Back when I started my first year of high school, I was invited by a friend to play in what was ultimately my first big campaign of D&D. Before this I had only done simple one offs with my friend in the group to learn the system and get me hooked on the game, but this was going to be a long campaign and it ultimately took us two years to finish. Still I was new to the group at the time and only knew a couple of people in it and I was still fairly new to D&D as a whole. We were playing 3.0 but we were in mid transition to 3.5 so we sort of had a mix of rules, plus a series of DM house rules I was learning as we were going. I ended up playing a Justice seeking, human paladin of Tyr. The rest of the party were an Elf Soulknife, a human monk, a Half-elf rogue, a Human Sorcerer, and an Orc Barbarian who started evil and ended up killed when he crossed the whole party then rolled up a Dwarf Cleric instead. We managed to get through a few adventures over the next few weeks, tracking down mad wizards in the sewers, rescuing damsels, fending off harpies and managed to get to level 3 but had to flee town when we got on the bad side of the local thieves guild who were out for our blood.
Up until now, I had felt kind of lack luster. I had gotten subdued against the wizard when he dropped a bookshelf on me which was humiliating, charmed by the harpies and the only thing of note I had managed to pull thus far was decapitatnig another player character, the half orc when he turned on us…Which I kind of had felt bad for doing. Even when we fled the thieves guild assassins, I never got to engage them as the sorcerer covered our escape with a series of spells to snare and slow them down. We then came across a dwarven army, which became the hook to bring in our new dwarven cleric, most of which were half dragons led by a Giant ancient copper dragon. The army was about to go to war against a dracolich who had driven them from their homes and who’s influence was beginning to spread across the land…This honestly seemed a bit daunting for a group of level 3 players but we enlisted our aid to their cause nonetheless. Our group was tasked with infiltrating the keep to find and destroy the dracolich’s phylactery while the army and ancient dragon dealt with the fiend on the battlefield below the cliffside keep. Something even we could pull off as the enemy army was mostly comprised of various low leveled undead and goblins, however I saw a few problems. I was in full plate armor at this point and knew I wasn’t great for stealth and with my lack luster performance thus far, I figured the rest of the party would have a better chance at infiltrating if I joined the army against the undead and the dracolich so they could properly sneak about the keep. After a bit of debate it was agreed upon and I made my way to the front line. While I was hacking at undead hordes, the party had managed to slay an undead ogre and convince it’s Goblin handler named Glib to take them into the keep disguised as prisoners. Their plan worked and they made their way through the keep, dragging along the little goblin for directions against his will. They had managed to find the dracolich’s phylactery guarded by a number of undead, goblins and the dracolich’s general a Goblin necromancer. All the while, the DM would just jump back to me to take a few rounds fighting several undead just so I didn’t get bored while the rest of the party got the mission done. In the middle of the battle, the soulknife had managed to snatch the phylactery and escaped out onto the balcony while the party continued to battle the necromancer. Doing so however caught the dracolich’s attention on the battlefield as it looked up at the keep, feeling it’s soul was in danger. Before it could reach the party however it was intercepted by the Copper dragon, bringing it crashing down back into the wasteland of a battlefield and laying into it. The soulknife knew we didn’t have time to come up with a way break the phylactery, and so leapt over the balcony with it, looking to shatter it from a 400ft drop. At the last minute he pulled a magic item to save himself from the death defying drop, ending up on the battlefield with me and shattered pieces of the phylactery around him as the dracolich tossed the copper dragon back between us.
The field was clear, war ragging in the background as goblins and undead hordes clashed with half dragons and dwarves. The Copper dragon stood back up, looking at me and the soulknife as his only closest back up when the soulknife called up to the dragon. “Toss me!” We both looked at him perplexed. I knew next to nothing about how soulknives worked so I went along with it and without much hesitation so did the copper dragon. With the momentum from being flung the soulknife struck the dracolich with a massive critical hit on his psychic strike through it’s jaw, somehow managing to cling on to rotting flesh bits as he came out the other end, leaving both me and the copper dragon in shock. “…Well if one of you can do that…” The dragon muttered. I was taken aback as I found myself tossed next with far less dramatic flair, landing on the giant dracolich’s knee and doing no damage, but managing to cling onto it. Both the copper dragon and dracolich then engaged in combat once again, giving me and the soulknife some freedom to move around on the dracolich. Determined to do SOMETHING, I climbed up the beast as the titans went blow for blow. The soulknife was low on juice but kept hacking away at the back of it’s head to assist. The copper dragon had managed to drive it’s claw into the dracolich’s chest, leaving a gaping hole as I ascended higher up its form. I figured damaging it from inside, might do something so I climbed in and found the dracolich’s rotted heart. With one massive swing of my greatsword I struck the failed organ with a smite, exploding it into pieces, but it didn’t even slow the thing down. I catch a glimpse outside from between the ribs as horrifically the dracolich struck down the copper dragon, leaving him barely alive and moving in for the killing blow. It paused however, finally starting to find mild annoyance at the insects over it’s body. With one large claw, it reached into it’s chest and snatched me by the legs with a grapple check I had no chance of overcoming and began pulling me back…This was it, I was screwed, at level 3 and with it’s attention now solely on me, I was about to die to a CR 16 undead monster waaay above my league. I then ask the DM for a last request. “…Hey, it grabbed my legs right?…So my arms are still free.” I brought up. “It’s moving me out of it’s area, so can I get an attack of opportunity?” I figured since I was doomed, I might as well go out swinging before I go. The DM allowed it and I rolled for my attack…Nat 20…At least it was gonna be a big hit. “Roll to confirm.” The DM asked…Another Nat 20. The party blinked in shock, and the DM paused for a moment. “…Roll again.” I was confused at the request and paused. The room went silent and I rolled again….A Third Nat 20. Apparently the DM had a house rule in place I had not been aware of, if you somehow, managed to roll a 20 on a crit confirmation you’d get to roll again and if you crit that third roll, it would result in an instant kill. The table flipped out in shock, laughter and jubilation as I reared back and swung at the dracolich’s spinal column behind it’s heart. The DM describes holy light filling my blade as it cleaves into the unholy abomination becoming a +5 holy greatsword upon striking it, slicing the Gargantuan creature in half.
We. Could. Not. Believe it…According to the DM, his plan was to have us nowhere near the thing and yet I ended up delivering the finishing blow with the most absurd roll he had ever seen…Our dwarf cleric brought up however, I was still in the thing’s clutches and it just suffered a lethal blow “What happens as it collapses and death throes?” We all pause for a minute from our cheering as the DM deliberates. My celebration quickly changed to dread as I found myself hurled from the beast’s chest as it’s claw lurched back upon collapsing, sending me flying across the battlefield and taking 12d6 falling damage, bringing me down to 1 point away from death. The Soulknife managed to pass his reflex save for minimum damage as the dracolich collapsed under him and ended up wounded but in one piece. The rest of the party, having climbed down from the keep during all this and having watched the whole spectacle, managed to have someone rush over to me and drown me in healing potions to save my life. My character awoke on the backs of my companions and the surrounding army in celebration around me, being declared the hero of the hour and even receiving the respects of the ancient copper dragon for my deeds once he recovered. The dwarves crafted me a new set of armor, one to match the strength of my new divine blessed weapon. Even Glib, the little goblin the party had abducted during the mission, having seen all that had happened decided to join us and inspired by my strength from slaying his former master decided to become a paladin of Tyr as well. From then on, I felt like a proper member of the group…And I couldn’t wait for the adventure to continue.