D&D Expectation vs Reality
1 By: David Osburn
This just happened tonight I'm a mountain orc barbarian following the path of the totem in 5e. We found a totem that looks like a monitor lizard that we found out the hard way is cursed. After a while of me having summoned said lizard it turns int a young adult red dragon and innsues to attack us after 2 party members go down it is dealt enough damage to turn back into the totem, I never laid a hit on it as I'm trying to convince it that we could easily destroy said dragon or it can work for us (I'm the biggest damage dealer in the group and wanted to show it that even without me we would bet him) during next few sessions plan on trying to work towards an agreement with it's greed and promise it a start towards it's hoard to work with us so wish us luck as we see if it can be done.
2 By: Jason Waters
I died in a Ravenloft game once. Came back with the half ghost template. The two kill joy players that constantly screwed my plans wound up killing me again and dragging me to a church, despite the fact the few powers I had gained were finally starting to give us an edge.
Fast forward, and the one’s deep gnome with a penchant for using feign death to get mess with people had once again feigned death. As a dwarf so dwarfish my entire arm was made of Mythril, I took offense to a gnome claiming to be a dwarf. So While the other players are sleeping, I plan on taking the gnome, burying him up to his neck, and shaving his beard off to reveal that he is in fact not a gnome. Dickish, sure, but he was the one that killed me both times, so screw him.
The other killjoy player however wanted a roll to somehow wake up to the sound of me digging the hole or dragging deepgnome out of the inn/active tavern underneath, and of course his rolls are high enough. As I try to explain first in character, then out of charcter, that burning him up to his neck won’t actually do any physical damage at all, I’m vetoed by everyone but the crazy caster.
Next day, crazy caster and I start using spells to get towns believing there are monsters so we can cash in on monster hunting jobs. Kill joy players get pissy and out us to the town and, long story short, we proceed to burn the town to the ground with a portion of the townsfolk locked in the first building to burn.
3 By: Alex Novatney
We enter the story as four characters that couldn’t possibly be more disparate. Our first is a female human Fighter/Thief named Nissa. She is the child of a gypsy woman who settled down in a large port city when she was with child, choosing to stay afterward. Nissa’s father was an adventurer, who craved the life of adventure more than family, but left his child with plenty of stories, sparking a great wanderlust. She joined a mercenary band and made a name for herself quickly among them, and she was transferred to a small village across the continent. Our next character is a male drug addicted half elf bard who fried his brain after all of the magical and natural drugs he’s done and lost all of his memories. His name is Doctor Rockso, and his player insisted that he had a huge *ahem* place. On a really bad trip, he made his way to a hidden beach cove of very close minded and sheltered Dwarves. Dwarves in bikinis, because its the beach. He gets captured and makes friends with a super hairy, well tanned and toned AF male dwarf ranger named Igor, who busted him out in exchange for guidance through the outside world, so they set out together in the dead of night. For the final character, we have a simple female gnome named Aoi. A gnome that is a bard. Okay, a gnomish bard that is also the human equivalent age of five. She’s on an adventure because she was such a nuisance that her family kicked her out into the wilderness. Inept and homeless, the gnome aimlessly toddled through the woods until a pasing caravan catches her attention and she follows it wherever it may lead.
BACK TO NISSA: On her way to her new post, makes camp with five underlings to expand the mercenary group’s name. Deep in the night, Nissa hears something and wakes up to see all five of her underlings dead and a dark figure looming over her. She subdues the figure andrestrains it just as another, smaller figure comes out of the undergrowth with a torch. She sees a mostly naked, super hairy and toned dwarven man moving toward her and a blitzed half elf bound beneath her. A deal is struck and the unconscious half elf will be escorted to Nissa’s new post village for proper inprisonment. Moving into the next day, Nissa and Igor load the still unconscious Rockso into the marc company’s supply cart and make way for the village.
AT THE VILLAGE: Aoi arrives first and decides to look for some food. Tavern? Nope, library, lets eat some books. The other three arrive shortly after and make for the prison. Rockso awakens and challenges Nissa to a duel for his freedom. Nissa agrees, as she’s been wanting to slaughter this fool since she “met” him. Long story short, Rockso wins, but is convinced by Igor to go to prison until he’s completely sober. Aoi gets kicked out of the library for eating books. Still hungry, Aoi looks for more food. Tavern? Nope, you guessed it. Prison. She asks the guard for food, and he obliges the small child, taking her inside for an apple. Who’s in the prison? Still drugged up Rockso. They talk for a bit, he wants food, she wants to help him. Gets the apple, splits it, all cool. Now Aoi wants inside the cell with her new friend. Guard has had enough and leaves. What’s the smart thing to do now? Steal a key? Nope. Squeeze through the bars? Nah fam. Lets BEND THE FREAKING BARS TO GET INSIDE OF A PRISON CELL. (For those of you who don’t know, 2e has a set number, per strength, for bending bars.) This toddler gnome manages to make the roll to bend bars and gets inside the DRUGGED UP half elf PRISONER’s cell and they chill for a while.
LETS FAST FORWARD A BIT: Everyone has come to terms(ish) with the dynamic and is taking the first quest for the merc company, who sent a liaison ahead for this kind of thing. They must clear out the tavern’s basement of whatever is down there. Get down in the basement, its tiny giant centipedes. Igor fails his poison save on the first attack and is out of commission for the battle. Other three fight the centipedes, find the hole they came from and follow it through to a large cavern littered with holes in the walls and a larger hole in the far wall about four feet off the ground overlooking a smattering of sacks. Loot the sacks, rags, pots and pans, mundane stuff. More centipedes in the large wall hole, fight, return, reward, etc.
FAST FORWARD AGAIN: Scorched caraven comes into town bearing reports of small dragons attacking the roads. Gnome decides to follow reports of a rock that looks like the most perfect butt to ever have existed instead of fight dragons. Follow a path out of town and into the hills. Find a hollowed out hill with two firedrakes and a dead guy, that actually turns out to be a revenant that I nerfed. Beat the enemies, get loot, including several firedrake eggs, and back to town. Take the eggs to a mage and realise that TAKING FIREDRAKE EGGS WAS A BAD IDEA. WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED? Deep into the night the town burns as four other firedrakes seek THEIR eggs from the nest. Town hides in the tavern cellar and centipede cave as their lives burn away above them. Next day our party decides that they should leave before the town finds out that its their fault.
4 By: grin5
I have this one friend who does the weirdest stuff, and by "weirdest stuff" I mean something dumb followed by a high enough roll to get away with it. We all actually got into a crazy number of hijinks, but I'll tell the story of something he did in our first campaign.
So, I believe the party consisted of a human fighter, a human cleric, a drow sorcerer (my sister IRL), and a human rogue (me). We were staying in a tavern on probation (we started the game in jail and got out on a deal that we'd do jobs for the captain) and noticed a number of shifty figures at the bar. The cleric was highly charismatic (we were pretty certain he was a saint) so he went up and started chatting with some of the group members. My also charismatic rogue flirted with another one. Our sorcerer listened from across the room with her acute elven hearing. The cleric and I were getting on their good sides and were about ready to worm information out of them.
Then the fighter walked up and asked, "Hey, are you involved with anything shifty, lately?"
Cue anime levels of shock from the rest of us.
The people gave him cold non-answers while the cleric and I convinced them we didn't know him. Fast forward to that night. We finished a job and wanted to get back to the tavern unnoticed. My rogue, who wasn't much of a team player, decided to leave on his own. (He did that a lot.) The rest of them followed suite and split up. Our fighter was ambushed (three guesses why), knocked out, and woke up later in a pit sealed off with bars. He escaped into the undercity and rolled Gather Information check to get out.
Our DM was floored. She didn't even know what a critical success on Gather Information should do in that instance and had to take a ten minute break to call a friend for advice. To this day, it's remembered as the time he broke the DM.
To finish up the story: he ended up finding a pair of drunk and strangely knowledgable gnomes who told him the way out, bypassing the entire solo dungeon our DM had made him. He came out of a secret passageway in the cellar of our tavern, to the surprise of the tavern owner. He proceeded to ask the owner if she knew there was a passage to the undercity through there. She said, "What? No way!" He rolled insight, to which the DM shouted, "SARCASM!"
5 By: Jonathan Walker
So unlike every story, I'm going to tell mine about a pregame event I held for the players to obtain metaknowledge. It's a weird stance, but when I posted about the game all it simply said was "You are trapped in a prison, and it's time to make an escape. But something tells you the world outside the walls isn't the way you remember...". So, as a test, I handmade the map, lore, and storyline using my 3.5e experience. I then, one day, held a pregame event that was staged as a puzzle. I used this to get an understanding of the individuals I'd be playing with, and get a feel for their thought processing as well as position in the party. I released a journal written in elvish, telling of a town on the map with a well to the East, and then it skips to talk about a "bridge that pulsed under my feet, leading to a gate". It went on to discuss about releasing something, I posted pictures of a certain monster that was sketched, and the players were tasked with finding it what this gate was. It was highly entertaining as it was about two and a half hours of hearing them trying to scrounge through the D&D lore to piece things together, as well as discuss possibilities. They finally came to the correct conclusion that the man who wrote the journal discovered the Living Gate, which then concluded that the true story would be to counter the Far Realm and seal it away. It was without a doubt the best session, even if it was meta knowledge, that I've ever taken part in. I wanted to share the story just to inspire new DMs to reach out from the books, rules are nice but remember the only thing that truly makes Dungeons and Dragons great is if you and your players are excited for the next session.