Okay, so I very recently had what I would consider to be my first DnD Horror Story, and this one is… touchy.
I was in a campaign that ran for about 4 months, ranging from levels 3-9 before the incident. Our party consisted of a Human Monk, a Gnome Artificer, a Dwarven Barbarian, and me, playing a Human Paladin (Order of Redemption) named Valarie. Valarie was trained to be a fighter at her hometown, and failed to protect one of her dearest friends when the town was attacked by shadow beings. She, from that day forth, did not believe that combat was a way to solve anything and would lead to suffering, and this belief would reaffirm as time went on.
Before I continue, there are a few things I wish to clarify. Firstly, the DM knew of her pacifist nature and seemed excited when I suggested it. Secondly, Valarie had been played in a West March previously, so I knew what to not do with that kind of character so that the table can still have fun in combats, have combats in general, and so that the DM doesn't get pissed off. And lastly, I know that Redemption Paladins are still allowed to fight if there is no other alternative due to their oath. I simply took that to the extreme, and altered the oath with DM approval.
With that out of the way, here is the meat of the issue.
The campaign revolved around the outer planes and the relationships between them and the material plane, but we found ourselves on Pandemonium, Limbo, Elysium, Celestia, and Mechanus a lot. It actually had a pretty coherent plot, with memorable characters and well thought out encounters, with fun side quests that would help us in the main one.
The first real issue came a few sessions in, when we were confronting a jailkeeper who tormented the souls on Pandemonium beyond reason, knowing that simply being there was punishment enough. Valarie, with her Helm of Telepathy she recieved earlier on, attempts to talk with the Jailkeeper while they are still out of sight. The conversation began something like:
"Hello there! Um… We were wondering why you are trapping all those people?"
"…They have done wrong and must pay."
"What wrong have they done? Who are you?"
"I am the Jailkeeper and I must purify those whom have sinned"
"You aren't being too help-"
At this point the DM snaps out of character, with a bit of a yell. "What do you want from me? Do you want me to tell you his entire backstory?"
"Well, I would like to know what we are up against, and it's not like I'm a threat yet."
"You are invading his mind space already, you know."
"Can I at least insight to see why hes so uptight?"
He sighs and tells me to roll insight (with a 19)
"It just seems like he isn't willing to talk with strangers."
"Well then, she comes out from her hiding place and waves at him while he sits in his chair"
The DM describes how he rises and starts charging at her. Initiative starts, and each turn of combat I attempt to talk him down with persuasion, as the party is full health and taking no hits. Around turn 3 of combat, when I attempt it, the DM yells to himself, turning his mic off for a bit to presumably swear. After turning it back on, he simply states, "No, you don't. You attack instead with your shield"
"She would never do that!"
As the DM proceeds to attack for her, the other players and I are exchanging DMs, and I don't seem to be getting much help here. They feel bad to an extent, but they are more focused on moving the game forwards. I sigh and accept it, striking it from headcanon.
Fast forwards to level 6, Valarie has a romantic interest back on the material plane, a Human Druid. She tries time after time to make a connection with him, with the DM not allowing roleplay nor a dice roll in any instance. When I ask why, he just grumbles something about storyline. Later at level 7, turns out he is a bit of a bad guy in a side plot, and wants to kill us. I manage to confront him, trying to remind him of our relationship… still platonic… and how we can help him get out of whatever rut he may be in.
DM is silent before saying that she smacks him instead, and I leave the game session for that day, having been controlled again.
And the next couple of sessions are awkward, Valarie sticking to herself and me talking as little as possible.
The first major BBEG at level 9 was what broke us. I halfheartedly began speaking words to a few minions, the DM having picked up a habit of completely glazing over it. I was not having fun, and I asked the DM into a side chat to talk about the issue, and how I am not having fun due to his disregard for her "fighting style". He says that he has to move the plot forwards, and that he doesn't have time for, and I quote, "Childish fanfiction between your beloved OC and the monster of the week."
I tell him that I will finish the session and we can find a way for Val to leave for plot's sake.
When I said we, he must have thought him.
After the fight of Valarie healing her compatriots, the DM breaks into a monologue about how we collect loot and return to the material plane, where he would normally ask us about downtime.
But not this time.
This time was different.
He narrated how Val waved to the others, saying that she needed some time alone and she would return later before walking into the forest. He then proceeds to narrate in gritty detail, how Valarie slowly cut herself with a dagger from the loot along her arms, and slits her wrists, scratching self-depreciating statements into the dirt and carving them into the trees as she bled out, never to be discovered. The DM had every little detail of the scene in mind, and played it for me painfully.
Over half the group left the call during this but I…. I was too much in shock to leave. This was cruel, this was horrible, I had never had a character I loved as much as her, and to have her go out like this… It was inhumane.
After the description and the silence that followed, the last other player left the call, after murmuring something about that "sadistic bitch".
I simply asked why.
"It is only in character, for your failiure who wants to make a difference that made none to hate themselves for getting nothing done. She clearly was using her happy demeanor to mask the depression within."
There was a pause.
"By the way, thank you for being willing to leave the game, I was ready to kick you out. You ruined so many wonderful combats of mine."
I shook my head and left the call, deleting her character sheet and sitting in tears for a couple of hours.
Since then, all the players from that group now play together under a new DM with new characters. We scarce discuss it, as I do believe it would bring up powerful emotions for us all. Even I sit here still in tears just writing this…
Was I the asshole, not making my character fit the DM's clear preferences? Is there truly a "right way" to play a pacifist and upset nobody?