Copyright © 2004 Chris Gonnerman
Once upon a time back in High School, I started a new campaign with my
regular player group. They all began in the same village, which was
home for most of them, and went out exploring a ruined castle in a
Now, I had decided to hold back on the magic (my last campaign having
gone "Monty Haul") so on the ground floor of the ruin the only magic
item they found was a glowing crystal Dagger +1. The mage in the party
won the toss and got it. Of course they fought some monsters and got
some treasure, and being beat up they went back to town.
That night, as the party's mage (I forget his name) lay sleeping in
his bed in his mother's house, the two dwarves, David and Draper
(don't ask me how they decided on those names) decided to steal the
dagger. Now this was the Moldvay/Cook D&D rules, so the dwarves had no
particular thieving abilities.
They stripped off their armor outside, crept in the unlocked front
door, and David tried to sneak across the mage's room to attack him
with his sword. Draper remained at the door to the mage's room with
his short bow, arrow nocked. I decided what David's player had to roll
for the sneaking, and he blew the roll.
The mage awoke, grabbed the dagger from under his piled-up dirty
clothes, and saw by its light two dwarves in their skivvies with
murder in their eyes. Quite reasonably, he turned and jumped out
He made his roll, and landed on his feet, so he ran at full speed
into the village (for his mother's house was on the outskirts)
screaming for help and holding the dagger high. He was dressed
only in his undershorts. Both dwarves blew their rolls for jumping out
the window and landed in a heap.
The mage ran to the house of his friend Andrew, a human fighter
who used the morningstar. Andrew answered the door just as David
arrived, and Andrew got the initiative and hit him. David fell in
Draper, evil intent in his eyes, raised up his shortbow to fire at
the mage; but another character, Gallarando, came out of the bar
just up the street with his shortbow in hand. Initiative was
rolled, and Gallarando got it. Andrew and the mage rolled also and
didn't do as well as Draper, so only Gallarando had a chance to
attack before Draper did.
Gallarando had been drinking all night (it was after midnight);
there were no rules for this in the B/E D&D so I decided on -5. He
was also at long range (-5 again I think); anyway he needed a
natural 20 to hit.
He got it. Imagine the players at that point...
Draper hadn't recovered from injuries suffered in the ruins, so he
didn't have many hit points; and Gallarando's player rolled a 5 or
6 (I forget). Draper was slain.
The mage thanked Andrew kindly, promising him half his (the
mage's) share of treasure the next time they went out. Andrew
replied that he hadn't liked those dwarves anyway, and it was his
pleasure to be of service. Then the mage (in his underwear) went
down to the bar and assumed Gallarando's tab (which was
substantial by then).
David's player was cool about dying; he just did it for fun. His
next PC was a staunch ally of the mage. Draper's player (who had
been a dupe in the whole mess) was mad about it, but he quietly
rolled up another character (a dwarf named Draper) and joined the
party at their next outing.