The time I was killed to get me to change classes

I was playing in a couple of DnD 5E games at the time over summer break when I had time to kill and, although I didn't know it yet, I had found a stinker.

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This was a good few years ago when I was just getting into DnD for the first time. I was playing in a couple of DnD 5E games at the time over summer break when I had time to kill and, although I didn’t know it yet, I had found a stinker.

I was told we were playing Horde of the Dragon Queen so I decided to go with a neutral human wizard and decided on taking the abjuration wizard as defensive magic as always seemed far more fun to me. As a result I had few damaging options and in my infinite wisdom, thought it would be interesting to focus on fire spells for what damage I did. I joined the game after someone else had left and the campaign was already underway so the party were third level. As well as me there was an elf bard, a half-orc fighter and another character I unfortunately don’t remember. The players and GM all seemed very nice, although some people were the type to get hanged up social justice rubbish.

Things had been progressing fairly normally for the party until we decided to head towards the dragon cult’s camp near Greenest. Along the way, we encountered a cave in a cliffside with some unpleasant noises coming from inside. Naturally we check it out, coming face to face with a Balgura that had apparently made the place its hideout. We took a few nasty hits and had an ally downed, but managed to scrape through a tough fight with no deaths. After we made sure everyone was alright, we set to checking the creature over and looking around its hideout. Inside its mouth (replacing one of its teeth) was a crimson red gemstone that, with some effort, we managed to remove for inspection. One casting of detect magic and a very good arcana roll from myself revealed that whatever this thing was, it held power enough to let it function as a limited-use teleporter, although we didn’t know where it would take us. This is where things would start to get more… interesting. 

We rested up, linked hands and I activated the stone. We reappeared in some kind of demiplane of a powerful being, some large-sized humanoid in plague-doctor attire that seemed confused at our appearance. Looking around what seemed to be a magical workshop, we assertained we’d be unable to even come close to fighting this thing and so when questioned about our appearance, we simply told the truth and were asked to be sent back to where we came from. It obliged before warping us back. Strange as it was, it was interesting.

After that pause in events we continued our travels to the camp and sorted things out there with no issue – riding on a high having managed to beat a demon. On the way back, however, we encountered a trio of blink dogs that attacked us before we could react. First, the fighter was focused and after some unlucky rolls on our part they were downed, but this is when things got nasty. I know now this isn’t something they are able to do, but at the time I had no idea. One of the dogs held onto the fighters body and vanished with him, we were told onto the ethereal plane. After this, the DM took the other player to the ethereal plane after they failed grapple checks and were quickly downed there as well. Naturally, we assumed they were dead and both ran for our lives.  When we arrived back at town to inform them of us stopping the camp of cultists we decided to leave the town and head towards the closest city in order to look for new party members (we were informed that’s where the new players would be) and we hit 5th level. As an abjuration wizard this is where my character started to come into his own in terms of combat, although that’s also down to what we would commonly come to face.

Being only two of us, we were attacked by bandits on the road and overrun by sheer numbers and surprise, before being taken back to their hideout. This is where we met the new party members, a pair of dragonborn paladin brothers. We were left with our equipment on the basis we were unconscious, so we were just tied and left in the basement. We easily got out and began to sneak our way out before we were caught by the leader of the bandits just as we were about to make it. After some dialogue wherein they revealed they planned to use us as slaves and sell us, they attacked us. This is where I could start to see problems. The DM had went for the overrun tactic again, but the pair of paladins were too hardy for that. He had also decided to try and make use of spell casters to combat myself and the bard. Having assumed he did this knowing my wizard school, I took to my role well and saw to shutting the enemy casters down as much as possible, much to the blatant annoyance of the DM. After we had shut down the casters we decided it would be safe to try and talk them down into letting us leave, with the bandits starting to lose their confidence. They agreed to let us go, but threatened they would chase us down and kill us, along with enslaving any town they came across on the way. After the party shared a shrug, it was left to me to deal with them and I happily dropped a fireball on the slavers, killing most if not all of them.

After the session I could sense the DM was irritated at how I had worked in combat and I explained that I had wanted to create a defense caster mainly to combat other casters as opposed to just drop abjuration spells on the party, and added that if it was too annoying I would happily switch schools and change out some spells. He insisted it was fine, so I left it.

Adventuring continued and we all but forgot about our original campaign, with the DM opting to go more homebrew as he found that more interesting anyway, but one thing stayed consistent: whenever we would get into combat things would turn out very similar. The DM would put of an emphasis on using casters in his combat to supplement the melee enemies, so I would of course take to handling the casters as best as possible. When we weren’t handling casters, however, I would simply get by casting the only offensive spells I had: firebolt, scorching ray or fireball. I had a tendency to rarely use fireball as I preferred to use my 3rd level slots to use my higher level abjuration spells. This is where the other interesting thing came into play. The DM very much liked the idea of resistences and vulnerabilities, so made sure to employ the use of them far more than the Monster Manual or any other monster book recommended. Fire would be a common choice. Combine that with half-decent luck and I was quickly gaining more ire by the session. Along the way, our bard died and he switched for a rogue, although I can’t remember the race.

Things came to a head when we were contracted to investigate a pyramid in the south, that seemed to be the cause of a curse that was choking nearby villages with sand and destroying their farmland. By this point we were 8th level and I had a couple new spells I was eager to try out. We made our way across the desert with relative ease, before heading into the pyramid itself. The first problem came with the general enemies within the dungeon: the only things we encountered were flame skulls, so naturally I was unable to damage them at all, although I was able to use an arcana roll to figure out how to permenantly destroy them. As well as this, the spells a flame skull knows were changed into innate abilities that weren’t spellcasting, so I was unable to counter their spells as well. Whilst I was willing to admit that I had built my character around a niche point, the attitude with which the DM would continuously inform me I wasn’t able to do anything was beginning to become irritating, he came off as petty more than anything. We slowly moved throughout the dungeon and ended the session with us talking to an undead that had been raised by the mummy but broke free of its control, wanting it destroyed so its soul could move on. With the start of the next session, we continued to chat with the undead as we tried to assertain if there was a way to let it move on now in case we failed to stop the mummy. After much deliberation and with the agreement of the undead, we cremated it through ceremony in the hopes that it would work and were told we had successfully sent its soul to the next life. Content, we started to head for the big boss door.

Appearing to descend from a ball of light came a Deva, with a speech about how we were good souls for trying to stop this evil and how he had come to help us. We were initially very happy to hear about this until it he continued. He said that he was not able to help us until he had dealt with another evil: me. There was a long moment of confused silence before one of the paladins asked what I done that was so evil an angel needed to be sent to deal with me, and my “crimes” were revealed. I was a “dishonorable monster” who “killed those who could not defend themselves” and was reminded of when I fireballed the slavers. This continued with me being “sacrilegious” as I had denied a man a proper afterlife when I burned him before killing the mummy that raised him and spat in the face of the ceremony I should have done. And the last but most heinous of all crimes was that I had conspired with demons. By that, he meant that weird humanoid in the demiplane we encountered for less than 20 minutes, several months ago. I was asked to lay down my life immediately after he said this. My party took my side in this, the lot of us finding it strange. The Deva, hearing this, initiated combat and the DM told both paladins that if they tried to inflict any damage on it they would lose their powers and would never be able to get them back. As for the rest of us, if we engaged in combat with it our alignment would shift down and be unchangable. Not willing to go out like an idiot, I decided to engage it and immediately became chaotic evil, as did the rogue. The paladins would not attack it, but resolved to try and stop it attacking me. This is where my spells came into play. Using the strange gem from that demon as a material component, I banished the Deva, which illicited an audiable groan from the DM. Whilst it was gone, it continued to fail charisma checks until the last one, but he reappeared within a magic circle I had drawn whilst it was banished. From there, things became very much one-sided. We continued to pepper the Deva with arrows, scorching rays and firebolts until it was close to death.

Then, the DM described how a heavenly ray of light descended from the sky and began to heal the Deva, removing all wounds we gave it. Magic circle lasts a while, so we saw it heal itself at least 4 or 5 times. By this point, the combat had been going on for nearly 2 hours and we were getting sick of it – we’d already been told we couldn’t rest in here and had all taken a considerable beating trying to stop this thing. Then, with its last full-heal, my magic circle spontaneously shatters and disappeared with no explanation. The Deva advanced on the my poor wizard and, even though I lasted much longer even in melee than he anticipated, I was essentially clubbed to death whilst it ignored everyone else in the party.

Once I waw well and truly dead, the Deva announcing with glee the evil had been purged and my soul was bound for the abyss, everyone went quiet. The DM continued, forgiving the paladins for siding with a disguised demon supporter and changing the rogue’s unchangable alignment as he “didn’t know what he was doing”. There were a few awkward chuckles throughout the group and the session was called there. I just to the chase and asked why he pulled that on me, but the DM ignored it and simply asked: “So, I was thinking you should play cleric, the party could use one of those.”

I thanked the other players for an enjoyable time playing with them and promptly left, with a crippling distrust of celstial beings.


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