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General Drama In Your Dungeons?

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
My wife watches tik tok videos, and a lot of it is D&D related. Some of the tropes used in these videos are very dramatic, and it makes me wonder about the games of folks around here!

For me, our games can be silly at times, because we are silly people, but the pathos is very real. What about you? Has your party rogue ever sealed themselves in with the BBEG when they realized they were leading the party into a TPK trap, sacrificing themselves so that their party could live to fight another day? Has the Paladin ever learned that their Paramour was working with the BBEG, and had to grapple with the conflict between love and The Quest in a way they never thought they would? Anyone ever had a character be the love, child, parent, sibling, or childhood best friend of the BBEG?

Hell, anyone has inter-party romance in their games?

I ask in the D&D forum Because other games are built for this sort of stuff, so I’m more interested in our games of D&D , which isn’t.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Inter-party romance is a staple of our games here - sometimes along with the attendant jealousies, crushes, rejections, rivalries, lovers' spats, etc.; and other times along with the attendant marriages, pregnancies, childbirths, and so forth.

We haven't really had the Spock moment often, where a PC nobly sacrifices itself to save the group - in 40 years I can think of it happening maybe once or twice - but I can think of several instances where a PC sacrificed itself to save another specific PC. Far more often we've had the reverse, where a party saves itself from deadly danger by hanging some poor schlub character out to dry - devil take the hindmost, and all that.

Drama arises now and then from unexpected reunions between (or reappearances of) PCs, occasional pranks both small-scale and large (and resulting fallout), intra-party conflict or cross-purposes, and ongoing differences of opinion regarding some in-fiction elements*.

* - these days this is most often Goodly Cleric PCs arguing with Necromancer PCs about undead and whether they should exist or not.
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
I remember, one time, a player had followed the BBEG's lieutenant into their lair alone, because they had this personal vendetta (the player knew he was going to die and made a new character beforehand). Well another, different player wanted to follow and save the first player. The second player also had a backup character sheet. Neither of them knew that the other was planning to die, but it was a dramatic scene when only they were in the lair, facing the lieutenant's wrath and being disintegrated. The rest of the party caught up, but when they got together, the lieutenant was gone and only the ashen remains of the party members and their equipment was left.
 


Larnievc

Explorer
My wife watches tik tok videos, and a lot of it is D&D related. Some of the tropes used in these videos are very dramatic, and it makes me wonder about the games of folks around here!

For me, our games can be silly at times, because we are silly people, but the pathos is very real. What about you? Has your party rogue ever sealed themselves in with the BBEG when they realized they were leading the party into a TPK trap, sacrificing themselves so that their party could live to fight another day? Has the Paladin ever learned that their Paramour was working with the BBEG, and had to grapple with the conflict between love and The Quest in a way they never thought they would? Anyone ever had a character be the love, child, parent, sibling, or childhood best friend of the BBEG?

Hell, anyone has inter-party romance in their games?

I ask in the D&D forum Because other games are built for this sort of stuff, so I’m more interested in our games of D&D , which isn’t.
The game I play in is very much like an episode of Rick and Morty or early Disc World stories.
 



aco175

Hero
One player wanted to have a PC that kept seeing visions of when he would die. The player explained the scene and I provided the opportunity late in the campaign where he could save the party and the town from the BBEG. The player was satisfied, but had to play one of the NPCs for the last few sessions.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
One player wanted to have a PC that kept seeing visions of when he would die. The player explained the scene and I provided the opportunity late in the campaign where he could save the party and the town from the BBEG. The player was satisfied, but had to play one of the NPCs for the last few sessions.
Nice.

I've thought of playing such a character for a long time, but I think I'm the only DM in my group who would be down to be the DM for that.
 

Okay. I am the kind of DM that overthinks everything. My campaigns are normally long, complicated, and involve multiple player deaths and revivals. Here are some of the things that have happened that would probably count as dramatic:
  • One player was banished to Carceri. The party cast Gate to go get them about a day later. In that time, the player (dwarf artificer) was just about to be sacrificed by a demon lord (Kostchtchie), and the party had to kill him. They did so, fairly easily, in a large battle between the party of an Elf Wizard, Human Paladin, and Halfling Rogue. They then claimed Matalatok (the demon lord's weapon), and had to make a deal with Zariel to escape, giving up Matalatok. (Setting the stage for Descent into Avernus later on.)
  • Waterdeep's near destruction by the animation of Undermountain, while a mechanical giant version of Halaster Blackcloak ravaged the city, fighting against the Stone Statues of Waterdeep. The players literally had to destroy Undermountain, kill the Knot in the Weave, and help save the city just after killing Halaster Blackcloak.
  • Halfling Rogue (from above) becoming a crime lord, now the leader of the Zhentarim.
  • Shadar-Kai Kensei Monk being kidnapped by an Alhoon, having his brain replaced by an Intellect Devourer. The party's wizard was his niece, and so they had to track down the Monk, kill him, and raise him from the dead, while trying to kill the Alhoon's allies (which they did not succeed at doing).
  • Dwarf Artificer being turned to stone by an evil wizard, replaced by a Simulacrum of himself controlled by the wizard.
  • Vampire fight in a falling apart boat in the ocean, the party nearly killing the vampire, who then killed the party's fighter, turned into a bat, and dragged the fighter away on a piece of driftwood, as the party watched helplessly. They later had to track down the vampire, kill him, and return the fighter to life after slaying a vampire spawn version of him.
I could list more, but this is getting too long of a post. Long story short, I'm an evil DM who loves to challenge his players.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Does making my wife cry while reading a letter she found out that the aunt she idolized who left the letter for her was really her mother and her father was the BBEG? Basically, her back story was that she didn't get along with her parents, never felt that, unlike her sister she could be the daughter her parents wanted. She idolized her aunt who was a retired soldier missing a hand. I dropped little hint here and there for the story along the course of the campaign and at the very end the truth was revealed. The "aunt" had hooked up with the BBEG while he was still good on the eve of battle where they were probably going to die. He turned to the dark side out of desperation (auntie had too but realized her mistake and paid penance for the rest of her life). Not wanting the BBEG knowing he had a daughter, her sister raised her as her own. Lot's of fun.

Then there was the time (in my 4E campaign) a player wanted to play a deva. Dropped hints about other long lived NPCs recognizing him from previous "lives". Ultimately it was revealed that he was the god Hod. In Norse mythology HOD was tricked into throwing the spear that killed Baldur, ultimately leading to Ragnarok. Odin thought killing him was too easy and instead cursed him to a life of a mortal to die over and over again, Frigga thought this was cruel so blessed him with amnesia every time he was reborn.

On the PC side? PC's have gotten married and had kids. A paladin sacrificed himself to take out a vampire lord (and gloriously screwing up a planned story arc). In my current campaign they've started businesses, disowned by family because they refused to settle down, found out that a father they thought long dead was still alive and so on.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
In my own games, we have had a lot of drama in various forms.

My wife's Gnome Artificier, Nemain, dealing with the awakening of her warforged companion, learning that he was made by a tinker before the fall of Lantan, and was saved by Gond and Nebelun so that he could protect Nemain and her companions. ALso, my Halfling Rogue Finnan in that campaign has died a few times, and gone from being a warlock to a mundane rogue in the process. He and Nemain are in love, though he has trouble dealing with having that strong a feeling for someone, thinking as he does of himself as a dead man.

In that same campaign, the Dragonborn Fighter/Bard Torkan has learned that he is heir to an ancient and secret lineage of scholars, assassins, and spies, that goes back to the death of Io, when the dragonborn, dragons, kobolds, and many dragon gods, came into being.

He also had the most dramatic duel I've ever seen recently.
They started by taunting eachother, as is tradition.
He and the enemy captain were both down to a single hit worth of damage, and they were faced off for a final charge against eachother. Opposed attack rolls, the enemy captain rolled a 16, Torkan rolled a 17. We got out of our seats, and acted out the final act of their duel. It was epic. The captain's son and lieutenant gave Torkan his father's blade, and called for his men to stand down.

I can't get into all the other campaigns, just in terms of time, but...yeah. lots of drama
 

ccs

40th lv DM
Has your party rogue ever sealed themselves in with the BBEG when they realized they were leading the party into a TPK trap, sacrificing themselves so that their party could live to fight another day? Has the Paladin ever learned that their Paramour was working with the BBEG, and had to grapple with the conflict between love and The Quest in a way they never thought they would? Anyone ever had a character be the love, child, parent, sibling, or childhood best friend of the BBEG?
Hell, anyone has inter-party romance in their games?
Yes. But not as a rogue or a paladin.
Warning, long winded tale ahead.

Along time ago (about 1988 - on through early 90's) in 1e I played a human ranger.
Over the course of many adventures the party ran into an mostly neutral/evil & often hostile rival adventuring party on numerous occasions. They were a comparable match for us. This rival groups origin? Just a throw away random encounter rolled up on the charts in the DMG & then randomly generating the NPCs. Took considerable time during that session....
So, not wanting to waste all that effort, or cause a TPK on the players side, whenever the groups would meet if it turned violent neither players nor DM went full out trying to kill off the other side. Casualties & even limited fatalities yes, but no TPK either way. Though over time the rivals turned out to have a core group with several revolving Red Shirts.
Eventually each of the core rivals were nearly as detailed character wise as any of the PCs. And occasionally we'd run into members of their core outside the dungeons. (the DM rolled randomly - Go to Dungeon? Roll to see if they show up. Go to town? Roll. Traveling between places/stop at inn? Roll.) So RP without the swords/spells began. This eventually led to my Ranger & the rival Wood Elf Thief having an on/off affair - known by the players, unknown by our respective teams. The Human Ranger: LG. The W.Elf Thief: NE
In a dungeon, if we met while "working"? Violence. But outside "work"..... hmmm, not so much.
Then there was a looong stretch when we were around 7th - 10th lv (wich in 1e = considerable play time!) where the rivals weren't seen at all (the dice were rolled right there at the table). And in that time my ranger married a local noble woman.
Shortly after that the Wood Elf turned up at my door with a 1/2 infant she claimed was mine & a tale of an actual BBEG who was planning an usually dire Realms shaking event. The rival party - though themselves evil - needed our help to stop this. So the 1/2elf infant was left in the care of my characters new wife & 9 characters all in the 9-11 lv range set off to save the day. This was the only time the DM didn't roll concerning the rivals showing up btw.
In the end? We blew up a volcano on us all. And by "we" I mean our own PC cleric blew it up. Wich was not the outcome the DM had forseen.... He'd simply crafted a good high lv, challenging dungeon/adventure vs a lich, but he wasn't aiming for a TPK.
And neither was the Clerics player. When he set the destruction in motion he thought that surely the DM had anticipated such a possibility & probably had some idea for an escape.
Response to that thought was along the lines of "Um, no......"

Thus PCs, NPC rivals, BBEG & hoard, and the BBEGs master plan - all tragically killed under a mountains worth of lava & tons of rock.
Realms saved.

Flash forward to Jan. of 2015.
The group I was playing with at the time decides to run 5e. Hoard of the Dragon Queen to be exact.
I roll up a 1/2elf Ranger with the Noble background.
He's the adopted son of a northern Noble family who's adventurer parents were killed saving the Realm when he was a baby.
He's been traveling down south trying to reconnect with his wood elf mother clan & is making his way home, back up the Sword Coast when he comes across the small town of Greenest being attacked by a blue dragon & cultists....
Being the son of renown heroes he can't not get involved. :)
We play about 1/2(?) this book before we decide that this AP just sucks & start a different homebrew campaign. Within a year this group breaks up.

Flash forward to the fall of 2017.
Another group I'm in decides to play SKT. I roll up a Dwarf fighter (intending on BM).
- Unfortunately he dies defending the cloud giant tower from giant buzzard riders.:(
+ But I just happen to have a certain Nobel 1/2elf ranger's sheet still in the folder who's only one lv higher!
Thus the party meets him in Goldenfield. After having played his small part in thwarting Tiamat his northern trek has led him here. Along the way he's heard talk of increasingly hostile encounters with giants.
He's gotten here just in time to help defend it against an goblin/ogre/Hill Giant attack.
From there we play through the rest of SKT.

And in a humorous twist?
While saving the North from giants & dragons he found time to have an affair with a FM High Elf Cleric - a fellow adventurer played by one of the gals in the group. Who, at that time, had no idea about his fathers affair with an elf 25 RL years ago.....
So at the end of SKT they were heading home to introduce her to his adoptive parents.
No idea if there's a child involved - yet.
 

Personally, I like setting up situations that invite drama. Here are a couple of situations from my random encounter tables:
  • 3 nymphs bath nude with their 2 male companions in a spring at the edge of the river. The two men were knights, Sirs Roger Stone and Marvin the Strong, who wandered into the forest searching for the Fountain of Youth. Any man who looks at the nymphs will fall under their charm. Those with 15 or more Charisma will be kept to frolic with the nymphs. Those who fail to meet the nymph’s standards will be instructed to puck out their eyes, much to the nymphs’ delight.
  • 3 leprechauns pop in and out of sight, laughing hysterically. They can turn invisible, polymorph objects, and create illusions by snapping their fingers. The leprechauns enjoy playing tricks on travelers, creating illusions of monsters and treasure and polymorphing their equipment into useless, but comical trinkets. If caught, they will beg for forgiveness and promise to show their captors the way to their hidden treasure, a stash of 300 gp hidden in a hollowed out tree trunk not far away.
 

All kinds of stuff happens in a lot of our campaigns. In our current campanign, the fallen assimar paladin ran across her ex-lover who was involved in her parent's murder (and the theft a powerful magic item they were guarding). Rather than kill him outright, or beat him for information, she's let him tag along with the party. They all hate him, knowing he's up to something, but they've not yet taken any action against him (besides attempting to irritate him) until she gives permission. I don't know why she hasn't done anything yet, and I suspect the player has her character still love him, which would be cool, because he's very much in love with her (despite his earlier betrayal).
 

Draegn

Explorer
I have player characters romance each other and/or npcs. Sometimes with "constructs". Currently a dwarf cleric/wizard has created a flesh golem with selected parts from beauty pageant winners to be his love.
 

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