My DnD group and I are mostly role play based in our game style, and the games that had me go through intense emotional journey are the ones that remains in my memory. Therefore my most memorable game as a player was bound to end in a tragedy.
This all takes place in an homebrewed settings co created by the DM and I.
Playing with the same people for several years has many advantages. Of those, me and my playing group had the opportunity to do a multigenerational game, where we would play the children of some of our previous characters in a new campaign.
I had played a lawful good paladin named Xin in our first campaign. I made him as nice and good as I could, a man trying to advocate tolerance at every occasion in a world where prejudice was the common mesure. He eventually discovered that he was the descendant of a lost royal line and after defeating an orc invasion with our gaming party, he got to marry Valance, the princess with whom he had fallen in love.
So on our second campaign, I decided to play Xin's son, Melzard. Xin had become king and was able to help bring prosperity and peace to the land. He even succeeded at bringing some tolerance in the people's mind. Making them accept the death goddess of their dark elf neighbour kingdom as a non-evil religion. But doing all this, he had grown old a little faster.
I wanted Melzard to be different from his father. One thing I like to do in all my characters is to give them personality flaws, so for Melzard I chose lust. He was a good man, aiming at being as wise and benevolent as his parents, but he just loved being tempted by men and women alike, too much for his own good.
Little did I know that the DM would be able to use this flaw in just the right moment to change my character and the entire game for good far later down the line.
Melzard was a paladin like his father but of a different god, the god of travel and exploration. Once he was of age, the King and Queen gave him his first quest along with 2 compagnons: a human rogue, related to a characters of the previous campaign and therefore a childhood buddy of the prince; and a dark elf death priestess who was there as a specialist on the place where we were going and an unofficial ambassador to the kingdom's new alliance with the dark efl people.
From then on, our trio went on several adventures with recurring dark themes: haunted prison, possessed lighthouse guardian, etc. Melzard was feeling troubled by those encounters and was deeply thinking that the world seemed very different from the one of his father's stories. Weirdly there was some fascination for the macabre inside of him that he wasn't able to reconcile with how he saw himself. But he managed to forget this by indulging in flirts and conquest at every tavern stop.
We eventually were sent to tame a rebellion from the orcs formerly defeated by our parents in the previous campaign. The orcs were manipulated by an evil wizard that briefly sent our group to a parallel dimension where we had to fight our evil counterparts. Getting to kill a violent and cruel version of himself disturbed the prince greatly.
After this mission, we went back to the capital, where Melzard witnessed the death of his father. Before dying, King Xin told Melzard that he was proud of him, but Melzard didn't feel worthy of this pride, because of his secret fascination for the dark and for what it had made an alternate version of himself become.
That night, he had a vision of his maternal ancestor. A queen of forgotten centuries that was feared in the land. She showed him a place to dig outside the capital. The same night, Melzard wnt digging and found the vampiric sword of his ancestor. When he took it, he had another vision of a beautiful woman on a backdrop of a destroyed realm. Melzard first thought that he was seeing his ancestor, but when the woman touched him, he suddenly knew that it was the goddess of Death and lust, choosing him as her new champion. When he came back to himself, he could feel the sword talking to him through feelings, it was hungry for blood. No longer was he a paladin of the god of travel and that was all right with him.
The next week was the coronation of my character. All the rulers of the neighbouring nations were there. Long story short, after a lot of political discussion and our recent vanquishing of the orc menace, Melzard was engaged to a beautiful princess of a northern kingdom and made Emperor of the region. In a controversial move, the new Emperor then made the goddess of death the official religion of the empire.
After that, began a time of peaceful changes, while the influence of the empire was solidifying, Melzard was courting his new Empress between some hero level adventures with his 2 main advisors, the high priestess and the former rogue now first bodyguard of the Emperor. Each time he killed someone with his new sword he was aware of the pleasure felt by the sword in the act of killing. He knew it was wrong but it also made him a little more powerfull each time. At the end of one such adventure, he was back at the capital resting a bit, when a beautiful ambassador lady from another land came to see him privately. While she was flirting with him, he thought of his new wife, but decided to submit to his desire for a few moments… Nobody would know, he thought…
An hour later, the palace's alarm started to ring… Melzard got out of bed, seeing that the ambassador lady had already left. After rapidly getting dressed in full armor to answer the alarm, guards arrived to tell him that his wife had just been murdered by an assassin and that his bodyguard was in pursuit.
Melzard went silent for a long moment. After the initial shock passed, the Emperor didn't waste one more second and went to see the body of his wife, he took her in his arms and ran to the palace’s church. There he ordered the attending priest to resurrect the Empress.
Said priest executed himself, but nothing seemed to be happening. Melzard looked desperately at the priest for an answer… ''She doesn't want to come back, your majesty… she says that she saw what you did and that she’s too devastated to come back…''
After a tearful minute of silence, Melzard screamed louder than he ever did making the priest recoiled in fear. He was feeling every emotion he didn’t want to… He had been right not feeling worthy of his father’s pride… He himself was responsible, he was nothing but a pathetic pile of guilt.
My character looked at the statue of the goddess of death behind the altar where his former wife’s body was laying and unsheathed his sword. He thought to his sword: ''Here's something you will enjoy!'' He felt the sword's excitement at the thought and then he impaled himself on his own sword.
It could have ended there, it should have ended there, but it didn't. Melzard was then in front of his goddess. She talked to him softly with a charming smile: ''I am disappointed in you my champion, You have no place at my side anymore. Go back.''
He reopened his eyes, lying on the floor of the church. He wasn't breathing and his heart was silent. He was now a death knight. Yet still perfectly capable of his own actions, he got up, removed the sword from his torso and slowly walked toward the exit of the church. '' All existence is suffering, nothing else matters.'' Melzard said to himself out loud. ''Every one must know.'' The former Emperor then begane a carnage killing everyone he came across in the city while his former companions were busy running after the empress’ assassins outside the city walls.
When they came back to the capital it was partially in flames and people were fleeing the city.
There was more to this campaign but this is the story that I wanted to tell. The DM later told me that the Ambasador with whom Melzard was unfaithful was in truth the death goddess in disguise. I had been played and I had loved it.
After that campaign, Melzard became a recurring NPC for future generations. Having stopped his carnage at the edge of the city, he kept reining on the ruins and an army of undead, literally representing the goddess of death in the world.
So that was my most memorable game ever, it's been more that 10 years and I still love that character to this day.