How An NPC Unexpectedly Became Legendary And Got The Players Hyped

This story is about a major NPC unexpectedly got his crowning moment of awesome and, to my surprise, left my players ecstatic.

4 points

To make things clear, I’m running a Tyranny of Dragons campaign, beginning with the Lost Mines of Phandelver module, as well as some key plot points of the Dragon of Icespire Peak module mixed in, as the campaign’s first act. At the time of these events, the party – now going by the name of “The Glass Breakers” – consisted of a human samurai fighter, a rock gnome barbarian/ranger, a human lore bard, a tiefling knowledge cleric, a white dragonborn hexblade warlock, and a human wizard/knowledge cleric.

This story begins the morning after the Glass Breakers had investigated the Redbrand Hideout, in which Glasstaff – the leader of the Redbrands, as well as a number of goblins and bugbears serving as his last remaining muscle, had begun attacking the town of Phandalin in order to draw the party out. The reason this came about was because the party opted to sneak out of the hideout upon learning the Glasstaff was onto them, as they had spent a large number of their resources and would likely perish if they were to deal with him right then and there.

Speaking of which, during their crawl through the hideout, they had an NPC ally with them by the name of Sildar Hallwinter, whom the party was successfully able to rescue back at the Cragmaw Hideout at the very first chapter of the LMoP module. The party eventually learned that he came to Phandalin to find an associate of his from the Lords’ Alliance – a wizard by the name of Iarno Albrek, who went missing after he was sent there to both help establish order in the developing town and to investigate on the recent sightings of a white dragon but has not reported back since. Due to how circumstances played out, Sildar had decided to join the Glass Breakers when they announced that they would be heading to Tresendar Manor, where the Redbrand Hideout was located, seeing it as the perfect opportunity to find Iarno’s whereabouts.

Of course, DMs who have run the module before would know the truth behind what happened to Iarno – namely, the fact that the wizard was, in fact, the leader of the Redbrands and had effectively betrayed the Lords’ Alliance – a development that Sildar was not too happy to learn about.

This was evident by how Sildar, upon the first available opportunity, rushed at Glasstaff, who had left himself open by backing off from the others to create some distance between himself and the party after finally being broken free from the samurai’s grapple throughout the fight until that point, and immediately threw one of the spears he had purchased the day earlier as he cried, “Traitor!” One of the players actually got terrified when they heard the old soldier’s rage-filled cry. I rolled for his attack with the spear throw.

Natural 20.

Sadly, I didn’t roll that well on the damage dice and got only a total of 4, so I ruled it that Glasstaff saw the spear flying his way at the very last second and managed to tilt his head out of the way just enough for the spear to only slightly graze his face – but that graze would have stung quite a bit with how hard Sildar threw that spear.

The rest of the fight plays out like normal, with the Glass Breakers slowly dwindling the enemy numbers and whittling down the two remaining bugbears. By this point, Glasstaff was beginning to grow desperate, and on his next turn – which would turn out to be the last – threw a tiny piece of bat guano as he cast Fireball on an area that would affect the most people – even if that included himself and his other minions.

I had everyone within range of the blast roll for their saves against this scorching sphere of death that would deal 28 damage. Both the tiefling cleric and human samurai failed their save and took the full damage, knocking them unconscious. The dragonborn warlock and gnome barbarian/ranger made their saves, taking only have damage and still standing. The bard and wizard/cleric were out of range, so they didn’t have to roll anything. Sildar on the other hand?

Natural fucking 20.

When those numbers popped up, everyone – including myself – freaked out and cheered in celebration. Apparently, Sildar was just that angry at how this all went down and that rage alone fueled him with the strength to withstand Iarno’s Fireball, leaving him at only 9 HP. As the smoke and flames dissipated, the wizard could hardly believe what he was seeing. As he laid eyes on his former ally and friend, his expression gradually shifted from one of fear to one of hatred – the very last thing that the two could mutually share.

After a long moment of silence, Sildar finally spoke, “It’s over, Iarno. You have nowhere to run. You’ve left yourself sorely outnumbered, and most of us are still standing like the pillars of all that is good we are. But you… you have fallen. Your best option now is to surrender… don’t make me think of other alternatives.”

Eventually, Iarno saw that he had indeed backed himself into a corner and elected that it would be in his best interest to do what Sildar said and surrendered, ordering the one remaining goblin to follow suite when he attempted to protest. With that, the Redbrand threat had been successfully dealt with.

Now, I know that NPCs having the glory isn’t always the best way for things to go, and I initially was pretty apprehensive of how this went down because of it – which is why I’m having Sildar sit on the sidelines from this point forward for the time being. So, if you happen to not like this story because of it, I completely understand. However, the players were happy with the results, with one of them claiming that this was the first time they ever gave a damn about Sildar, so I suppose I can’t complain too much. I just hope my players get their own legendary moments later in the campaign from here on out, because they definitely deserve it.


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