Once upon a time, I had an Irdan (High Ogre from Dragonlance) ranger in a game that was not set in Krynn, but in a very Dragonlance-ish world. This was entirely Joe’s campaign, and it ran for several years, which is one of the longest campaigns I’ve ever played in. I don’t remember the character’s given name, but his nickname was Midnight because of the color of his skin, which was a dark blueish/ebony color.
Midnight was the master of wielding two long swords and rampage through enemies with wild and reckless abandon. Today, I would play him much differently, but this was in my youth (high school days for me) and I was also wild and reckless at the time.
One of my greatest conquests was fighting off three wraiths single handed at level six. I had in my hands two +1 long swords. Everyone else in the group had around +2 (or maybe a +3) weapons, but since I had two magical weapons, I had to settle with the “paltry” +1 bonuses they gave. If you recall wraiths from AD&D 2e, they had two attacks and each one could drain a level. This meant I was facing six attacks and each one could drop me a level. Since I was 6th level, I could have easily been turned into a wraith in a single round. Ouch.
The reason I charged in and took on all three wraiths was that they and their masters were holding the local druid enclave prisoner. We had to rescue them to allow them to stop a horrible plague that was tearing across the lands. No druids meant no cure. No cure meant thousands of untold deaths in our area. I knew that I had to get in there and save the druids, so that’s what I set out to do. When we got to the opening of the large cave complex that the druids took refuge in, we found the three wraiths. Everyone else held back because they didn’t want to lose their precious levels. I charged in because that was the thing to do with this character. Once I downed a single wraith, the rest of the group snapped to and charged into the fight at my side to help me out.
We all came out unscathed… at least from the initial encounter. The rest of the venture into the cave complex didn’t run as smoothly because of some ill-timed turn undead attempts by our clerics.
To this day, I don’t know if Sam pulled his punches and allowed me to be the hero of the moment, of if his dice truly failed him at that critical moment and allowed me, and the rest of my group, to escape the dangerous fight without a loss of level. I’d like to think the dice fell where they wanted to, and we all just got a little lucky against the wraiths.