Characters in 5e are resilient. You hit em with your best shots and a short rest later they’re ready to rumble again! Our “revised rest-rules” have made short rests even more valuable in the Northern Reach campaign but characters are still tougher than an Ogre with some Barbarian features mixed into its stats. So how did things get sideways so quickly for one of the characters this Tuesday night? If you didn’t guess it from the by-line Paralyzation!
Paralyzed is a condition in 5e (if you were unaware) and the rules for said condition are as follows:
- A paralyzed creature is incapacitated (see the condition) and can’t move or speak. (it can’t take Actions or Reactions)
- The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity Saving Throws.
- Attack rolls against the creature have advantage.
- Any Attack that hits the creature is a critical hit if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature.
SO, a creature that is paralyzed likely WILL get hit if attacked since the attacker has advantage and if said attack is within 5′ of the creature its an auto crit (double ALL damage dice) when the attack lands.
The setup was supposed to be a simple one: the party has to dispatch a pair of hungry Carrion Crawlers. Per the calculator at Kobold Fight Club (we’ve plugged this site before, if you’re a DM it’s a great tool for sorting out the balance of encounters you’re building) 7 level 4 characters dealing with 2 Carrion Crawlers clocks in as an Easy encounter. But when your ranger can’t seem to make a CON save for the duration of the combat you wind up with a ranger dropping to zero HP and being rescued just before the death saves start by their companions and a healing potion. It was also a dangerous formula for killing a character outright. Once the character was down and out it’s just a matter of missing 3 death saves and they are done-zo!
Since a Carrion Crawler has 2 attacks: one with it’s tentacles and one with it’s bite the next round should’ve been the end of the 1/2 orc ranger in question. Tentacle hit on unconscious ranger. Attacker is within 5′ BAM it’s a critical hit: 2 failed saves. (someone may likely argue that it has a 10′ reach and shouldn’t count as a critical but as long as the Crawler is within 5′ they can put that in their LOTR pipe and smoke it). Second attack, a bite: Likely hits our level 4 Ranger. That tips the character over the edge and into the inky abyss.
BUT that didn’t happen. Literally the round the ranger fell unconscious her companions rallied and killed the beast before it could run away with her… which it would’ve. Which brings us to “potential crunch situation #2” The Ranger has fallen unconscious and the Crawler spins and drops back into the river of sewage that runs down the center of the sewer they are in. Dunking the ranger and fleeing. We’d have ruled that being underwater is an auto fail each round. How would you have ruled it?
This is a short one but a handy one. We’ve run games for many moons now and not often utilized the Paralyzed condition. Next big bad guy we need to put together may just have some ability that utilizes this mechanic….
Till next entry! Hope your weekends are packed full of amazing gaming!