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D&D 5E Most Humiliating Way To Go

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I was thinking something like dropping below 0hp by a large margin, but not wanting to believe it, ask for dice recounts, claiming the game is rigged, gluing yourself to the chair and call it a tremendous victory.
In a game I played in, to one character his own death was a tremendous victory!

He (not one of mine) and another PC (also not one of mine) had a very serious bet going as to which would outlive the other, and out of [courtesy? foolishness? the influence of several beer?] each had bet on the other to last longer.

So one of them dies, and if memory serves either fails his raise roll or for some reason can't be raised. This other guy immediately sits down and starts praying to any major demon he can find, offering up his own soul in exchange for bringing the dead guy back to life - all because he didn't want to lose this bet.

A demon accepted. Goodbye Kaali, dead forever. Wakey-wakey Baranfindel, winner of life but loser of bet. :)
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Another humiliating way to go is to somehow manage to get killed twice, at different times, by the same opponent*.

Over the years I've seen this happen to maybe four different characters. One of them was mine: a mid-level Cleric who died against a massive great Red Dragon when, flying, I was somehow forced to land and then the damn thing - all 15 tons of it - crash-landed on me when we shot it down.

Thinking the Dragon's dead, we scoop its loot and go about our careers (my Cleric was revived) until a few adventures later some old guy in a dungeon complex invites us to dinner and once we sit down polymorphs into this same bloody Dragon! It opens with a breath weapon for a crazy amount of damage. Failed save. I died where I sat.

Another was one I DMed. Party meets a Beholder. Its death ray hits a Dwarf PC who, needing only a natural 3 to save, rolled a 2. Party book it out of there, use a scroll on the Dwarf to revive him, and sack out. Next day, knowing better what they're up against, they buff up and go back in. Sure enough they meet the same Beholder, and by sheer bad luck (i.e. I was random-rolling a) which eye-stalks it could bring to bear and b) which of those then went for which character) the death ray hits the Dwarf again. This time he only needs a natural 2 to save...and out comes the 1.

* - or ally: one poor unlucky schlub in our parties in days of old got killed twice, months if not years apart, by mis-aimed lightning bolts from the same caster. (I played neither the caster nor the victim here)
 

pming

Hero
Hiya!

I was DM'ing "Quest for the Heartstone" (or, as we called it, "The Dozen-Adventure"...seemed like everything came in dozens...). Anyway, one of my players (the other guy who DM'ed almost as much as me) had a female elf. He was trying to get her our of very hot and sticky situation; fell into a pit of tar that was then lit on fire. Long story short, she and all her gear was on fire. She barely managed to shed her backpack, cloak, armor, and had climbed out with just her boots left. She had one round to take them off, which she did, but took 1 point of damage in that time. She only had 1hp left. She died.

The player was not impressed...everyone laughed, but felt I was "too hard" on her. Didn't stop them from laughing their butts off and bringing up "Make sure your boots aren't on fire!" anytime some form of fire-damage was encountered by the group....in any game...for years afterwards.

Her character sheet had "Killed by flaming boots" written on the top. It's there to this day....

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Voadam

Legend
We were playing 4e in mid paragon levels (teens) and had just had a game where the rogue missed three saves in a row against a beholder's petrification ray leaving my ranger multiclass-paragon path wizard and the fighter to whittle down the solo monster over dozens of rounds of just rolling. Everybody but me was sick of 4e, the fighter felt he was too effective and that the combats became bogged down with him just doing the same sequence every time, monsters felt too reskinably similar mechanically, and the combats continuously took too long for most everybody but me's taste.

So we switched to pathfinder 1e to continue the campaign and my character became a ranger/wizard/eldritch knight. In the conversion I spent the resources to know and scribe a scroll of stone to flesh so that if a similar situation came up we could get the stoned person back into the game quicker.

In the first Pathfinder game we deal with a hostile cloud giant who has a shiny Little-Engine-That-Could apparatus of Kawilsh complete with happy face on the front and steam whistle like its a child's ride at an amusement park. We also know he has an ally copper dragon that works with him. I talk down the giant explaining how what he has heard of us is lies from agents of a demon lord we are opposing, how I am a demon hunter, and how we are not his enemies.

I feel good about actually convincing him enough to avoid a fight when it hits me, I stop and say, "Oh! That's not an Apparatus . . ." The DM gives a smile, says it spreads its mechanical cow catcher prongs and lets out a "Chu-Chu" whistle sigh as the happy face gives a nasty grin. "Roll initiative." he says. The retriever beats me on initiative, shoots a petrification ray at me from one of its shiny happy gem decorations, and I miss my save.

I sit out the whole fight petrified and the group plus the giant and his invisibly hidden copper dragon ally eventually defeat the now revealed advanced abyssal construct.

First round, first fight, one low die roll on my strong fortitude save and I was taken out before being able to take any actions, a scenario that specifically could not happen in 4e where petrifcation is a multistep progressive process.

At the end the party says "Didn't Voadam scribe a scroll of stone to flesh? Yeah, he did!" The rogue says he can use his maxxed out use magic device skill to activate it. "Who is carrying the scroll?" Then they turned to my statue, their eyes going to the petrified scroll pouch. "Huh."
 

I was DM, 5E, first level of Undermountain. Party was second level. Found an armoire in an otherwise empty room. Everyone was afraid to approach fearing it was trapped. The wizard got impatient and walked up and opened it. It was a mimic. It got a surprise attack, rolled a crit and max damage. Instant death. Everyone else was like, 'yep, that's the Undermountain!'
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Has anybody read Grimtooth's Traps? Some of those over-the-top contraptions would qualify. For instance, the giant-size crossbow that shoots telephone poles down a (long narrow) hallway.

10' deep pit trap full of Cool Whip. You sink to the bottom but you cannot eat all the whipped cream before you suffocate. Killed by a dessert.

Almost death: first time playing 4e, my ranged Dual-Stat Star'lock* is surrounded by fey polecats. Try Eldritch Blast on one (which bloodied it) and triggers AoO from all of them. Now at 1 HP and surrounded ... Fortunately the group came to my aid. The character ever afterward wore a cloak of black fur with a white stripe down the back as a trophy and a reminder to not do tactically-stupid stuff.

*later determined to be the most poorly-designed subclass in the game
 

R_J_K75

Hero
I wouldn't use those rules for a normal D&D game.
Yeah neither would I these days. When the book came out we gave it a try, it was fun for awhile but the shine wore off quickly. Although if a series of circumstances played out in a combat that were such low odds that unfortunately came to pass then I might consider using the crit table. That would be once in a blue moon, unless we were actually playing on a night of a blue moon then Id use it for every hit.
 

R_J_K75

Hero
Has anybody read Grimtooth's Traps? Some of those over-the-top contraptions would qualify. For instance, the giant-size crossbow that shoots telephone poles down a (long narrow) hallway.
Yes I have there are some really cool traps. I've used them from time to time but at the moment I cant recall which ones. I pull them out when I run a trap heavy dungeon. Those books are edition neutral imo and a worthy addition to any gaming bookshelf. I maybe wrong but I think there is a 5E update.

EDIT: For anyone interested.

 
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Tom Bagwell

Explorer
As a player. AD&D (1e). My mage character was taken to zero hit points by a giant ant. The group won the fight and proceeded on their way. That night they asked what watch my character was taking. I just looked at the DM, who said, "He's, um, not there." They finally figured out what had happened. One said, "Well, we couldn't have done anything anyway." To which the DM replied, "Well, he wasn't dead when you left. But yeah....he's pretty dead now."

As a GM. Rolemaster. Player running a mage had a ferret familiar. The group was getting pasted by a high-level evil cleric. The ferret attacked. Small animal crit. Rolled 00. Instant kill. It was wonderful.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
My most recent less than stellar or fun death was in CoS. 1st level. Exploring the haunted house in the very beginning.

What's that? We just woke a shambling mound right next to me? And it did a total of 25 points? And I only had 10? Welp, that adventure didn't last long.
 

G

Guest User

Guest
As a DM. Tomb of horror. A certain devil face with an open mouth. A whole group down because they thought it was a teleport..
As kids playing Tomb of Horrors in AD&D, the DM hadn't gone past describing a green devil face with a floating orb of darkness in it's mouth, when one of my impulsive friends interrupts and exclaims: "I stick my head in it's mouth".

When the DM told us what happened, we laughed so hard, someone snorted soda out their nose.

Fast forward, many, many years later, and I am running a one shot 3e conversion of ToH. A PC gets Dominated/Geased and instructed to kill their partymates.

The Dominated PC, contrives a circumstance to get the Tiny Sized Evolved Quickling Faen Unfettered alone...(imagine a Fighter/Rogue Pixie)..whom happened to be played by my same impulsive friend.. Dominate PC, grappled and threw the Pixie into the sphere.

The Dominated PC told the group the Pixie "had just jumped in", and everyone believed it...because, it was believable.
We laughed so hard, somebody snorted whisky out their nose.
(plus ca change)

That dominated PC killed two more PCs before being slain themself.
It was a Killer DM cakewalk session of ToH...the group killed each other.
I hardly needed the traps.🥺
 

Schmoe

Adventurer
A glass bridge over a 600' chasm, in a windstorm, in the rain. The paladin in heavy armor decided to leave the party behind and venture across, alone. There was plenty of warning about how slippery the bridge was, and the paladin was moving very slowly to try not to fall. An air mephit approaches and attacks. Balance check to avoid falling - nope. Reflex save to catch yourself against the wind - nope. There goes the paladin, blown off the bridge!

It was a long way down.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
As a player. AD&D (1e). My mage character was taken to zero hit points by a giant ant. The group won the fight and proceeded on their way. That night they asked what watch my character was taking. I just looked at the DM, who said, "He's, um, not there." They finally figured out what had happened. One said, "Well, we couldn't have done anything anyway." To which the DM replied, "Well, he wasn't dead when you left. But yeah....he's pretty dead now."
That reminds me of another PC death, back from AD&D 2nd. Important for those not familiar (I'm sure you are) that you died at -10 HPs, there were no death saves like 5e. You bled 1 HP every round until your wounds were tended. (And also no healing from zero.)

Huge set piece battle at the end of a whole campaign arc, with multiple areas in a temple(?) that the fight was happening. Our wizard falls early in the battle to area of effect damage. We're getting pounded like crazy, mostly by some sort of fire creatures, when I remember our wizard had a Ring of Fire Resistance (we did party treasure, so we all knew who had what). I moved back into the room he was in which was hard to see in, find the body and grab the ring and put it on.

We continue the battle, and manage to finally win though several people were down. At which point I get informed that our wizard had only been at -8 HPs and if I had bound his wounds he would have lived. I had thought he was in deep negatives (well past -10) from the initial attack, I never asked to check out the body.

It was a DMPC and the DM didn't mention anything (like he would have for other PCs, or at least given a secret roll to notice) because he stayed away from any appearance that could look like favoritism towards his DMPC. But still, felt really bad.
 

Swedish Chef

Explorer
Just remembered another one. 2ed again. Random encounter in the outdoors at the campsite. One party member, fearful of attacks from above, had chosen to sleep under one of the wagons.

Didn't help him much that Ankhegs were the random encounter that night. :ROFLMAO:
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Just remembered another one. 2ed again. Random encounter in the outdoors at the campsite. One party member, fearful of attacks from above, had chosen to sleep under one of the wagons.

Didn't help him much that Ankhegs were the random encounter that night. :ROFLMAO:
This one reminds me of another classic death in our crew.

There had been a major argument within the party while making camp for the night, to the point that one PC insisted on sleeping on his own a few hundred feet away from the main camp.

And wouldn't you know it, by sheer chance that night's random encounter came from the same direction this guy was camped in.

Eight Shadows got to that PC. Nine Shadows got to the rest of the party...
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
My first AD&D character was a ranger with great stats (IIRC, he had CHA 10 and everything else was 14 or higher, with a 18/9x STR).

We were playing C3 The Lost Island of Castanamir, I got separated from the party and I met a "cleaning golem". For some reason - that I don't recall - I decided to pick it up; the DM told me that it tried to free itself and I said that I would let it go. The DM ruled that I dropped it and the golem would consider it an attack. So I found myself in single combat against a 12 HD creature with a disintegrating ray.

You can guess the rest... :LOL:
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Every elf PC I've ever had has died by 3rd level. Frequently at level 1 in their first game. I should note - this is only elf PCs, I can't remember the last time a non-elf PC of mine permanently died. I don't remember every death, but I've tried elf PC at least once per version. So starting with 3.5...

In 3.5 my half-elf ranger was off to the side doing the archery thing when he was jumped by an orc who got lucky. I thought the DM was going to cry because he'd never killed a PC before, he even offered to have an NPC druid cast reincarnate (this was in a public game and not technically approved). I just laughed and explained it was a curse.

In 4E I tried a vengeance-style elf paladin (don't remember the actual sub-class name). First game, got dropped to zero. I told my wife to not have her PC stabilize me because I'd be okay for a couple of rounds. Rolled a natural 1, 2 failed death saves. No problem, then nobody could get to me. Next round, another natural 1, dead.

In 5E, wrote up an elf monk. First session, last fight, the DM crit my PC. In an effort to not kill my character outright (he had been wounded) the DM rolled base and crit damage and maxed it both dice. Character died from massive damage. If he had used average damage (like he had been for the rest of the game) I would have survived even with the max crit.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
My first AD&D character was a ranger with great stats (IIRC, he had CHA 10 and everything else was 14 or higher, with a 18/9x STR).

We were playing C3 The Lost Island of Castanamir, I got separated from the party and I met a "cleaning golem". For some reason - that I don't recall - I decided to pick it up; the DM told me that it tried to free itself and I said that I would let it go. The DM ruled that I dropped it and the golem would consider it an attack. So I found myself in single combat against a 12 HD creature with a disintegrating ray.

You can guess the rest... :LOL:
That cleaning golem is bad news - if it happens to be in the room during a combat and someone goes down unconscious that golem's gonna clean up the garbage...
 

Andras

Explorer
Oh man, I just remembered this one. 2e, another player has a cleric, we find a Pit fiend or Balor (which ever one had the vorpal ax) held in a Magic Circle. Cleric tried to banish the BBEG. Failed, broke containment, and got his head lopped off by the vorpal axe on a 20.

My longest running 2e character died to a disintegration spell. Could have saved on a 2+ and rolled the 1. Nothing but a rain of magic items hitting the ground as he was flying at the time.
 

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