check. This counts toward the penalty for firing into, in this case, two engaged combatants. If you fail this roll your aim is off and you end up hitting the wrong one, in this case our Monk.

I failed the check and hit the Monk in the ankle. I then had to roll for attack. I rolled a critical hit. I had to roll attack again to confirm the critical. I confirmed the critical. I then rolled for damage. I dealt maximum damage multiplied by two. This dropped the Monk’s health below “0”. When a character’s health falls below “0” they lose consciousness and continue to lose hit points by their Hit Dice per round until they reach -12, at which point they die.

I had just struck the Monk in the ankle with a sling stone with such force that it all but killed him. Bards suck. However, along with my predictable choice of player characters, I am also known for coming up with outrageous solutions to serious problems and I would be damned before I became the Bardiest of Bards. It was this very first solution that spawned the legend of the “Fuck-Up Flipper”.

Ranger: “I can’t do anything about this right now.”

Fighter: “Do we have any healing potions?”

Me: “I had to use the last one when we dealt with the sorcerer. Wait! Could I bring the potion back up and get it into the Monk’s mouth?”

Everyone stares at me

GM: “Are- you serious?”

Me: “I got the potion and can’t think of anything else!”

GM: sighs “Roll for a Heal check”

Me: rolls for untrained Heal Check

Dice clatter

GM: “…” ಠ_ಠ

Group: “…” ಠ_ಠ

GM: “You… you puke into the Monk’s mouth and manage to restore him.”

Monk: ಥ_ಥ

GM: “Alex, I couldn’t have written an in-game situation this stupid if I tried.”

And so ends the tale of how I delivered a used healing potion via mouth-to-mouth. I’ve since gone on to achieve incredible feats ranging from “Dude!” to “WHY?!” when it comes to looking at gaming situations from an angle of crazy-desperate inspiration, but you never forget your first idea that leaves everyone at the table with the opinion that you’re fucking nuts.

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