All Things DnD's Story Dungeon

D&D Story: How Dare You Fight The Boss I Railroaded You To!

February 18, 2021 All Things DnD
All Things DnD's Story Dungeon
D&D Story: How Dare You Fight The Boss I Railroaded You To!
Show Notes Transcript

What was the point of even running the game?

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So, let’s start with some context. This was a homebrewed campaign. Our DM for this campaign created an entire world that was very rich and full of lore. The reason for this is that she was writing a book set in this universe. I thought wow, that’s really cool. Making your own world is hard, I’m excited to play!
Our cast of characters for this campaign:
Tiefling Artificer, played by me. A shifter Wizard and a Cat Girl Paladin (this was a homebrew race specific to the campaign).
Ah to be young--this happened a few months ago, dumb--still true and naïve--also probably still true.
The world consisted of a few different nations that had typical dungeons and dragons  races as well as some homebrewed ones. For now, we’ll discuss two races: the Anime Animal people and the Technology Aliens (which both had real names but this is more fun). The Anime Animal people were basically cat girls, bunny girls, cow girls (yeehaw), etc. Our Paladin was a member of this race. The Technology Aliens were descendants of aliens who couldn’t do magic but instead made really awesome tech that did magic-similar effects.
That last point is important, as it’s the basis of my character. My Tiefling Artificer was neglected for most of her life. She found a book about the Technology Aliens and started making inventions like theirs (hence she became an Artificer). Now, I’m going to emphasize that she didn’t do magic, she built machines. I discussed this with the DM prior to our session 0 to be sure we were on the same page. The DM agreed. All of my Artificer’s “spells” were actually just gadgets she uses to achieve the same effect. Like throwing a grenade instead of casting fireball or something. But again, SHE DOESN’T DO MAGIC (also just a quick note: I don’t know if this is how everyone runs artificers, but this is what we agreed on for the campaign, as it fits with the lore of the world. There were already characters that could not use magic and instead made tech to imitate magic).
So Session zero went great, I had a blast. My Artificer was basically young, impulsive, could be rather selfish, but just wanted to make friends with everyone). Also she swore a lot and flipped everyone off which was just a fun time for me. And, whenever I cast a spell I would explain how I imagined the tech would work. The DM was all for it. We end Session 0 with everyone in the same big city.
Then we get to Session 1. Typically we had our sessions the same day and time every week, but the day of Session 1. I had a family thing and asked if we could delay an hour. The other two players agreed but the DM vetoed that decision and just said I could arrive late. Alright, no big deal. I told them to just have my character chill at the base or something until I joined.
I sign on, about an hour late as expected, and everything is chaotic. My party is running all over the city while the DM is posting an ominous countdown in the chat. They try to catch me up to speed while still being productive (because the countdown didn’t pause to let me get context for what the hell was happening, that would be too easy).
Basically here’s what happened: Wizard and Paladin met up and Paladin informed Wizard that there was a prince in the city who was trying to assassinate his mother (the queen) who was ALSO visiting the city. Paladin knew the prince had some sort of plan, but wasn’t sure what. So they investigated and found out the prince was building a giant mech to destroy the city? 
I think? 
Anyway they warned the queen and that’s when the doomsday counter started. No explanation for why, just a doomsday counter. The two were trying to find the location of the mech when I joined.
Now you must be wondering: but Buddy, what about your character? Did she just chill at the base?
Apparently the DM had my character go on her own adventure. With neither of the party members, just by herself. And on that adventure she fought some cultists and met a “a cow girl ” who fell in love with my character on sight. Uh, okay?
Just a fun little side note here, but after this event, almost every NPC knew that the cow girl liked my character and not-so-subtly implied that if my character refused to date her, my character would probably be killed! Because this girl was the daughter of an assassin mafia or something. Did my other two party members get a forced romance? Of course not, I’m special.
And if you asked yourself “Hey Buddy, didn’t your last campaign have an attempted forced romance with the same player?” Yes it did. Probably just a coincidence.
ANYWAY. We finally find the location of the mech robot and try to sneak into the warehouse. We’re mostly successful. 
Fight a few baddies, things are going well, still got like 5 hours on the doomsday clock. But then we hear the sound of something powering up and there’s a giant boom of energy.
Everyone made a Wisdom save!
I fail. Artificer had comically low Wisdom. The Wizard fails but the Paladin succeeds. The DM gleefully informs Wizard and I that we lost all of our spell slots. Confused, I interject.
“So wait, you mean magic spell slots? Because I don’t cast spells, I use tools.”
“You lost your spell slots, you can’t use any magic.” The DM replied.
“Okay right. But I’m saying I don’t use magic? I use tools. So if it’s an anti-magic thing, then I should still be okay?”
“No you failed the save so you lose your spell slots.” The DM reiterated.
At this point I don’t want to keep arguing because we are getting nowhere so I just agree. Sure! My tech got scared by the big boom and doesn’t want to work anymore. Yes I understand traditionally that artificers use magic but based on the world, lore, and what the DM and I had originally agreed it would have been fine if the DM had clarified that I used magic cores or something OR that the magic-wipe was also some sort of EMP. But...whatever.
The giant mech thing bursts from the basement and is being piloted by the prince!! Oh snap. What drama, what danger, what--
Hey wait. Aren’t we just level one?
It quickly dawns on all of the players that we are WOEFULLY under leveled to handle this sort of encounter. But we don’t really have options - the warehouse is located outside of the city, all of our allies are IN the city and are far enough away that we couldn’t reach them in time, we have no means to contact anyone, and this giant mech thing wants to destroy the city anyway. Guess we are going out in the blaze of glory. Oh and the doomsday clock? Still counting down.
The Wizard is slinging cantrips but the mech keeps absorbing magic--great. Our Paladin is working to cut off its gun arm. It had one grabby arm and one gun arm, while my Artificer was trying to smash her way into the cockpit with a hammer. The Paladin manages to break off the arm and we all cheer, hoorah!
“As the arm falls, you see the gun turn to train on you and begin to power up.” The DM said.
“Wait, how does it still have power? I detached it.” The paladin contested.
“No, you detached the other arm.”
The entire party was equally confused by this.
Despite the Paladin specifically saying she was hacking away at the gun arm. you know, the biggest threat, the DM thought she was hacking away at the other arm. When we explained that we ALL thought she was focusing on the gun arm, the DM just told us nope.
So I’m trying to smash my way into the cockpit, which has a glass windshield with my hammer but I’m barely making any progress. Even when I roll a crit, the thing hardly cracks. Oh and I’m rolling strength checks, not attack rolls. My spaghetti-armed tiefling child shockingly doesn’t have high strength.
Eventually the mech does another big blast and catapults all of us into the water surrounding the city. The mech charges up to shoot a laser at the city, we try to intervene but the DM says we are all stunned--without rolling to save. The mech shoots the laser, we’re all thinking well it's over, UNTIL.
A giant forcefield covers the city, ABSORBS the laser, and shoots it back at the mech. The mech is destroyed, the city is safe!
So the session ends, and I realize that we were entirely unnecessary for this whole scenario. The mech was planning on shooting a laser at the city this whole time, and the city always had this defense. We could have done nothing and everything would be fine. Aren’t we supposed to be heroes or something?
The DM informs us that the countdown was for the Technology Aliens. Apparently they were planning on just destroying the whole neighborhood the mech was in to neutralize the threat. The DM also spent several minutes berating us for fighting the mech.
“You weren’t supposed to fight it! I wasn’t prepared for you guys to fight it. Why would you do that? You should have run away!”
“But you said it was going to destroy the city?” The wizard asked.

“Yeah and you told me my character's mission was to stop the Prince.” The paladin pointed out.
“Yes but it wasn’t supposed to happen yet!!!”
“But wait, didn’t you just tell us the Technology Aliens would have destroyed the neighborhood if we did nothing? A ton of people would have still died.” I said.
“They wouldn’t have done that if you hadn’t warned the queen about the assassination attempt.” The DM said visibly annoyed.
I’m confused, Wizard is confused, Paladin is the most confused because the DM primed her with this mission. So we were supposed to run away from danger, not tell the queen that her son wants to off her, and do what, spend the session window shopping? I thought it was odd, especially since most players WANT to play heroes. But little did I know this was an omen for things to come.