To preface this story, everyone involved in this story and I are still good friends and play many tabletop games together, so don’t get too upset with the story.
I had just started college and found myself in a group of people that were right up my alley, gamers and tabletop players. We played all sorts of games, mostly D&D and homebrew, especially homebrew. Lots of our games were made for testing purposes of different homebrew systems and such.
This was maybe the third or fourth game I was playing with this group and it was a rather interesting campaign. The world had almost turned fully apacolyptic after coming to find out that the ancient Greek gods have existed in our modern world, resulting in a shattering as magic and the gifts and curses of the gods resurged into the world. The player characters were none other than the misbogotten demi-god children of the gods who had their divine blood awakened.
My character was simply named “James”. He was a Native American who was ripped away from his tribe and single mother at any early age because of this blood awakening. He was a child of Hephastus, the Greek god of fire and crafting. His sign of birth were his eyes turning into burning charchoal that he hides with sunglasses. He was upset about being forced away from his home, family, and tribe due to his blood and had to live in a city by order of the local government due to his demi-god state. He tries to phone his mother when he can, though communication is rather limited. Due to his woes, he had also received a blessing from Hecate (note; characters received blessings from random gods due to a dice roll and this was the in-game exuse as to why he had a blessing from the Goddess of magic and spells and witches).
He took up a job as a mechanic and engineer, he liked tinkering with things and had a talent for it. The reasons for why were unknown and strange to his tribe, but considering his heritage now, it made a lot of sense. But, a living needed to be made so James made a name for himself as a dependable mechanic that goes to many blacksmithing competitions and wins quite often, being a gifted engineer and blacksmith that would make his absent father proud. Though, the “good” life he had lived wouldn’t last for long, as little did James know…the campaign was about to start.
The details of what the story behind the campaign was is a little foggy to me at the moment, it has been years. But needless to say, there was something going on and the local government needed a team of individuals to help stave off the threat. I don’t remember all the backstories, but we had quite the large group that eventually wittled away to the core group. There was James, an ex-cop, a spell thief type character, and a giant of a warrior. Overall, it was a pretty well balanced team despite there not really being any healers, but there was medical equipment everyone was rather familiar with in using. James was built more as a support character, capable of scraping just about everything made of metal and able to use said metal to create new equipment, good at repairing equipment, and Hecate’s blessing allowed him to be able to magically enchant items. I had made this character to be the ultimate support character.
Sadly this did leave him rather lacking in combat. What points I did have spare, I did put into some of his combat potential so he wasn’t totally worthless, and the shotgun he had I thought would help plenty. However, while my crafting and repair rolls were amazing during my testing runs of his mechanics, his combat rolls were poor. Almost as if the Greek gods manifested themselves into actual reality to mock me, majority of James’s combat rolls always resulted in rolls so low or critical fails, that every time we got into combat he dealt more damage to his allies than the enemies. During the second session after our last combat encounter, I took the hint and just had James disengage and watched the combat. He was better off not even participating at this rate, and it seemed like all the players had agreed to this.
But what I, James, and seemingly the rest of the party didn’t know…there was something being plotted in the background.
We made our way to our first town stop and I was excited, because now I got to really use James’s outside of combat support abilities and really make the character shine. Using the scrap we had gathered, selling off stuff we didn’t need, and renting out the local smithy for space, James had went to work. Considering that she was the highest damage dealer we had, James decided it was best to make a dagger for the spell-thief. He would make it as wicked as he could and used his blessing to enchant it with an eternal poison that was counted as an “exotic”, so it was rare to come across anything immune or resitant to it and getting an anti-venom for it would be hard to come by. Nat 20’s across the whole board.
While he was making this dagger though, that very same spell-thief was plotting against James. Apparently, she hated James for disengaging and watching the combat rather than being an active participant. She talked with the ex-cop who was rather chaotic and liked to do pranks so he had volunteered to help by offering his hand-cuffs to her and wanted to watch. Meanwhile, the gentle giant wanted no part in it and, considering she was the DM’s girlfriend, was able to convince the DM to allow her to roll persuasion on the warrior…resulting in a nat 20 and thus the simple, sweet man was convinced to help out.
That night, when James had hid away some of his possessions and the new dagger, he had went to bed. At this point, his ability to really trust or tolerate much of anyone was at an all time low. He did not like the gods because simply by being a child of one, he was taken away from the only family that he had, “adopted” by a father who was never a part of his life. And now, thanks to this same heritage, he was ripped away from whatever life he assumed he was allowed to have and make do as he wish, forced to be on this trip he had no interest in with people he did not know. But, like he has done before, he was willing to make do with what he had and felt bad he couldn’t contribute in combat. So, he was looking forward to see the looks on his newfound comrades’ faces when he presented the dagger to the spell-thief and mention that he would work on other weapons, armor, and items for the rest of the group.
But, that night…they struck.
James would wake up not long after he had went to bed, being grappled by the warrior he had no hope of overpowering. Meanwhile, the ex-cop had given the spell-thief the cuffs and James was properly bound and unable to do anything. At that point, his room was looted, all his hiding spots found and his dagger claimed by the spell-thief. He was gagged so he could not speak. James was then stripped to his underwear and taken outside of the inn. As the group was leaving the town, James was tossed into the desert and then left there, no one going to help him. Effectively, I was kicked out of the game on the second session.
Considering I was rather new to playing D&D in general with people in physical space before (I’ve only really played online with people I’ve never met before), this was a rather new experience for me and I was rather stunned. But, I’d like to say I took in stride. The other two players felt really bad, and the player who played the spell-thief felt bad too and expressed that (which made me wonder why she did it in the first place, but I guess “muh roleplay” was in effect at the time and that’s what her character would do). But, again, I’d like to say I took it in stride. I simply just shrugged and I left the group, allowing them to do as they pleased while I went off and did some stuff on my own, I think I played some League of Legends or something.
After a bit that day, the DM came up to me and said that he felt really bad about what had happened and wanted to work with me. We eventually worked up James’s story and actions after that point, where he was a broken man. He had enough of betrayals and people jerking him around and he was forced to just “take it”. He had took out his own eye and performed a ceremony to catch the attention of Nemesis, the goddess of revenge and justice and was giving a new blessing and several combat related buffs. He no longer cared about creating works of art or equipment for others. Instead, he took his lust for vengeance, his hatred, and his talent for engineering to create his own army of automatons and decided to lash out against a world who only showed him cruelty.
It was planned that he would be one of the BBEGs for the campaign and I would be allowed to play him as essentially a boss fight encounter when it got late enough into the game. Sadly, it seemed what happened to James affected everyone so badly that they stopped that campaign and waited quite a while before they felt like doing another campaign, leaving James the Betrayed in the creative vault indefinitely.