How One Card Saved My Tabletop RPG
“The hooded goblin peered out from the safety of shadow. His crooked green finger traced a rusty dagger hilt as he fixed his eyes on Rath’s hulking back.
The hidden creature waited, and observed the unsuspecting man with disgust and hatred.
Rath merrily shouted across the table in the common people’s tongue. He laughed hard and clapped his elvish companion on the back before starting at his pint again.
Me stab now! Me stab fast!
At once, the tiny green assassin sprung from a nearby stool and soared through the air.
With all the momentum and strength he could muster, he plunged his poisoned dagger deep into Rath’s ribs.”
“Wait… aren’t you going to roll first?” Rick asked puzzled, jarring me from my story.
“What? …Oh, well, yeah…” I tried to sound nonchalant.
Yet… as the d20 left my hand, I watched Rick’s expression transform from annoyed to overjoyed.
He immediately blurted out the reason why, “You rolled a one!”
“So the goblin misses you.” I replied, now quite annoyed.
“Yeah, but what happens?”
It was a tight situation, but what could I do?
Days of story planning, hours of writing a well-crafted script, and don’t forget the tear-jerking death scene… all wasted!
Damn you Rath.
I’ve built up to a moment that’s never going to come.
Now my players expect an epic reversal or some hilarious mishap.
All the frustration and pressure clouded my thoughts and a light panic built in my chest. Never good to have while in the DM seat.
Fortunately, I had a Critical Fumble Deck on hand and I grabbed for it.
Rick’s eyes watched my hands in anticipation as I ceremoniously shuffled through the pack of 52 cards and drew one.
[Stuck: Your weapon is stuck in a nearby surface. DC 20 STR to free it.]
So I resumed the story.
“The Goblin’s strike landed only inches from its mark, but those few inches buried the dagger into the wood of Rath’s chair instead of the flesh of his back.
The little green creature hung from the stuck dagger for a few seconds, still taking in what had just happened to it…
Finally, he let go and rolled to the floor, but it was too late.”
The sound of Rick’s dice hit the table.
“Rath’s pint of ale splintered into the side of the goblin’s face, taking with it the creature’s consciousness.”
Whew. Great save.
You can see why the Critical Fumble Deck is so great in a pinch, and why I always carry it with me…
Add in the Critical Hit Deck, and you’ve got an easy and cheap way to make combat a little juicier and get a few good laughs at the same time.
Pick yours up on Amazon with the links below and you too can have goblins forgetting which end is “pointy.”
Oh… and don’t worry Rath… I’ll get you yet.
Keeping the Dice Rolling,
Fantasy Table Talk
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