Don’t Split the Party

Posted on January 06, 2017

Recently a friend started a new campaign. This was his first stint at being a DM, but that is not really the point of this story. Our characters started in a town that was being besieged, and they had to infiltrate the enemy camp to liberate food supplies the bad guys had intercepted. Our path to the enemy camp was through the castle dungeons and sewers (of course).

I happened to be playing a Goliath Paladin (5e) named Gmike the Goliath (the "G" is silent). One of the other players rolled up a Drow Warlock. I am lawful good, while the Drow is lawful evil. Although not entirely pleased with having evil in the party, my character (who is not very bright) accepted it to the extent that one of the higher members of his order had required this of him. (On a side note, my order was called the Order of the Sacred Flame. However, my character had some . . . issues with misquoting sacred texts and overall getting things wrong, so I constantly called it the "Fellowship of the Holy Candle.” But I digress.)

We entered the first level of the dungeon and the Drow immediately split with the party, going her own way. I strongly cautioned her to stay with the party, as wandering off alone was a fast way to die. I was, of course, ignored. After a few encounters where Gmike picked all the locks he could find (using his foot and a strength check, naturally) we happened across a door facing south. Unbeknownst to us, the Drow was about to enter a door facing north, on the far side of the room that we were facing. The Drow had a spell readied and opened her door at the same moment Gmike "picked the lock" and blasted the wooden door off its hinges into the room.

The Drow reflexively cast her held spell, stating, "I’m going to melt your face off.” She managed to hit me and rolled 7 for damage—over half my hit points. However, I’d not yet used Stone's Endurance, a Goliath ability that allows me to "soak" damage once per rest period. I immediately invoked it, taking no damage, then rolled to hit with my javelin that was readied.

The dice hit the table. Natural 20.

The drow's players face dropped. I rolled again and hit—invoking double damage. I rolled for damage. 4—doubling up with strength bonus, that was 11 damage. To a level one Warlock.

Now she was pinned to the wall at negative hit points. I asked to roll a perception check, to see if Gmike could recognize her. I, of course, fail. Gmike pulled out his maul and charged. Just as he was about to smash her again, he recognized her.

At this point Gmike used Lay on Hands and stabilized her. He then ran around in circles, loudly saying, "Gmike has done a bad thing!"

Don't split the party. It might just be your party member that pins you to the wall.

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