Gamestoppers
Part Three: A Disarming Trip

In this installment of "Gamestoppers," we look at the rules for disarming weapons and other objects, as well as the rules for tripping opponents. Last month, the group battled a Huge otyugh while the monster's keeper, a goblin cultist, escaped through a secret door. Since then, the group's killed the otyugh and made sure that the unconscious merchant is safe -- for the moment. They then pursued the goblin cultist into his inner sanctum. . . .

DM: Right. You've navigated the short secret passageway and have entered a small, 20-foot-square room. It's a fairly spartan chamber, containing only a simple, small bloodstained altar stone before a crude statue of some leering goblin god. A small iron coffer sits on the floor behind the statue.

PC (Krusk): Coffer? Goblins keep gold in coffers, don't they?... And magical axes!

Krusk
-
Lidda
-
Vadania
-
Nebbin

PC (Vadania): Are there any other exits leading out of the room? Where'd that goblin high priest go?

PC (Krusk): I barrel in there and rip open that coffer!

PC (Nebin): NO! Wait, Krusk!

PC (Lidda): Here we go again...

DM: Okay then, Krusk. As you charge into the room and reach for the coffer, everyone needs to make a Spot check.

[The group rolls, but no one rolls over a 25, so a goblin bodyguard, who was hiding behind the statue with a Hide check of 29, gains surprise.]

DM: Well, Krusk...as you approach the coffer, a grinning goblin armed with a whip steps out from behind the statue and lets cry with a bloodcurdling screech. Before you can react, his arm shoots out and you hear the crack of his whip as he tries to trip you with it.

PC (Krusk): HA! Go ahead and try, little runt!

DM: So the goblin makes a ranged touch attack against you with his whip and rolls a 24 -- a hit! Now, to trip you, the goblin needs to make a Strength check, and you need to match or exceed his check with your own Strength check or your own Dexterity check.

PC (Krusk): Strength check, no question.

DM: The goblin rolls a 19, but since he's small sized he suffers a -4 penalty to the roll. You have to beat a 15.

[Krusk rolls a 7, modified to a 13 from his Strength bonus.]

PC (Krusk): That's just great. Tripped up by a goblin.

DM: Exactly. Krusk goes down like a ton of bricks. Everyone needs to roll initiative checks.

[The DM rolls a 17 for the goblin; Vadania rolls a 20, Krusk rolls a 16, Lidda a 15, and Nebin a 10.]

DM: Okay then, what do you do Vadania?

PC (Vadania): I start casting summon nature's ally IV; it'll bring in a dire ape next round.

DM: Fine. The goblin sees you start casting and decides he wants none of that. On his turn, he skitters up to 15 feet away from you...your spell has a divine focus material requirement, right?

PC (Vadania): Umm...yeah, why?

DM: Because the goblin's going to try to disarm you. First he needs to make an attack roll to hit you, [rolls a 25] which he does. Now then...the two of you need to make opposed attack rolls. Since the goblin is using a whip, he gets a +2 bonus to his roll.

[The DM rolls a modified attack roll of 25 while Vadania only rolls a 17.]

DM: He does it! Your holy symbol gets snatched out of your hand and it clatters to the ground. Since you needed that to cast your spell...the spell is disrupted. It's your turn, Krusk!

PC (Krusk): So the little menace is only 5 feet away from me now that he's moved up towards us, right?

DM: Umm...yeah, I guess that's true.

PC (Krusk): HA! I jump up and give the little rat a taste of his own medicine! I'm going to disarm HIM!

DM: Okay. Normally you incur an attack of opportunity when you try to disarm someone, but since the goblin's whip is a ranged weapon, he can't do that. And disarm attempts provoke an attack of opportunity only from the defender. Make an attack roll.

PC (Lidda): I rolled a 34. Got him!

DM: Yup. Okay, now the two of you need to make opposed attack rolls. Krusk, since your greataxe is two size categories larger than the whip, you get a total bonus of +8 to the attack roll. The goblin rolled a mere 18 on his roll?

PC (Krusk): Ah, too bad. Krusk rolled up a nice juicy 41.

DM: Well then, the goblin's whip clatters out of his hand.

PC (Krusk): No, you didn't understand me. I wanted to disARM him, not knock his weapon out of his hand! That's a weenie tactical move, and Krusk wants nothing to do with weenie tactical moves!

If Krusk hadn't disarmed the goblin, he would have had a chance to disarm Krusk as a free action. The rules for disarming are found on page 137 of the Player's Handbook, and the rules for tripping an opponent can be found on page 139. Additionally, many weapons (such as the whip and the spiked chain) are built for tripping and disarming opponents.

Be sure to join us next month after the group finds a second secret door behind the statue that leads them to the goblin high priest's escape route into the Underdark. Once there, the group has to cope with a menace they can't seem to hurt while we look at the rules for bull rushing and overbearing.

For further information about any of the PCs found within this piece, please check out Enemies and Allies. You'll find stats for all of the iconic characters within, as well as stats and descriptions of other friends and foes!


1995-2008 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.