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The Saving Throw
Of Lunacy and Spooniness Dec. 8, 2005
Active ingredient: Tabletop gaming insanity (90%).

Mail Me | Gaming Hall of Fame

And so it begins. . .

And so The Saving Throw returns for another week. This time, the theme is sheer craziness, as you'll notice by today's featured hall of fame stories. Yes, I know I said last week I was only going to feature one per week, but I'll wait on that until I start receiving some guides, adventures, and reviews. In fact, since two of these stories were short enough, I decided to feature three great stories for this week. You'll no doubt be either laughing out loud or groaning at the insanity of it all.

Frankly, choosing the featured stories for this week was tough. Your submissions this week were all very enjoyable to read, and I encourage all readers to check out the other stories as well. Dan tells us about how an extremely improbable critical hit saved his party, P. J. Reed tells us about the heroic stand and fall of a courageous priest, and Hylean tells us about his only victory against a master of the game.

Which, by the way, brings me to a question for you, Hylean's story is about a collectible card game, which I didn't really have in mind for the hall of fame. Please read his story, Swarm of the Nossers, and let me know if you think I should continue to accept card game stories or if the hall of fame should be restricted to tabletop RPG stories. You can either email me, or post your opinion on the boards. As a third option, you can voice your opinion in #savingthrow on EsperNet, though I'm extremely nocturnal because of my job.

Anyway, on to the column.



Gaming Tip of the Week
"Never, ever forget about the spooniness of bards."
- Nwash


Gaming Hall of Fame
Today's First Featured Story: Of the Spooniness of Bards
Funniest Gaming Moments submitted by Jerry Swain

My friends and I were playing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, and at the time were attempting to flank a group of orcs that were planning to attack a nearby city. The group consisted of a amazoness fighter, a gnomish tinkerer (me), and two wonderfully ditzy people: a dancer who always wore bells, and a rather stupid bard.

Passing through a forest, we were accosted by fairies/pixies. After a lengthy bit of mind games on their part, they finally made their presence known by turning the ground beneath us into quicksand. Only two of us, myself and the bard, made it out thanks to a saving throw (hyuk). Anyway, while trying to figure out how to get my friends out, the warrioress yelled "There's a rope in my backpack! Throw it to me!" to the bard.

The bard proceeds to throw the backpack in the face of the warrioress.


Today's Second Featured Story: Elven Clubs, Flying Paladins, and Fire! Oh my!
Most Ridiculous Gaming Moments submitted by Beaudoin

A bunch of members of my campus's Gamers' Club got together after a meeting to play a 10th level one-shot (one-session campaign) of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 edition. Our party, mostly pregens (pregenerated characters, or ones created beforehand to speed gameplay), consisted of a paladin devoted to Heironeous (the God of Valor), a cleric of St. Cuthbert (the God of Retribution), a female elven fighter specializing in archery, a 12 year old female rogue, a scout, a barbarian, an enchanter (a wizard specializing in enchantment spells), and a 2-weapon build male fighter.

Because it's standard fantasy convention, we all started in a bar. The paladin and cleric were sitting in one corner near the door, the male fighter in another, the enchanter and barbarian were sitting together in a table in the middle of the room, while the scout, female fighter, and rogue were in the far corner. Scattered around the bar are various NPC townsfolk, as well as several off-duty guards.

Almost immediately, the cleric jumped on the table and starts preaching about the evils of alcohol. This elicited an unfavorable reaction from the male fighter, who threw his tankard across the room. There was a quick exchange between myself (the paladin) and the fighter which resulted in a "Don't do that again." The barbarian, meanwhile, had taken it upon himself to drown out the sermon with a rousing drinking song about ale and whores. This irked the elf, who was being played as a feminist.

Shortly thereafter, one of the observers to the game said, "I'll start the riot by throwing a chair." The DM laughed heartily, thanked him, and then called for an initiative check. Chaos then ensued.

The townsfolk and bar staff scattered. The rogue and scout immediately went into hiding under a table, while the elven fighter shouted, "Women are not objects!" and charged the barbarian, smashing a barstool against his head. In response, the enchanter pulled out a staff of Hold Person and cast it on her. One failed Will save (a reaction roll that allows you to, among other things, escape magical effects), and we now had an angry elf frozen in place The barbarian proceeded to pick up the elf, and use her as a club to kill vipers which the cleric had summoned (if anyone was curious, she did 1d6 damage). Once everyone finished rolling on the ground in laughter, my character jumped on the table and shouted for everyone to calm down and stop fighting. Despite having a 20 Charisma, it seemed I didn't have the force of presence to get the situation under control. During all of this, the male fighter had been using his whip to knock over tankards and break bottles, splashing alcohol everywhere.

On the next initiative, things devolved even more. The scout came out of hiding, and pulled out his bow, firing at the barbarian. He missed by a large margin, and pegged one of the guards in the back. I leapt across the tables to the bar, and started looking for the one who shot the arrow. In my character's eyes, this situation should be handled with as little bloodshed as possible, and the bow had been the most significant lethal force thus far. Naturally, I suspected the scout. I ran across the bar, screaming "Flying Leap of Justice!" and tackled him, attempting a pin.

Next round, the guards were finally getting some semblance of control. They had gotten the barbarian to drop the elf, the enchanter to release his spell, and the cleric to stop summoning vipers. The male fighter, however, was left to his devices. He activated his +2 Flaming Scimitar, and lit the alcohol he was spreading on fire. That's right. He was planning on burning the entire place to the ground. I then dashed across the bar and tackled him, because fire is far more dangerous than arrows.

The rogue, scout, and elven fighter didnít like what was happening, and all three made a break for the windows and escaped, with the barbarian in short pursuit. When they got outside, they saw a guard troop advancing towards the bar, ready for battle. Meanwhile, the cleric summoned a small Water Elemental around the fighter to keep him from igniting anything further, the enchanter attempted (and several tries later, succeeded) in charming one of the guards, and I and the guards were attempting to take down the renegade. Just as the captain of the guard arrived, we brought him to -5 HP (in D&D, when a character is reduced to negative HP they are considered dying and lose health each round, and are officially dead when they reach -10). I stabilized the fighter (make it so he's no longer losing hit points) and handed him over to the captain as our cleric explained the situation.

Then, after two hours of silliness, the party made it out of the bar, found the plot hook of the one-shot, and eventually started working together. If every bar scene played out like this one, though, I doubt it would be considered a trite gaming convention.


Today's Third Featured Story: A Fetching Command
Most Creative Gaming Moments submitted by Lookoutforninjas

A friend of mine were talking and we found we were each playing separate Dungeons and Dragons, 3rd Edition, campaigns at the time. My friend was playing a Samurai (from Oriental Adventures) in his, and I was playing an incoherent, evangelical, dual-dagger wielding Cleric in mine. Both characters, it turned out, were the same (low) level, and not occupied with dungeon crawling, so we arranged a mutual friend to be dungeon master for a duel. He drew up a map, a plateau with crevices and a bridge, put us on opposite sides of it, and the fun began.

After a few turns of combat things turned sour for my character. My friends Samurai turned out to be a complete tank, and my character was just...fun to play. We were obviously playing quite different types of campaign, and his character was simply out of my league. I realized that I had a specific advantage, though. His character was a noble warrior, and my character was just a crazy person.

I try spells, magic trinkets, and similar gambits with little to no success. The DM declares, around the same time I'm facing imminent defeat, that it begins to rain. I decide to run for my life, and in a stroke of inspiration, I run across the most precarious rocks I could spot, suggesting to the DM that such an action might require a Balance check. It's not a very difficult check and I pass easily, but my friend scores a critical failure. He falls down into a crevice but catches himself hanging just out of reach on a Reflex save. At this point I only have one spell left prepared above level 0, and it's Command.

Command, for those of you unfamiliar, is a 1st level spell that causes the target to obey a single-word (verb) spoken command for one turn. Suicide is a noun, so there are surprisingly few actual uses for this spell in the course of a game. After careful consideration I pick up a stick, and gently toss it over the edge.

"Fetch", I say.

He never really forgave me for that one.


This Week's New Hall of Fame Entries

Funniest Gaming Moments

   Of the Spooniness of Bards by Jerry Swain

Proudest Gaming Moments

   Swarm of the Nossers by Hylean

Most Dramatic Gaming Moments

   A Priest's Heroic Stand by P. J. Reed

Most Creative Gaming Moments

   A Fetching Command by Lookoutforninjas

Most Ridiculous Gaming Moments

   Elven Clubs, Flying Paladins, and Fire! Oh my! by Beaudoin

Luckiest Gaming Moments

   Critical Luck by Dan



This Week's Guides

Want to be the first to submit a guide to The Saving Throw? Read more...



This Week's Fan Adventures

Want to be the first to submit a fan adventure to The Saving Throw? Read more...



This Week's Fan Reviews

Want to be the first to submit a fan review? Read more...



Upcoming Releases


Pendragon, 5th Edition
Dec. 12, 2005, $34.99


World of Darkness: Chicago
Dec. 12, 2005, $39.99


Dungeons and Dragons, 3.5 edition
Spell Compendium
Dec. 25, 2005, $39.95

 



Tabletop Gaming News
Barnes and Noble Gives Dungeon and Dragons a New Class
Sources: Barnes and Noble, Slashdot

Barnes and Noble is offering a free online course entitled "Discover Dungeons & Dragons." This course, which is listed as requiring eight hours over four weeks, is being offered to anyone interesting in learning about and playing Dungeons and Dragons. While the course itself is free, it requires the 3.5 edition of the Dungeons and Dragons Player Handbook, a novel entitled City of Ravens, and the Dungeons and Dragons Basic Game.

Students in this course can expect to learn about the history, rules, and settings of Dungeons and Dragons. The course description indicates that students will create a "player role" (character) and will be put in contact with a dungeon master in order to play through an adventure.

The course was created by Wizards of the Coasts, the publishers of the current 3.5 edition of Dungeons and Dragons, which was originally created and published by TSR in 1974. There is an upcoming session on January 9, 2006. You can read more about the course here.


Tabletop Gaming Demonstrations in Many Venues throughout December
Source: Wizards of the Coast

Throughout the month of December, many venues in many US cities are offering demonstrations of Dungeons and Dragons (in the Eberron setting), Dungeons and Dragons minis, and Three Dragon Ante (a related card game). These demonstrations are being performed for anyone interesting in learning about these games.

A list of times and locations for these demonstrations can be found here.


Japan Makes Major Achievement in Worlds 2005
Source: Wizards of the Coast

Japan, the host nation for Worlds 2005, the World Championship Magic: The Gathering tournament, made an historic achievement; the World Champion, World Team Champion, and Player of the Year for Worlds 2005 were all members of Team Japan. This feat has only been performed once before, but by the United States. This year, however, Team USA lost against Team Japan in the final match 3-0, earning Team Japan its World Team Champion status.

The World Champion, Katsuhiro Mori, is Japan's first individual World Champion. His achievement netted him a $35,000 check. His opponent in the final match was Frank Karsten from the Netherlands. The score here was 3-1.

Finally, Kenji Tsumura claimed the Player of the Year title over his rival Olivier Ruel, with only a single point separating them, completing the great accomplishment for his country.

Video from the World 2005 event can be downloaded here.



And so it ends. . .

And with that, this edition of The Saving Throw comes to an end. Remember to share your opinion on collectible card game stories being included in the hall of fame, and have a good week. I'll be back next Thursday with another edition of The Saving Throw for your reading pleasure.


Shawn "Never wants to play a spoony bard" Bruckner



Columns That Came Before
Dec. 1, 2005
The Annoucement

In This Column
Today's Hall of Fame Stories
Upcoming Releases
Tabletop Gaming News

Gaming Hall of Fame
Funniest Gaming Moments
Proudest Gaming Moments
Most Dramatic Gaming Moments
Most Creative Gaming Moments
Most Ridiculous Gaming Moments
Luckiest Gaming Moments
Unluckiest Gaming Moments
Embarrassing Gaming Moments

Guides
coming soon...

Fan Adventures
coming soon...

Fan Reviews
coming soon...
Review Scoring

Sending me stuff
Submission Guildines

The other stuff
Tabletop Gaming Primer
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