AKA: My dice are assholes and here is why

dnd 6

“Although my feline eyes were sharp and accustomed to the dim light of the musty ruins, I struggled to see down the gaping chasm in front of us. By my guess, it had to be at least 30 feet wide, but even I couldn’t tell how low it went. Our tank dropped a torch to test the depth. It continued to fall for what seemed like days.

My ear twitched, the sensitive fur reacting to the sound of something skittering on the hard tile floors. The fur on the back of my neck rose as a singular spider crawled over the edge of the chasm, mandibles clicking and beady eyes honed in on our party. It was larger than the gnome and immediately the adrenaline began to surge through me. With an arrow nocked, I prepared for combat. I was foolish to think that this battle would be simple.”

I’m fairly new to Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve played a few games and have limped my way through the rules of combat and remembering what to roll for saves. My character sheet has notes instead of numbers to help me learn what stats feed into what rolls, so that I don’t memorize a static number. I want to get good at this game, which is why I had such a hard time at my second D&D session for this campaign. I had a brand new Players Handbook, a brand new set of dice and dice bag, a song in my heart and bad-ass mini’s that I had made after the first session.

dnd 4

Everything you love will betray you, Tyger.

The chasm fight began with a spider and while it was dispatched rather quickly, another fight began with a large tick and some sort of worm with a stinger. It was venomous and before we knew this, I had decided to attempt to cast Animal Friendship with this creature since the tick had already been attacked. Our party consists of a melee and two ranged, so I wanted to take the heat off of our tank.

Fail.

Well, drat. I guess I can try again, right? It was my first time playing a character with spells. What are spell slots? I can learn two spells? Awesome.

sweet summer child

Our Gnome wizard toddled forward to heal our Dragonborn tank since he’d been knocked down to 0. He was stable, but completely paralyzed in the position he’d been stung in. He was okay, for now. The tick was still at large, albeit damaged, but the worm was untouched. So what did I do?

“I attempted to charm the creature once more, desperate to will it over to our cause. I could have shot at it, or the tick, but with our comrade so wounded I felt as though it was the right decision. One less thing to worry about since the tick was already wounded. It seemed to have an iron will of it’s own, and despite feeling incredibly inspired by my actions, each time I was met with failure.”

I am up to an Inspiration fail of 2, and the two animal friendship failures. The tick starts to drag the tank off the side of the chasm, holding him over by its mandibles. It was then I decided to stop trying to befriend it, which was good because I couldn’t use anymore spells. I can’t solely blame my dice; I didn’t have a good understanding of the class yet. Had I known, I probably would have done things differently. My DM gave me the opportunity to change my action before the end of my turn once he realized my remorse, but I kept the actions as a learning experience.

Dice are going to fail you. Sometimes it’s going to be all session, like mine did. It left me feeling irritated and upset because I was hindering the party. I have a +8 to hit so this would have went very differently had I just attacked instead of trying to use my shiny, new spells.

And yet, that’s okay.

thisisfine

The most important thing I learned is that mistakes are going to happen and sometimes things are absolutely not going to go your way. I can’t blame the dice, and I can’t blame me. Sometimes, it just happens. The tank ended up being fine. I was able to get an attack of opportunity on the tick with my claws, and then the wizard knocked it out. I succeeded my athletics check to grab hold of our Dragonborn before he fell into the web with all of the – shudder – spiders, and then pulled him up next turn. What felt like an agonizing session was truly just a bad fight, but it was okay.


Total Failures:

A few missed attacks

Both Animal Friendships

My Inspiration attempts failed like, 4 times. For what it’s worth, on the last failure before it finally ended up helping me, he said “Well, the good news is that you didn’t expend your Inspiration point! – again.”

Our tank was knocked to 0 because I was trying to befriend, and then almost fell to a spidery death

I got upset over these events


I had fun, and that’s what matters. I got over the hurdle that was a bad-rolling and still-learning game. I know better questions to ask my DM so that he can help me, and I now have a manual so I can start to look up things myself. Having spells is fun, and now I know I can only do two a day – for now. This will help me decide my actions and is another step to becoming a better player.

I’m gonna go take my dice out of time out, now.

2 thoughts on “Accepting Failure in D&D

  1. Accepting that dice fails will happen and your character will have off days for reasons you have a hard time explaining has been the hardest thing for me to learn in DnD. Good post!

    Like

    1. Same for me. I can learn all of the numbers and have as many character voices/plots as I want, but none of it is gonna matter if it’s a bad dice day.

      Like

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