When I first started playing D&D my girlfriend told me about the campaign she was in and always told me stories about the adventures her and the group would go on, as well as the juicy lore behind the homebrew world. I was eager to play but didn't want to ask to join as I was nervous. One day however my girlfriends friend offered to run a 1 shot session for me and a few other friends who were interested but hadn't played before; we'd all become friends fairly recently at this point after meeting through the barsports society at the University.
We were told to go and make characters at 5th level which was a challenge in itself. The party consisted of: Edwardo the human cleric, Akarian the elf ranger (Insperation from LOTR), Odaveng the Dragonborn fighter, Selune the Tiefling Paladin, Mlandre the half elf druid, and my character, Clarence the tiefling rogue. He was an orphan as he watched his mother and 3 sisters being hung for being apart of a thieves guild in the town he wa from. I chose the Assassin subclass with the thief backstory as i wanted him to be my version of an Assassin from Assassins creed. We all made backstories which our DM said should be short as it was just a 1 shot.
The session was a small take from critical roles briarwoods arc and had us fight a dumbed down silas and delila. After the one shot we were hooked and begged for more from the DM, this spanded a campaign which lasted the whole a year. Before we carried on our DM asked us to flesh out our backstories more so they could use plothooks and try to make us enjoy the campaign a little more.
After a few sessions of us trying to get us to understand the rolls and our characters the DM started us on the main quest. We explored and grew as a party, making jokes on how many times Mlandre would try sleep with a NPC or laugh when Edwardo would say 'I sleep with my back to the wall, clutching my items'. Finally we'd gotten to the last session and was going to rescue some lost children, which linked with Edwardo's backstory as he wanted to help anyone he could especially orphaned children as he was a slave orphan when he was a child.
We wondered around caves dodging traps and fighting little monsters with ease. We then entered a empty cave. Small bubbles started to fall from the top of the cave from nowhere, Odaveng was the first to touch one and was frozen where he stood. Eventually we were all frozen as the DM grinned; This was a homebrew creature which feeded on the preys biggests fears and emotional weaknesses.
One by one the DM went around the table describing a horrorshow like experience for each character trying to dig deep at everyones backstories which none of us knew about. It came to my turn and damn the DM didnt hold back, they described my character back in the crowd as an adult watching his mother and sisters being hung over and over again. As this was my first character I became attached to him instantly so hearing this made tears come to my eyes.
Once each character snapped out of the nightmare we stormed the rest of the dundgen and found the BBEG. We all went off casting our highest spells and doing as much damage as we could with great luck on our dice, all except the Dragonborn who got knocked down. After failing his death saves he was brought back to life after the fight but watching our friend died only made us want this more. After this we all took a breather and just cheered. I've never laughed and cired so much in a campaign since and miss the fun time we had as those characters.