i’m a new DM, running a Tomb of annihilation campaign for a group of both new and experienced players. I’m uploading this story in the memory of the bard who tragically died in game doing what he loved (not following simple directions). At the time of this story, the party consisted of: a tortle druid named Bellini, a Tortle cleric named Gronkowski (Lovingly nicknamed Gronk), a drug addicted warlock named Blart, a tabaxi ranger named Jade Shoe and her pet owl Fluffy, a dwarven black smith turned fighter named Brommick, and the party bard, a dwarf named Thordall.
The party had just finished clearing out what they considered their first mini dungeon, and were on the move to the monastary deep in the jungle. They would need to cross a river, which was complicated due to Gronks intense fear of water. The guide, Qawasha, suggested they use the ancient bridge to cross the stream. It was still a risky venture, but they couldnt afford to turn back.
when they reached the bridge, i described the maze patterns on the walls and the deafening cry of monkeys. The bridge was littered with Corpses, and a stone statue of a warior with ruby red eyes stood in the middle of the bridge.
The guide explained they’d need to trace an unbroken maze pattern on the wall to get past safely, and Blart stepped up first. the walls were over grown, and she could remove the vines as she went, making it easier for the others.
Everyone rolled intelligence.
nat 20…14…12…nat 1.
“haha WOOPS” Thordalls player said. “Dm, what did i do?”
i sighed and described how the stone statue in the center began to move, stepping down from its pedestal.
“alright, roll initiative.” I said.
“EVERYONE START RUNNING!” Thordall yelled, making a dash for the center of the bridge. “HEY BIG GUY! COME ‘N GET ME!”
quickly, everyone began to use their dash actions to get across the bridge. everyone except for Blart, The golem, and Thordall.
“Eldritch Blast!” Blart yelled, wiffing the shot with a hilarious nat 1. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW!?”
“WHAT DID I JUST SAY!?” thordall yelled from his spot in the middle of the bridge. out of character the player asked me how high the walls were on the bridge.
“there is a section that is collapsed in one spot thats climable. otherwise, the walls are about 15, 20 feet off the ground.”
“cool, i’d like to climb it.”
he rolled a 16, and managed to get on top of the wall. Just in time too, as the Golem dashed forward, attempting to grab him. Top of the round again, Blart casts Bonfire, doing a whopping 1 damage.
“JUST KEEP RUNNING ITS FOCUSED ON ME!” Thordall yelled at blart, who’s player was in the process of digging through her bag to see if she had better Dice. he began naruto running to the other end of the bridge where the rest of the party was.
Two rounds of combat passed very quickly. Blart keeping bonfire on the golem doing little to no damage, Thordall staying out of range, and the Golem in hot pursuit of the dwarf.
Getting to the edge, he ran off the wall towards the cliff edge. The golem behind him.
There he was. Thordall Rumbeard, almost literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. The golem was only about ten feet away from him now.
Thordalls player looked up at me from the end of the table.
“Dm, i’d like to do something crazy.” He said. He explained what he wanted to do and i had him roll for it.
You know what the dice did, i know what the Dice did, and that poor golem now knows too.
Thordall darted underneath the stone golem, avoiding its grapple, and popping up behind it. With a smirk, Thordall clapped his hands together, casting thunderwave.
I rolled constitution for the golem and…Nat 1.
I described as the stone golem Flew off the cliff tumbling to the bottom. It hit a large bolder, splitting and shattering, becomeing nothing more than stones in a ravine. All that was left to show what this pile of stones once was were two glittering ruby eyes.
In real life, my players absolutely lost it. One player fell out of a chair even. once we all settled down, the party was rewarded with some gold, and leveled up to level 4.
i learned an important lesson that day as a DM… Never EVER underestimate the bard.