WTF, Mentzer Red Box fighter?

2648721WTF, Mentzer Red Box fighter?

Where’s the rest of your party? The fighters on the Holmes and Moldvay basic sets brought their wizard friends, and that was against smaller dragons. A wizard would be a big help here. Don’t try to tell me that your wizard is off-screen. That’s a weaselly lie, and I would not expect it of a noble barbarian like you.

WTF, Mentzer Red Box fighter? According to the bestiary in the Red Box, that Red Dragon has 10 Hit Dice at least – probably more, based on how big it is and how many ewers he has. But let’s say it only has 45 HP. How much damage do you do? 1d8+6, max, if you have 18 Strength and a +3 sword?

Let’s say you hit every round, and kill him in five rounds. How much damage is it doing to you in the meantime? Its breath weapon does damage EQUAL TO ITS HIT POINTS. Even if you make your saving throw, you take 22 HP of damage on round 1 of combat. And next round it’s going to be a claw/claw/bite, which is not much better. Shouldn’t you tackle some more appropriate solo opponent from the Red Box, like a Crystal Statue or a Thoul?

What’s your Armor Class anyway, Mentzer Red Box Fighter? Don’t try to tell me that that’s a plate mail mankini you’re wearing. That’s chain mail – if you’re LUCKY. Even with a shield, and 18 Dex to go with your 18 Strength, that makes your AC what, 1? That dragon is hitting you more than half of the time. Over the course of four combat rounds, you’re probably getting tagged with at least 12d8 worth of claw/claw/bite. That’s 54 average damage, for a total of 76 so far.

WTF, Mentzer Red Box Fighter? How many HP do you have anyway? Don’t tell me you have an 18 Con to go with your 18 Strength and 18 Dex?? Even if you rolled all 5’s on your d8 Hit Dice, you’d need to be at least level 11 to survive 76 damage (after level 9, you only get 2 HP per level).

OK, so you might beat the dragon. If you have 18 Str, Con, and Dex; a +3 magic sword; you make your saving throw vs breath weapon; and you never miss an attack over five rounds. AND IF YOU’RE LEVEL 11. In which case… what are you doing on the D&D box for characters level 1-3? WTF?

22 Responses to “WTF, Mentzer Red Box fighter?”

  1. Rachael Strange says:

    I LOVE IT!!! great recap!

  2. Runeslinger says:

    We always just assumed that he didn’t pick this battle, the rest of the party is dead, and that he doesn’t win… but he was plucky enough to go down fighting.

  3. Actually, against a dragon the longsword should do d12, right? So it could only take 3-4 rounds to kill the dragon, less if you allow for multiple attacks. And if the dragon was sleeping for the first round, that’s unanswered damage. I don’t know if the Red Box version allowed for damage v. Large and multiple attacks, though.

  4. paul paul says:

    I don’t think there was different damage for large creatures, but I actually think that some set – companion maybe? had a weapon expertise system where you got bigger damage dice. Maybe that’s what’s going on here.

  5. It may just be in the AD&D player handbook, yes. But he could still have gotten a hit in on the dragon sleeping. Or he may be doomed.

  6. 1d30 says:

    You don’t see the eight 3rd level Thieves who are readying themselves for backstabs.

  7. justaguy says:

    Or, you know… it’s just an Elmore pic that doesn’t have any bearing on the actual rules and is just supposed to be evocative and cool.

  8. Rhenium says:

    Heh, don’t tell Paul about the Expert and Companion rules… same thing one fighter dude attacking a single enormous dragon. It’s not until the Masters and Immortal rule sets that you get to ride around on the damn things…

  9. Michael (Gronan) Mornard says:

    Oh, Crom… the shrieking of the imbeciles who tell me that I play D&D WRONG, because the box lid showed one guy taking on a dragon, so they should be able to take on a dragon.

    You’ll find me curled up in a fetal position under the dining room table, crying and drinking bleach.

  10. PeterD says:

    That guy is going to die.

    The ones on the cover of the Moldvay Basic aren’t in any better shape, even with their Expert Set buddy scrying them. They’re dead, too.

    But all of them are going out in a blaze of awesome.

  11. 1d30 says:

    Actually maybe this secretly says something about D&D besides “dragons are awesome, let’s put them on every cover”. That 1st – 3rd level Fighter came upon a dragon and its hoard, and evidently closed the distance to fight it. That is, he didn’t run away from an obviously superior enemy. Perhaps the player thought the DM would create only level-appropriate challenges? Even if this cover doesn’t show experience points about to happen, it shows experience about to happen.

  12. Matt says:

    Maybe the dragon (and its lovely ewers) are all illusions. I would be very upset if I thought I was getting a bunch of boss ewers and they all turned out to be imaginary.

  13. Canageek says:

    There was an article in Dragon magazine that showed how an AD&D fighter with too many magic items (Not a ton) and of a mid-range level could easily defeat a red dragon (Of oldest size and age I think) in one on one combat, even if the Dragon rolled maximum every time, and the fighter rolled the minimum without auto-missing. Anyone else remember that article?

  14. The Recursion King says:

    Dragons come in numbers of 1-4, so defeating a single one is not that big a deal when the other 3 swoop down on you.

  15. 1d30 says:

    One could also say it’s strange that a dragon would encounter a random single Basic level Fighter. Don’t adventurers usually have a No. Appearing of about 2d6 plus henchmen, war dogs, hirelings, and various other hangers-on? This seems like an unexpectedly weak encounter for the dragon’s player.

  16. scottrossi says:

    maybe it’s not a dragon? maybe it’s just a fun illusion! LOL

  17. Diego says:

    maybe it’s a ilusion, maybe the fighter is abaout to die. it’s awesome picture anyway

  18. Diego says:

    besides that sword looks like a lightsaber. that kills in 1 hit

  19. Moishe Pippick says:

    I just stumbled upon this page but I’m very happy that even though I haven’t played D&D in 30 years (seriously) I followed the whole thing easily.

  20. Kyle says:

    For all you know the dragon is already on 1 hit point because of what’s happened before this scene.

  21. Sandra says:

    How about when this box cover was re-used for Essentials? Is it possible for them to defeat dragon

  22. Mr. Reaper says:

    Oh, I know what happened to that fighter….

    Exactly what you expected:

    Yeah, it doesn’t matter if he has an 18 in Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, because he must’ve had a 3 Intelligence and Wisdom to think this was a good idea!

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