View Full Version : Narrow escapes and close calls

Dr Berry
02-11-2010, 02:26 PM
At some point in every game, your characters are going to come pretty close to some pretty spectacular, gruesome deaths. This thread is for stories about any really close brushes with death (or worse) that your characters have had over the years.

Personally, my narrowest escape was with a mid-level halfling rogue (3rd edition). I had been swallowed alive by a frost worm, and was losing hit points by the second, desperately trying to cut my way out with a dagger. I was in the single digits of HP with only one damage roll between me and destruction, and I barely slashed my way out of its belly and was able to get away.

Anyway, what close scrapes have your characters found themselves in, and lived to tell the tale?

02-11-2010, 03:22 PM
The first one that came to mind was simply running into a doppelganger that was of course out to impersonate my character and being a 2nd level fighter with elven hit points I thought, crud this guy can kill me with one blow. Which is of course the idea of doppelgangers but I digress. It wasn't particularly heroic but just a grim moment of face off that I survived with two hit points.

Just seems as memory serves that death tended to be rather sudden and not unlike a cartoon anvil falling from the sky those days. Of course the ending of the Milwaukee by Night chronicle straight out of the book was stressful for the characters, recovering from being drugged, facing the crazed Prince of the city as the house burned down around them. Facing the Prince's ghouls armed with sub-machine guns... That was epic and suddenly the characters really felt they were going to lose and had something to lose and then clever use of disciplines started and the characters were left wondering why they were afraid of the Prince in the first place. I noted he was madder than a Malkavian and didn't have full use of his abilities but it was a hard one battle with many characters feeling their immortal lives about to be clipped off.

edit to add: Sorry, I slipped a WoD memory in there...

02-20-2010, 07:58 PM
Almost every game I play, my character is living by the grace of luck. Of course the death rate in the games I play is very high. It is a miracle if the whole group makes it out alive, usually we have one death per game.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
02-21-2010, 01:53 PM
1) DnD1E: Had a fighter lose an arm by a huge orc in combat. He almost died due to bloodloss, but survived to make level 14. He eventually retired from adventuring, instead taking a safer job as captain of a barrier keep.

2) WFRP1E: Had theif/assassin/scout whos hand was being held in the mouth of a huge Skaven, and while being pulled into a hole (which guaranteed his doom), he summoned the strength to allow his hand to be torn apart. He lost his outer 3 fingers in the confrontation as well as alomost losing his life to disease, but in the end, he lived to fight another day. Thank the Gods that the dwarven race were crafty, for they made a nice glove to fit over his mangled hand giving it near perfect usability. Good times.

3) WFRP2E: Fell off of a rope while climbing up and away from a huge spider (in WFRP, they are pretty much capable of killing anything) in an underground adventure. Well, the hero in question slipped and fell on the spider, and... splat. He injured the spider enough and was able to get away. The whole party couldn't believe his luck, having figured he was a gonner for sure.

4) Traveller CT: Had an pilot/intelligence officer have a horrible cash on an alien world. Long story short, he was rescued but not w/o sustaining head trama. The military deemd him near irreplacable and surgically enhanced him with a bit of illegal technology (outside of the military). Well, in Traveller, one knows that one is never allowed to really leave the service with said upgrades, but as luck would have it, his base of operations was attacked and destroyed, thereby leaving no one with the knowledge of his upgrades.

BTW, in WFRP and in *our* dnd campaigns, losing a body part does NOT equate to retiring a character.

Nice thread, Dr. Berry.

02-23-2010, 12:08 PM
without recounting the entire battle, the party was in the midst of a grand battle with the BBEG- a lich.

The dwarven fighter was sealed up behind a wall of force, the party mage was killed, the paladin was at negative hps and out of the fight. The cleric & theif were left, and were low on hp.

The cleric managed to get the epic staff away from the lich, but it cost him his life. Then the lowly theif in a last ditch effort picked up the epic staff, rolled 2 natural 20's for his "use magic device" skill, and then blasted the lich into bone dust.

02-23-2010, 06:53 PM
I once DM'd a dwarven fighter/thief (2nd Ed + houserules) that had some experimental armor that slowly lost it's protection but only allowed one hit point of damage through. The character made it to my version of Myth Drannor (Forgotten Realms) before he donned it, though. His first encounter was with a demon (vrock, I think) just as he stumbled upon some treasure.

They fought back and forth for round after round after round, and it wasn't looking too good. They both were on the verge of exhaustion, they were both down to nearly zero hit points, and they were both very angry.

Looking like the last fight in Rocky, the armor fell away as the dwarf was reduced to zero hit points. In my game back then, you were allowed one action when you got to zero, then you fell unconscious (sound familiar?). The dwarf had a spot to dive into to hide... but the greed overtook him and he decided to make one, last, epic attack.

He dropped his axe as if he was falling unconscious, and drew his dagger. "Knowing" he was "dead", the demon watched as the dagger drooped lower and lower. With a sudden burst of speed, the dwarf threw the dagger straight up in the air.

With a roll of a natural 1, the demon watched the pretty dagger.

With the last of his energy, the dwarf grabbed the axe, and swung straight up, splitting the demon from crotch to mid-chest with his last attack.

Considering his momentum, I had him roll - and he fell backwards into the hidey-hole, taking two points of damage (to -2). Considering the demon's momentum, I rolled - and it fell on top of the hole he was hidey in.

Some three days later, he wakes up with one hit point and a bloated corpse of a demon on top of him. He was lying on a small pile of gold (about 200 gp) and a magical machine that was about the size of a sewing machine (portable-type). He downs a healing potion, grabs the gold and thingy, and runs - never to return to this horrid place.

And every roll was made on the table, with intentions and success/failure stated before the rolls.

After some months of study, he established (using the 1st edition Gamma World artifact tables) that the item was... a magical sewing machine. Spending his gp 200 gp on some fine material, he created the equivalent of a masterwork, work-of-art, suit of clothing, which he sold for several thousand gold.

We talked and rolled our way through several more sales... and the player announces that his 3rd level fighter/thief was retiring, as he had succeeded in finding his niche and could live a life of crafting.

Dang, just remembering that night makes me mist up... I miss that guy AND that character!

The Magic King
03-03-2010, 04:53 AM
I too had a last minute victory such as the dwarf player. I was an elven fighter and my friend was a dwarven cleric. We had just discovered the encampment of about a dozen hobgoblin highwaymen. This didn't seem like a particularly extreme threat so we ran in with abandon to slaughter them. It was proceeding swimmingly until their leader stepped from his tent in pilfered full plate with trusty falchion in hand and scored a critical hit knocking me down to zero hp. Then he turned and did the same to the cleric. Times were bad. so in a last ditch effort I lunged with my great sword and rolled three 20's, instant kill. Then I passed out from the exertion, luckily the cleric was able to heal himself unfortunately it was his last spell. Miraculously i stabilized on the first roll.