I'm a proud DM of a group of 4 players. We starting D&Ding in february 2019 at work. We were all colleagues back in the day, spending our 1 hour lunchbreaks in my fantasy realm.
In this campaign one of my players came up with an interesting backstory for his Dwarven Forge Cleric, named Gurum. He has been unwillingly recruited into the spy network of the BBEG. And for the better part of 10 years he serves the Black Seeker (the BBEG) as a spy in search of six ancient artefacts. He doesn't want the job, but as his parents are taken hostage by the BBEG, he feels like he has no other choice.
He does some awful things in that time period before encountering the other 3 players, a Wood Elf Druid, a Forest Gnome Ranger and an Air Genasi Monk. They all meet in an Underdark prison.
In the in-game month that followed the group escaped prison during a riot, travelled through the Underdark and escaped to the overworld. During their travel in the Underdark, Gurum finds a sentient magic sword by the name of 'Dawnbringer'. She's a neutral good sword though and, as such, refuses to grant him her magic powers until he stops working for the BBEG (this is important for what come next).
The group eventually ends up in a keep, which they clear before finding a secret door in the dungeon below. On the locked door are 3 keyholes and they already found 2 keys. It's important to note that Gurum was coming to the point of confessing his double agent role. This group became a second family. They'd saved him some number of times. They shared laughs, misfortunes … He'd tell them the following day. He just needed one more night to think of a way how.
But Gurum is a curious fellow and decides to try out the keys and peek through the next keyhole. He saw more than he wanted. Someone else was staring back. A doppelganger had been locked in there by a wizard. But now he had a chance to get out. He had a scroll of relocate and switched places with Gurum. It took a while for the party to find out their friend had been replaced by the doppelganger. The player actually, after an intense 1 on 1 briefing, played as the doppelganger. He did a terrific job … But his own character would die because of it.
Gurum sprung a trap and had been trapped in a magic dungeon inhabited by a minotaur. The doppelganger had no problem with this as he just turned into a minotaur as well, when encountering him. The Forge Cleric was less fortunate. But his sentient sword, Dawnbringer came through. She granted him all her powers, knowing he'd tell his friends and try and end his BBEG connection, but alas …after some running and fighting in the labyrinth, he met his end by the Minotaur axe cleaving though his chest (a nat 20 on my end). The party was too late to safe him. By the time they found out where he was, they only found his corpse.
We started the next session with the party thinking what they'd do to his body. They'd wait out the nigth and bury him in the morning. And then I started talking to the player of the Cleric Spy. He felt his consciousness being torn between two worlds. His body was starting to reform in the Material World. The BBEG had bound his soul to his will, refusing him to let go of his duty to serve him. The process was terribly painful. Meanwhile his soul started trekking through the Afterlife.
As we're playing with a Greek Pantheon, the Cleric arrived in front of the river Styx, but he wasn't alone. A dwarven female was standing next to him: his sword, who goes by the name of Kilia. They start talking while Charon collects them and takes them to Cerberus, the three headed dog guarding the gates leading up to the Three Judges who will decide if he'll go to hell or heaven. Gurum tells Kilia his whole story. And they finally are getting along. She starts feeling sorry for him. Just another innocent soul corrupted because of the BBEG.
But then things get weird. Cerberus doesn't let him pass because he's not dead yet. His body is reforming in the material world. He can't pass. He's doomed to become a monster. But the Fates work in his favor. As it is, the Material World is preparing for the Spring Festival. And … Persephone is travelling to the surface world. As is known, she spends spring and summer there. During autumn and winter she stays with her husband Hades in Hell.
She spots our Cleric and after talking to him and his sword offers him a choice. She could sever his bond with the BBEG, but that would mean he'd die. The player is considering and objects saying: "I don't think I can. My mother and father are his prisoners. If I die, they die." Persephone kneels in front of him and informs him that for 10 years, his parents have been here in her realm. The BBEg had been playing him.
Our Cleric is shocked and in the end accepts Persephones offer. She travels on, as does he, towards the 3 judges. Before he heads in, his sword (named Kilia) asks him what he'd do if he ever got his second chance as he hoped. "I could … try to live life in the service of others. Try to do some good in the world. Find those artefacts. keep them out of His hands. I'd …. tell my friends how sorry I am. I … hope we can see each other some day again." She says: "I believe you. I'd like that too"
Then she steps in before him and the judges ask: "What's your name." She turns towards Gurum and says: "Gurum."
All the players start yelling and talking before I continue speaking for the judges saying: "Gurum Sandgrain, for the crimes you have committed against innocent people in the name of the Black Seeker and all that is inherently evil, we damn you to the fifth layer of hell, Stygia. For the pride you carry because you thought you could get away by supporting evil, you will burn for the rest of your life between and around the icy mountains".
She then dissapears and Gurum enters. The judges call out: "What's your name?" The player looks dumbfounded and says: "Kilia?"
The judges remain silent for a while and then say: "Kilia, despite your failure to lead Gurum on the right path, your services are still required. Of course, you take back your role in society and serve the first person who wields you. In accomplishing your destiny, you will be granted eternal fame and peace."
I then start describing two things. First, the party see a glow coming from the chamber they stored the body of Gurum in. They go and look, and his sword is shining ever bright. Secondly, I describe to the Cleric as he is again travelling the pitch black sky, but feels himself ascending and suddenly he sees the interior of a chamber. His party members standing around him. He's happy. Surprised. Delighted. And then I describe him seeing his dead body lying next to him … and the Monk grabbing the hilt of Dawnbringer.
Sweet Hermes this was cool. It’s hard to convincingly RP a double-crossing character, but to do it so well you sign your own death certificate? Must’ve been tough. At least he seems to be getting his chance for redemption.
PS sentient swords always make for an interesting duality in my experience (my previous character had such a sword). I’ve always loved the internal struggle for the upper hand.
“All Things DnD narrated my story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScEfhLDTcmg&ab_channel=AllThingsDnD “
Now come back with more stories haha! Has been years