This was my first DnD campaign, and we were playing the starter set from DnD. I had watched Critical Role and other DnD youtube channels, so I had an idea of how to roleplay a character, unlike my fellow party members who were also first-timers. About a quarter of the way through, we encountered this goblin slave named Droop. My character, being Chaotic Good, and an outlander to boot, believed that it was morally right to accept this creature's survial instinct that taught it to be a willing slave – to accept it into out company, and allow him to be our slave so long as we fed him and kept him safe. My party had other plans. The first of which was to use Droop as bait for the next party of enemies we encountered. Following my objections, the encoutner after that. Each week, I found myself advocating for this pitiful goblin, who wanted to do nothing more than cower in fear in a corner. This happened again, and again, and again, and happend with the first dragon we encountered, which is where this story developed.
Now, it just so happened that my character had a backstory. His entire village was laid to waste by a Blue Dragon, and cultists had fed the survivors to it as a sacrifice. This backstory was written months in advance of this scenario with the goblin occuring. Safe to say, my course of action was set in stone and I had put too much work into this character to shy away from a call like this.
Our party approached a random burnt-out village some quest had brought our way. My ranger made a modest perception check followed by Primeval Awareness, which revealed the presence of a dragon. The location of the dragon, being his prefered enemy, wasn't hard to find. The first suggestion from the party's rogue was predictable: "we'll send Droop in as bait, the dragon will nuke Droop, and then we'll all attack."
ordered Droop to stand next to me, and that he'd be doing no such thing. I was chaotic good, afterall, and while I could accept Droop's willingness to be a slave, I couldnt tell him to go die as bait. After denying that suggestion outright, our party continued to search the rest of the town, ever aware of the dragon's near presence. We happened upon some dragon cultists who sought to curry favor with the nearby dragon. Speaking in draconic (my favored enemy being Dragons) I told the cultists that we too were here to study and honor this dragon. No persuasion rolls were asked for from the DM so I figured I had succeeeded in my persuasion attempt outright simply by speaking draconic. Turns out, me believing I had succeeded without explicit evidence was part of the DM's plan to further the plot. These cultists invited the party to go worship the dragon in its' lair with them, to which we obliged. They went into the lair, then us. Suddenly, when the party was surrounded by cultists and a dragon, the DM said "roll initiative". I thought to myself "are you *&^$ing kidding me???" Only then did I feel cheated that I was never asked to roll a persuasion check. Like, shouldn't the DM be impartial and always ask for a persuasion check, just to have the record of the roll? But, apparently…the cultists and the dragon were there, closing in on our 5 person level 3 party. A TPK looked immenant. Yet, the DM was still in controll of the plot, apparently, so the following happened:
As per the request of the party, the DM allowed us to parlay with the dragon. First, the most bloodthirsty memeber of the party – a beastmaster ranger – offered a necklace worth 200g. Now, half an hour ago when we first met the dragon, we had given it 10g, and some other stuff, only to see that it had mounds and mounds of treasure. I had also made an intelligence check to recall that dragons hoarded mountains of treasure, which I relayed to the group multiple times. I tried to tell the ranger that it wouldnt be enough, and that the dragon would likely kill her and take the necklace anyways, but this was a bloodthirtsy and arrogant group. She went for it. The dragon only laughed. It was only at the request of another party member, a request that appealed to a dragon's most sadistic ways, that we were able to negotiate a surrender of sorts. The dragon said that he had a sister who roamed lands near his, whom he had always fueded with. If the party and the cultists battled to the death, the winner would have the honor of killing the dragon's sister for him. Our party won the battle easily.
Excited by bloodlust, the dragon showered us with compliments. Then, it asked if we would enter its lair to recieve more information about his sister. Now, I'm not an idiot, and my ranger whose favored enemy is Dragons is definitely not going to fall for a dragon's tricks twice. He stayed outside, along with Droop – the goblin the party had wanted to use as bait so many times. The rest of the party went into the dragon's lair. My DM, as he should have, muted my chat, and disconnected me from the video. My DM, as he shouldn't have, gave everyone in the lair enchanted items…for what? Not learning from the lesson he had just taught? I thought it was pretty unfair, but I rolled with it. Of course, I didn't know this was happening at the time.
At the time, I reflected on how my party had tried to use Droop as a meat shield or test rat so many times. I gave him two days of rations, a crossbow, and told him to run off into the woods, climb a tree, and not come down until I called for him. He did that, and diappeared. Sure enough, my party came back with enchanted weapons, throwing a Hat of Vermin at my feet. They asked where Droop was and I said I didnt know. I said I sent him far away, where noone could find him. They were all disappointed at this and seemed to lament the loss of good bait.
Now, to show how much of a hair trigger relations were between me and this group, the party rogue had thrown his +1 dagger he got from the dragon at a low level enemy that was nearby, and had yet to retrieve it. After realizing it was not yet retrieved, I told the DM "I take the +1 dagger from the dead body…" and as soon as I had said that, the bloodthirsty beastmaster ranger began to say "I take my sword out and run toward Erik and…" At that point she asked to roll initiative. My DM said nothing so I had to speak up for myself:
"I didnt say I put it in my bag. I was GOING to say, 'I spin it in my palm, then, with a dead look in my eye, hand it, hilt first, to the rogue' saying 'you dropped this.'" The rogue, who admittedly is the only other good roleplayer in the group, slowly took the knife from me, and said he did so begrudgedly, heavily impying his character was at the edge of his self-restraint. The ranger, without an ear for nuance, then scolded me saying everything I did was losing points in her book. To which my ranger replied, "I don't give a damn, since you've had no points in my book for quite some time, trying to murder an innocent and helpess goblin. Droop is somewhere you cant hurt him."
She then chastized me for not thanking her for my Hat of Vermin. I looked at the hat, then her, then said, "No. Now we're even. You tried to murder the goblin. You got me this Hat of Vermin. In both ways I've seen your true colors. We're even now."
I changed my alignment to Neutral Good, and the campaign went on from there. If the DM was more hands on (he was too hands-off in my opinion) he would've at least told the other players to shift their alignment towards more evil. As far as inital inter-group conflicts, its still one of my favorites to this day.