Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Enrolling In The School Of Hard Knocks...

Some GMs have a house rule of shooting ranged weapons into an existing melee battle, where there is a chance the weapon might strike a friend instead of a foe (if the To Hit roll is an odd number, for example). In those cases, it is often best to NOT range into melee. Sometimes lessons need to be learned the hard way...

DM: Ok, everyone state their actions for this round in order of initiative...

Angora: I stand my ground against the ogre, swiping at his head with my 2H sword. [rolls] Ah, dang. A 7. That's definitely going to miss.

Groin: I'm right there with Angora, swinging my battle axe at the ogre, as well. [rolls] Woot! A 19 will definitely hit!

Bore'me: And I'm with the two fighters, smashing into him with my mace. [rolls] I rolled an 11.

Raisin: I'll remain about 15' behind the fighters and the cleric, readying magic missile.

Eggoless: I pull out my bow and launch an arrow into the ogre's eye! [rolls] Hey, a 17! That should do it!

DM: And since he rolled so poorly, the ogre will go last in this round. Thrown off balance by the ogre's last sweeping attack, Angora is unable to regain his footing in time to take a proper swing. Groin's axe bites into the thigh of the ogre, [rolls] but it only appears to have grazed him. Bore'me lands a blow, but the ogre's armour absorbs the shock. Raisin, your magic missile unerringly finds its mark and hits the ogre [rolls] solidly in the chest. And Eggoless' arrow finds a mark, as well! [rolls] Unfortunately, it is in the shoulder of Groin! It hits for [rolls] 3 points of damage. Groin, please mark your character sheet accordingly.

Groin: Ah, dang it! *grumble*

Eggoless: Oops! Sorry!

DM: Finally, the ogre gets his attack. Fortunately for Angora, it is wild and completely misses its mark! That takes us to round three - everyone roll initiative again, please! [rolls]

[All Players roll one d6.]

DM: Ok, it looks like Bore'me goes first, Angora second, followed by Eggoless, Raisin, ogre, and finally Groin. Let's have the first four go in order and then I'll see what the ogre does before the dwarf gets his attack.

Bore'me: I swing my mace again. [rolls] Hey, a 14! Does that hit?

Angora: Swinging... [rolls] 16 this time!

Eggoless: Again with the bow...

Groin: Seriously?

Eggoless: [rolls] Oh, a 13. That might not do it.

Raisin: I'll fire off my second magic missile spell at him.

DM: Bore'me's mace strikes the ogre's arm and this time [rolls] you hear a crunch and it sounds like you might have broken something. Before he can recover from the blow by the cleric, Angora's 2H sword bites into his shoulder, [rolls] cutting deeply into his flesh! He doesn't look like he has much fight left in him!

Raisin: Awesome! My spell should take him right out!

DM: [rolls] Eggoless, your arrow does indeed connect once again! Unfortunately, a 13 hits Raisin's AC of 8 with no problem. Your arrow pierces [rolls]... oh. It drives through Raisin's back and the tip of the arrow punches out the front of his robes, dealing 6 points of damage. Raisin was down to 4 hit points, so he collapses to the ground, blood soaking the front of his robes, before he can get his spell off.

Eggoless: Oops.

Groin: ...

Monday, December 20, 2010

What's In A Name?

Why is it such a challenge for players to come up with character names? Really, it isn't that hard, is it? Or maybe it is...

GM Troll: Ok, so you've rolled up your stats - it looks like you would be a good elf!

Elf Player: Yeah, ok! I wanted to play an elf!

GM Troll: So once you've picked out your gear and come up with a name, you can join the rest of the party and we'll begin.

Elf Player: Hmmm... [after several minutes of thought] How about... Myrmidon?

Dwarf Two: [shaking his head] You'll sound a bit funny when you get to Level 6, won't you? Myrmidon the Myrmidon?

GM Troll: [not wanting to waste any more time] No, that name's fine! Let's begin...

[Several days later, Myrmidon meets an untimely demise and a new character is rolled up...]

Elf Player: I think I'm going to continue playing an elf.

GM Troll: Ok, you have the stats for it, so that should work. Pick out some gear and a name and I'll work you into the story at an opportune time.

Elf Player: I think I'll call him... Myrmadon. He can be Myrmidon's twin brother!

Dwarf Two: What, so 'Legolas' is taken, then??

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Play-By-Post Challenges - Part One

One of the challenges of a Play-By-Post campaign is that some players do not post nearly as often as the rest of the party. And then when they do post, they like to go back in time and change things...

Elf Player: I search the fountain.

GM Troll: Ok, you... wait, what?

Elf Player: I search the fountain. Do I find anything?

GM Troll: There is no fountain in the room you guys are currently in...

Elf Player: No, before we left the room with the fountain, I'm going to search it.

GM Troll: But... the party left that room three days ago. You've already moved through several hundred feet of hallway and three other rooms since then. Plus, if you'll read back through the posts, you'll see that they've already searched it.

Elf Player: Then I leave the party and go back to the fountain room to search the fountain.

GM Troll: *sigh* Ok, please state any other actions you'd like to do before hand.

Elf Player: No other actions - I just leave the party and go back to the fountain so I can search it.

GM Troll: After walking 20' away from the rest of the party, you round the corner in the corridor and are enveloped in darkness as you have no light source.

Elf Player: [silence]

Dwarf Two: We're not waiting for him...

[48 RL hours later...]

GM Troll: Ummm... Elf Player, you are standing in a hallway. It is pitch dark... you are likely to be eaten by a grue.

[24 RL hours later...]

GM Troll: [rolls] Elf Player, as you fumble around in the dark (remember, elves have no infravision in OD&D), trying to find your way, something large brushes past your shoulder and a low rumble of laughter echos in your pointy elven ears...

[The blind combat against five wandering orcs does not go well for the elf, who perishes in just one round...]

[Another 24 RL hours later...]

Elf Player: Did I find anything in the fountain?

GM Troll: Do you even read the other posts??

Friday, December 17, 2010

Think before you leap!

In this scenario, two dwarves, both in plate armour, engage in combat on a barge with a slave trader and his three warf-rat companions, who want to add two dwarves to their list of commodities. Sometimes players like to argue that they should be able to do things in-game that they've done before in real life... and then try to talk their way out of a hastily-made decision...

Dwarf One: I'm on the left side of the crate, near the river, and Dwarf Two is on the right side of the crate, with the barrels on his other side.

GM Troll: [rolls] Roll Initiative for the dwarves, please...

[After three rounds of combat, Dwarf One hasn't taken a hit yet, but has likewise not hit anyone else. Dwarf Two has successfully dealt the slaver a savage blow, but was seriously wacked on the head by one of the thugs and Dwarf One is thinking of leaving while the getting is still good...]

Dwarf One: I don't like the way this is going. Sorry, Dwarf Two... I jump into the river to get away.

Dwarf Two: Hey!

GM Troll: Fortunately, this area of the river isn't dredged very often because the barges don't need much clearance to float, so the water is only 5' deep. Unfortunately, you are a dwarf and only 4'1" tall. The weight of your plate armour causes you to float about as well as an anvil. You sink straight to the bottom. [rolls] But you miraculously land on your feet! You watch the surface of the water ripple for a minute, just 11" above your head, before darkness overcomes you and you drown.

Dwarf One: No, I don't! I've gone swimming in full armour before in real life AND it was made of lead!

GM Troll: That might work if you were a human, but you're a dwarf. You're unable to keep yourself afloat because of your tiny arms.

Dwarf One: Then I slip my armour off instantly. I coat my body with butter every morning.

GM Troll: The river washed off the butter.

Dwarf One: I hold my breath and walk on the bottom to the ladder going up to the docks.

GM Troll: The ladder is 60' away; You can't hold your breath that long.

Dwarf One: I grabbed a barrel on the way down, so I suck the air out of the bunghole.

GM Troll: It had beer in it. You suck beer into your lungs and drown.

Dwarf One: I'm a dwarf, so I can breathe beer.

GM Troll: You get drunk instantly and pass out on the bottom of the river and drown.

Dwarf One: I hate you, GM Troll!

GM Troll: I'm not the one who jumped into a river wearing plate armour.

(The gist of this entry was initially created by The Grumpy Old Troll as we were tossing around ideas for the blog, but I embellished it a bit.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fun With OD&D Elves

Who doesn't love the player who wants to be able to do everything with no limitations? Here we have the Greyhawk version of the OD&D elf, with the new multi-class concept of fighter / magic-user / thief; the player is having difficulties with their classes' armour limitations.

Elf Player: I'll try to pick the lock on the chest.

GM Troll: You can't - you're wearing plate armour.

Elf Player: I take my armour off, then.

GM Troll: Just so you know, it will take you four rounds to take your armour off and six rounds to put it back on. And there IS a hobbit thief in your group...

Elf Player: That's no problem. I can do most anything myself except heal.

GM Troll: *sigh* Ok, go ahead...

Elf Player: [Removes plate armour.] OK, now I'll pick the lock.

GM Troll: [rolls successfully] Hey, look at that! You actually pick the lock!

Elf Player: Now that I've picked the lock, I'm going to put my plate armour back on.

Dwarf Two: Oh, for Pete's sake...

GM Troll: Ok, that will take six rounds. [rolls] Oooohhhh... not good. Just as the elf is about half way through putting his armour back on [rolls], three orcs round the corner 30' away. [rolls] Neither side is surprised. They see you and charge, screaming, "Kill the intruders!" [rolls] Someone please roll initiative for the group.

Elf Player: [rolls] A six! I cast sleep on the orcs.

GM Troll: You can't. You're still partially in plate armour. It will take you two rounds to remove it or three rounds to finish putting it on.