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Terrible Luck with the Dice

kitsune9

First Post
In other type of thread (the WORST encounter), I asked what was the WORST type of encounter you hated to write up. A couple of posters had indicated that they ran an encounter where the dice was completely against them. So, hence the idea for this thread.

Tell us about an encounter that just your players managed to walk through that even if the dice rolled average, they would have thought twice about or it should have been a TPK.

Here's my funny little example:

I have a 6 character party running through the old dwarven mines in Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. There are some "castle areas" in which there are a lot of goblinoid guards, cultists, etc. defending some gate either into the Inner Fane or to the outside. This was an Inner Fane "castle area", so a lot tougher baddies lived here. These fights should be wars of attrition the way the encounters are written up. The PC's kill some guards, run away, kill the higher level baddies, run away, then come back and pick off the hill giants and baddies to clear out the castle area.

Well, the party charged in totally gung-ho. It was definitely going to be a TPK, because the gnolls sounded the alarm and started tactics to prevent the PC's from retreating. Well, that was the idea at least. Except that I couldn't roll anything above a 5 to save my life. Not a single creature scored a hit on the PC. Saving throws? All failed. The monsters managed to move to prevent the PC's from escaping, but just died where they stood. Soon the entire castle area came out to kill the PC's, something that would be a TPK for a party three times their numbers, but for some reason my dice bought a one-way ticket to Epic Fail and became a citizen there.

I had to dole out like 15,000 XP for all the encounters and my players considered it one of my finest sessions ever as a DM. ;)

Happy Gaming!
 

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Rhun

First Post
but for some reason my dice bought a one-way ticket to Epic Fail and became a citizen there.

Ha ha ha, this comment made me laugh!

Sounds like a fun time for your players. I've had similar situations though, in which the encounter started off as looking like a TPK, and then my dice went on a cold streak. Of course, the same has happened to my players as well.
 

kitsune9

First Post
Ha ha ha, this comment made me laugh!

Sounds like a fun time for your players. I've had similar situations though, in which the encounter started off as looking like a TPK, and then my dice went on a cold streak. Of course, the same has happened to my players as well.

Oh yeah, I've had good turn around too. Last session, I was rolling oodles of crits and nasty damage on the players that forced them to heal and heal often. The fighter types were doing the yo-yo dance. I'm sure that as DM's or players we've may have experienced a cake-walk encounter that turned into a TPK in our lives (like a lone goblin taking out the party simply because the player's couldn't roll to save their lives).

However, I just won't ever forget that one session where I threw everything including the kitchen sink at the PC's who just blindly charged in and they pawned it all. ;)
 

coyote6

Adventurer
I played in a short 3.0 game where our (the PCs') dice apparently decided to implement the Inverse Ninja Law. Whenever we had to fight several foes, we would blow through 'em, just tear them apart. Then we'd get down to one last foe -- and he would last for rounds. Two or three rounds would go by with nobody (out of 4 or 5 PCs) hitting the guy, and then someone would finally hit -- and roll minimum damage. We were low-level, too (I think the game folded around 7th level), so it's not like the bad guys had a lot of hit points. One or two solid hits would take 'em down.

It wasn't that we were facing the boss after having killed his goons, either -- no, we're talking like "four bandits" or "5 kobolds" -- identical guys, just the last one standing would be half the pain of the fight. Or if there was some kind of boss (a spellcaster, the kobold chief, whatever) present, the boss would go down way before that last guy.
 

ardoughter

Hero
Supporter
I had a similar experience in Keep on The Shadowfell. The initial encounter at the foot of the stairs, the party enganged the goblins with the palladin and rogue engaging one of the goblin skirmishers, who had a shift ability on a miss and could sneak attack when he attacked from cover. In the players turns they would attack and missed quite a few time so the goblin shifted and in his turn he would move down the passage to gain the cover of the darkness and throw a javalin. Eventually he moved to the torture chamber triggering that encounter.
So now the party was split with 2 members facing a full encounter and 2 facing 3 goblins one of which rapidly died. However, the Torture chamber monsters never rolled above 5 and in the other encounter a moment of inattention by the ranger allowed a goblin to get a sneak attack on him and he died followed shortly after by the fighter.

I have never seen the entire party fail to roll high though I have seen party member having a really bad run. In particularly a ranger in the opening sections of Scales of War not rolling above 6 over a eight hour stretch.
 

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