My first experience with true character death in a campaign.

This is a story of a small party journeying to save the entire prime material plane, and the power of sacrifice.

3 points

I am no veteran player to the D&D world I have only been roleplaying for about two years now and usually in private sessions with my Dad as DM (who is an OG player) my friends, and my brother irl. This story of ours takes place in the forgotten realms just to make names a bit easier for my brother who is newer than I am, he has read the Legend of Drizzt series and my dad wanted to help him out a little. 

My character was an Aasimar paladin named Iigdris, we only had two other characters in our party, my brother’s half elf wild-mage and a goliath druid named Uthal. We had run these characters through a low level campaign before and where we currently stood we were level 11. Our party had recently come into contact with an ancient artifiact that held immense power, it was a green orb that looked like an eye. The power emanating from the orb had awoken an ancient green dragon name Rahzik. He followed our party wherever we went trying to take possesion of the orb, and we had no clue as to why the terrifying creature wanted it so badly. 

Until we wound up at a powerful preists temple this preist took care of well because we had recently had a near death run-in with the dragon, and he recognized the orb. He said it was a terrible artifact with the power to summon and controll any chromatic dragon on the prime material plane, and Rahzik was seeking it so that he could take control of the prime. So our primary objective became the orbs destrucion, the priest told us our best hope to find knowledge as to how was to seek out the wizdom of an empyrian named Thrim, Thrim was the son of my patron diety Tyr. 

We were told he was at the peak of the mounains that lurked behind the temple and we should search there. So our party fought and drughed our way up the mountain, even encountering a beholder that was laired in the foothills. Eventually with major help from the druid and a few cold resistant magic items we came across a storm giant village where we were taken in. We rested there for the night and the chief had told us Thrim was the protector of their village against threats that even they could not defeat. He told us where to find him at the very top of the mountain where the wind blew feircely and the cold was crippling. 

Luckily for us Uthal had prepared wind walk and we flew to the top of the mountain, to see nothing. The Sorcerer and I were looking around seeing nothing, but the Druid who had just made a nat 20 on his intelligence check stared in awe. “What?” I asked confusedly “You don’t see that?”, “don’t see what?”. He responded with “The massive palace.” with that he began to walk forward and disappeared into the side of the mountain. 

Still confused and a bit scared the rest of us followed, and when we passed through the mountain we indeed saw a glorious castle, and in the center of the courtyard was a man by an old log cabin chopping wood. “We seek Thrim” I said. “Who is we?” the man asked “We are people who are in dire need of aid, the fate of the realm is at stake!” He looked at us with cold eyes and said “The realm you say, very well come in” and he motioned toward his hut. 

We came inside as he was pouring us drinks, and by now we had all begun to catch on and he realised this. “My form is not what you expected?” he said “Not exactly” my palading replied, immeadiatly after the words left my mouth my head was filled with a flash of light and burning pain “I this more of what you expected? I do not believe in such vulgar displays of power.” I just nodded still reeling from the godly energy that just wracked my mind. “you have come to deal with the orb yes?” we just stared at him ” Well I wouldn’t be much help if I did not know why you came would I?” we just nodded. “How can we destroy it” the sorcerer eventually asked. “Well that question is easier to answer than you might think, the very thing that seeks this stone’s power is the very thing that can destroy it, the breath of an aincent dragon.” 

We all froze, because we realised what this meant, the three of us must take on the massive green dragon and one of us would have to be blasted by his poisonous breath to ensure the safety of our realm and the destruction of the orb. “I will do it” the druid said, he volunteered because he was the only one of us immune to poison so against him the dragons breath did nothing to him. 

“rest for the night” Thrim said “tomorrow return to the preist, he will know what you must do and how to prepare.” When we awoke the next morning my paladin came out to see the druid talking with what appeared to be an elf, they looked over at me and the elf handed the druid a scroll and disappeared. Once we were all prepared the druid once again cast wind walk and we surged back twoard the temple. 

We landed and the priest was waiting, but something in his face told us something was wrong. “What is it?” the sorcerer asked “…Rahzik has destroyed the city neighboring our temple, I’m afraid we are out of time.” Each of us looked at the other sadly “Fortune is on our side friend.” my paladin said “we have learned of a way that will allow us to destory the orb and the beast at the same time.” His eyes brightened a bit as he looked up, “Very well, but it must not be here, I know of a place, I can send you there it is far away from all other people, that is where you must call him” 

We prepared our things and went to the priests chambers where he had drawn a teleportation circle. Silently we stepped inside and I put the orb in my bag. We nodded and looked around one last time. Insantly we appeared on a barren tundra, no mountains or anything in sight. 

I took the orb out of my pack and looked to my friends who I had been adventuring with for so long “Well my firends if this is to be our last battle, I will say it has been a good run and an honor to serve with you both.” They both sated the same. My paladin then took the orb in hand and raised it abouve his head and screamed “RAHZIK, COME HERE TO FACE YOUR DOOM” the orb pulsed brightly for a moment then faded, my paladin then passed the orb to Uthal clasping his massive arm and nodding to him in respect for the burden he must now carry. 

Moments later we see on the horizon a massive green arm erupt out of the ground, the dragon had just failed his teleportation spell. We watched in awe and horror as two massive wings unfurled and beat feircely as they raised the massive creature up into the air. Our sorcerer began casting his defensive spells. The dragon began climbing higher and higher he then folded his wings in and dive bombed our party. 

My dad told us all to make wisdom saving throws we all failed and the world went black. Moments later our eyes open and we are now in a massive cave, green gas oozing from cracks in the walls and the stench of death lurking in the air.

 Two green eyes open and the massive head of the dragon surges out of the darkness. “If you will forgive me for bringing you here, I prefer the comfort of my home to the cold tundra.” the dragon said with its booming voice. “What do you want foul creature?” my paladin shouted “…A deal, if you submit to me and give me the orb I will let you live and you can be kings in this new world I plan to create.” My paladin began to laugh “What just give you the orb so you can summon your kindred and lay waste to our homes? I think not, it would be a disgrace to all I stand for to even consider.” The dragon sighed in exasperation “Mortals and their foolish beliefs, very well then you will all die as fools!” 

we rolled for initative and Uthal managed to go first, he wild shaped into an earth elemantal and we saw him raise the orb above his head with his stubby rock fingers. The dragon unleashed it venomous fog and it rolled over the orb and the druid then the room was filled with a green flash, wen the dust settled the dargon was laying on the ground unconsious and the druid, was nowhere to be seen. 

The sorcerer and I were worried about our friend but we realized that we had to take advantage of our situation we began to blast the dragon with all manner of spells and attacks we had all the wile looking for our missing friend. 

Eventually the dragon drug itself up off the ground and began to make it’s attacks against the Sorcerer and I, after a turn of combat we see a massive rock drop from the cieling and land on the dragon’s back, The druid had returned. We continued to fight but eventually the sorcerer and I were Knocked unconcious and the druid’s wildshape form was destroyed. I made one death save and looked up still on the ground to see the druid pull out a scroll. 

Suddenly we were back at full health and I cheered, I cheered until I looked over and saw my goliath friend collapse bloodied and bruised with horrifying wounds all over his body. He had sacrificed his life and taken our wounds upon himself, he was dead. 

My paladin roared in fury and activated his radiant soul and flew over to the druid, “Not yet my friend, I cannot lose you too.” and cast revivify and pumped all of his points of lay on hands into the druid. “My thanks” he said and then took on another wild shape, his second one and turned once more into an earth elemental. 

We fought hard and we fought well but then my paladin was rooted to the ground by the dragon’s lair magic and he was beaten till he once agian fell, making his death saves. Then the druid standing over my barely living body protecting me also went down. It was up to our Sorcerer and almsot poeticly his fireball wild surged for max possible damage and the dragon was near death. 

It limped back and shouted “Azmodeus, make good on our deal” Then the world once more went black, horrific shouts of pain echoed from the other end of the cave followed by a chilling laugh. When he could see again the sorcerer saw the dragon shriveled and devois of color, drianed of life. 

Then a voice from behind him spoke “well done, few mortals can stand up to a dragon as you three have.” he wheeled around to come face to face with a nine foot tall well dressed man with horns. “What did you do?” he asked “Nothing much, the dragon didn’t make good on his end of the deal so I exacted my price.” “I have a proposal, if you will be my advocate on the prime material plane, I will save your friends” 

My paladin had just made his last death save and woke up, he turned to see evil incarnate talking with his friend, he drew his sword and rushed over, the man merely looked at the paladin and he froze “You, stay out of this weakling, your god has no power here, I do” 

My paladin’s fury grew yet he could not speak, so he turned around and saw his friend once again laying on the ground, he rushed over and it was too late, the druid had critically failed on his death save. I cradeled my friends head in my arms and screamed, it was a cry of pure agony and fury. 

The sorcerer walked over and put a hand on my shoulder I looked behind me to see asmodeus shaking his head and disappear. “I said no” the sorcerer said “I don’t think this is how Uthal would want to come back”. I merely nodded and the sorcerer took out a scroll of his own and read it, we were teleported back to the temple. 

The priest was wainting and he rushed over smiling, until he saw what I was cradling in my lap. “Is there something you can do for him, here of all places” I begged. The preists eyes rolled back and a few moments later he looked down on me with a sad smaile on his face “I could bring him back, but I would have to force him, he is at peace he died naturally.” We nodded “I would like to bury him with his people, I think he would like that”. The priest looked at us sadly “Very well” he waved his hand over Uthal’s body and his horrific wounds began to close he looked at us again and said “it was the least I can do”. 

We said our thanks and the priest cast wind walk on us and we flew up into the air rocketing twoard the mountains in the west where we knew our friend had lived. We spotted the goliath village and touched down, my paladin still on his knees holding his friend, within moment we were surrounded by spears. Shortly followed by gasps and screams. 

A massive goliath with a greataxe stepped forward and froze “What is the meaning of this?” he whispered and he pulled out his axe. “Who are you!?” he roared “We are his brothers, in spirit and in service, and we all owe our lives to him” I said somberly. The Huge goliath bent down and grabbed me by the fromt of my tunic and said “I am his brother” he dropped me and proceeded to pick up Uthal’s body and as he walked away we saw his shoulders begin to heave as he disappeared into a hut. 

Another goliath stepped forward, this one smaller and visibly older  “You will have to forgive my son, understandably he grieves for his brother, I am Ragnar and father of Uthal, I welcome you, you say you are his friends?” “Yes” “you say my son is a hero.” I looked up with a sad smile at the old golaith and said “The greatest the realms shall ever know” The old goliath smiled and said “I should like to hear the stories of my son, but first we must send him off.” We turned to see the villagers had assembled a great funeral pyre, Uthal laid lifeless upon the timber with his massive staff in his hands. 

We walked into the crowd and they led us to the front, the goliath who had said he was Uthal’s brother handed the sorcerrer and I torches “I am sorry for the way I acted earleir, you two seem to be true friends of my brother, you will cast the first torches” he said “We ca-” the sorcerer be gan to say “You will” the goliath interrupted “You have earned the right, it’s what he would have wanted.” So the sorcerer and I cast our torches upon our friends pyre and one by one each of the villagers did too. We stood and wathed our friend as he disappeared in the flames we watched till nothing but ashes were left of the pyre. 

The old goliath clapsed us on the shoulder “here we do not mourn death friends, here we celebrate life and remember who he was, please come join us in the long house” he gestured over to a massive hut, we smiled and nodded. Our characters spent the night drinking and celebrating the life of their friend and recounting his tales and epic feats. They fell asleep in the longhouse with Uthal’s village. 

When they awoke the next morning they foun Uthal’s brother out in frontof the longhouse geared up as if he was leaving. “I should wish to join you in you quest after this Asmodeus, the way it sounds he and this dragon had a deal so he is in part responsible for my brother’s death, I will have vengance” I did the closest I could to clap him on the shoulder and said “We would be delighted to have you my friend, I think he would too”.

And with that we set out down the mountain and as we were departing a black cloud formed and lightning stuck the ground. The goliath laughed and said “he is telling you good bye.”  and we ended that part of the campaign on those words. 

During this entire part of the story everyone at the table was choking back tears, so great was the impact this story and Uthal’s scarifice had on each of us. We all were quiet listening to my dad spin this wonderous story, and from then on we have remembered the death and the life of Uthal the great, the druid who saved the world through his sacrifice.


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