From the Archives: Gnome vs. Ankheg

I was playing Wise Greebo the Cleric, whom I have mentioned before, and was camping with the rest of my party overnight out in the wilderness. When I was sleeping happily, probably dreaming of being at one with Garl Glittergold, an Ankheg or two attacked. Everyone was woken by whoever happened to be on watch at the time and the Ankhegs were battled. It was a fairly straightfoward fight, and the one Ankheg who wasn't defeated was routed instead. Oh, but this was not enough for me, who obviously didn't want the threat to remain to the party. Or maybe I just didn't like being woken up. No, the Ankheg mustn't escape! So off I ran, in hot pursuit of the monster, the rest of the party still at the camp wondering what the Gnome was up to this time.

The problem with running off during a night-time encounter when one is awoken is that there is not really enough time to don one's full-plate armour. This meant I was quite vulnerable in just my undergarments and no armour out in the wilderness, chasing a creature quite a bit bigger and meaner than I was. Did I mention how wise Greebo was? I caught up with the monster and started fighting it, the others in the party now trying to catch up with me so that I didn't get myself killed, mostly because it's a pain trying to get someone resurrected. It turned out that the Ankheg was more of a fighter than me, the Cleric, which took me somewhat by surprise. Particularly when it grappled me and started to pull me under the ground.

What luck! The Barbarian, with traces of sorcery in her blood, had arrived at that moment. I was saved! One deft blow from the Barbarian's Greatsword would put that monster in its place and I would be the hero! Or something. However, the Barbarian had something else on her mind. Rather than attacking a creature in a Grapple, which therefore threatened no spaces nor had a Dexterity bonus to its Armour Class, she got worried that she might get attacked. Uh, okay. So instead of attacking the Ankheg, which was just about to submerge me, she stepped back and cast Shield. GUH. Yeah, this is the same person who later got my Monk killed by doing the same thing. At least he's consistent.

That wasn't the end of it, though. After finally thinking she was safe enough, the Barbarian attacked the Ankheg in a terribly, terribly brave effort to free me. And it was a critical hit! I was saved for sure. Now, the DM pointed out that as I was in a Grapple with the monster there was a 50% chance that the melee attack would hit the wrong person. Erk! Of course, it turned out that the attack hit me, killing me and making my little Gnome body easier for the Ankheg to swallow without all that struggling once it got underground. It took someone to point out to the DM that this miss chance only applied to ranged attacks, and that a melee attack can be directed at either party in the Grapple. Thinking about it for just a little bit too long, the Barbarian said that the attack was directed at the Ankheg and not me, thus killing the monster and allowing me to crawl out of its mandibles of doom. It was good to be alive! Again.

2 Responses to “From the Archives: Gnome vs. Ankheg”

  1. marka Says:

    Did it not occur to Greebo that the Barbarian was trying to
    teach him a lesson? Obviously not, since Greebo continued
    to rush heedlessly into situations for the rest of the
    adventure. Or maybe it's down to the player? At least he's

  2. Elf Says:

    I don't rush heedlessly in to situations! I think about things carefully before ignoring any warning signs or shouts from colleagues and rushing in anyway.

    Mind you, Pepe rarely rushed in to situations like that. Only when I became confident in his abilities did he go off on his own and, apart from that time with the spider (oops!), he was pretty resilient. I can learn sometimes.