One of the perennial complaints that you’ll hear from gamers of all stripes is of your dice suddenly turning against you, just when you need lady luck to cooperate. There’s even a somewhat tongue-in-cheek image doing the rounds that takes it’s cue from the idea of pet shaming called, predictably, dice shaming that I hope catches on – because inevitably when a roleplayer is talking about the dice being against them there’s usually a fairly epic tale of winning despite all the odds, or of a truly epic failure.
This week was all about the dice, just in time for a set piece battle that certainly took a few odd turns. The leader of the troops facing the party had blockaded the entrance to the mine and planted troops in side tunnels to come from behind when the fighting started. Most of his troops were reanimated skeletons, with trained Emerald Claw soldiers making up the numbers. His second in command, a necromancer, was visibly commanding the troops from outside the cave, while Garrow himself was invisible and in the caves with the adventurers, waiting for a moment to strike but contenting himself to cast passive support spells for his troops. As plans went, for a villain of his skills and resources went, it was a perfectly good plan. Like all plans, it went up in smoke the minute the fight actually started. The intimidation effect of so many soldiers had a fatal flaw that the adventurers seized on.
Most of Garrow’s soldiers were undead, and so were uniquely vulnerable to Quinlynn’s Turning ability. The dice smiled and over two thirds of Garrow’s fighting force fell apart in an instant, allowing Koff to charge straight into the living Emerald Claw soldiers and cut down the first two he encountered. Undead soldiers within the cave and within range of the effects of the turning were also destroyed, prompting shouts of alarm from the living troops herding them and alerting the party that they were surrounded.
And then the dice started to misbehave. The necromancer failed to dodge a flaming sphere cast at him by Keil, not once but twice in a row. Koff was badly wounded by soldiers and Quinlynn’s attempt to finish off the undead with a second Turning was so bad she nearly Turned herself. Garrow then stepped forward and attacked her directly – a vampire swooping on his prey.
Except that he missed. And then before he could escape he was set upon by Ruin and his animal companion, Gear. Ruin’s dice also failed to work for him, so he missed too. And then Gear’s attack rolls came up as critical successes and Garrow was dead. It was so quick that I had to say it three times before it sank in. The vampire was dead.
Of course, there was a twist, and Garrow relaxed into his true form in death, revealing himself to be a changeling masquerading as a vampire to throw them off and using magic potions and items to simulate vampire powers alongside his own priestly abilities. The rest of the fight was quickly concluded and their escort arrived to drive them back to the Bloody Market.
After being generously rewarded by their employer on behalf of Cannith West, they returned home to Sharn and ended up buying a tavern to use as their headquarters. The next story arc begins next week…