Tuesday, June 18, 2013


The floor crumbled away and the cleric (of Man Pac) fell into the underground channel, moving swiftly west.

A fighter, keeping watch, bellowed loudly, causing something to stir on a channel bridge to the east.

The assassin threw a rope and rolled a 1 and fell in, too.

("Please do not penalize your players with 'fumbles' and 'critical misses'." There's actually an RPG book somewhere that says that. People play it.)

The druid and the other fighter threw a rope to the cleric. The cleric caught it, they pulled, the current was swift, they fell in, too.

The wizard cast Animate Rope and tethered the floating assassin to the channel floor.

The assassin threw one end of a rope at the dry fighter.

The dry fighter caught it and tried to anchor it to a corner of masonry.

Passing int he water, the druid grabbed hold of the tethered assassin.

The rope that the druid held still had the cleric on the other end.

The Rolangian 2-headed ogre attacked the dry fighter, who dropped his rope.

The wizard used animate rope to tie the dropped rope around the ogre's legs.

The ogre rolled poorly, and fell into the channel.

It used one pair of eyes to direct an arm to wrap around the anchored assassin's neck, it used the other to direct a spell at the fighter.

Straining against the swift pull of the channel, and the momentum of a cleric holding a rope attached to a fighter and a druid who had grabbed an assassin who had been grabbed by a two-headed ogre, the anchoring rope gave way.

The druid turned into an octopus and tried to rip a head off the ogre, and throw it into the water.

And, just like that, now I love Mondays.


Ian W said...

This is why fumbles and crits should be used.

Zak Sabbath said...

I would say, more specifically: This is why GMs should do whatever they want (use crits, don't use them, whatevs) and players should only play with GMs they like and trust.

Ian W said...

Wise words.

Scott Faulkner said...

Yes, that's a great moment for a fumble. If you're just swinging your sword in a low-stakes fight and roll a 1, I think it's kind of dumb that you might cut your own leg off or something, but when the tension's high and you might blow it, I say let the players *really* blow it.

Zak Sabbath said...

If you're swinging your sword in a low stakes fight and fumble suddenly the low-stakes fight has stakes and is interesting.

It doesn't have to be a fumble that _kills_ you but the dice just gave you a drumroll in the middle of the act and pointed their finger at you. And you do....nothing?

No. If you're going to load Checkhov's gun by rolling a one, there is no argument that you _shouldn't_ then fire it later.

Maybe you don't have the skill or desire to, but there's no reason _it should not be done_.

Scott Faulkner said...

I'd probably go with the oft-used, "you drop your sword" in that instance. Just as you can choose to use the rules in your games or not, I think you should also be able to use them on a case-by-case basis (as long as players trust the GM, as you said).

Unknown said...

The low stakes fumble that possibly hurts you real bad can also help achieve a tone; swinging sharp and heavy things around is generally dangerous so try not to do it too often unless you really need to.

KnaveRupe said...

For some reason, this sad tale of woe and clusterfuckery reminds me of the Bricklayer's Song:


Konsumterra said...

Ha - cool - tops my sunday where party goat got tentacled by fish god and dragged into a pit and dwarf grabbed unconscious goats legs and then thief grabbed dwarf, another henchman grabbed thief and the party billy goat was saved. Other heroes drove off fish god hooray! Now i see they got off lightly.

Chris said...

Haven't used critical miss in a while except as flavor ("You swing hammer and monster snickers at how much you missed him by..."), but once I had a sword-swinging skeleton get its sword stuck in a nearby wall. Makes sense to me, and takes a quick check next round to pry it loose.

n8mcd said...

Fumbles should err on the side of comedy, imo, swords lodging in beams and doors, ropes tangling amongst feet and limbs, etc.

In most cases, I would allow an instant save or attribute check to avoid triggering attacks of opportunity or other serious repercussions; to give that 'drum roll' effect and get everybody's attention.

Bruno said...

I like fumbles... As long as they don't always do the same thing! Either the GM decides what's appropriate or a table is used. For example, if people are dropping their weapons 1 time out of 20 in fights, it gets silly quickly. But if sometimes they drop them, other times they trip, other times they leave themselves open for an extra attack, etc, then fights become more interesting.