On Victory

Today I'm going to talk about danger.

If you follow the dice, and put your hands in fate, without cheating or fudging or saying "I didn't really want that to happen to them",  then what happens really matters. It isn't a question of what you decided to have happen, it's an experience of finding out what did happen and having that mean something; because you put some serious time into Ytol the Elementalist, and if he dies, then that investment is gone.

On to our story:


Within these depths lie death!

So we were exploring the crypts, and found strange deciduous leaves near a doorway marked on my map here:
Click to enlarge
Examining closely there were two small tunnels near the ceiling. Climbing up, we traversed those tunnels to discover a giant tree within a huge chamber within the dungeon.

In this room stood a Frost Giant, the bane of the ice trolls we had been slaughtering. We talk to him a bit, and he likes us at first, because of our slaughter of the trolls. But we begin to notice that he speaks as though his grasp of sanity is tenuous. Being a Neutral Evil Grey Dwarf, and fearless due to my clan standing between under-dark horrors and my surface brothers, I edge close to the side of the room and throw my darts at his head because he's crazy.

I am a level 1 dwarf elementalist. We also have a level 1 "elven" Ranger, and a level 1 gnome Cleric/Thief.

A frost giant has 15 hit dice (plus the 20 hitpoint kicker in hackmaster) and hits our best armor class (the thief with his gnome bonus versus giants) on a roll of 3 or better. How much damage do my darts do against giant size creatures?

1 point of damage.

In retrospect, this was not one of my most brilliant moments.

All of our dice (DM included) are rolled in the open. The story is that 4 fumbles from the giant later, and 12 called shots to the head later (Darts have a 3/1 ROF), I finally got my first dart critical. Rolling for severity, I burn 10 points of honor to add my honor die (d3) to the severity roll (d8). The giants head is unarmored (+10) I'm attacking from the rear (+2) and my base severity level is -5. In Hackmaster if you roll a maximum on a die, it explodes and you roll it again.

I toss the dice with baited breath and:

That, for those of you keeping track at home, is an 8 and a 3, *both* of which I got to re-roll.

BOOM! (Sound of frost giant skull shattering)
That's my pack goat, Winter, behind me in the corner. Yes we pulled him up into the tunnel. Winter had this to say about it. "Maaahhh"

One "Skull crushed" critical severity 23 roll later, we had a dead frost giant and more treasure then we could carry.

But if I hadn't scored that critical, we'd be dead. Finished for reals. Kaput. If I had even rolled one lower on my severity, there is a possibility he still could have killed us, for we were but first level, and he was a mighty titan of frost.

Today we won. We won a victory that was real. One that mattered.

Tonight we sup on the riches of plunder.

How was your game this weekend?


  1. That was epic. Maybe the first real David and Goliath moment I have ever seen (well, kind of) at the table.

  2. Yeah, my DM really didn't like it.

  3. As the DM in question, I didn't really mind actually. I was just a bit astonished you guys pulled it off.

  4. Heh. West End games tested out Star Wars Miniatures at a con in Northeast PA when I was in high school. I took out a AT/ST with a blaster pistol. Exploding dice are pure tits. ;)

  5. It's awesome when a massively lucky turn of events happens to bold adventurers... sadly, the inverse occurs just about as frequently.

    Nice rolling there!

  6. Freaking awesome! That takes some serious balls.

  7. There was a moment or two where I was pretty sure I had gotten us involved in a TPK. It could have gone either way.


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