Here’s another D&D story from my personal collection…
My friend and I decided to play elf brothers who were both archers. This was back in the 2nd Edition days when ‘Elf Archer’ was a sub-class and came with all kinds of bonuses. We were both third level and our DM was kind enough to start us off with decent +1 bows and very good ability scores. At the time, we were the only two players in the campaign but we knew that other players would be joining us after a session or two so this was our opportunity to get a head start. Naturally, we wanted to make the most out of it.
So there we were, walking through a forest, our characters barely an hour old, when the DM describes a large shadow passing overhead. We immediately take cover in the branches of a nearby tree and try to get a good vantage point as to what is flying above us. It doesn't take us long to make out the silhouette of a dragon circling in the sky about three hundred feet up. At the moment, it doesn't seem to be interested in us. Now, what we should have been asking ourselves, and what I’m sure the DM wanted us to ask was: what is that dragon looking for? But instead, we were two young elf archers with high abilities and good weapons so the first question out of our mouths was: can we take this dragon out? Needless to say, the answer was a firm maybe.
So, with as much gusto as we could summon, my friend and I walk out into a more open area, take aim with our bows and begin to let fly. The dragon, annoyed at these arrows being shot at it when it was already quite busy looking for something or someone else, decided to dive towards us with the intention of wiping us out with a single pass-over and a good breath weapon attack. My friend and I had other ideas. We asked the DM how many rounds we had before the dragon would be in range to attack us. The reply came back as three. Using the rules at the time, that meant we could each get off three shots a round which translated into eighteen shots total between us both. Not too shabby but this was a dragon we were talking about with roughly three hundred hit points and a very high AC. The odds were not good.
But, much to the surprise of our DM, we stood our ground and went for it. Our bows hummed and our dice began to roll true. On the first round we each had one natural twenty. When we rolled on the chart, both of those shots took out one of the dragon’s wings. That meant that the dragon could no longer fly, just glide. Fair enough we nodded and kept shooting. On the second round my friend rolled another natural twenty with his shots and damaged the other wing. That took out the gliding and now the dragon was no longer attacking us but just trying to safely land. On the third round we each rolled natural twenties again. That completely destroyed his second wing and he plummeted the remaining one hundred feet to the ground taking a massive amount of falling damage. By the time our arrows had finished firing in the fourth round, the dragon had met its end.
Our DM was both impressed by our display and horrified. At third level, we had taken out a boss whom he had planned to use for much of the early part of the adventure. Also, the experience from this encounter jumped us from third level to sixth. He confessed to us both that there was no way we could play at sixth level when the other players would be starting at third. Out of frustration, he put a mulligan on the whole session and we were forced to roll up new characters and start over with a new adventure. I remember feeling very ripped-off at the time but I eventually came to understand the DM’s reasoning.
I suppose the moral is: Playing D&D for personal or character gain is never more important than playing it for the story. Also: Don’t piss off the DM.