There are a few unwritten D&D rules:
Thou shalt never lend thy dice
Thou shalt never show thy character sheet
Always make sure appropriate snacks are available to the DM
I think Thou shalt never leave a character with the party should be added to the list. It was a rule that a friend broke recently almost to her character’s utter ruin.
Tara has only just started playing D&D and Ashlin, a half-elf wizard, is her very first character. And she was doing a good job of playing Ashlin as the quiet studious adventurer with a little learning and a lot to prove. She’d even had a few successes in her first outing, killing bandits with magic missile and darts, contributing to the provision of the party by catching rabbits.
Last time we met, Tara had another engagement later that night and so after a day of solid adventuring through an undead-riddled castle she handed her character sheet over to the most experienced player there confident that he would look after her.
The very next battle…
The group have a dozen skeletons trapped in a room. Half, having been turned, were cowering in a corner while others were blocked from attacking by a large barbarian in a doorway. Ashlin shot the skeletons full of magic missiles scattering their bones to the four corners of the room safely in the hallway. She was protected on one side by a 20 foot deep trap and the other side by a human cleric and paladin. We all thought her in the perfect position for a wizard, right out of harms way.
It was then two baric appeared from a room we’d opened earlier. I wasn’t too concerned, we were the other side of the ultra nasty pit full of spikes. It should be no problem for this group to knock over these weird rat-like creatures with duck bills, six legs and….glowing eyes….
… then the baric climbed the walls.
Both Ashlin and my pixie were ready with range attacks but the baric were faster and one was across the gap and on the barbarian before we knew it. The second one unfortunately threw itself at the delicate Ashlin. She didn’t have a chance.
All thought of the remaining skeletons were forgotten. While our barbarian dealt with the vermin latched onto his loincloth, the rest of us put every effort into killing the baric now starting to digest our party member.
Murphy’s Law now decided to kick in. Our cleric and paladin, with all their gods’ might, tried smiting the beast to no affect. My pixie used arrow after arrow even one of his precious sleep arrows, anything to stop the monster from eating Ashlin but even that the baric saved.
And then our DM went quiet and pulled his hand away from the dice roll he’s just made.
“Umm…” He said with a nervous laugh. “Er….how many hit points did Ashlin have?”
“I’ve rolled a critical.” He didn’t need to say anymore. She’d been unconscious so was already in minus hit points. If our DM followed the rules she was dead without a wish spell between us to bring her back. He said nothing about Ashlin and suggested we have our turn. Maybe if we could kill the baric this round then we could get to her in time. Maybe we could save Ashlin and Tara wouldn’t hate us forever.
Gloriously, this round the cleric swung his maul and connected with the vermin. A blazing cover drive over the boundary for six, it knocked the baric off our prone wizard and the DM proclaimed that we had saved her just in time. After healing in a comfortable room Ashlin is now as whole and hearty as ever, maybe with a few interesting scars to prove she’s a seasoned adventurer.
When I talked to Tara about writing this post she had this to say:
Tara: “Just don’t get me in trouble with any Half-elf protection agency for neglect!”
Me: “I think they’ll let you off with a warning this time and ask you to choose your babysitters better in the future.”
Tara: “I think I have learnt my lesson, no more baby sitters.”