All Things DnD's Story Dungeon

D&D Story: How To Make Your Players Ugly Cry

July 07, 2020 All Things DnD
All Things DnD's Story Dungeon
D&D Story: How To Make Your Players Ugly Cry
All Things DnD's Story Dungeon
D&D Story: How To Make Your Players Ugly Cry
Jul 07, 2020
All Things DnD

I couldn’t say it better myself. What an incredible story. Don’t let anyone tell you these shared experiences aren’t real and amazing, because they are.

Show Notes Transcript

I couldn’t say it better myself. What an incredible story. Don’t let anyone tell you these shared experiences aren’t real and amazing, because they are.

I’ve been DMing a two year long expansive 5e campaign, despite all odds, not a single player character has died... until now

The party consists of a Human Paladin, Half-Elf Druid, Half-Orc Barbarian, Dragonborn Wizard, and Human Mystic.

The characters started the campaign at odds with each other, escaping a prison and only staying together out of necessity.

The Human Mystic is the biggest dick in the group and the only one with an Evil alignment.

He constantly detests the rest of the party for the first few months. The party finally finds out why. The Mystic's entire family is a cult of evil Mystics that used their psychic powers to warp his mind from the time he was a baby.

The Barbarian understands better than most. He is the product of a violent encounter between his “father” and mother. His father didn’t see him as a child, but a weapon to be honed. He trained him from a young age to kill anything that wasn't orc. And the training consisted mostly of beatings and vitriol. The Barbarian got sick of this and killed his own father. 

The Mystic doesn't know how to feel about this.

Skip ahead a few in-game months.

The Party is fighting the first BBEG of the campaign. He causes a massive crack to open in the ground right beneath Mystic sending him plummeting two hundred feet into the chasm. The Barbarian jumps in after him, grabs him in mid-air, twists himself so his back hits the ground, and eats all 112 fall damage while the Mystic takes virtually none.

The Barbarian starts rolling Death Saves.

For the first time in the campaign, the Mystic rolls a Medicine check to stabilize a dying teammate.

The Mystic’s player declares "I think my alignment just changed" as the rest of the party manages to slay the first BBEG, saving the entire city from destruction.

The Paladin uses daggers to climb the wall carrying both the Mystic and Barbarian out of the crack in the ground, rolling insanely high on athletics to do so. The Cleric heals the Barbarian and Mystic back to decent health. The Wizard cleans them up with Prestidigitation, and Druid makes the group some ice cold glasses of victory water.

Create water doesn't specify it can be cold, but screw it, it doesn't say it can't be cold.

From then on, the Mystic becomes much more of a team player. Starts taking abilities to aid party in battles, becomes much less of a dick.

Fast forward two years in real life.

The Party of adventurers have now killed two more BBEG's, including the most powerful Lich the world had ever known and finally a Tarrasque (both deserve their own stories, but not right now).

After the previous battle, the Mystic’s player approached me in private to discuss something about his character. I had told the players that a festival was going to be starting soon, within the next two in game months. The Mystic wanted to do something special for the party during the festival.

When the next arc started, the Mystic character wasn't with the party. He claimed he had something important to do but would return in a few days.

A few in-game days pass. The Mystic keeps his word and returns to the party.

This time the party isn't dealing with a tangible villain they can punch in the face... they are dealing with another plane of existence crashing into the material plane. If that happens, both planes of existence would be destroyed.

The party had to quickly gather materials on missions across both planes to construct a bomb capable of atomizing an entire plane.

After they get the materials and start constructing it, I have them roll skill checks to see how well they build the bomb, having DC's set for every task.

They fail only one check... possibly the most important check. They also fail to notice their mistake, and continue making the bomb.

They travel to the second, Hell-like plane threatening the material plane through a portal. Only minutes left until both planes are destroyed.

The bomb is set up in such a way that a light will turn green when it's armed, triggering a 10 second countdown.

The light doesn't turn green, no matter how many times they press the remote detonator.

They realize that the countdown mechanism isn't working.

One minute until the planes collide and life ceases to exist.

The Paladin knows what he has to do and starts walking towards the bomb telling everyone to get through the portal.

The Barbarian isn't having it. Nat20's a punch to the back of the Paladin's head to knock him out.

The Paladin fails his CON save to wake up.

The Mystic pleads with Barbarian not to do this. The Barbarian places a hand on the mystic’s shoulder assuring them that everything will be okay. He asks the Mystic not to fight him over this.

The Mystic eventually promises he won't fight him.

The Wizard is able to drag Paladin through Portal leaving only the Mystic and Druid. 

As the barbarian toward the bomb and his fate the Mystic whispers something to Druid.

The Barbarian spares a final look at his party and waves goodbye. With a deafening roar the Druid turns into a Titan Bear--a homebrew bear I made that is VERY strong.

The Mystic uses an ability that allows him to swap places with the Barbarian, and the moment he does the Druid wraps his huge arms around the Barbarian and starts pulling him into the portal.

The Barbarian enters Rage mode to try and break free of the Druids bear hug. He just barely fails his rolls due to bad luck.

The Mystic smiles before his two friends go through the portal. I give him enough time to say something before they leave.

"I'll buy you a beer when this is over. Now get out of here, you idiots."

The portal closes as they leave through it, leaving the Mystic alone in a hellish landscape with the bomb.

The Barbarian’s player is genuinely crying at this point while I describe what happens.

The Mystic pushes a button on the bomb and the green light flashes on. With the bomb armed he sits down with his back against the bomb. A smile spreads across his lips as the bomb detonates. He is atomized along with the rest of the plane.

Back in the material plane the rest of the party lives with the aftermath. The bomb worked, the other plane was completely destroyed saving the material plane from destruction. People across the globe sang praise of the party worshiping them as true heroes of the realm.

I skipped ahead by one month, explaining to the party that they all received individual letters addressed to them.

They all passed an Investigation check to notice the handwriting on the letter was from the Mystic.

Before the final mission, the Mystic had written individualized letters for each party member. The player who controlled the Mystic actually wrote these letters, and started reading them outloud to each player. I sat back and let him have the reins for this part.

Each party member received exactly enough money in each envelope for a beer at the local tavern the party would always start each arc in, as was the tradition. Each player at this point actually started to cry while the Mystic player read each REAL letter.

The Barbarian character, however, received enough money for two beers. In the letter, the Mystic stated "Now you don't have an excuse to not buy me a beer the next time we go to the tavern."

We actually had to halt the campaign here for a minute while the Barbarian player bawled like a child.

When I first started DMing all those years ago, I never expected to have a campaign go on for this long. I also never expected to have players that cared this genuinely and passionately about their characters, so much so that they would start to cry when one of them died. Sure, you could argue that D&D is just a game that people play to pass the time, but I no longer feel that way. D&D has given me and my friends memories I don't think I'll soon forget. It's something that brings us together and lets us experience another world with true friends we wouldn't otherwise be able to experience.

I love Dungeons and Dragons