With the anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons this weekend we thought it would be a great time for you all to come, sit round the Beasts of War tavern in front of a roaring fire and share your war stories from the many adventures you’ve been on. But, as the Bard in these proceedings I feel I should start off with some of my own. So, grab a pint of ale my friends and listen to tales of misfortune and glory…
Let’s start off with some tales of the good. My group started off playing Dungeons & Dragons in the era of 3.5 so we didn’t have the masses of pre-game knowledge that had come in previous editions. However, we enjoyed it all the same and were of course able to dive right into an edition of Dungeons & Dragons that had been ‘fixed’ as far as most people saw it.
Considering we had only got our hands on the core books, a Monster Manual, Players Handbook and Dungeon Masters Guide we had plenty of fun and our at the time resident all-things Dungeon Master took us through an exciting tale. It all started with a selection of preludes.
Our characters had been worked out and we sat down with our Dungeon Master to go through a short story to introduce us to the mechanics and such. I was playing a Paladin by the name of Anduin (original I know). A friend played Jago, a half-dryad Druid, another a Half-Orc Barbarian named Gor’Mag and the final member of our party was Cassius the Wizard.
Each of us had had loads of fun with our preludes and soon a story was beginning to unravel. I was being framed for the murder of a high ranking official and had been drugged in the doing. The others all had their own separate story lines to explore too but considering my state of affairs we spent many hours trying to discover the true culprits and met many fantastic foes along the way.
A few moments in this role-play really stood out to me. One of them occurred when we were bloody hungry. We players went out of the house across the road for snacks and our Dungeon Master said he would set up the encounter. By the time we got back we were facing a massive pirate ship that had been built out of tiles and books! The fight we had on that was awesome with Cassius sending a fireball into the mast and bringing it down in a firestorm. Gor’Mag was shot through the stomach with a ballista and when he didn’t die he let the firer reel him back in so he could cut his head off!
Being some of our first real experiences with Dungeons & Dragons this was fun, fast, and full of exciting cinematic moments. A few other great moments came when my Paladin, on top of a tower, realised he could make the Undead cower and flee in fear. I then proceeded to practically critical on every roll and send the ghouls and their vampire leader running, some off the edge of the tower itself.
Another moment of magical brilliance (well two in fact) came when we were attacked in a tavern by another band of adventurers, the reason they were after us escapes me. My friend, playing Jago the Half-Dryad decided that he had had enough of the urban life and proceeded to send masses of roots sprawling out of the ground, essentially breaking the tavern and crushing it to pieces. It wasn’t helped by Cassius the Wizard then setting everything on fire with a flaming sphere.
It was even genuinely good laughs when our resident Barbarian, Gor’Mag got magically dominated by one of our foul enemies and then turned on us. We didn’t want to kill him so Cassius put him inside a bubble of magic and made sure he was trapped until the spell wore off and we could kill the foul enchantress who had put such a spell on him.
3.5 really was ‘our’ edition and I know everyone has their own that they love. 4th Edition was of course a logical next step for us and we had plenty of fun with that too. Nothing was ever really on the scale of 3.5 but when you think you’re screwed and the Dragonborn Fighter manages to wake up on a sacrificial altar and then nearly kill all of the cultists, you know you had a good session.
We’ve even had some hilarious moments in Dungeons & Dragons Next (5th Edition). How do you get a goblin to come out of a tree when you can’t see him and he is avoiding all of your arrows? Simple, get the Druid to summon a bear in the tree. Yeah…our Druid really did that. It worked actually.
Of course I can’t leave ‘The Good’ without mentioning the time we spent in the Tomb of Horrors. Spheres of Annihilation are not your friend, even when you jump through them twice in a row. Oh, also when you fall down a 100 foot drop and survive but with all your stats smashed to pieces, don’t try climbing out in just your underwear. My poor gnome paladin…
The Bad (Or Just Unlucky…)
Of course not every role-play session is filled with moments of glory and victory. Sometimes people die and/or get into situations which probably won’t work out too well. Here are just a few…
1) When leaving a collapsing cavern, don’t carry the critically injured Wizard on your back.
Yep. You remember Gor’Mag and Cassius from earlier? Well our Wizard was pretty much dead and Gor’Mag carried him on his back to get out of the collapsing tunnel system we were in. What he didn’t account for was when the ceiling fell in and crushed Cassius into a paste. On the bright side he absorbed most of the damage on the Barbarian.
2) “I Am Friend” doesn’t convince Goblins to help you.
A friend of mine was playing a peace loving Cleric who genuinely thought he could reason with the goblins inside a cavern. He opened the door and held his hands up in peace then the Dungeon Master said “If you can give me some spiel then I’ll give you a bonus to charisma on the roll.” The Cleric then said the line above and we all fell about laughing. Incidentally the Goblins didn’t think this diplomacy was quite up to scratch either and stabbed him with spears until we had to wade in and solve the problem.
3) Don’t try and siege a tower full of Kobolds
We had been tasked, in 4th Edition D&D, to deal with some Kobolds in a tower. Never before has one group been so incredibly derpy. We walked up to the front door and were pelted with all kinds of pots of glue, fire, poison and everything in between. You would have thought we would have retreated and thought up a new plan. No, not us. We thought it best to continue trying to smash down the door and the Fighter got fed up and waded through the moat before trying to climb the walls. Yeah…we didn’t talk about that one when we got back to town.
4) Gnome Barbarians don’t work.
You might think that a little fey Barbarian would be a good idea. Nah, it really isn’t. I rolled up this character so he would be something a bit fun. We were faced with a palisade fence and a selection of kobolds on the other side. The rest of my party decided to try and smash down the fence. I took the bright idea of jumping over it and facing the kobolds in single combat! What I hadn’t anticipated was that the Dungeon Master had said all of them had prepared actions. Each of them threw their spear at my poor Gnome and he was skewered like a kebab. Needless to say I don’t think we’ve ever seen someone get killed in a level one encounter in the first round ever again.
So, let’s celebrate Dungeons & Dragons and please share some of your experiences with the world below. They don’t have to be your own either; what other cool stories have you heard on the grapevine?
With a new edition coming this year, I can’t wait to suit up and get fighting once more.
What about you?
"We players went out of the house across the road for snacks and our Dungeon Master said he would set up the encounter. By the time we got back we were facing a massive pirate ship that had been built out of tiles and books!"
"Each of them threw their spear at my poor Gnome and he was skewered like a kebab. Needless to say I don’t think we’ve ever seen someone get killed in a level one encounter in the first round ever again."