D-20s. 20-sided dice. Those fickle things with which all of us tabletop RPG players seem to have a love/hate relationship. They’re nearly indispensable to our games, but almost all of us have cursed our luck with the ways in which our dice rolls have played out many times over the years.
So, instead of giving you a review of a tabletop game this week, I thought I would take over for Brook this time, and share with you some stories of times that my dice have earned our ire, while eliciting both laughter from our DMs, and facepalms from our fellow party members.
Doug T. (Me)
First, let me say that my dice & I have never really seen eye to eye. That being said, let me tell you about one of the more amusing times that the dice have seen fit to spite me with that dreaded 1. I was playing as a slayer in our Pathfinder group, and was out on a skip-trace. I followed my mark to a dock, and (in my infinite wisdom) decided to try hopping across the sunken posts in the water in order to catch up to him, instead of taking the safe route across the pier. Of course, I fumbled my agility roll, fell in the water, and got (nearly fatally) stabbed by the mark. Needless to say, he got away, and I had to rely on our spellcaster to heal me for a full day. Sullen apologies abounded as it turned out that my poor decision-making and even worse roll had made my party late for an important meeting.
Thankfully, this doesn’t just happen to me. I recently asked a few friends of the site to share their stories of their more epic dice fails, and some of these are awesome. Tragic, but awesome.
During my introduction to one of my D&D groups, I was flying a hang glider while being charged by giant wasps. I attempted an evasive maneuver, and fumbled the roll. What’s worse? The mage of the group fumbled his attack roll on magic missile, so my character was introduced to the party as what amounted to a flaming comet.
I was a warlock CE Level 6. My DM killed my sabertooth (named Toothless), and so I was going around trying to figure out who did it. So my leads sent me to a guy in prison. I managed to get past the guards and into the back cells. The door locked behind me, and after I tortured this guy to death, I go to pick the lock. I fumbled my roll and 6 guards opened the door. I rolled at Nat 20 for suicide.
The Warrior had just fallen into a pit trap ahead of us. My Warlock tries to attack some Kobolds on the other side. I start channeling an Eldritch Blast, and rolled… a Natural 1. I question if I just miss or there’s some other effect. The GM thinks and then decides, “Your demonic energy springs forth from your hands, but turns into a soft stream of pastel colors with a nice floral bouquet that wafts across the room”. “So much for daemonic patronage,” I growled. The Warrior, clueless in their pit, suddenly pauses their escape attempt. “Do… do I smell flowers? What is going on up there?!”
We’ve all had moments where the dice have royally effed us. It’s times like these when we usually curse our own dice, switch to different ones, or simply lay our heads in our hands and twitch. We all know that, in the world of tabletop RPGs, natural 1’s are pretty much an inevitability. Still, those moments are a part of the game(s); and without them, we probably wouldn’t have nearly as much amusement in our campaigns as we do now.
What about you, dear readers? What stories of epic fumbles do you have? Feel free to share yours in the comments below!