When the dice are against you... your worst dice rolls ever


First Post
Back in the mid 80's I was at a gaming convention playing a bard. It was a high level game. I think we were in the mid teens. My friend was playing a cleric with a rod of resurrection. (This fact is important btw.)
On our first encounter into some caves we encounter a red dragon. Ok no problem. We're high level, right? The dragon wins initiative so he does what dragons do best; he breathed fire. I rolled a "1" for my save. Dead! Since all I can do is smolder menacingly at the dragon, I started to roll saves for all my items. Every thing saves; including my magical scrolls! I rolled a 20 for that one. :confused:
Ok, so after combat is over, my friend hits me with the rod: back among the living. Just as I get to my feet, here comes the red dragons mate! Breathe fire! One natural one later I'm smoldering menacingly at this dragon too. Aaaand you guessed it, all of my items saved, including the friking scrolls!
I should have wrapped my self in the scrolls. I would have been safer.:p

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I've got two I can think of off hand,

The first I was GM'ing a shadowrun game when a guy had taken a bunch of hostages and was behind cover with explosives and a dead man's switch in his hand. The pc's were negotiating but then one of them decides to snipe the guy, so I set the target number absurdly high (like in the 30s) but of course he hit and manages to one shot the guy. :confused:

The other was my famous 2e "I lived through a fireball and all I got was this..oh where are my pants?" I made my save, my gear did not. (Spiteful dm was spiteful.) (lesson learned that night, if the dm was broke cover her share of pizza :p )


I have so many stories it's taken me a while to narrow down the worst die roll set. I have so many outliers, both good and bad, that I always roll in the open because even I wouldn't believe me otherwise!

I was GMing Champions, a superhero game. The heroes were dealing with a hostage-taking at a large indoor shopping mall.

The bad guys had struck in the middle of Christmas shopping and had bombs planted all over the mall. If the leader went down, the bombs would detonate.

One PC gets frustrated and takes the leader down. I announce the ramifications.

There were over a dozen bombs scattered in the mall. A single bomb wasn't llikely large enough to kill (2d6 RKA, explosions), but they were clustered and I expected a massive bloodbath. If a civilian was hit by 2 bombs, they'd be bleeding to death or worse.

Now, the bombs were designed to reflect their home-made status: each had to roll less than 15 on 3d6 to go off -- that's a 91% chance of detonation for those keeping track.

Only 2 of the 14 bombs detonated. They were pretty much at opposite ends of the mall. Every other device rolled 15-18 on 3d6. The bombs that went off rolled below average damage. Not one civilian was seriously injured.

The authorities couldn't figure out how the heroes knew/arranged it, but they took care of a a potentially devestating situation with only minor injuries! The heroes got their praise and accolades from all side for weeks!

And the rest of the group nearly pounded the instigator into the ground when they realised the extent of the carnage he could have triggered.

This happened to me recently in a d20 Apocalypse campaign. We've been playing over a year and reached level 13.

We were fighting bad guys responsible for unleashing a flu that wiped out most of the world's population. It was in a desert and there was a complication of huge burrowing insects: imagine the worms from Tremors but as beetles.

Our target was getting away by motorbike and our truck was parked pretty far away so we could sneak into the complex. I went out with Combat Expertise for +5 and Fighting Defensively for +3 on top of an already exceptional Defense (AC).

One of the monsters pops out and attacks with a bite that leads into a Swallow Whole attack. The DM rolled a 20, the only number that would hit.

the bug didn't confirm the crit, but the normal damage from the auto hit dealt enough for a Massive Damage save. The DC was 15 and I had a +10 Fort save and we were at the level of rolling 3d6 for Action Points to add the best to the roll.

I rolled a 1, an auto fail where AP wouldn't help. That dropped me to -1 HP so I couldn't try to escape the mouth. The next turn my character was eaten alive and then killed in the belly from acid and crushing damage.

Jack Daniel

I have a curious house-rule in my OD&D games that I've used for a lot of years. A character who falls to 0 hp or less isn't immediately dead. But instead of using negative hp or a saving throw or something, I rather have the wounded character roll 2d3 to see how wounded they are -- with results ranging from 2 (just knocked out) to 6 (killed outright). Now, rolling 2d3 creates a simple bell-curve, such that rolling double threes (the only result that means instant death) happens only one time in nine... and yet, just two weeks ago, I had a party of seven first level characters assault a lair on the 2nd dungeon level that held a dozen orcs, during which four characters were wounded and each one consecutively rolled double threes on their wound rolls. The increased noise of each "OOH!" and "AUGH!" that came with every next d3 roll must have seriously disturbed the folks in the neighboring apartments. :p

The long and the short of it is that both fighters, the dwarf, and the halfling all wound up dead, stuck on the front-lines and mobbed by orcs; while the the party's thief, cleric, and elf, who all hung back at the lair entrance, were able to run away and escape with their lives. But then, those three never had to make wound rolls. :hmm:

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