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"The Lion, The Witch & the AUDACITY OF This B****"
Hi everyone. All Things DnD is back with another story. I wonder if the train industry is lacking in the conductor department. Because I have the perfect candidate for them. I don’t think any DM has railroaded quite as hard as this one. But there is a happy note, these players didn’t take it lying down. Tell us about your DM railroad experiences after listening to this one:
In one of my first D&D 5E games I decided to play as a Wood Elf Beastmaster Ranger because it's one of my favorite elements of fantasy! If you have ever played a 5E elf you would know one of its major features is that elves simply do not sleep. They enter a "trance" for rest, and they are immune to effects and spells that put them to sleep. Remember that, it will be important later. The DM was a friend of a friend and the OG friend who introduced me wanted to have a backstory that linked the two of us together.
It would give me a reason to join the game in progress as well as someone to bounce RP off of more easily. She played an elf warlock/wizard "witch", and in the joke of a name I came up with the idea to be known as "Lion" as my beast of companionship was a lion (reskinned a wolf, DM was totally on board).
My friend and I started writing quite a bit about the two we called "The Lion, the Witch, and the Warlord" as her previously established backstory was her family killed by a power hungry warlord. Despite the joke name, we were VERY serious about the backstory and went to great lengths with the DM to make something really interesting! The first few sessions kick off, I am introduced and the game is great! "I love D&D I wanna play this forever" I thought... When after about the 3rd session I began to pick up on some red flags of the DM forcing some really heavy railroading.
Notably, we wanted to seek aid from the nearby town to solve a problem, but in saying "we want to set out" he stopped us, described this whole scenario where how the road was closed due to rock fall, and told us we instead *Decided* to go to the local thieves guild instead for help... an idea we all thought was dumb as hell. The other 3 players at the table argued with the DM about this, pointing out issues of him railroading them in situations I was never even present for so I sat and held my tongue. The DM was firm on his decision though, so everyone just pouted and went with it.
Begrudgingly, our party headed to the thieves guild. After a short talk with the thieves guild master, some clever convincing on our players part and all 3 persuasion rolls being higher than a 17 we were asked to follow him into a back room to get access to a gemstone we needed to break a curse (coulda just asked the neighbor town cleric for help but oh well). Feeling confident we convinced this leader, even being told we "passed the DCs" for convincing, we walked into the room when suddenly THE DOOR SHUTS BEHIND US (SLAM! spooky) and the room filled with purple gas. The DM describes that everything happens "so fast" we are unable to react and with no rolls or saving throws tells us "you all feel drowsy and collapse in sleep on the floor".
This is where my witch friend and I, the two elves of the party, speak up.
"Our abilities make us immune to sleep, we don't get knocked out" The Witch said.
"Yea, and before the doors open again I want to have Lionel guard one door while I place my bear trap at the other" I say.
Queue arguing with the DM that "sleeping gas" can't make two beings immune to (magic induced) sleep fall asleep. We simply don't (need to) sleep it's not something we can do so this has 0 effect on us. We are awake, conscious, and can make actions.
"FINE" the DM gives in, "You are awake, but Lionel was not allowed in to the thieves guild at the door all your weapons, spell book and spell focus/components were taken then too."
"Are you nuts? Why wouldn't you say that before we would never go into the thieves guild unarmed. We all thought we had our weapons" Chimed in the witch.
"I call Lionel from the other room. I want him to help us" I said.
"Well, you didn't ask if you take the weapons, and you hear from the other room a howl as the thieves guild slays your lion" Angrily stammers the DM. "Guards start to enter the room with you, all the rest of you are still asleep"
I should add that the ability for Fey Ancestry does come into effect here as the DM justified the "instantaneous knockout" as magic gas. The party was more upset by the fact they had no time to react, got no chances or rolls to resist or escape, and were forced to go into that room in the first place.
Queue another 15 minutes of people arguing that doing something like that was unfair. I don't really chime in, I actually feel terrible and sad that my lion was just killed. I know it's imaginary but I had really been happy to have a pet again, at least in my mind so I was honestly just depressed... The DM gives into the arguing, and says for my friend and says to roll for initiative, but we are still unarmed. I rolled low but she rolled high!
"I cast Dimension Door 40ft up onto the street" The witch triumphantly announces "and I will grab the ranger and go through."
"You can't cast spells without a spell focus" The idiot DM proudly stated.
"Dimension door is a vocal only spell, it doesn't need one." The Witch snapped back
"Well then you try to cast it but one of the guard's counter spells it at 4th level." The DM said smugly.
"That Ends your Turn"
Over the next 3 turns... the party lay asleep on the floor while the 3 players sit pissed at their desks. The DM proceeded to counter spell or block every attempt The Witch and I made to escape. We resort to just making dodge actions on our turn, back to back, hoping together that "OK he's railroading for a reason! If we just hold the line, whatever is going to happen will happen and it will be OK". But then... on round 4... a wall opens up to more guards with crossbows who, and I quote this one exactly.
"Riddle the two of you with bolts from all the crossbows at once. You lay bleeding out on the floor as your vision fades to black."
No attack rolls, no damage rolls, no death saving throws, not even initiative order to get the chance to do anything. When we fade to black we half expected to wake up with our captured party... but no. The DM says the two of us are dead and need to leave the discord call so the others can continue without us. The Witch, my good friend for a long time, can be heard sobbing on her mic. I am welling up too at the thought of my character being killed off like this and my pet dying without me. We are both messaging each other to see if the other is OK and are preparing to leave... when our saviors step up to the plate.
The three other members of the party, silent during the fight ERUPT INTO AN ARGUMENT of such terrifying magnitude I genuinely believe a UFC fight would be less terrifying to be in. One gets up from his mic, is silent for 10 minutes and then out of NO WHERE can be heard THROUGH THE DMS MIC arguing and insulting him as, it turns out, he drove 10 minutes to his now former friends house and was let inside by the DMs girlfriend who heard EVERYTHING from The Witch, her best friend.
While it was crazy to be a part of and my first campaign came to a fiery, violent end. There is a happy ending!
That is because this past weekend, on a beautiful island near their home, The Witch and the guy who screamed at the DM at his own house got engaged and I get to go to the wedding! The DMs girlfriend broke up with him not a few weeks later as it cascaded into arguing, and she actually ended up dating the other D&D member for a bit.
Me? I stay in touch with my friend The Witch and will always enjoy recounting with her the story of "The Lion, The Witch, and the AUDACITY OF DIS BITCH".
I can just see it now. Someone is so angry that they drive 10 minutes to yell at the DM for being such a raging tool. I’m glad there was a happy ending though! Congratulations to the couple!
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