The Wizard’s Dilemma–Part 3. When All Else Fails


The wizard runs into a situation that he doesn't think he can handle.


Let us continue the discussion of how to keep your wizardly character alive in  T & T solos, and the game in general.  In fact, the advice in this section is good for any kind of character.

You see, I happen to think that it is better to be a live coward than a dead duck.  And, retreating in the face of overwhelming odds isn’t really cowardice–it’s common sense.

So what does the prudent player do in a situation where he or she is clearly outmatched.  Monte Python said it well in their King Arthur movie.  “Run away!  Run away!”

Sometimes you won’t be allowed to run away.  The trap springs shut, and there’s nothing you can do but fight to the bitter end.  Sometimes, in a face to face game, you may have a chance to talk your way out of a situation.  That often leads to great role-playing and is a lot of fun for everyone.  And sometimes the best thing you can do is just turn and run as fast as you can.

Let’s pick another wizard for our example.  Ayrik Racer is a Level one wizard with INT and WIZ of 12,  He runs into 7 goblins with Monster ratings of 10 each.  He might try something tricky, but 7 of them is just too many to beat.  What should he do?

Run away.  House rule now: in any solo you can run away from a situation if the text doesn’t say you must stay and fight.  You run away by stepping back to the paragraph that put you in this dangerous situation and making a different choice.  Yes, the monsters saw you.  Yes, they want to kill you.  But will they actually follow you out of the room?

That depends on the monster.  Animals usually won’t follow.  Big stupid monsters usually won’t follow.  Guardian monsters usually won’t follow–their job is to stay put and guard the dingus.  Wandering monsters usually will follow, especially the manlike ones.  IN the case of Ayrik and the 7 Goblins, they probably would follow him.

But Ayrik is running away.  While the Speed attribute does not automatically mean that characters with higher Speeds move faster in a delving situation, it does give you a good measure of their capabilities.  Generally speaking, characters with faster reaction times (that is higher Speed ratings) can run faster than those with slower reaction times.  You can’t tell what the speed is for a Goblin with a monster rating of 10.  An easy rule of thumb is to give them the same SPD rating as their Monster Rating.  Then you look at Ayrik’s SPD rating.  If it is higher than 10, he can probably outrun them all.  If his  SPD rating is lower than 10, he probably can’t get away by running.

But, give him a chance to get away.  Against low level monsters like goblins, I would rule that a L1SR on Ayrik’s Speed would be enough to  allow a successful retreat.  On the other hand, if he were facing a monster twice as big as him, I’d want a L2SR on SPD to escape.  And so forth.

Khayd’haik commented that the secret to survival is for the player to take on the role of a Game Master when running through a solo adventure.  That’s a very good observation.  The real GM is the text, but in cases where the text isn’t clear, it’s perfectly okay (at least under my house rules) for the player to act like a Game Master and say, “What is reasonable under the circumstances?”

Is this a license to cheat?  No.  Because, where is the fun in cheating?  If you want to cheat, then just say you win all the fights, escape all the traps, answer all the puzzles, and escape with all the loot.  But, gaming through the situation as if you were in a face to face game is different.  Is there a real chance for retreat?  Yes?  Then take it.

So, when all else fails, try running away.  Just step back to the previous paragraph.  Make a saving roll that seems reasonable to see if you succeeded in escaping.  If you did, then you got away–make another choice and keep playing.  If you fail the saving roll, stay at the current paragrajph, fight the combts, and take the consequences.

Run away from really bad threats, but watch where you're going.


Remember!  When all else fails . . . RUN AWAY!  RUN AWAY!

If you’ve ever managed to run from a fight, why not leave a comment?




The Wizard’s Dilemma–Part 3. When All Else Fails
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11 thoughts on “The Wizard’s Dilemma–Part 3. When All Else Fails

  1. Yes, many of my characters survived Buffalo Castle just by running away. Surrendering is not an option – well, most of the times, though I heard about 2 delvers, one of them was Rufus, I think, managing to stay alive in the underground beneath Khazan, pompously called the Royal (or was it Imperial?) Khazan Gauntlet of Criminal Retribution and Rehabilitation, by offering to serve the big boss, a Balrog. And that’s how the new religion of Blackflame, High God of the Deep Caverns, was started…

  2. MOST of the time, when T&T solos give me the option, I run away. Some of them things are TOUGH! And I frequently run characters who know darned well when they’re outclassed, and have a subtle fear of magic to begin with.
    It may be because I like playing hobbits in the Tolkein manner – which begs the question of “What am I doing in this adventure, anyway?!”

  3. Running away sounds like a good idea. If there isn’t a “run away” option in a solo adventure, I fight to the end. My wizards do not fair well.

  4. I’ve have loved reading this series of posts on Wizards, big Thanks Khenn. I’m never afraid to run away when playing a Wizard. A little sprint and a rest never did any Wizard any harm, unless he tripped over his long flowing cloak.

  5. “Fly, you fools!”

    I can see running away working well in some solos, depending on the character. A Leprechaun’s wink-wing ought to be good for that, for example, and Fairies are both puny enough to go nearly unnoticed in the first place, plus they fly (although it does occur to me that a fairy’s going to have trouble properly looting anything, on account of the puny.)

    I think there’s more than a few solos that would explicitly prevent this sort of thing, Arena of Khazan for one. But I’ll experiment with this next time I’m in a solo, and see how it goes.

  6. I wonder – it might be an interesting exercise to design a solo wherein flight was not only an option, but where failure to do so would end in certain death.Potential title: “By The Skin Of Your Teeth”

  7. I did a 5th edition rules solo where talking is the way to survive – blindly going into attack mode didn’t cut it. I wrote this for higher level characters and was motivated by the capricious way so many solos kill off your characters.

    One thing Ken suggested warrants comment: I don’t like the idea of using MR as SP as I think (picture) a Goblin with a MR 0f 10 as probably being faster than an Ogre with an MR of 30 – and a giant with MR100 surely wouldn’t have reaction times good enought to make a L18 SR on SP! I decide if there should be a modifier (like 1/4 for a giant slug or 1 1/2 for a Centaur perhaps) and then roll 3d6


      • I wrote it last year and sent it to Pat, the guy who has just done the French rule book; following on from some of his suggestions, I’m writing an extra option to it but I’d be happy to have another Troll critique it and hopefully enjoy playing it through. I admit the plot is a bit thin as I wrote it with thirteen year olds in mind but let me have an email address and I’ll send it through. Oh yes, the art is not the final art – it’s just illustrative and I wouldn’t publish art Shipmanesque without permission 🙂

        • I love the word “Shipmanesque!”

          You can reach me at MormonYoYoMan (at) gmail (dot) com. We loves adventures which require thinking — though I must admit to fondness for a Khenn solo which my character won via blind, dumb luck.

  8. Not wizardly, but on the topic of “Fleeing” in solos:

    I happened to be running a character in Buffalo Castle last night. I had a very good run, but the exit monster was no less than five swarms of bees, an overwhelming foe. Now, it wouldn’t be fair to flee OUT of the dungeon (after all, they’re guarding an exit!) so I did the L1 LK, not to flee to the exit, but to flee back to the previous room. My hero then backtracked some four or five rooms where there was ANOTHER exit, took it and found it to be guarded by an orc.

    MUCH better.

    Since there are more than one exit, and my character knew of at least two of them, it made sense to play it out thattaway even though the solo didn’t specifically cover the possibility.

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