The Saving Throw
Unluckiest Gaming Moments Jan. 25, 2006
These are the gaming moments where sheer statistical improbability was the greatest enemy.

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Take One for the Team
  contributed by Carabbit

Our intrepid group consists of five members, including two rogues: Emmriel, who specializes in picking pockets and stealing hats; and Phynix, who wields a Rod of Wonders to hilarious effect. The monk, Pois, is best described as an accidental tactician. Heron is the charismatic dragon disciple, and Kitty is an unfettered Litorian (for those who don’t know the Cook book, that’s a fancy way of saying “giant cat-person fighter-rogue.”)

We came into a town and heard about a vast treasure hoarded by the nobility of the region. Our two and a half thieves immediately began salivating at the thought of the treasure, and so after a little scouting, Heron talked his way into getting himself and Pois a tour of the treasure vault while their thief friends followed via invisibility, spider climb, and extremely high move silently checks.

The vault was a five floor underground complex guarded by a slew of magical traps and triggers. The first floor was for security, the second floor was dedicated to various weaponry, the third contained magical staves, rods, and such, the fourth contained a magical creature menagerie, and the fifth was where the most potent, and expensive, magical items were kept. Even with Heron, Pois, and the nobleman turning the defenses off momentarily so they could pass through, the skulking thieves only managed to make it to the third floor, as going any further would have compromised their cover. Pois, Heron, and the nobleman finished their tour and left the building, leaving their comrades until Pois could use her Abundant Step ability to bring herself and Heron back inside.

Once inside, it was decided to continue on through the fourth floor. Heron and Pois had been informed that if the defense traps were triggered here, it would let all the nasty creatures, such as griffons and including a green dragon, out to feed on unsuspecting rogues.

Now the idea of an imprisoned, hungry, and understandably angry dragon suddenly let loose in a small, enclosed area would generally dissuade most seasoned adventurers. But what would be the fun in turning back?

Emmriel and Phynix led the way, to be followed by Pois, then Kitty, and finally Heron, the idea being if the two rogues couldn’t disarm the trap, the monk obsessed with stacking her saving throws is the safest bet to survive it.

The first trap defense we encountered was at the top of the stairs, and our rogues disarmed it with no problem. The second trap defense was much more intricate. Emmriel and Phynix managed to get around it, but they could not disarm it for the rest of us. Normally, Pois would have set it off, but this time she thought it best to not set off the trap as it would free the monsters. And so Pois, Kitty, and Heron were unable to help when Emmriel and Phynix were faced with the undisclosed final guard of the facility, an Illithid.

The Illithid’s mind attack immediately rendered Emmriel a blubbering mess, but Phynix managed to make her saving throw. Phynix’s choice of weaponry, however, was a +2 bow, and when she was alone, she was overmatched. Heron acted decisively, and with a tense apology he pushed Kitty who knocked Pois down the final step and onto the trap, a very hazardous game of dominoes.

The trap turned out to be much worse than any of us had anticipated: a power word kill spell, a power word stun spell, and a power word blind spell that went off in quick succession. To Pois’ horror, her saving throws did nothing; she survived only because of a high hit-point total. She managed to survive the kill spell, but the latter two spells hit with full effect. After the trap triggered and they became aware of the suddenly freed monsters, Heron and Kitty rushed down the stairs. Heron picked up Emmriel and Kitty threw Pois over her shoulder, and the five of them booked it to the upper floors and out as pandemonium erupted below.

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