RPG-a-Day 2018 Day 14: Describe a failure that became amazing.
Part of the beauty of roleplaying games is that while winning is fun, failing can be so much more entertaning. The previously discussed critical hit that took out my rogue was a great uniting event for the party and lead to a fun adventure to get her reincarnated. I’m sure I told this story recently, but in D&D 4th Edition, I used a the “Halfling Reroll” to turn a natural one that would have hit me into a natural 20 on the Big Boss which killed it outright.
One of the greatest combination of failures that lead to an amazing series of events that will always stay with me was watching a group trying to handle traversing a pit trap in front of a door. It all started innocently enough as they group triggered the trap as one party member tumbled the 50 feet to the bottom, but survived the fall. With the pit taking up the area in front of the door, the monk leapt across the gap, hung onto the door knob and tried to open the door, which failed as the door was locked. With the party member at the bottom of the pit starting to climb back up and the other two on the other side of the pit, the monk started attempting to break throught the door, only to discover once successful that on the other side was a pair of skeletal Owl Bears. The Owl Bears then managed to knock the door off it’s hinges, sending the door and the monk into the pit, hitting the climber who was two thirds of the way up and sending them crashing back down, KO’ing them. The other party members took pot shots at the undead until one of the skeletons jumped over the pit and got into melee. After stabilising the KOed team mate, the Monk began climbing the pit as the two Owl Bears battled the two party members at the top of the pit. It went back and forth, with one of the party getting taken down before the Monk reached the lip of the pit, managed to grab one Owl Bear and pull it into the pit, falling with it. The drop killed the skeleton and ko’d the monk, but no damage was done to the team member already at the bottom as it was deemed they were protected by the door on top of them. So the remaining concious member of the party, a paladin faced off with the remaining Owl Bear as his party slowly bled out. He finally won the war of attrition, dropping his foe and quickly stabilising the team mate on the floor nearby. With the monk still in danger and fading fast, the paladin took drastic action and swandove into the pit, one hand out in front of him and the other in front of his face, each holding a point of healing from Lay On Hands. He hit the bottom of the pit, KO’d himself but his Lay On Hands stabilised him and also stabilised the monk. Combat ended with the entire party out cold and three quarters at the bottom of a pit.
I remember laughing so hard as this all unfolded, it was an absolute mess from start to finish since it was the first “encounter” of the day and the party needed nearly a full day to recover, but we all loved every second of it. Every failed dice roll just added to the hilarity, and the more my sides ached from laughing. I’ve said before that winning in D&D is fun, but failing is more interesting, this situation was both and I’ll remember it fondly.
Next on the agenda for RPGaDay is describing a tricky roleplay experience that I enjoyed…
For the time being, you can use the comments to share you favourite failures that ended up being amasing moments. As ever, you can find all the previous RPG-a-Day articles here, you can follow me @bargtheogre on Twitter, or check out the Inside the Ogre’s Cavern podcast at @itocpodcast