D&D chronicles: in which goblins smash us

Several weeks ago I posted about my first Dungeon and Dragons experience and pledged to chronicle my adventures. Huzzah, we just had session number two!

Before I get into the adventure, I have to mention two things:

1. The dice are so pretty! — I took myself off to a gaming shop on Saturday, intending to buy a set of polyhedral D&D dice. I always intended to buy pretty ones, preferably purple, but when they showed me the box of loose dice (left) I lost my head somewhat. Instead of 10 mins in and out, I scrabbled through boxes of dice for over an hour and a half. I found several I couldn’t resist, although none as a complete set. In the end I came away with 4 different D20s, and a random assortment of others. Means I can use whichever one takes my fancy… and melt those that don’t perform (hehe).

[For the uninitiated, you use dice with different numbers of sides for different purposes in D&D. As far as I can make out, in D&D version 3.5, which is what we’re playing, you use the D20 (20 sides) most often to determine the outcome of decisions. The higher you roll, the higher the likelihood of a successful or useful outcome. The other dice are used occasionally — for instance, the D6 (a normal cubic die) or D8 (looks like two pyramids stuck together) is used to determine how much damage you might do to your opponent IF you first roll high enough with the D20 to hit them!]

2. We fudged my character stats — Because this was a friendly game (and, as it turns out, something of a dry run) we swapped my bard’s strength and wisdom stats, meaning my strength went to 13 instead of 4. This meant I could have armour and a sword!

OK, so we resumed our adventure where we left off, having just successfully taken a goblin-infested fort. Our mission was to liberate the goblin-infested mine, a couple of hours up the river, but two of our party were seriously injured. Our choices seemed to be a) retreat back to the town to seek healing, b) hang out in the fort, defend it if necessary, while we healed up…

Turns out what we should have done was retreat. But being a D&D novice bard newly armed with a sword, I felt this would be going backwards. Moreover, the town was a six-hour trek away. Much to the disgust of our rogue, I persuaded everyone to sit tight.

We arranged a watch, but after dark the goblins crept up on us. (I think we rolled a crap ‘spot’ check.) A skirmish ensued, I got struck by two arrows in swift succession, losing me 8 of my 7 hit points in about 5 minutes. (The bard hits the deck unconscious.)

We somehow won that battle and the druid healed me, but it should have been a warning… Again we contemplated going back to recuperate away from the goblins; again we kept going…

Up the river we crept until we reached the mine. The only means of crossing the river was a two-person coracle. Arrows rained down as the druid ferried us across one by one — I think I got hit again, but I wanted to use my sword, dammit! We blindly fired a few futile arrows into the maw of the mine, then a spray of oil. The goblins retreated and we were all across the river. We’d made it to the mine. Huzzah!

Our victory was short-lived. Within another ten minutes we’d backed the goblins into a dark corner… and then they smashed us. I did get to use the cool ‘dancing lights’ ghost person bard spell before I got smacked unconscious — then healed for the second time that day — and then taken down again by friendly fire (another bad roll by my roguish team-mate).

So I’m lying there in a pool of my own blood, the goblins are trampling me, taking out my team mates, until we’re all down. The goblins beat their warty chests in triumph. The game master grins and pours another bourbon.

And that, apparently, is what you call a TPK — Total Party Knockout Kill [edited 20/07/12 — I stand corrected]. We laughed and laughed and laughed.

And then rolled up a new set of characters ready for the next game. I’m gonna be a ranger next…

So — anyone got any TPK experiences to share?

8 comments

  1. Wow, as someone who’s never had the patience to learn this game (strange, since I grew up in the generation when everyone first went wild over it) this the most understandable picture of the game I’ve heard. Thanks for the story.

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  2. I haven’t roleplayed much in years, but I still love dice. I even went a little crazy once and splurged for a matching set carved from actual amethyst. Their shapes are rather irregular, but they’re still cool. The place I ordered them from even had d20’s made from dinosaur bone and d20’s made from a meteor, but they were pretty expensive, so I didn’t bother. But wow, were they a cool idea 🙂

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    1. Oh, man, I totally get that! I already have secret plans to venture back down to the shop for some more… These ones only cost $1 each, so CHEAP. If I get into this properly, I can envisage a dice collection coming on…

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      1. If you don’t have one already, you might also want a magnificent dice bag to keep them all in. Some people use Crown Royal bags, which do the job quite well. But there are also places where you can get custom-made bags that are really cool.

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  3. You know,as the druid who healed you (twice!) that round, could i just say, i never knew bards had such a death wish! must you run around corners waving a sword and daring all challengers to “come on!” having said that, iIt was great fun 🙂 i look forward to the next round. and i’ve been talking to people in the know so i might have some better idea about playing the whole thing.

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