How an NPC’s Death Broke My Heart

"She then gets up, broken and bloody, and ends up sacrificing herself to help us get away, smiling at Gaelwyn and shedding a tear before casting her spell."


I wanted to post this here because I feel like most people here would understand. An NPC died in the campaign I am playing in right now, which has left me heartbroken. 

My character is named Gaelwyn, and she is an elf wizard. Her backstory is that she was tricked into killing her family at a young age (with the use of fire) and then taken prisoner by the man who tricked her, and he used her to help do his dirty work. He had tricked her into using fire to burn her family’s house down and trained her as an evocation wizard that mainly used fire.

One day, she was able to escape and made her way to a new city, where she studied magic for a while. Because of her past, she developed a fear of fire, so she then started exclusively using ice magic and vowed to stay away from fire. She is also slow to trust, and always very skeptical. 

The campaign now begins, and the theme of the whole campaign is devils. They are captured by devils, branded, escaped, and are now being hunted by said devils. After the party makes their way to a safe place to find more information about their situation, they end up meeting a fire genasi named Ash, who helps the party. Gaelwyn is immediately terrified of her, distances herself, and is mean to Ash.

One day, Ash decides she wants to have a heart-to-heart talk with Gaelwyn, tells her she does not need to be scared, and tells her about her backstory. She says she always wanted a friend with whom she could have that witty banter as some of her other friends she knows have together. She suggests that maybe they can grow to be friends like that. Gaelwyn warms up to her just a little bit after this. They still are distant but joke around a little bit, still playfully insulting each other when they run into each other and act like they don’t like each other. They called each other things like “ice princess” and “campfire.” They become sort of friends.

The next time they see each other, Gaelwyn still avoids her but doesn’t act too scared of her. Little did she know it would be the last time she would get to see her. 

The following day, the group had to fight a group of lower-level devils, but afterward, one of the bigger, more important devils showed up. Ash tells them to use a teleportation scroll that she gave them to get to safety. If they had stayed, they would have definitely died. Ash says she will stay and fight to stall him so they can escape safely. Gaelwyn says to her, “thank you.” She starts to read the scroll while Ash goes to fight him. He beats her up pretty badly and then starts to head towards us. She then gets up, broken and bloody, and ends up sacrificing herself to help us get away, smiling at Gaelwyn and shedding a tear before casting her spell. She explodes into a flash of golden light, hurting the devil pretty badly and distracting him for another moment. The party sees this happen, and they finish the teleportation spell. They then teleport to a safe place, and Gaelwyn has her arm out reaching and yells, “Ash!”

The party lands near a female elf named Merlin, who knew Ash well, and she asks what happened. We tell her how it happened, and she told us that she had sacrificed herself to save them. Gaelwyn asked her why she would do that, and she said because that is what Elaryia, a great druid that she looked up to, would do. She was trying to save us. Gaelwyn told her that we didn’t really see eye to eye. Merlin told her that Ash actually spoke pretty fondly of her, saying they were friends. Gaelwyn asks for a hug (even though she is not usually a hugger), and they do. She spends the rest of the night sobbing in her room alone, so no one else would see. How could she be dead? There is no way.

Gaelwyn regrets being mean to her, and not telling her how she feels. She regrets not opening up to her and becoming friends sooner. And she is devastated that she will never get the chance to see her again. She also realizes that she shouldn’t be afraid of fire, and it is not always bad. While heartbroken, this will teach her a lesson and help her grow. 

I am heartbroken over this. With everything that happened, and everything that I was looking forward to happening, now not being able to happen. I was really looking forward to a great friendship developing between Ash and Gaelwyn. I am honestly so upset. I embarrassed, like I am overreacting or seem that way. It is not the first time I have been super sad about DnD, but it is the first time I openly cried about it and have gone on and on about it to my husband. My husband is the DM. 

He says he feels a little bad because I am so upset, but I keep telling him it is okay. That I love his game, and he is the greatest DM. He plays his characters and NPCs so well, and I feel like I am actually talking to that character. He uses a lot of his own characters as NPCs, so they are fleshed out. Ash is one of those characters. He is really invested in his games. He even cried a little as he was narrating what happened, and it’s not the first time. 

I tend to be in denial about characters’ deaths to save myself from the heartbreak, until I realize it. It happens with most things (games/books/movies). When I realized that she had actually died, I was super sad and cried for two days. I know it is not real, but I feels like it is. It might be because I feel so close to my character because she is very similar to me.

I cannot be the only one this has happened to. Thank you for reading.


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