I will attempt to resurrect my blog by joining this months blog carnival – Heroes, Living & Dead – which Runeslinger recently announced.
To day it is just a brief story about how mechanics and rules shape play, and for us created a heroic moment in old campaign.
It was a D&D 3rd ed. campaign in the Mystara-setting.
Three characters were by means of planes and portals stranded in the far end of their home world, and they had to travel immense distances to reach their home, northern end of Norworld. Near the end of the journey, they had reached the Northern Reaches, a viking-like realm consisting of the kingdoms Ostland and Vestland, and the Soderfjord Jarldoms. One of the three characters, a warrior-priest originated from Ostland, so the three travellers decided to go visit his old family, and here they became involved in an intrigue, where a family were outing the others through holmgangs and duels. The family had hired a berserker to represent them in duels, and then they challenged the other locals to duels in order to steal their lands.
Out heroes decides to end this, and the warrior-priest volunteers to confront the berserker in a duel to the death (and resurrection is extremely rare in the campaign, ie. we did not use it). Dice were rolled, and the berserker did good. He whittled down out hero’s hit points, and got him down to 0 HP. From here the hero could either surrender and be healed and thus survive, or he could spend a half action and fall down.
As he is on his knees, he decides, that an attack is the only option, and using his remaining action, he not only hits his opponent, but his rolls a critical success, confirms it, and succeeds in bringing down his foe to -10 hit points in one blow, thus decapitating the berserker, where after he falls unconscious on his defeated opponent.
No dice were fudged during the events. It was just random dice rolls, and then the structure of the rules, that allowed us this epic moment, where the hero is on his last knee, and then succeeds in killing his foe with one blow before he falls unconscious. It was an awesome moment, and not one easily forgotten. Neither was it a moment, we had anticipated.