Anyone can fail a save. A barbarian might have one too many, and a 27 lb kobold can drink the whole of the King’s Arms under the table. It’s all down to hot dice and weird luck. I mean sure, a fat save modifier or special resistance can help, but at the end of the day ±40% isn’t a sure thing. That’s why I love “everybody make a save” situations. You never know what shenanigans will shake out when one (and only one!) lucky PC manages to pass. Is it story time? You bet your ass it’s story time.

So no shit there they were, deep in the depths of the Stone Sisterhood’s domain. This medusa cult had given the party a rough go of it, and more than one adventurer had become statuary in recent sessions. Our heroes had finally tracked down the scaly ladies’ base though, and they were itching to take the fight to the baddies. Did they make any special preparations? No, not really. Were they understaffed that night? It was a party of three due to scheduling conflicts. Did they let that stop ’em? Hell no! My PCs were looking to scrap, and they weren’t going to let a little thing like caution slow them down.

Let me be fair to my guys though: When you get to high enough level, the standard medusa gaze attack is pretty much an auto-pass. An unlucky 1 can always ruin your night in Pathfinder, but risk is something you live with when you’re a professional thing-killer. Besides, they had their trusty teleporting magic carpet. If things got harry they could always bamf out of there.

Trouble is, they didn’t meet medusae. Once they kicked down the door and stormed the first chamber, they came face to face with one of these bad boys. This thing was size huge. It’s advanced templates had advanced templates. It was some kind souped-up super-gorgon guard dog, and its petrifying breath DC was a full 10 points higher than the standard version. You can guess what happened next.

The cleric failed. The cavalier failed. The cavalier’s mount failed. Every-freakin’-body was rocks. After the dice settled and the dust cleared, there was only a very scared, suddenly alone, and (luckily) invisible gnomish alchemist left to clean up the mess. It was touch and go for a few rounds, but some clever bull fighting and judicious use of a blade barrier made hamburger out of the gorgon. Unfortunately, that still left a Str 8 gnome to drag a cleric, a knight, and a riding gecko onto the party’s magic carpet contingency plan.

You know that chunky dude from Jedi that cries when the rancor dies? That was pretty much going on in the background as the distraught medusa cultists showed up to investigate the commotion. Magical beast parts were everywhere, and the medusae were slipping in entrails and wailing in horror. Meanwhile this poor alchemist is still invisible, but he’s sweating his ass off, trying to rock his petrified buddies across the gore-strewn chamber like a skinny dude solo-moving a fridge. Suffice it to say that he was not built for Strength checks.

“What was that?” said a medusa.

“What was what?” said another.

“That ugly human statue… Was it always standing on that carpet?”

“Look, that gecko moved!”

“Someone is still here!” they hissed.

My poor alchemist buddy was suddenly up against a ticking TPK clock, and he was sweating bullets trying to save the day. Dude greased the floor. He made creative use of impact foam. He put his back into it, made a series of last-minute heroic shoves, shut his eyes when the medusae got close… but time was up. Two of the gecko’s four feet were on the carpet, and that would have to be good enough. The Stone Sisterhood cultists were nearly upon him, arms outstretched and hands grasping.

“Go carpet go!”cried the gnome. The carpet went….

The table collectively leaned forward. No one spoke. No one breathed. Was everyone present and accounted for?

The remains of the party popped back into existence at the dungeon entrance, but all was not well. Those failed Strength checks had taken their toll, and CONSEQUENCES had arrived. The gecko and the cleric came through just fine, but I ruled that having your mount shoved partway onto a teleport pad didn’t do the trick for the rider. The luckless cavalier had been left behind, plucked from his faithful beast’s back by the teleportation! After my players roundly cursed my name, they set about making plans. Saving their petrified pal was suddenly on the agenda, and yet another daring escape was in the history books.

So yes, my session went a little sideways, but it also produced some truly memorable antics. That’s what I mean about loving group saves. None of us sat down that night thinking a game of invisible-gnome-statue-Battleship was likely to happen, but shenanigans are always afoot when you let the dice take charge.

That of course leads us to our question of the day. Have you ever seen a group-save situation where an unlikely hero emerged? Confusion always seems to cause this mess, but any kind of AOE mind-affecting silliness can make it happen. So how about it? Have you ever been the last one left in a dire situation? Tell us your tale of suddenly-solo encounters down in the comments!


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