Counter Monkey – Botchamania

The Spoony One | Nov 3 2011 | more notation(s) | 

Some of the worst runs of dice I’ve ever seen!

  • Kevin Calder

    Man I love these stories, keep em up.

  • jake


  • Anonymous

    1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1,  …can’t stop laughing

  • Chas

    Those dice rolls… oh man… That sounds like me.

    …I swear, when I used to play regularly, I would roll either 20s, or 1s. Seldom anything else. Fun times. Fun… disturbing… times.

  • Sean Henshaw

    1/640 million chance

    well you could probably have better luck at vegas

  • matt

    damn those guys have worse luck than me.

  • matt

    Damn those guys have worse than me.

  • Jonathan Blackwell

    The Counter Monkey Series is quickly rising to the top of my favorite videos list, I can’t wait for the next one.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. That’s… pretty terrible luck. I’ve seen some bad sequences of rolls, but nothing that bad.

    Thinking about it, I feel like there’s two ways you could’ve salvaged the situation. Mind you, it took a bit of thinking to come up with these, so I don’t know if they really could’ve been thought up on the spot.

    The first is to have one of the opposing operatives hear the commotion on top of the train car (I mean, that thief guy bouncing on top must have created a bunch of noise) and go to investigate. They weren’t able to get any guns through security, but the guy is armed with a grappling hook that was smuggled on board as two innocuous items. When he sees the chopper, he fires at it with the hook to keep it from escaping (captured agents are valuable!) and the party can use that to rappel down. Now they still have a huge problem as their chopper is effectively trapped flying with the train, the other operative team potentially knows about their infiltration, and they have to deal with the enemy agent on top of the train. But it’s still better than flat-out losing before even getting to the mission.

    The other possibility is to have the same thing happen as above, but in this case, the guy is actually a deep-cover friendly agent who is there for some unrelated reason — you could even make him a medic to fudge some stabilization on the thief dude. He agrees to help the party, but now the party owes him a favor. Hell, if the thief dies, you could have the player play the double agent instead.

    Like I said, though, these ideas took a bit of a think and I don’t know if the added pressure of a running game would yield such results.

  • Faust

    Sometimes a terrible adventure is just as fun, and more memorable, than a well-ran one.

  • Anonymous

    Metal Gear?  My Mullet approves!  In fact…

    “Most of these stories end up with my players dying”

    To quote Otacon: “You’re bad luck!”

    As usual, this story makes me glad I have a vivid imagination.  I even got to tweak the mental imagery a bit for my own amusement:  When the second guy attempted to cling to the train, I pictured a zany, Airplane! or Top Secret-like comedy film where one guy has already failed, another man tries to attempt the same task, and he just runs head-first into the side of a speeding bullet train, TWICE, just being slammed and repelled off like a Loony Toons character. 

    Even Rowan Atkinson in Rat Race had better luck with running at speeding trains.  Hell, even the monkey-crew from Final Fantasy 8 had a more successful run at a train mission than the poor saps in this story.  It’s so sad, yet highly amusing. 

    And a side note, to properly, and appropriately end this video, to quote the Iron Sheik:


  • RosieRoses

    Man I thought my luck was bad…

    Keep growing that beard!

  • Anonymous

    This is quickly becoming my favorite Spoony “show”.

  • Raye Merici

    This one was pretty good. I think my worst fail was while playing Vampire the Requiem. We are fighting the final boss and I was a Nosferatu, so I go and sneak around the boss using Obfuscate. I raise my shotgun and open fire on this guy blasting apart the back of his with Dragonfire rounds, the ST is all like “Well roll your frenzy.” so I roll and fail. So pretty much you see this greyish blue skinned guy pop up out of no where shot a goat of flame, scream like a girl and then run away.

  • Daniel Griffin

    I love these stories, I really do. As an avid gamer, I have LIVED them, I assure you.

    Quick question, though. Um … when are you going to release some movie and/or game reviews? I’m curious to see how FF X2 turns out, and I am NOT going to play it myself!

  • Anonymous

    I think the worst case of bad luck on dice was a few years ago.  Some of my buds and I were playing a Hero and Magic boardgame(I cant remember the exact one, but it involved 4-5 players, moving hero figurines through a dungeon to compete for the right to fight the dragon at the end.  My friend Kary ended up in an oubliette (prison) that ended his turn.  Thereafter, he needed to roll a 11+ on a 20 sided dice to escape and continue the game.  Each of his turns came and went though, with him only rolling 10 or less–for 16 turns until another guy won the game.   He was so mad at that dice, he was fuming…until he finally realized why he had had such bad luck.  The 20 sider he had grabbed out of the stack of dice we had nearby was in fact a 20sider, but it only had numbers  for 1-10 twice; there was no 11-20 on it!  We all laughed so hard at this discovery (except him of course).  I cant help but check my 20 siders now just in case as I recall that game with fondness.

  • Mia

    I haven’t watched this yet, it’ll be a treat for tomorrow! I just wanted to say, I love these stories, I love hearing you tell them and I love hearing about Spoony!Kid. I’ve always liked to listen to your v-logs while playing wow; its great listening when farming something. I’m a huuuge fan (of you more so than your ‘spoony’ persona, heh) and I hope you keep telling stories, even if you run out of ‘counter monkey’ ones. :)

  • Anonymous

    I think they needed new dice!

    This might be of interest to you spoony:

    Dice science!

    • Anonymous

      that guy is legend!

      stay sharp edged hahaha

  • Tom Williams

    You know, it’s occurred to me that if a person does not enjoy games where luck is involved, then those kinds of games are not for them.  Granted, my D&D experience(and pretty much my only RPG exposure) was quite limited, and I think I was like 9 or something playing with my brother.  I don’t know, maybe I was one of those kids who would have freaked out over some bad luck.  I guess the overall question is whether somebody cares about winning, or just enjoying the experience.  It sounds like the best campaigns are more about experiencing the hardships together rather than having to find the treasure or beat the boss.  I guess that’s where video games sort of fail in their ability to re-create that kind of experience.

    I love these stories.  In fact I think it’s kind of rare nowadays that we have somebody who is actually a good storyteller who can paint some pretty neat pictures of personal experiences.  It’s pretty good when at least some people are willing to sit and listen to you for an hour just telling people your stories or giving your own opinion.  I know I certainly don’t have that kind of ability.

    • George Rosenbaum

      D&D isn’t entirely luck. You can use your skills for creative purposes, and the flavor text does help bring the world to life. Playing the game does require getting into character and using your head.

      There’s also something to be said about illusion. Yes, everything is decided with dice and reduced to numbers, but the way feats and skills are phrased and the rules they follow makes almost everything you do feel instantly translatable to the real world. That’s part of what makes these videos so great.

      By the way, D&D could easily translate into a video game. All the rules and art tweaks are already there; just code it, make the character models, and run it on the Unreal Engine. Yeah; drop in/drop out gameplay isn’t really an option. but you could have local multiplayer, with a tutorial from the Red Box that also helps you make your first character and introduces you to the rules.

  • Artemus Cain

    HOKAY here’s my story.

    I was watching my friends play DnD. I was gonna join after they were done with this particular dungeon. After a while of wandering around they reach the main room with a staff on a pedestal. The dwarven leader goes to inspect it. There’s no traps after everybody checks the room. So he has to roll three times to see how it goes (I forget which die. It was a few years ago.)


    So he basically just football spikes the staff and it explodes. Everyone ages 80 years and he is trapped in a bubble and transported to the “war afterlife” where the god of that religion shoves his fingernail down the dwarfs throat and kills him.

    In the living world everyone’s 80 years older and the place starts to flood. They get flushed out to the surface, which almost kills the now ancient human fighter, and outside to meet them are two 20 story high Elementals. One of Shadow, the other of Water. The Water elemental kills the shadow, turns to the party and basically says “Who the hell are you and why am I here?” They reply “we dunno.” “Okay, I won’t kill you, but you better find a way to return me to my plain, or I’ll flood the continent.

    I decided not to jump into that quest…

    • Ben MacConnell

      Best. Botch. Ever. Seriously, I laughed my ass off reading that. No joke.
      I think what really got me was simply the totality of the failure. The item was destroyed (via explosion no less), the guy who botched got offed by a war god, everyone else is a centunarian at least, and they were beholden to a quest to return an elemental to his home domain on the threat of total obliteration by drowning. Assuming they didn’t die of old age before the quest could get going.
      No wonder you washed your hands of that before it even began. That’s just brutal. And hilarious!

  • Anonymous

    I love these storytimes with Spoony. They seem pretty quick and easy to make so we get more of the Spoony more of the time.

  • George Rosenbaum

    These ‘Counter Monkey’ Reviews hilarious. I laughed my ass off at every single one of these, especially ‘Vegan Steve Butt-Fucks the Campaign’. But I hate to ask; where are your traditional reviews? All you seem to do are Vlogs. Your last FFX-2 review was in late July, and you’ve only made five ‘skit’ reviews between then and now. What happened to that? I know your busy helping Brad with the Snob movie, in addition to keeping the stream of Vlogs coming, but I really miss your scripted reviews.

    What if you took your Vlogs of recent movies, wrote a script for them, and edited it into a full fledged ‘skit’ review? You can record your thoughts right after the movie, and use it as creative fuel. You could give it a cool name like “Miles and Spoony at the Movies”, and make it a household part of the site.

    Imagine how much more your time spent in the theater would pay off by spending a couple of days crafting a traditional skit review for the movie. We’ll get one or two reviews a week instead of a near-daily flood of unrehearsed Vlogs that you can’t really watch in one sitting. I’m totally willing to sacrifice quantity for quality, and I’m sure most fans on the site feel the same way.

    Yeah, you probably won’t have clips to cut back to, but you can get past this by backlogging your unfinished reviews until the movie comes out on DVD, getting the clips there, finishing the editing, and releasing it late. We don’t care about what’s recent, we all liked your reviews and playthroughs of old movies and games. Old is part of what ‘The Spoony Experiment’ is about!

  • Seraph, Sephiroth

    A 2 isn’t an automatic failure, and with Spycraft the defibrulation attempt could have used a few Action Die to boost it up.

  • Anonymous

    You murderer!

    Sounds like ya’ll hate a really bad day!  I would blame you unless it was some sort of trick dice!

  • Whitemage1293

    My Winning Series Of Crits:

    Unknown Armies was the game. During the middle of the session, I had several dice rolls off of percentiles.

    Criticals in percentile form means that you have to get two of the same number at the same time, so imagine getting a 1/100 chance…three times in a row.

    The critical results weren’t anything spectacular (critical noticing of something creepy, critical attack through the throat, critical not-get-self-fucked-over-by-attack)….but seriously. What I did was the “one in a million” chance.

    I hope to never roll that many failures in a row though. gawd damn.

  • WannaDev

    Opposite story:

    I’m running a 3.5 game set in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy, right before 4e releases. We knew that next session we were gonna start a new 4e campaign, so this session was gonna send off 3.5, and I wanted to do it in a big way. The Wilderlands (spoilers) has alot of behind-the-scenes Sci-Fi stuff in it, and the session largely involved them discovering an crashed ancient starship of giant aliens, over which the biggest city in the setting was built, and exploring it (read: dungeon crawl). So, they accidentally press the wrong button, shit starts activating, and they book it out of there.

    So, once they’re outside, there’s a crazy earthquake going on. Buildings are collapsing, sink holes opening up, fucking pandemonium. Skip a bit, skip a bit, the spaceship is a a giant ass transformer (I think I called it a “silver beatle) that lays waste to 3/4 of the city built above it as it stands up, and the rest as it proceeds to go fucking Godzilla on the place.

    “I attack it,” says the fighter.
    “What?” I reply.”I attack.”
    “Honestly, this wasn’t meant to be a fight. Just kindofa big ‘BUM BUM BUM’ apocalyptic metaphor. Big Holy Shit moment to end on.”
    “Yeah, but this is the last time we’ll play these characters, so I’ve got nothing to lose.” 
    “Fair enough, but – how?”
    “I run up to it and slice it with my sword.”
    “Yeah, but, the thing was lying down and had a city built over it. It’s Godzilla big. How are you gonna hurt that?”
    “I hit it’s toe with my sword.”
    “Fine. Attack”

    I quickly look up the Terrasque to use for its stats, as I never intended this to be a killable thing. Might as well make it literally immortal. He gets a good roll, but his damage is insufficient to overcome it’s rediculous Damage Reduction. So, this goes on for a few turns, with players dying by the turn. Then it gets to the turn of our wizard.

    “Ok, I fire my ray gun at it.”

    By the way, she found a ray gun when inside the spaceship/transformer

    “If you recall, you can hardly use that thing. You haven’t hit with it once. You’d need like an 18.”
    “I got a 20, nat.”

    Everyone hoots.

    “This isn’t 4e yet guys, she has to roll to confirm the crit. IE: She has to actually be ABLE to hit the thing to get her crit.”
    “Fuck, really? Alright – roll dam…”
    “Wait,” interrupts another player. “Roll your d20 again.”
    “Why?” she asks.
    “Just do it,” he insists.
    “Well, fuck,” I reply.
    At this point, I’m flabbergasted. I’ve SEEN all 4 of these rolls.
    “Ok then. You fiddle with the strange artifact unearthed from the alien tomb (stolen from the spaceship) and it emits both a loud crack and red beam. The beam hits the silver beatle right in the tiny eye in the center of it’s forehead.”

    The ship/transformer/silver beatle faceplants on the remains of the city. I call for rolls to dodge, they make it. Behind the shattered “eye” (read: windshield) they see that the blast headshotted the tiny alien piloting the thing.

    “Woo! I win at D&D!” she shouts gleefully.

    Yes KC, yes you do. Forever and ever.

    I gotta say, we were all pretty stoked. I provided them with experience for killing the thing, which was CR20, and they were lv4. Suffice to say, the next time they returned to that setting, their old characters were gods and legends.

    • Anonymous

      Oh…. MY …. GOD…  that has to be the BEST most epic Dnd story ever.

      the stuf legends are made of.

    • mamasnatcher

      Lol, gotta love triple/quad 20’s…glad you contributed, sir.

  • Anonymous

    Spoony. Spoony. I want you to know…

    If you wrote a counter monkey book, I’D BUY IT.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds pretty damn horrid for your players…Well, I was originally going to post quite a substantially large description of events, but it occured to me, it’d bother more people then not so here’s a rapid jist of what I was going to write.Exalted 2nd edition game, I’ll avoid any technical terms or whatnot that requires knowing the setting or mechanics.5 players, 3 supernatural, 2 mortal, 1 of those two mortals is a warrior-priest type who was learning to control a supernatural steed.They get ambushed on cursed land due to the need to take a shortcut and the carriage the steed was pulling gets obliterated, everyone escapes safely except him who botches and winds up getting his neck entangled in the reigns which both drags him across the floor and causes him to be strangulated simultaneously, he was damaged prior to this.So he’s dying, but is saved thanks to first aid and the application of diplomatic immunity on the assailant, unfortunately the only means of medical service is through a nearby lord of the dead whom the assailant is in services of.There, he gets a diagnosis, broken bones, shattered elbow, ruptured arteries, shredded skin on the left side of his body (all on the left side), so he gets amputated and unluckily wakes up mid-operation without the ability to fully ‘wake up’ and enable him to move his limbs, so he experiences the entire thing, operation botches which causes him to actually lose his entire arm and shoulder instead of just his forearm/elbow due to complications. But other then that, the operation went well and he’s no longer in risk of death.So he opts to take righteous revenge for the traumatic experience he went through, goes after a far too powerful target and pays the price of losing his other arm.He’s still alive to tell the tale… Though his character is now completely armless.

  • JanusII

    This kind of shit happens to me all the time….especially in Mordheim

    Recently i fought undead gang and the scenario was hunting chaos spawn. Basically who kills more spawns win.

    Of course this is second toughest scenario in our rule book (first beeing “deagon slay”) and this was second battle in a campaign…so basically knew we were doomed. We roll special terrains and the Tower of blood comes out….All chaos and undead in radius got frenzy. Fuck

    So every round (there’s 10 of them) spawns come to the table and of course i throuw the scatter dice and first three appears in my deploy. So they charge me. At this time i got only 6 models, 3 fighters, captain, ingeneer and one thunderer (i play dwarves, what else :-))

    So one of my fighters dies in first round, but the rest held suprisingly well, i was even able to take away 3 hp of one spawn, so it’s hanging tight, just to finally kill the son of a bitch. My turn….I charge with my ingeneer and shoot to the spawn with both pisotls….both hit and on wound double 6ses….yeah, one critical and one hit…..i roll the critical…6 hell yeah 2 wounds

    The spawns are killed by 5 or 6, they cannot be stunned and they cannot be brought down….it had only one last wound and i did 4 (my captain hitted as well) so it means i got 1d6 +3 and i need at least five….guess what did i rolled? :-D:-D:-D

    and of course the opponents vampire (who somehow managed to kill one spawn on the other side of the table) later charged my captain and hit him 2 times….since i play dwarves, my captain had super heavy armor so I had absurd 2+ armor save…..fucking snakeeyes….and dwarves go out of the table on roll 6….and he rolled high enough and laughed to my face

    So as well as you hate bitching about stats and spellslots spoony, i hate bitching about bad rolls in Morheim….especially when somebody says “WOW, i found a treasure….only 30 GP….fuck this shit”

  • Anonymous

    Crap like this happens, even if its statistically impossible.
    I remember one session were I hardly rolled any successes on the most basic actions. When my character was actually in danger, I kept rolling 1s. LOTS of 1s in a row. The DM took mercy on me and the other characters kept bailing me out, but it was a close shot sometimes. Next session, everything was back to normal, but I swear, this night my dices were cursed.
    With the exception of ONE throw, were I had tons of dices to roll the damage of a special monster-grenade. It was our only one, our only chance to kill an extremely strong enemy of ours. Everyone was like “oh god, that’s gonna be a dud or something”, but I rolled SO good… It was almost the maximum damage you could roll with like 10 dices. We all went like “f- yeah! we got him for sure!”. So the enemy had to roll absorb… and does the most outrageously good absorb roll ever. He survives completely unscathed.
    The DM took out the NPC by deus ex machina. Cheap, yeah, but it was his fault he was so overpowered our whole party couldn’t scratch him even after he lost his best ability.

    But its strange. Every mathematician would tell you its impossible, yet so many players seem to know storys of “impossibly” bad/good rolls.

  • Anonymous

    I got one of those things too. Played warhammer 40k with catachan jungle fighters versus eldars. One.. One damn basic jungle fighter took down 2 dark reapers, while dodging fire coming from everything between shuriken cannons and fire prism gravity tank cannon.. Quite hardcore considering las rifle should hit with something like 5+ and do dmg with 6. Sure Dark reaper exarch then slaughtered him but not after taking down 2 of his damn henchmen. And that name tells it all. Dark reapers are practically dudes armed to the teeth with long ranged destruction weaponry and coated in skulls and other kind of grim reaper theme stuff.

  • Anonymous

    If the dice want you dead there is not much you can do. But in this case I would have handled things a little bit different. If getting on the train is something they should be able to do without much of a problem I would not let them fail there. Let him take damage on the first botch and maybe give him some stat penalties for a dislocated shoulder after a second botch but then he gets caught on a railing or something and is on the train. Of course none of that will help if the players continue botching but at least the plot isn’t derailed at the very beginning of the heist.

    My own worst botching experience is far less interesting. Just 3 or 4 encounters ind D&D 4e where I did not hit a single thing. Problem is that I was the defender and couldn’t protect the party at all thanks to my bad luck. And playing the badass heroes becomes difficult when you almost can’t beat a random group of goons.

    My best experience with good rolls was with the same character, a rift in the planes (partly our fault) led to a demon invasion and our group fought our way right into the middle where the planet itself was breaking apart. And on a big floating island we found the casters keeping the rift open through the torture of some of our party companions who had been abducted earlier (were not there for a few play sessions).
    We defeated the casters and rescue them while keeping the demon horde at bay with a holy artifact that generates a shield. Then an archdemon (a Balor I think) steps forward and is able to get through the shield. He was greatly weakened by that but still about 5 levels above us and other demons managed to follow. We were almost unable to even scratch him and he would have mopped the floor with us but at one point he was right next to the shield. So I used a power that allows me to slide him and rolled a crit, smashing him against the shield for about 5 squares worth of movement. I followed up with an action point and another slide attack, another crit and 2 more squares and finally with an immediate interrupt to him trying to get away and a 19 I slid him another 3. What we discovered through that was that the demon got weaker the more he touched the shield, each square of movement resulted in 20 damage and for every 50 damage he lost some defenses. So I was able to do over 300 damage in one round and reduce his defenses by 4, singlehandedly turning the tide of the battle. The GM knew we had several people who were able to slide enemies and some without even needing to hit so he figured we would try that and balanced the whole encounter so this was pretty much the only way to win.

  • Unholy Fire Dragon

    My first thought after hearing this story is “This is fucked up!”.

  • Anonymous

    I love these stories so much. ^_^
    This situation reminds me of some advice I got a few years ago. (Years late for you, I know, but…)
    It’s called “yes, but”. Basically, if you have a situation like that, where the PCs are trying to accomplish a critical task without which the adventure doesn’t progress, instead of having them try until they succeed, a failure means they succeeded with a caveat. For example, the techie successfully attaches the magnet, but wrenches his arm out of socket and can’t use that hand for the rest of the mission. Or he slips and dangles in front of a window, alerting the guards. Or whatever.

  • Anonymous

    And I thought I had worst luck at playing board games when I was a kid!

  • jdreyfuss05

    My most memorable series of dice rolls came from Dark Heresy. I was playing a melee fighter and I had a monofilament sword, which can basically slice through anything softer than rock. The way combat in Dark Heresy works is once you roll to hit, the value of that roll also determines where on the person’s body you hit, then even after you do damage, you can do enough damage to kill your opponent but if you fail the roll to kill them they don’t die.

    I had one session where, without aiming, I hit something like twelve different people in the head with the monofilament sword and then rolled high enough damage to kill them outright but kept failing the kill roll. After the first time it happened, the GM didn’t really know what to do, since you don’t really plan for an NPC getting his head split open and not dying, so he said I got to cut off whatever facial feature I wanted. I ended up with a necklace made of ears that the Inquisitor took away after we got back.

  • Stephane Desrosiers

    I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a game that’s been so critically botched by dice rolls, but two moments came to mind.

    A friend of mine had created a character based on Street Fighter II’s Ken in a GURPS Supers game. In the setting, our team was in a submarine that had just surfaced.  The enemies were trying to break in through the hatch and my friend had the brilliant idea to “dragon-punch” the hatch and essentially have the hatch explode out in their faces.

    The way he designed his power, he needed to do two rolls.
    – The first one: to do an acrobatics check to sort of get the (super-)jump right and aimed correctly.  He rolled a critical success.  So jumped and punched the hatch dead-on.
    – The second one: to activate the “flame-blast”.  He rolled a critical failure.

    So, instead of the bad ass attack of having the hatch explode out and hit people trying to get in, he almost breaks his hand….

    The second moment happened in another game of “Toons” RPG. I don’t GM/DM that often and I generally suck for improvising but people still talk to me about this game to this day. I had bought the Toons RPG books and used one of the settings found in them. I picked this settings: a Baseball space-opera with Mechs in a looney-tunes-esque universe. 

    Being a Space Opera, everyone was given something as part of their backstory determined by dice rolls and charts.

    This same friend got a rival on the opposite team that hated him because he was too nice.

    So, during the game, this friend was going out of his way trying his best to be nice to his rival.  However, every time he was trying something that required a dice roll (i.e. pull out flowers from his bag of tricks), he would fail critically and end up doing something that hurt this rival (i.e. the flowers were actually dynamite that exploded in the rival’s face).

    So, going by weird inverse logic, I had this rival slowly fall in love with him…  Of course, when she was trying to demonstrate that love, she became a bigger pest then as a rival. ;)

  • Dani

    I was laughing through most of this just because I was imagining
    everything in my head. It’s almost like deeply tragic pratfalls. Sounds
    like you were doing everything in your power to salvage the mission.
    Guess they should have had a backup plan in case one of the guys failed.

  • Anonymous

    It’s always sad when players just keep on botching dice rolls, especially as a GM, because it means that no matter what you do, no matter how much you fudge, no matter how creative your players are being, no matter how much effort they’re putting in it, they’re failing out of sheer bad luck and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

    Reminds me of my one and only half-session of Cyberpunk 2020: I remember nothing but the fact I made like 12 rolls in that session and failed all of them. All of them.

    All of them.

    I don’t even remember what happened or what I was supposed to be doing, I just remember I failed at it in a quite spectacular manner.

  • charles

    The dice gods are a cruel and insatiable master. Personally, I’ve had a DM cancel a session midway when he rolled for attacks for a surprise round that resulted in 8 of 12 critical failures. Ballista and alchemist fire are not the most forgiving weapons to fail during deployment.

  • Justin Alexander

    Critical fails always suck, but they’re never the fault of the GM – the dice are just a cruel, random mistress.  What always gets me are games that have built in “This really sucks for you” crit fail chances, as if failure isn’t bad enough in most scenarios.  Or, as I’ve sometimes encountered, GMs who use extra crit fail rules on TOP of whatever’s already in play.

    One example was a D&D 3rd edition game I was playing in.  I was playing a war cleric of one of the gods of justice…Tyr, I think.  Anyway, I’m wielding a 1 handed weapon and a shield as my primary weapons, playing tank for my party.  I go to smack some random orc in a band that had attacked us and rolled a 1.  The GM asked me to roll a d4.  I rolled a 4.  I took 4 points of Dexterity damage, and dropped my sword, because apparently my rolling a 1 translanted to me wrenching my entire arm out of socket or something ridiculous like that.  This is in addition to the gang of surly orcs trying to beat us to death.

    Granted, something bad almost always happens when you roll a 1, but there’s nothing in there about getting royally screwed and I hate it when people try to inject reasons why you “should” be.

  • Anonymous

    There are so many stories of great botches, but the following one is the best I ever saw:
    My players once annihilated the Seattle Space Needle in a game of Shadowrun by botching a series of rolls while pursuing and trying to shoot down a helicopter with their t-bird.It started by smashing the thunderbird into the helicopter, then, the two players attempted to climb from on vehicle into the other while they were hopelessly lodged together but still going Mach 1 and trying to board the heli in mid-air (typical for Shadowrun 3rd ed., as you all know). The rigger and the decker both keeping the bird in the air, the street samurai and the ki adeptdoing the climbing secured by a mage and finally the shaman summoning a spirit of air in case of emergency.Every player and two NPC’s botched their rolls completly. The climbers both fell to their deaths directly onto the Needle, where their explosives detonated. The mage fried his own brain in an attempt to rescue them, causing a leash of energy to stun the pilot and knock him out. The decker botched his flying check, as did the NPC in the heli.As the flying mess tumbled down, the shaman dumped karma like mad to finish the spell (houseruled on the spot to save the party), and actually finished in time. Unfortunatly he botched the summoning, so instead of a greater spirit he got a powerful toxic spirit moments before impact.
    In the end, atop of the needle, two heavily armed aircraft with even heavier armed people insede smashed down and immideatly exploded, severly damaging the structure; with a unbound greater toxic spirit rising from the disaster to cause even more havoc.
    That was fun as hell past a certain point.

  • Anonymous

    The chance of rolling those 6×1’s in a row: 0,000000078125%

  • Anonymous

    My story is the opposite of botches. I rolled to everyone’s surprise 7 crits in a row! I wouldn’t have believed it, but two people where sitting on either side of me and they confirmed to the GM that I did in fact critically succeed. It started in a Greek Gods Campaign my buddy ran. At the end of the adventure, Ares the God of War was summoned down by our only wizard in the party. The idea is that no matter what race we were, somehow we were all half gods, like Hercules, we just didn’t know it, yet. It was a GURPS game, I was allowed to be a hobgoblin (-25 points back), I was the one of two combat morons in the party. The other was a the tank, he was a half-ogre. We beat the bad guys trying to destroy our home village, these guys were looking for us, but instead of joining them like the plot told us to, we fought, and in retaliation they torched our home town, the place we started in. So, we defeat the 6 guys and out right killed the two mages, only one guy got away, we thought he did, it wasn’t till later the half ogre told us he ate that guy. So, the wizard in our party is trying to identify these magic items the bad guys had(they had a group name, because they were from a cult of some sort). The wizard with much, much prompting from the GM manages to call down Ares. Ares points at the wizard and demands why he summoned him. The wizard says he sorry and gets on his knees to beg forgiveness. Ares ain’t having none of that and goes to cut the wizard’s head off, my hobgoblin, (who has delusions of being a hero) rushes to his aid and parries the swing critically(crit #1) that would have cut off the wizard’s head. I ask if I can catch the other half of the blade that falls, and I do (normal success). I take the sharp end of the sword that been cut off from the rest and stab Ares in the eye (crit #2), and the god stands their stunned, and bleeding. The townspeople see this, a point EVERYONE in our party makes. Ares, looks towards me and removes his sword from his waist and throws it to me. It lands at my feet and I pick it up, thus doing the action that the GM says unlocks my potential. I have like 100 points instantly awarded to me to spend how I wish, but that can wait, as I draw the sword and attack Ares who is still trying to kill our wizard. I challenge him, he turns and I swing at his neck. (Crit #3 hit and blow bypasses all armor and I roll max damage on top of that with Ares sword). I say to him to leave him alone. But Ares and the GM can’t believe it, so he takes a swing at me, unarmed, I parry the attack and announce to do damage to his arm, which is pretty automatic when you attack someone bare handed, and they have a sword. I was told to roll another defense on top of my normal roll I just made and succeeded at. So I roll (Crit #4) and does max damage and cripples his arm according to the crit hit chart. Ares creates a new sword out of thin air and attacks me with it, I parry and the GM says my sword is broken again. I say so Ares sword he gave me, his side arm for the last 1000 years, just breaks. Hephaestus’s work ain’t what it used to be, I said. The GM had to figure this out, so the sword I wield now doesn’t break, and since Ares had given it to me as a spoil of war, he wouldn’t take it away from. The Gm said. So, Ares attacks me again I parry, and I attack (Crit#5) at this point from the first crit everyone is watching my dice. Bypass all DR and does it damage. So the GM starts to flub rolls and I get attacked and he said it’s a critical. I said well the sword’s blesses take care of that right? He stops cold. He tells me no. So I say well what’s the crit, double normal damage. Ok how much is that he says 18 points of damage. Ok, I spent my 100 points into ablative DR about 40 points worth. He told I could spend it on anything at any time. Pissed at me, he just throws attacks at me claiming crits and not to bother to roll defense rolls ever, but I say I always get a chance, and rolled two (#6 and #7) on those rolls. The GM finally has Ares leave. I saved our wizard. But he never ran the game again.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve had maybe three total fantastic successes in my gaming career.  To give you an idea of the luck I have every other time, I’m currently in a DC Adventures game.  I’m Superman.  Now, we’ve been playing for almost six months now, and with one exception, I’ve yet to roll above an 8 on the d20.  Carryck, Ivelios, Aramis, Taven, Kerrigan and Hieronymus all sacrificed to the D&D gods due to botched stabilization rolls.  The fact that I got taken down that many times should tell you something right there.  My namesake, Vortemeer, only survived thanks to a merciful DM and a last minute resurrection spell, despite being taken down to almost -30 hp.  Oh and my Warhammer apprentice wizard got sucked into Chaos after casting the “petty magic” spell, Glowing Light.  That was a good one.

  • K.K. Libra

    Wow, that reminds me of the first time I ever played D&D. I was playing a ranger and I kept botching my spot and listen checks. To this day my friend and I still joke about the blind and deaf ranger.

  • Steven Johnson

    The best is when you super success leads to total failure.  So having a dm that makes a check that you are supposed to fail but didn’t want to make it impossible.  So the enemy hits you and you had to make a fort save (this was 3.5) being a bard with 10 con, my fort saves where not good.  If you fail the save the creature pulled you into a portal.  We didn’t know that that was where the plot was going so you hope to make it.  I get hit 3 times and needed a 19 or 20 to make the save.  So amazingly i make each save 19, 19, 20 which means instead of getting sucked into the portal I get knocked down -300 hp getting instant killed.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve never had a bad particularly bad string of rolls, but I have had a terrible string of luck in D&D one campaign. We were playing a pre-made 3.5 campaign called “The World’s Largest Dungeon”. If you hadn’t heard of it, it was basically one incredibly massive dungeon crawl that was made to take a group from level 1 to level 20. Now we only made it through about three sections of the entire thing before we started a new game, but in that time I had ran through a total of EIGHT Characters. All but the last died pretty brutally too. What was amazing was before this I had some innate ability to just avoid death at the last second in other campaigns.
    The first was a Two-Weapon Fighting, Polytheistic Cleric. He was beheaded by orcs I think.
    Then came a Lesser Aasimar Monk. He was devoured by giant Darkmantles.
    Third was a Gnoll Barbarian named Kackl’z. He was caught in the blast of a booby-trapped doorlock while low on health because the party cleric was being stingy with the heal spells
    After Kackl’z was another Lesser Aasimar, this time a Fochlucan Lyrist. He was turned to stone by a Cockatrice.
    Followed by a Drow Fighter/Rogue which touched into Dread Commando and Dread Fang of Lolth. He had a riding Spider named Fingers. Now he took Fingers into a room that was casting Phantasmal Killer each round, so almost immediately Fingers fucking exploded. Before the Drow could escape, the room took him too.
    Followed by a Sharakim Duskblade who went into Abjurant Champion. He lasted one session as he was eaten by a Mimic in the guise of a Bookshelf.
    Next came a Human Transmuter Wizard that went into War Weaver. I was showing off a bit by turning into a Hydra during a fight and ended up getting ganged up on by the opposing monsters
    Finally, there was a Catfolk Favored Soul. He… didn’t really get to do anything as we stopped playing around the time he came in, so he might as well have died.

  • Spencer Hamm

    Best freaking time I can remember. It was me A Half Orc Barbarian, A human Rouge, Two elven Rangers, a Half Elf Druid, and a NPC Gnome controlled by the dm. We had just gotten out of a dungeon, half of use we’re hurt, nearly dead. We saw the guy(Dwarf) who we followed down the tunnel in a crowd. So we all roll to tackle him. The Half Orc, 1. The Rouge 1. The fucking gnome? Nat fucking 20. Tackles the dwarf, and then the best line ever. What does he say? “Thats right bitch!” Best time in D&D ever. I wish I still had the recording. We died of laughing

    • Anonymous


  • toms

    It is just like the movie Final Destination.

  • André Norell

    Roll a 1 six times in a row?… they weren’t using loaded dice by mistake, were they?

  • JM

    Defibrillator can’t start a heart that has stopped. It is a Hollywood myth. Defibrillator is used to stabilize the beating of the heart.

    • Anonymous

      But they bring people back from the dead in Battlefield 3!

    • Commander Nomad

      Maybe it was an AED disguised as a defibrillator.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, that’s a bad set of rolls.  Rolling any given number on a d20 is 1:20, rolling any given number on a d20 six times is 1:20x20x20x20x20x20, or 1 in 6.4 million.  Definitely very poor odds.

    My worst story with critical successes and critical failures also comes from Spycraft.  This is a mission from Living Spycraft called “Ground Truth,” where the team has to get into North Korea, make their way to a secret underground base, and find out for certain whether or not the facility has nuclear weapons.  There’s two ways into the country – either a soft entry, where the team poses as a trade delegation or something to get to a nearby (5km) town to the site, and evade their handler; or a hard entry, where the team boards a spy plane and does a HALO jump at night.

    I had six players in this group: a US Marine (the team’s gun bunny), a US Pararescue trooper (who also served as the team’s hacker), a Mossad operative (who was their intrusion specialist and martial artist), two facemen (one specialized in disguises, the other an excellent con man), and a wheelman (he could drive anything, and usually ran it into the bad guys).  I suspected they’d do both options – the military folk would lean towards the hard entry, while the non-military operatives would lean towards the soft entry.  I was proved right, and they began their planning.

    Now, here’s how a HALO jump works in Spycraft.  It’s a Sport (Skydiving) roll, and it starts at a DC 10.  For those of you unfamiliar with d20, basically, you roll a d20, add your ranks in Sport (Skydiving) and your Dexterity modifier to the roll.  Naturally, not many people have the Sport (Skydiving) skill, so for an expenditure of 2 Gadget Points, the team members could request an emergency training session and gain two temporary ranks in Sport (Skydiving).  Of course, if the agent already had spent points to buy Sport (Skydiving), as the Pararescue guy did, he can’t benefit from that.  So, basically, in order to successfully open your chute at the first opportunity (roughly a thousand feet above ground), they had at least a +4 bonus, so they needed to roll a 6 or better.  Naturally, the longer you wait to pull your chute, the harder the check becomes.  So, why wouldn’t you pull at the first opportunity?  Well, the DC you open your chute at becomes the DC for people to notice you during the final bit of your descent.  So, the longer you wait, the harder you are to notice.  So, naturally, my group decides to all wait.

    So, now they’re roughly 750 feet above the ground.  The DC is now 15.  The Marine suddenly does some quick math.  “If I wait much longer, the ground and I are going to meet, and the ground is going to win that exchange!”  He deploys.  “OK,” I tell him, “make your roll.”

    He rolls a natural 20!  He also spends an action point to ensure it’s a critical success, and land perfectly in the drop zone.  He cuts himself free of the chute, pulls his rifle, and begins securing the LZ.

    So, now it’s the Mossad agent and the Pararescue guy plummeting towards their doom, and they’re about 500 feet above ground.  The DC is now 20.  The Mossad agent was waiting for this, and he pulls his chute as well.  “OK,” I tell him, “make your roll.”

    Another natural 20!  He too spends an action point to ensure it’s a critical success, and he lands very close to the Marine, cuts himself free of the chute, pulls his weapon and begins securing the LZ as well.

    Now the Pararescue guy has a decision.  Does he wait for the final moment, at 250 feet above the ground, or does he pull his chute now?  Eventually, after weighing his options, he decides to pull now.  (Which was a good choice, as the DC jumps from 20 to 30.)

    “OK,” I tell him, “make your roll.”

    What can be said about what happened next?  Well, I suppose the best thing that could be said was “he didn’t botch.”  He rolled, like, a 4 or something.  With his bonuses, he gets about a 10, meaning he fails the roll.

    Now, the good news is that the chute deployed, slowing his descent, so he wouldn’t become street pizza.  However, it’s definitely a hard landing right now, meaning he’ll be taking a d6 points of damage for every point he missed the roll by – 10d6 at level 4 or 5 is going to hurt a lot. 

    Fortunately, Spycraft provides ways to help alleviate the fickleness of the dice with action points.  One of the more powerful things they can do is you can spend them to gain an additional d4 to add directly to the total of your check.  Moreover, if you roll a 4 on the die, you get to roll an additional d4 and add that to the total.  And on top of that, if you keep rolling 4s, you get to keep doing that.  So, there’s ways to deal with a poor roll at a bad time.

    So, the Pararescue guy decides to use his first action point.  He picks up his d4.  He gets a 1.  Not what he wanted, clearly, so he uses a second action point, and rolls again.  He gets another 1.  So, he’s managed to reduce the damage from 10d6 to 8d6.  He sighs and uses his final action point.  He picks up his d4 again, starts to roll it, thinks better of it, and uses a different d4.

    Yep, you guessed it.  He gets a 1.

    So, he lands and takes 7d6 points of daamge.  This blows through his Vitality (basically, superficial damage that comes back rather quickly), and dives right into his Wounds (the shots that actually hurt).

    Oh, did I mention, he’s also their medic?  And that this is roughly 5 minutes into the game?

    They bring him back up, using all of their healing they’d budgeted for the mission, and get him moving, but he’s got a sprained ankle (or worse) from this, so they’re moving a lot slower than they were wanting to behind enemy lines.

    Things eventually got better for them, but it was a VERY rough way to start the adventure.  It’s still one of the more memorable stories from my gaming experiences.

  • Hathor Liderc

    Kuno’s large series of 1’s comes to mind…

    On the other side of the coin, we were playing 3.5 with the unofficial “Book of Erotic Fantasy,” and my friend Jace was a Sexual Cleric…and while his combat rolls were horrible, he was rolling 20’s on his intercourse rolls.

  • Anonymous

    If I were you, I would maybe begin to save money and open a hobby store myself. You could advertise it in your website it could have competitive play for several tcgs as well as rpg seeing that you like this stuff so mutch.

  • Jim Greene

    ok, so no one’s asked and i just have to know. is it indiana jones or bayou billy on your shirt? yes i could look it up but i’d rather ask.

    • Anonymous

      Pretty sure that’s Bayou Billy. One of Spoony’s older videos detailed the game.

  • John Doe

    Actually a chance of rolling one on a 20 sided die 10, 100 or 1000 times in a row will always be 1/20. Thinking otherwise is a common mistake known as “gambler’s fallacy”.
    And by the way – thank you, Spoony. Love this new show. I’ve never played DnD, but it’s so fun to listen to the stories.

  • Ryan Russell

    Are you trolling John Doe? Chance of getting a 1 is 1/20 for one roll, the next time it is also 1/20 since the outcome of the first doesn’t affect the outcome of the second. However if you add the clause that they must be done ‘in a row’ now the outcome of the first roll does affect the overall outcome of them being in a row or not so you get a 1/400 chance for the 2 rolls (which changes to either 0 or 1/20 once you know the result of the first roll).

    • John Doe

      No, I’m not trolling. Look up gambler’s faulty. Every throw is a separate event and in no way affect other throws. =)

      • Ryan Russell

        Just read it on wikipedia and I think you’ve misunderstood it slightly. If you read the example of the coins you see it even says the chance of getting a head is 1/2 but the chance of 5 in a row is 1/32.

        • John Doe

          Sorry, I messed up the nubers. It won’t be 1/20, but(quote from the article) “The probability of getting 20 heads then 1 tail, and the probability of
          getting 20 heads then another head are both 1 in 2,097,152. Therefore,
          it is equally likely to flip 21 heads as it is to flip 20 heads and then
          1 tail when flipping a fair coin 21 times.” So the long combination of “1s” is highly unlikely to roll, but it is as rare as any other cobination. 

          • Joshua West

            The odds of any given roll are 1/20, however AFTER the rolls, a particular sequence of rolls with have a much smaller chance.

          • Anonymous

            The probability of getting a tail or heads, being on your 21th throw after getting 20 heads, is 2/2 aka 100%. However getting to the 20 heads in a row is very unlikely, it is 0.00000095367431640625%

            Noah rolled about 5 times 1 in a row (or something) out of an 20 sided die, if the die is perfectly shaped, the outcome of getting the same outcome (or certain arrangement of 5 specific outcomes), 5 times in a row out of 20 possible outcomes is 1/20^5 (0.05^5), which is 0.0000003125%

            Any other combination is just as “unlikely” to happen, but rolling anything else than 5 times 1’s in a row is 9.9999996875%.

            You might aswell just bet 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, when you play the lottery (which is stupid BTW), the chance of that outcome is just a possible as anything else.

  • Ryan Russell

    Double post -oops-

  • Derek B

    Wow. That is horrendously bad dice rolling. Poor guys. We’ve got two people in my Friday game that can’t roll worth crap so they always do their best to min/max the bejeezus out of  their characters just so they can at least survive. Rolling a “1” or “snake eyes” (D6 games) is always astronomically bad.

    Keep the stories coming.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe one of the guys slipped you a loaded dice that would always land on a 1 or 2 so he could troll everybody? I dunno, I just feel so bad for you and those guys you played with :(

  • Joshua West

    My 1st character in 4E was a Wild Magic Sorcerer.

    With Wild Magic, when you roll 20, your spell pushes the target and knocks em prone. Neat!In tradoff, however, when you roll a natural 1, you push EVERY nearby creature, including arty members, away from you.

    Yeah, lets just say my party members developed a healthy fear of ledges when I started cooking up spells.

  • Anonymous

    listening to this, i was confused at the end. why should they have blamed spoony for their own bad dice rolls? that’s pretty much the worst thing to do

  • Shadowdancer21b

    can’t watch the video.  Cuts out at 23 seconds.

  • Shadowdancer21b


  • Anonymous

    A friend of mine DMing killed 2 PC’s and one of their horses in 3 straight max damage crits from 3 low level rangers. Being a CE PC that I was, I laughed maniacally the whole time, causing them both to rage quit.

  • Justin Trumpp

    I mostly play oWoD. I had a rank 2 Silent Strider kill my Rank 5 Elder Get of Fenris in one hit. When i rolled for soak, botched the roll. I’m like damn, okay you messed him up. Well with werewolves you can roll rage to soak any damage he goes into Incapacitated to heal up all the wounds. well I botched that roll as well. So a very weak character literaly destroyed someone he didn’t stand a real chance against.

    On the flip side, this is Karma. Back when I was younger I played a Level 1 Elf Ranger. We had to deal with a vampire in a small village. We had a week to prepare for the vampire to come back. Granted he has the right to arrogant . As the ranged fighter, my job was simple, kill the vampire with a arrow through the heart. The paladin had put Invisible to undead on me so i could get a clean shot. In a miracle shot, I got a natural 20 for an aimed shot to the heart.  Besides seeing the GM with the most messed up look on his face.

  • Anonymous

    I remember when I played D&D 3rd edition in high school we had this one d20 that, I swear to god, never ONCE in 5 months of bi-weekly rolled a number between 5 and 15.  It always rolled really high or really low.  Eventually we started using it just for all-or-nothing rolls like doing a saving throw against being swallowed by a dragon or delivering the killing blow to the evil wizard, because whatever you used this dice for, it would either screw you over or save the day.

  • Tommy Wright

    I had a 4.0 Gnome Bard at level 3 and had managed to stack my skills into stupid plus stats up to 14 but mostly 11 into useless things like, bluff, intimidate, theft, sneak and general trickery (I know a 3ft gnome with more intimidate than our tank)

    The DM at the time had set up a campaign where we had to escape a town after rescuing a wanted man who rewarded us with stolen items from the king of the realm. We hit a hard time trying to escape, we were critical failing everything, in an attempt to evade guards and police the party finally made it out after 2 hours and barely with any supplies left and the campaign was looking to be back on track when we bumped into a couple of trolls (threw in at low level to give us supplies). by now I had gotten to level three and had the ability to shrink items and enchant at low level..

    Most fights I hung back because I had no defence but this time I used my sneaking to get right in and distract the trolls and aided in victory, I was rewarded with one prize of my choice so I skinned them. and pocketed their skins in my hold all reluctantly the DM agreed and I shrank the skin down to fit.

    About 2 more sessions in we happened across the main guard of the town who was essential in our quest, the DM had planned for him to alert the king of our whereabouts through the mountains so we could challenge the king in the end to a fight for victory.

    But here is what happened instead.
    I put the troll skin on and the clothes from a town guard decided for the first time in the campaign to try a bluff check.
    I said I was a mountain guide helping wounded soldiers back to their families.
    The DM frowned at this and said well for a start he doubts your a troll so there is a -10 to your bluff check and then he also recognises some party members so that’s a further -25 (this DM really didn’t want me to succeed he basically rail roaded me in to a check which I was going to fail, forgetting I had a bluff check of +15 and a disguise bonus of +2.
    So I rolled and got my only critical of the whole campaign and I mean only, I failed to crit everywhere.
    DM checked my stats and added up the totals and the other players by know were laughing that I even had a plus 2 after minuses. only because I argued that my disguise although crap and transparent counted. So the DM played along and rolled his perception check, and critical failed.

    Needless to say the DM got majorly upset that I had successfully bluffed past a central plot point in his quest and tried to shoe horn in another bandit to attack me to shed my disguise. To arise suspicion in the Guard, however I used my plus 11 in intimidate to keep him quiet and the DM was forced to abandon the campaign and we escaped the land with the jewels. Needless to say I haven’t been invited back. But it’s was so worth it:)

  • Matt Strout

    For people that have never played old Vamp the Masquerade larp let me preface this with a quick and dirty rules synopsis. Old VTM is basically competitive rock-paper-scissors; which compared to other game systems is a little rough. Basically you have a 1 in 3 chance of failing. Sure there are things like abilities that give retests and other rules that should make dealing with super easy situations… well… easy. Unfortunately in practice it seems like the simplest problems are what does people in. 

    There are two instances that stand out as the worst cases of bad luck.

    1. I once narrated a feeding scene that resulted in the death of the player… which wouldn’t be so bad except that all he was trying to do was eat a baby deer in the forest. Apparently the deer was possessed by some god of war because after nearly 20 rounds Bambi had yet to take a single hit and my sad vampire player was beaten into torpor by hooves of death…. which, again, wouldn’t be so bad if any of the players who went looking for him could ever score even a single success. Hours later the player took it with dignity claiming that a higher power obviously wanted his blood sucker to greet the sun.

    2. Forklift. While the mechanics in VTM larp may not be forgiving; the way that abilities are handled is. For instance if you do not take  ‘Drive’ ability it doesn’t mean you can’t operate a motor vehicle; it just means you can’t do anything fancy. Enter our hero ‘Forklift’ who along with a group of players is jumped in a warehouse district while investigating rumors of Sabbat (bad guys). Knowing that they are outnumbered; the highest ranking player (in game) orders forklift to get back to elysium (vampire home base) to get help.
    Forklift snaps into action, runs outside and finds a car. He has the skill to hotwire it… but no drive skill. I tell him that so long as he doesn’t do anything crazy; he won’t have to test; but Forklift is a man of ACTION; so he immediately informs me of his intention to floor the vehicle. Test… test… crash.
    On to vehicle number 2. Again; hotwire successful. Again, a friendly warning about the dangers of reckless driving with no skill… Again drops the hammer and attempts to scream out of the parking lot.
    Test… test… crash.
    Finally with no cars left he tells me that he is going to search the warehouses for a vehicle. He finds a forklift.
    And so in a vehicle that does 20 mph on a good day he makes his getaway. He reaches Elysium way too late and tells me he is going to roll up the stairs and burst through the doors to warn everyone about the fight that has ended an hour ago.
    test. test. crashes the forklift through the wall. 

    • George Rosenbaum

      He TRIIIIIIIIED to kill me with a forklift!

    • jesternario

      You don’t need a crazy man driving a forklift!

  • Anonymous

    Actually, We had a problem like this. My friend Whit can’t win for tryin’ in games, I mean, it’s not just botches, she just keeps low rolling a lot. It probably doesn’t help at all that she combines this with some bad decision making, often getting herself into really bad situations that could have been easily avoided with a bit of forethought.

    We finally worked out a system to deal with the problem: We would have a pinch roller for her in dire situations, but as well, we would help minmax her character for what she wanted to do so that the dice just didn’t matter for this. Exalted further helped us out in this regard by having rules put that if you have at least 7 dice for a check that requires only 1 successes, that you don’t have to roll, since success is generally assumed, and for every three dice you have for the check, it increases, so with 10 dice you don’t have to roll diff 2 checks, 13 you don’t have to roll diff 3s, 16 you don’t have to roll diff 4s, and finally, if you have 19 dice to a check, you wouldn’t have to roll diff 5 checks. The game is high epic fantasy, so it’s built to have your characters be capable of some really insane shit.

  • George Rosenbaum

    Speaking of botchfests, I remember an encounter with enemies who had nets. Try as ALL OF OUR CHARACTERS MIGHT, we all failed to untangle ourselves from these fucking nets.

    I even remember onr guy hypnotizing a net wielding enemy, misplacing where the net was thrown, and hitting other players, trapping even more of us.

    But I was a ROGUE, I had a HAND CROSSBOW! And because of that, I could shoot people while sitting on my ass, while failing every single escape check and becoming steadily angrier. I was the only character that killed anything. Eventually the DM had mercy on us (because the shop was closing for the night) and sped up the encounter by having the enemy retreat. It wasn’t a clean win, but I’ll take it.

    I can still see those damn cowards running in terror, as a halfling bounces after them, still tied up in a net, holding a crossbow with his partially free arm and shouting “I’LL KILL YOU ALL!”

  • Dan Schuett

    My worst run of dice was actually only my second ever combat playing D&D.  We’d run into a giant snake or something, an unintelligent animal big or no, and I won initiative so I went first.  I rolled a one.  Now my DM had a series of charts to give critical misses and critical hits a bit more flavour.  He rolls a percentile and says, “Ok you hit one of your party members (decided by a d4 dice roll).  Roll a second attack against your friend.”  I roll a 20.  DM rolls his percentile again and sighs, “You crippled his right arm.”  Now this was our fighter, and I had just managed to take out his sword arm.

    The horror doesn’t end there though because I was a dual wielding Ranger, I had another attack.  So I roll and, big surprise it’s a 1.  DM rolls and says, “Ok you’ve actually managed to hit yourself.  Roll another attack.”  I roll a 20, at this point the DM’s thinking maybe I should roll for the monsters, and he checks the chart again.  He puts his face in his hands and to this day I’m not sure if he was laughing or crying, looks at me and says, “You cut your own head off.”

    At which point I got up from the table and said, “Ok I’m going to roll up another character and we’re all agreed he doesn’t get to play with anything sharp.”

    • Jimmy TehFreak

      best.. story.. ever. This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to begin playing.

  • Anonymous

    My story by far is not as good as yours, but here goes: My best friend’s brother got him the DnD starter kit, complete with the 4 two-sided boards to set up the dungeon and a handful of pieces for the monsters/players. It just so happened that my brother wanted to try DnD with us, so we all popped on over.

    That little SoB (my best friend) insisted I DM this thing AGAIN for like the 5th time in a row. The last enemy was a dragon, with like a D12 damage roll and 2 attacks per round. Our choices were Dwarf Cleric (me as well), Human Fighter (my best friend), and Elf Mage (my brother).

    My best friend just happened to be playing the warrior as a tank, so he managed to wedge himself just right into a corridor while we tried to snipe the dragon as best we could, supporting my best friend with heals and magic as best we could in-between ranged attacks.

    As I was the DM, I stomped over to him. Rolled. 20. Critical Threat. Rolled again. 20. Rolled the damage score, and it was 12, so 24 from the crit double. Rolled for the second attack. 20. Rolled for the crit confirm. 20. Roll for damage. 12. In one round I dealt 48 damage to the warrior, which pretty much one-shot him.

    That was the last time I ever DM’ed.

  • StormRyder67

    Well… I have two good stories about dice failing. The first one I wouldn’t call bad luck exactly though. So we’re playing Dark Heresy and my assassin is walking through the corridor of a ship when the lights go out. Roll agility check. Well we’re playing a d100 system so I roll 80. So I fail miserably. I step in a bucket making a whole fuckload of noise. Roll another agility check; 87. He trips and falls flat on his face. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise though because he fell literally just in time to avoid getting hit with a welder.

    Now the other good one is from the same campaign. My GM has the worst luck with vehicle mounted weapons. Like literally the worst luck. Every vehicle mounted gun he has thrown against us thus far has rolled 3 100s in a row and  promptly blown themselves to pieces. (Without ever killing any player characters I might add.) The one time one of his vehicles actually hit one of us an anti aircraft tank took a shot and hit my assassin in the head. The GM rolled a 1 to damage and the (high explosive anti aircraft) round… bounced off his helmet. Yeah… Did I mention that my assassin can only afford the second shittiest helmet in the game?

    • Anonymous

      Damn I wish I could have heard audio about this.

  • StarmanSuper1

    I don’t have many bad runs of dice, so much as I just roll 1’s all the time. I played with the same D&D group for many years, and our notion was that when you rolled a 20, you succeeded ridiculously. When you failed, you failed catastrophically. Both cases usually had rather goofy outcomes, and it brought a little levity to failing. In terms of failure, whenever someone rolled a 1, the failures for that specific person would all have something in common. For instance, whenever one of my friends rolled a 1, something would happen to him involving hallucinations of Dragons. So he’d envision himself tripping because some evil, smirking dragon popped out from behind a tree and tackled him, or he’s be paralyzed in fear because to him the sky was suddenly filled with millions of dragons.

    Though he didn’t fail nearly as always as I did. And my little failure gimmick was that whenever I failed, it would have something to do with a shiny blue beetle. The first instance of which was where I was captivated by the beetle sitting on my shoe for two rounds of combat while everyone else was fighting.
    Here’s my failure story. I had a pretty high level halfling ranger/rogue character, and she had an exploding longbow. It was an enchanted longbow I had found in a dungeon, and the ammo that was fired from it would explode when it hit its target. So, I forget what I was aiming at, but I was going to fire this bow when I rolled a 1. A shiny blue bug appeared on my shoe again, and I gleefully looked down at it, bow drawn, and accidentally let the arrow fly and strike my foot. Of course, the arrow exploded, took out my foot, and dealt me a fair amount of damage. Luckily my fellow players were able to top the bleeding and even make my leg start slowly regenerating, but needless to say I was crippled for a long time and had some dice penalties that went with it.
    An hour or so later, I was still crippled, but we had to ride from once place to another on a dragon of some sort. We all mounted the dragon successfully, but once the dragon lifted off, we had to roll another ride check to stay on. I didn’t roll well enough, so I fell off the back of the dragon and was able to cling to the dragon’s foot. I rolled to climb back up, and I rolled a 1. A shiny blue beetle flew by and of course, captivated by it, I reached out and grabbed it with both hands. I asked if I could roll a reflex save so my character could try to grab the dragon again once she realized what she did, and he said I could, since he didn’t want me to die. I rolled a 1. I wasn’t fast enough. And as an added bonus, I didn’t fall. Instead, the beetle began to fly off in the opposite direction, somehow keeping me held in the air while I was holding it.

    Luckily my companions were able to steer the dragon under me and catch me.

  • kwgroban

    My two biggest fails both ended in horrible deaths for my characters.
    The first one was a half werewolf barbarian, we were sneaking into a hag’s camp to retrieve a magical artifact and my barbarian, (having 6 Int) wandered slightly off to the side. GM tells me to roll perception, somehow I missed the nine foot tall minotaur creeping up behind me. GM then rolls attack, nat. 20, my barbarian didn’t survive the 180 points of damage from behind.
    Second one was in Paladium Rifts, we were all playing demigod’s and godlings. My character was a son of Horus, and had falcon wings, lacking any other powers I served as heavy weapons support. The fail came when I got into melee with a sniper. I got a good hit off on him before we started grappling, the sniper pulled a vibro-knife and made a called shot to my head, nat. 20. I rolled my dodge, nat. 1……..

  • Anonymous

    To counter, never seen bad luck like that. But. one time my friends’ barbarian sorcerer mage ( GAWD I hate d20 ) halfling threw a rock at a demon at 1st level. This was a notorious killer DM. Hence throwing a party of 1st level characters against multiple Outsiders. Said Hobbit (sorry TSR) rolls 3 twenties in a row resulting in an instant kill (house rule). This carries the day and we win. Somehow.

  • Michael Baker

    Sometimes i think, ‘Boy, it’d be great to get all these gamers together PbP or PbEm or what have you. Lot of cool people makes for a cool game, right?’
    Then I think about it, really. to many conflicting scheduals, mine included. Second best thing is reading all the stories.
    So, Cesear demands more!

  • Kevin Butler

    A while ago we would use Hackmaster with 3.5.  I was a monk, we managed to capture and bound some npc that had information on someone we needed to take out.  To help interrogate him, my monk attempted to do an unarmed attack. I rolled a 1, naturally.  This lead to the hackmaster rules coming in and I rolled d100’s I think.  I rolled really low each time and it kept getting into worse results.  When it finally came up with a decision, my character almost had a heart attack from striking a helpless guy bound to a chair.

  • K B

    It’s pretty funny to imagine all these highly trained specialists preparing for the mission. They’re ready. They’re psyched. Then the super-ninja bounces off the train repeatedly and collapses on the ground. The medical expert injures him further as he accesses the injuries and their increasingly desperate plans all fail.

  • Evan

    That was hilarious! I love the bad times even more than the good times in role-playing. I had a game of 40K once where every time I fired a plasma gun I got three ones (causing the gun to explode). I remember my opponent was so mortified for me he begged me to re-roll the last one. I just couldn’t stop laughing as my marines popped left and right.

  • Xioptocl

    Worst runs of bad luck I have seen in games I have played are usually ones I run. The worst incident was where in a single, non-boss encounter with 3 mercenaries against a player group of 6. The players were ambushed by all of our dice at the same time. In the first three rounds of combat they had missed or fumbled every attack on the mercenaries, and the mercs with their mediocre equipment managed to crit for the first eight attacks(all natural 20’s if you are curious), and then around one crit every third roll, crippling the party in short order and dealing more damage on average then the boss battle I had planned. Strangely enough, this has, to a lesser degree, happened frequently with the enemy crit problem. It got to a point that weak enemies were regularly capable of causing player death or near death experiences out of sheer luck instead of any measurable ability or stats when they were merely supposed to hamper the group some. After that particularly bad string of DM crits I implemented a house rule that seems to have spread to sister groups in the area. The ‘3 crit rule’. where the DM may only crit 3 times per game, or battle of a battle carries over into the next game.

  • Courier

    I’m one of those DnD players that always gets bad rolls.
    I have one story where I got an amazing roll. The situation was. That My party and I just got out of this huge fight with a flaming demon in a forest. Some party member were trying to find forest sprites to help find out where our next task is. So My character, Currently Paladin, knocks on a tree hoping for some help. at the time in RL chat we were all saying random things. A Sprite comes out of the tree wondering what I want. Since I was in a silly mood point to our strongest party member, and say” I sell you this guy!” The DM also being silly tells me to roll. Natural 20. Every one goes dead silent, almost like in your Vegan Steve story. The DM sells the Character to the sprite and I get a pair of magical boots. It worked out in the DMs favor though because he want the person playing the character to use another character they used in a previous games. So we all laughed and no one was really mad. Sadly I fell out of that group because of personal issues with another member. I’d like to join that group again because I can’t find any other groups .

  • George McMullen

    I remember one time, I was in a small group of characters that I’d just joined a few weeks before hand. There was one time when the group was wandering down into a deep basement of some building. As our tank-warrior opened up a door, inside were three sleeping grizzly bears. Of course, as luck would have it he rolled terribly when checking if he was quiet enough not to wake them. They woke up, turned and looked at him and charged for the door.

    As the first one came in close, he rolled an agility check to see if he could slam the door shut in time… Not only did he roll a 20, allowing him to slam the door shut just as the first bear flew at the door, crushing its face in the process and dealing damage, but as the second bear jumped toward the door at the same time, our DM rolled a fumble… so the second bear ended up crashing head first (badly) into the door, breaking its neck in the process.

    That was a good start to what could have been a nasty battle :P

    My personal best was in the same game whereby I, as an archer/assassin/thief style character, was attacked by a giant frog. It managed to flick out its tounge and wrap it around me, pulling me in close and just as it was about to swallow me whole, I fired an arrow (the tip of which I poisoned not long before entering the area it resided) into its mouth, rolling high enough against the DM’s roll to cause enough damage to kill it out-right.
    …Our warrior cut out it’s tounge that he later had crafted into a whip…

  • Randall Taylor

    I pictured the thief doing the james bond theme as he goes down. Sobs and screams of pain in time with the theme.

  • Katrin

    All the stories in the comments are so awesome! They are just the most epic stories.

    The best set of awesome rolls I ever got was when I was playing WoD. It was just me and one other person. It was the first session, and I was playing a intellectual character, low physical stats. I REALLY wasn’t prepared.

    We are in this house, and we find out that there is a vampire in the basement. We’re still upstairs but we have to go fight downstairs eventually. I have like no weapons and I’m freaking out I’m gonna die so early, but I’m gonna try. I decide to make steaks out of chair legs, which takes a bit with no craft stats.

    We go down. Its a super old super powerful vampire that we cannot possibly take. My companion attacks and is immediately knocked unconscious. I’m told I have no chance of running, cause she’s so fast. So, I go at her with the table leg. I have tons of penalties. I have to grapple and then stab to even get damage. The leg is a improvised weapon and gets penalties. I rolled at least 6 crits consecutively. Not only do I grapple, and stab her, without taking damage cause her rolls sucked bad too, but I kill her. Not even torpor, I straight up kill her.

    The DM was flabbergasted. His whole game was planned around her. Apparently we were suppose to get rescued or captured or something. But my character was just too awesome.

  • Bill Eckert

    My worst run of dice was in my first dungeon of D&D, we were fighting a bone golem and I was an admittedly over powered wizard. The golem picked up one of the other players, he was a dwarf, and I was trying to kill him with magic missiles and when I rolled to see if it hit the golem I rolled percentile dice and had to roll over 50 to hit. I rolled like a 1 and a 3 and a 5 and it kept going for several rolls and nearly killed our dwarf. One of my favorite stories of all time.

  • Keith Ellwood

    LOL! Great story!

  • David Baer

    I just finished my third campaign as GM, using a version of M&M I modified to make combat more balanced (in the core rules, almost all attacks have a chance to either do nothing or completely disable the target, depending on the dice)

    I was very proud of my story: “The Syndicate” has been experimenting on human augmentation, and they are ready to go public. In order to sway public opinion, they allow a group of their most violent test subjects to escape, so that they will cause lots of havoc and generally turn the city against superpowered humans. Then the Syndicate will send in their new superhero team, the Sentinels to clean up the mess and become heroes.

    There is a twist though: the source of the players’ powers is actually an ancient lich whose consciousness divided and lingered after his death. Now he has begun to recollect himself and is coming back to wreak terrible vengeance on everybody. Several sessions before the final battle with the Syndicate, I messaged each of the players separately and RP’d encounters with his agent, offering them immortality and great power if they agree to serve the ancient evil.

    One of the players took the deal. Her character instantly gained two levels and received crazy bonuses to Will and the ability to regenerate. I planned the final battle such that when they defeated the leader of the Syndicate, the agents of the Lich would storm into the room, killsteal him, and start the real boss battle with her character on the enemy side until the players could free her by breaking an ethereal chain that came out of her back.

    During the very first round, on the very first player action, the Darkness user who has spent this entire campaign getting crappy rolls and feeling underpowered, charges up to her and attacks with a nat 20. For reference, she is a very dodgy character and he has a low-accuracy attack so he needed like a 16 or higher just to hit. Then she rolls a natural 1 on her toughness save, instantly reducing her character to Dying.

    Somebody asks if I’m going to GM fiat the save, and all eyes turn to me. On the one hand, the rest of this boss battle will be pretty easy if this happens, but on the other hand it’s so very poetic! And then, while everyone’s attention is still on me, I see the player smile and shake her head. Seeing that she’s a good sport about it, I go ahead and allow her traitorous character to die horribly by having their chest punched out in a blast of dark energy. And a good time was had by all.

  • Baconcheese burger

    I usually fail half of my rolls.

    • Fueldrop

      I was under the impression that 4th edition D&D is kind of built around characters at the expected strength for their level succeeding on a roll of 10+. Not sure where I heard that, but if true then failing half your rolls isn’t bad luck, it’s built into the system.

      EDIT: technically you should succeed 55% of the time with that model, but my point remains.

      • g33kf4th3r

        Which sucks my ass. I hate 4th and how the made it like an mmo. It’s good for new players but I prefer the ability to customize my character and not be just like everyone else.

        • Fueldrop

          I entirely agree. 4th edition is one of my least favorite RPG systems.

  • josh martyn

    clam it’s a simulation if its there first mission so you didn’t actually kill any of them so they can get a different mission i always plan 2 different missions in spy or super R.P.G’s

  • Jacob

    I am to this day known in my group as the fumblemaster, we play 3.5 DnD but with a few houserules, one of the houserules is a fumble table that you roll on when rolling a nat 1 in combat, I know there are a few of those in diferent systems, but I’m not sure where this one is taken from. this particular chart rolls open handed, meaning that if you roll 95-98 you roll twice and if you roll 99 or 100 on the table you roll three times. I am rather lucky with most of my d20 checks, but then (and this has happened 5 times at this point) when I fumble I roll so incredibly high that it’s insane. the two worst cases was a centaur using a giant maul. I fumbled and rolled 100, 100, 98, 99, 100. and at this point the others are looking at me and I’m just staring at my dice, we all know we’re fucked… the result after having rolled on the fumble table was that I hit my friend for triple damage twice, hit my friend for double damage, hit myself for quadruble dmg, fell down, was stunned for 20 rounds, hit myself for another quadruble damage and then again for trice damage…
    at the time we where a rather small group and that meant that this was our very first total whipeout. we got killed not by the GM’s monsters, but by me, murdering my entire team in a single full round action. this would be a great story if it hadn’t happened again and again since then…

  • Kristen Snietka

    I always fail heal checks with my Cleric. ALWAYS. It’s gotten to the point where if an injured civilian needs his/her wounds healed, two other party members will work together to tend to his/her wounds.

    I remember one time, in a dungeon, we found a dragonborn who had a dagger sticking out of his stomach, who we wanted to question after he was better. I removed the dagger, and rolled my heal check. I crit-failed. The DM says, “You help the dragonborn to his feet, and try and heal him with Pelor’s Light. Instead you accidentally push him, and he falls onto the ground right onto the dagger. He’s now unconscious.”

    Needless to say, we never ended up questioning him….

    My best friend, who is also in the same campaign, teleported into a cage where an old woman was being held prisoner. The cage was protected by an electric shield that flickered on and off and would, naturally, shock anyone who touched the shield.

    My friend got to the old woman and since he had awesome strength and athletics, planned to jump over the shield, which wasn’t very high, carrying the old woman. First roll, he crit-fails and loses 8 hit points. Second roll, he crit-fails and loses 8 hit points. Third roll, he crit-fails and loses 8 hit points. Fourth roll, he rolls a two and loses 8 hit points. My friend’s girlfriend was annoyed by the hold up, rolls a natural 20 and leaps into the cage, grabs the old woman, and rolls an 18 and leaps out with her. My friend’s still stuck, rolls a 3, loses 8 more hit points and falls unconscious. His girlfriend had to save him, and I was there to fail on my heal check…Good times.

  • Ben Sill

    I’ve never seen four 1s in a row, but I have seen lots of exploding failures kill games. It got to the point where, in the train situation, I would just say that he would take double damage if he botched. Killing off or crippling the party before the fun really starts sucks for everybody, and it should be avoided pretty much at all costs. Took me an embarrassingly long time to learn that.

  • Lpwn Wolf

    “Stop helping!” – hahahahahah

    At this point you just start the adventure over after you flush those dice down the toilet.

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