None of us would’ve suspected that a barbarian’s solution to being caught would be… well, here’s the story.
It was only the second session of the whole campaign. This time, I was the DM, so I had a whole storyline planned out; a mystery involving an attempted assassination and a pair of feuding noble houses. The party consisted of of a Tiefling Sorcerer, Ori; a Half-Elf Warlock, Melisende; another Half-Elf, this one a paladin named Kahlessi; and a human barbarian by the name of Bronwyth.
After a battle with the assassin that kicked off the story, our party decided to take a stop for the night at a local tavern known as the Club of Hearts. They had a few drinks, ate some snacks… One of the players went up to the job board and sorted every posting by order of color. Then another stepped in after she left, took a yellow paper, and pinned it in the blue section. Bronwyth, the barbarian, attempted to start a brawl with a drunken dwarf (who, I note, only wanted another drink). She and Ori, the sorcerer, got into an argument of their own when Ori stepped in to protect the dwarf. Then, after things settled down, the party asked the bartender if she had any information that could help them with the mystery. It was overall a pretty decent way to spend the evening.
One of our players had to leave early, so the story told of Melisende, the warlock, departing on short leave for her lawyer duties (this was a somewhat homebrewed background in which she had training from this world’s equivalent of Law School).
While she was gone, the rest of the party decided they’d wait to pursue the investigation of the assassin until the morning, when Melisende would return. Kahlessi, ever the Paladin, decided they should check the job board inside the tavern and see if any small quests could occupy the rest of the night. Ori and Bronwyth shared a touching discussion about backstories, and Kahlessi returned with a job from a blacksmith in one of the town’s other districts. He was requesting that someone retrieve iron from one of the local mines, and the back of the paper displayed a map of his shop and aforementioned mine. In agreement, the party set off on the walk across the large town.
Upon their arrival at the mine, it became evident that working hours clearly ended much before they got there. Ori shrugged it off and said they could just get the iron on their own. So, into the mine they went.
As Ori used her blacksmithing background to search for iron ore along the stone walls (another homebrewed idea that makes for some very interesting character interactions), Bronwyth and Kahlessi jumped into a dormant minecart and pushed it down the tracks. It broke from their weight and sent them tumbling across the floor, the cart itself crashing against the stone with no subtlety whatsoever.
Nothing appeared to be amiss, so the two of them shrugged it off and went back to help their companion. Ori had managed to find a small patch of iron along the wall, though her small stature made mining difficult, so Bronwyth and Kahlessi stepped in to help. They were about halfway finished when a voice rang out from behind them.
“Now, I don’t remember giving you permission to come down here.”
The three of them spun around and were greeted by a half-elven male who introduced himself as Adran Far-thorn, the owner of the small mine they were currently standing in. He claimed to have heard the crash of the minecart and came to investigate. The players noticed that he hadn’t been outside when they arrived, and so he must’ve come from deeper in the mine. Bronwyth let her curiosity take over and wanted to know what he was doing down there after all the workers had left. So, as he was distracted talking with Kahlessi and Ori, she carefully took her steps away from the party and towards the darkened pathway leading further into the caves.
She made it a likely sixty feet without being caught. Alas, being the only one of the party without darkvision, she realized fairly quickly that she would need means with which to see as she trekked into the darkness, and stealthily returned to grab a torch from the wall.
While she was gone, Adran informed Ori and Kahlessi that the iron they were searching for was already mined and waiting up at the front of the mine for delivery. Kahlessi remained to talk a moment longer with Adran and Ori went to grab the iron and await the rest of her party.
One failed sleight-of-hand check later, and Adran noticed Bronwyth attempting to steal a torch and sneak further into his mine. He called out to her and demanded to know, “what do you think you’re doing?”
So Bronwyth stared at him for a moment. Then, straight faced, took the torch in her hand, spun it around, and thrust it at her chest, effectively lighting herself on fire. Everything after that took place rather quickly. Adran revealed his magic by dousing the flames and shouting in disbelief at her. Ori, heading the commotion, rushed back down and proceeded to lecture Bronwyth on her lack of fire-resistance. Adran insisted on walking them out, not noticing as Kahlessi followed in Bronwyth’s footsteps and slipped past him into the mine—but that’s a story for another time.
Did Bronwyth learn her lesson after setting herself on fire and, yes, taking a bunch of points of flame damage? Or will she impulsively act stupidly upon being discovered in the future? Only time will tell.