The Saving Throw
Contest Entry July 12, 2006
Gaming moments with multiple endings, but only one is the real ending.

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Poaching the Poachers
  contributed by Nwash

This story comes from an adventure in a setting developed by my friend. We were using second edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rules. This would be the beginning of what we'd come to call the "freak campaign" due to the unusual races played by the other two players. I was playing a chaotic good female human ranger created with the special explorer kit in the Ranger's handbook. The others were using the Humanoid's handbook to create more unusual characters, including a druid of a large, powerful, furry race I can't recall the name of and a minotaur fighter/mage.

This was the first adventure with these characters, so naturally, the first order of business was to get our characters to meet each other. In a case of turnabout, the story started out with the minotaur unconscious and helpless as poachers were preparing to cut off his horns. Apparently, this player had once left one of the dungeon master's characters in a similar position in one of his adventures. It would turn out that my character would be the only hope of preventing this crime, as she happened to wander onto this scene, seeing one of the poachers getting ready to use a saw on the unfortunate minotaur's horns. Naturally, she was going to get involved, but she was only a first-level human ranger with reasonably above-average attributes. Being as these poachers had apparently incapacitated a minotaur, she certainly had valid cause to hesitate.

 Which ending is the real one?


Stalling for time, she called out to the poachers and approached them. They looked at each other, confused about what to do now. I was equally stumped, though, and off the top of my head, I decided to have her try bargaining with them to make them stop. When she blurted out "50 gold pieces," though, they thought she was asking for 50 gold pieces to keep the secret, and they started negotiating over the price of her silence. As it bought time to think, she continued the negotiation. While the haggling continued, the minotaur came around, and the ranger was fortunate enough to notice. Before he could get the wrong idea, she yelled out, "They're after your horns!" This spurred him to action, and drawing our weapons, we cleanly defeated the surprised poachers. With his horns saved, the minotaur and ranger decided to travel together as friends.


Having valid cause to hesitate doesn't necessarily mean that one does, though, and there didn't appear to be much time to waste. Thus, she drew both of her sabers and simply charged downhill toward the poachers, screaming as loud as she could, hoping that the poachers wouldn't want to fight this apparently crazed woman coming at them. Unfortunately, they simply decided to stand and fight. The saw was dropped, and the poachers drew their swords. Undeterred, my ranger attacked. Fortunately, the racket caused the minotaur to rouse, and between the two of us, we were able to kill the two poachers. My ranger then gained the loyal friendship of the minotaur when she explained what they were preparing to do.


Exercising a bit of cleverness and ranger skills, she found a nearby stone and threw it at a tree behind the poachers before quickly hiding. The stone hit the tree loudly, startling the poachers, who whirled around to see what happened. She used these precious seconds to sneak down the hill and find a few acorns. When they turned to resume they were doing, she threw the acorns at them in a high arc. One managed to land on the head of the poacher holding the saw, and the other two landed behind them. Both again looked behind them, and the ranger slipped in even closer to them, hiding behind a large tree very near to them. She tore up a bit of grass so she could get two handfuls of loose dirt, whirled around the tree, and successfully threw the dirt into the faces of the poachers, blinding them. This allowed the ranger to win the fight easily, as they weren't as skilled in combat as she feared. She gained the gratitude of the minotaur when he awoke and was informed of what had almost happened, and he began to travel with her.

Results for this Contest Entry
The correct ending was B.
There were 6 total guesses made. 2 were correct and 4 were incorrect.
The author would get 11 points for this story if he wasn't hosting this contest. (3 points + 2 per incorrect guess)
Those listed below get 6 points for guessing correctly on this story. (2 points + 1 per incorrect guess)
   Carabbit and Macstorm

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