Sunday, March 25, 2012

What a wonderful moment!

"What a wonderful moment!"

Those were the exact words shouted by a girl (a neighbor, age 9) who joined us today for our Pathfinder session.  Here's what happened.

Her druid, Wren, was standing on a ledge 20' above a churning subterranean stream.  It was 20' across to the far ledge, which was also 10' below her position.  Norma the dwarf had already jumped over and secured a rope to a column on the far side, then scooted through a door while ratfolk cultists rained tiny crossbow bolts down on her.  Wren wanted to follow, so she removed her belt and tried to use the rope like a zip line.  She rolled an acrobatics check but came up short.

Splash!  And into the drink she went.

After that, she had a series of skill rolls to make.  First, a Swim roll to see if she could get her head above water and control her direction.  She succeeded.  Next, the current was dragging her into a whirlpool, which she understandably wanted to avoid.  Her choices were swim into the whirlpool ("Nope!" she said), try to swim directly upstream away from the whirlpool, or swim along with the current while trying to bear to the left of the hazard to bypass it and get further downstream.  She chose the third option, rolled the die, and succeeded again.*

With each roll her excitement was mounting.  The stream rounded a u-turn bend, and soon Norma, high atop a different ledge overlooking the water, saw the druid floating downstream toward her.  Thinking quickly, Norma withdrew four spare pairs of trousers from her pack, and tied them together.  I made her roll a DC 17 dexterity check to see if she could finish in time.  I set that level because her plan seemed ludicrous to me, but it was such a colorful idea I didn't want it to be impossible.  Her dexterity only affords her a +2 bonus, so Sophie would need to roll a 15 or higher on a d20.  She rolled a natural 19, went prone, and dangled her make-shift "rope" over the ledge.

Wren's player was jumping up and down.  "We did it!"

"You're not out of the water yet!" I countered.

Realization dawned.  "Oh!" she cried, grabbing her d20.  "I reach for the pants!  What do I need?"

"A fifteen,"  I replied.  "And don't forget to add +1 for your swim bonus."

"Ok," she said, her excitement peaking.  She rolled...

...and got a natural 14, which meant she succeeded with her bonus.  "You did it!" I said.  "You successfully grab the pants!  Norma can pull you up out of the water."

The girl's fists were clenched, her knuckles white, her eyes about as wide open as they could get.  There was a weird pause, like she was gonna pop.

"WHAT...A WONDERFUL MOMENT!" she cried, jumping up into the air.  Then it was fist bumping and high-fives all around the table.  "That was amazing!"

This pic was taken a few minutes later.
The action described took place near the top center of the image.

Not five minutes later she jumped back into the water on purpose.  Think she's hooked?

* Failure to avoid the whirlpool would not have meant death.  I had a whole little spelunking/climbing kind of area planned for anyone who accidentally got flushed down the whirlpool.  Of course, the cave fisher down there could have been a challenge.


  1. So thrilling! I have to ask you - where did you get that great HUGE graph paper?

    1. It's a Chessex battlemat. Works with wet erase markers. Has squares on one side, and hexes on the other. They come in different sizes. I got the 34.5" x 48". Here it is on Amazon.

      (If link doesn't work, my Amazon search string was chessex battlemat).

    2. Amazon's price looks good, by the way. I paid $45 for mine at a game shop.

  2. A wonderful moment indeed! Thanks for sharing it.