I was unaware of the quality and quantity of drama that D&D can dish out in about the space of two hours. For the non-geeks among you (which, I think, is all except one), you could probably stop reading here and not be any worse for it.
But picture the situation: Three people; a wizard, a psychic warrior (me), and some kind of elven fighter. We approach the small, obscure temple, searching for a message from Shana, the strange psion that the wizard and I have just voyaged six months across the sea to the Elven continent to find. The only two people at the temple, monks, tell us that perhaps what we are searching for is under the temple. Through a mystical, runed seal. It was at this point that we should have known to just turn back and seek adventure with some goblins or something. My DM was laughing maniacally about all the traps we were about to encounter. He got us so frightened that we clustered together through the dungeon (having descended through the seal), searching for traps at every turn with a broom that we found in a closet. We found none. Oh, except for the seventy foot pit that I fell into. Thank God I had a seventy-five foot rope with a grappling hook attached. It is for these circumstances that we adventurers spend a lot of money on seemingly useless crap and carry it around with us.
After the next two levels we descended through, we fell another forty feet into a small room, where some kind of mist was materializing. To our chagrin it was some kind of Insanity Hellbeast of Killyounow. Understand that, as a psychic warrior, I am the party tank. I have 69 hit points. I take damage for other people and shrug it off. After the DoomBull rushed me and dealt twenty-five or so points of damage (not much, normally, I usually just take it and then kill the thing), it proceeded to hit me with its great axe. It criticaled me. We’re talking about 3d6. Times three. Plus strength. That, my friends, turned out to be 54 damage. As you are all aware, you character dies dead at -10 hit points. At that point I was at -9. As you are all further aware, any damage over 50 is known as mass damage and the receiver must make a save to not just die instantly, which fortunately I made. After my cleric healed me and I regained consciousness, I attempted to heal myself (because I only had eight hit points, and if that Thing had sneezed on me, it would have been over). To successfully heal myself and not have the Deathbringer hit me in the process, I needed to roll 3-20, so not one or two. I rolled a two, meaning the Bull got an attack. I was like, “That’s it, then, this is certainly the end.” But he critical missed me on a roll of 1.
It wasn’t as dramatic after that, and as I reread my post for obvious grammatical errors, it really doesn’t sound as intense as it was. The main point is that I survived fifty-four points of damage to a -9 health, one point away from exploding death. I can’t believe it.