I am not an experienced GM by any strech of the imagination. Most of my games self made games are, in my opnion not very good. I aways get very positive feedback from my players but, I seem to always mess up once or twice a session or have to take time to look up a stat block on a creature that I put in and totally forgot about during the heat of the session. I also have trouble making encounters hard. Never wanting to outright kill players unless they make a descion like try to fist fight with a general of a massive conquering army (A story for another time) That I throw something that would be able to snuff the life of a pc. In my opnion the job of the DM is not an advisary to the players but, as the guiding hand meant to make the story more then just a slog through a faceless dungeon.
Though that is enough about me and DMing in general. This story starts with a one shot me and my brother wanted to run to get his girlfriend into the game. We were inbetween groups and the time and me and my twin were itching for a roleplaying game. So this would be the thing to scratch it but, give my bro an oportunity to spend some time with his girlfiriend who might I add was just as nerdy as us and loved the idea as she didn't know anyone who played dnd and wanted to get into it herself.
Though there was one problem. Me as a new DM was afraid of screwing it up and embarssing myself in front of my twin and his girlfriend. It was important to make someone's first game a memorable one. So I began crafting a short and sweet story about a set of goblins who were wreaking havoc near a town and needed to be taken care of. I worked hard constructing the map to make it more intresting then a normal goblin cave yet still making it so the adventure could be taken and completed in a few hours. Once my magnum opis of a campaign one shot was done. I brought it to our session to play it.
There we quickly helped my bro's GF make a half elf cleric and My bro create and half orc paladin. An unlikely pair but, if you saw them in real life it would make since and me and my twin are big dudes and his GF was very short. Something that was reflected in the charcters.
To start them off I gave them a classic encounter I love starting out with. Wild wolves. They were rushed into town by some disturbance in the woods and were causing havoc in a small village. The holy duo made short work of the rabid beasts and began looking for information. My orginal plan was that the goblins had riled up the pack in an atempt to kill a human or two. Though something changed as The Cleric started making arcana check and investigation checks to figure out how the wolves had gotten here.
Of course none of them yeilded much evidence besides a few wounds but, before long both my twin and his GF were looking for magical causes to the behavior as I was being criptic about something looking back I should have been straightforward with. Logically not satisfied with the non-answers I was giving they began looking for the magic cause of the beasts' hostility and of course went to the tavern to listen in on any rumors. I began to give them rumors about orcs in the woods but, this explination did not satisfy the duo. Obviously it couldn't be that simple.
So after a bit more investigation I decided to give them a mage npc to set them on the right path and this was when my magnum opis was starting to crumble. They came up to the mage and started asking about magic stuff in the area. I decided to throw them a bone and say that the mage had seen a strange flower but, nothing that would cause the wolves to attack. That most likely goblins were the ones behind the attack.
DMs if you want to get your players back on the right track don't throw them any bones in the wrong direction. As soon as I talked about the flower the Cleric and Paladin misregarded the fact that goblins most likely were causing the problems in the town and honed in on this flower. A flower I had made up on the spot. With no idea what made it magic and why a mage would be intrested in it. My plan was now in complete tatters as the duo chaised after the threat of a flower that up until now didn't even exist. So I did the best I could.
I began to describe the flower making things up on the spot. A violet flower that seemed to contain minor amounts of healing magic had been popping up in the area and no one knew why and the mage was looking for the source. This was when the cogs in my head started turning and we went from having a well thought out script to me just winging it and honestly the energy doubled and I could tell my players were excited now. So scrapping the goblins I came up with a new plan.
Obviously at this point the holy duo become very intrested in this flower and ask the mage to lead them to it. I quickly start to implement my idea. The mage sends them the a field full of violet flowers. I describe how the mage is shocked that there are so many and how these flowers seemed to have chocked out the nearby vegatation. They began to investigate and found that the flowers did in fact have inherint healing magic but, under the violet mass was dead plants and grass. Weirded out the holy duo decide to find where these flowers are coming from and why the plant life is dead, getting a last bit of info from the mage before I sent the npc back to the tavern.
What the mage told them was that these flowers had sprung up due west and that they may find the source by fallowing the purple flowers as they headed west. I describe how the holy duo finds more and more flowers moving in a path westard from the village. How the vegitation was slowly becoming more grey leaving only the volet colors of the flowers. I was completely winging everything and somehow my players were not only hooked but, unable to tell I was scared out of my wits with no story and no idea what would happen when they found the source. My simple goblin one shot was so far of the rails I couldn't pull it back even if I wanted too. So I decided to do the most reasonable thing to do. Was to go all out.
Before long our players reached the source. I describe and alter surrounded by the violet flowers was glowing with the purplish light. It sat in the center of a clearing and all the trees near this said clearing were all lifeless husks. Drained of life. In each corner of this clearing had a strange crystal with a similar purple light. I then described how they had come just in time to see the alter in the center start to activate. A portal was opening and something wanted to get through. The crystals begin to shine brightly as undead began to climb out the ground glowing the same violet color. My brother and his Gf started combat.
Cheekily looking up the stats for zombies really quickly as well as coming up for an intresting boss they quickly went about trying to disrupt the crystals. Thinking they are part of the ritual. I of course confirmed that because I had totally planed this in advance. Fighting the purple undead and smashing each crystal they begin to feel overwhelmed as I spawned new zombies each round. Realizing that for some reason unknown to any of us that the crystals were creating these undead from the bones of people who had died nearby. After a grueling battle I began to describe how the destroyed crystals still glowed and how their efforts to stop…. Whatever were in vain as the portal opened allowing whatever was inside to climb out.
The creature was an eldrich abomination, tendrils writhing grey in color with purple vains. Massive compared to event the alter it had used to force it's way to their world. Standing on for insectile legs the mass of writhing fleshy tenticals began to move towards them. The fight was once again on. With som smart thinking and quite a few spells the holy duo start to fight the beast back and eventually kill and and the portal closes. The flowers around them wilt and the vegitation they killed starts growing rapidly, their life energy being restored to them with the source of the violet flowers now banished and the adventurers celebrated their victory over an enemy that didn't exist until a minute ago and are left with one last description. That as the holy duo leave they become aware that whatever they killed was but, a shadow of what creature had created the flowers in the first place.
Till this day both my brother and his GF belive that this story was planed to begin with. Though most everything they experienced was me just making things up on the spot. An amazing adventure that would never have happened if I stuck to a script. I hope this story will inspire other DMs to wing it. Every once in a while.