My Dungeons and Dragons group finally got a chance again to play after a few weeks away from our campaign. We were set to have our usual 4 or 5 ready to go, but it ended up dwindling down to just three of us plus our Dungeon Master, much to the sadface-iness of all of us. We were a little worried about how things would play out, as tonight’s encounter was built for 5 or 6 to take on, and also because of the fact that none of the players who showed up were magic users. (I mean, I heal and I empower, but I have no offensive magic, really.) So we were jumping into this one with a bit of hope that our DM would scale it back for the three of us.
As our story continued, we were back at our “home” town and had just defended it from a barrage of enemies who had firebombed our location. This encounter had us facing orcs of increasing size and ability, as well as two trolls, one of whom was a very large one we named Edward, due to his sword-fingers, which actually hurt quite badly. (I was knocked out into the negative for a moment, but then remembered that I had a shield up that actually resisted enough damage that I should not have been down.) Let’s get into some of the geeky highlights:
- With our great-axe-wielding Fighter surrounded by enemies, my character moves beside them and past them allowing them to take free hits on me. With our Fighter’s abilities, that meant he got to, in turn, take free hits on them, thus obliterating all of them in one turn, before it was even his turn.
- Upon discovery of Edward’s weakness toward fire, our Ranger uses his abilities and luckily rolls a natural 20, thus dealing maximum damage and pushing Edward into a burning building, making him take fire damage, as well as immobilizing him in said fire, making sure that he would take more fire damage in subsequent turns. (Our Ranger also rolled another natural 20 moments later to deal maximum damage again.)
- As a Cleric, when I heal my allies with my abilities, it gives them accuracy bonuses, which actually allowed our Fighter turn what should have been a missed attack into a hit, which pretty much sealed the fate of Edward.
There were a couple of really well-timed (read: lucky) moments and good choices made by our trio that really helped us get through the battle alive. But what really blew my mind and was definitely the general highlight of the night was when our DM told us that he did not scale it back, and that the three of us managed to win a fair encounter meant for 5 or 6. I know that’s probably not a big deal to most of you but for someone who is just starting to get the hang of the game, with all of its complexities and infinite possibilities, this was a huge victory. As players, we are far from experts, but if this round was any indication, we’ve got some awesome potential to take on some epic battles and actually win them down the road.
Say what you will about Dungeons & Dragons, but if you’ve never actually taken the time to play this game and really step into the world of your imagination, you have no idea what you’re actually saying. The strategies, teamwork, and general good times — we laugh a LOT when we play — are better and longer-lasting than most games you’ll ever play. And the fact that it’s a continuing story, constantly evolving and growing with our experiences, simply makes it that much more enjoyable, and more rewarding. It’s like story writing, with dice determining the outcome of your decisions, and your decisions being based on the moment and the desire to be successful.
If you ever get the chance, try it, even for just one round. Play with your imagination.