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D&D 5E Tell us of a time when you/your party made an epic(ily stupid) decision, only to have it end up amazing.

WASDHammer

Villager
I'm pretty new to playing D&D, but just had my first "Critical Role-ish" level of epic gameplay. It was fun as hell, but for us, completely born out of a decision so utterly idiotic and bereft of common sense, that the outcome had no business being as amazing as it was. So that got me thinking of how many other stories are out there of people make colossally stupid in-game decisions, only to have it turn out incredibly well?

For us, my newly minted Conquest Paladin and fellow band of level 3 adventurers, fresh off of our triumphant battle against a horde of twig blights (to give some flavor of the caliber of threats were accustomed to experiencing), decided to take on a random quest in town. This one started out simple - to intimidate a rival competitor of the local town blacksmith, who the blacksmith accused of being a vampire even through the rest of the town widely knew this claim to be false.

So we ventured to competitor's home, decked out in a clear gothic motif, and after a couple of Eyes of the Grave & Divine Senses for good measure, confirmed that this rival was in fact, not a vampire. He only really liked gothic stylings. After returning to the blacksmith, who refused to pay us for our time, we dragged him to the rival's home to prove his folly once and for all. I and a single team mate were invited inside and led up to the rival's main chamber, a well lit room, with ample sunlight shining through the floor to ceiling windows. We confessed to the rival the reason for our visit, and after much exasperation, the rival shared his frustration with the continued abuse at the hands of the local blacksmith. As we chatted with the rival, the DM started dropping overt comments. Things like "yes he's very friendly, but he LOOKS like a vampire", and "I feel bad for him too, but did I mention that he REALLY looks like a vampire". As we were led out of the chamber, only after buying two swords from the rival, I randomly decided to turn and douse him with holy water as final proof point for the blacksmith...only to hear the sound of sizzling and burning skin.

As the room's illusion faded leaving us in a pitch black chamber (and me as a human with no darkvision), the DM just facepalmed and shook his head as we exclaimed "Wait, he really IS a VAMPIRE? Oh sh*t!".

At this point, my partner and I were left with two apparently equally impossible decisions...

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Of course, we chose..."we got this!". As my partner ran to find the other party members, I squared to take on the Vampire (CR 13, XP 10,000). Alone. In the dark. The party did arrive in time, but if the sheer stupidity of our (my) decision wasn't obvious enough out of the gate, it should have been made clear when on it's first bite of its first successful attack, it outright killed our Warlock (with our DM shaking his head the entire time). Of course, we responded in true Monty Python fashion ("T'is but a flesh wound!"). Yet over the course many rounds, something strange happened. With the help a few strategically placed smites, Protection Against Evil and Good spells, and copious amounts of luck...we didn't actually die. Well that's not true, three of our party did. But we miraculously didn't TPK and actually defeated the Vampire on a last ditch smite/firebreath/silver arrow 1-2-3 combo.

After revivifying our fallen members at the local cleric (using funds from the coffers of the Vampire), our DM was in such utter surprise that he actually had to end the session early because he hadn't yet fully planned out what to do in this case, since "no one in their right mind should have thought to do what we decided to do".

In any case, I'm sure that I did not do the session justice in my retelling here, but I hope that it ends up being a good read and inspires others to share their stories, because I would love to hear if others had similar experiences of epic fails turned into epic stories.
 

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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Party began a 3e campaign in Freeport. Stepped onto the dock heading for the city in the first day of the new campaign. DM had prepped the entire Freeport campaign for weeks ahead of time.

On the dock, before we even set foot on land to begin the first session, the DM casually describes some Orcs on a pirate ship at the docks, unloading some goods.

Gnome Paladin senses evil. So, riding his wardog, without any warning at all, he charges up the gangplank and attacks!

The rest of us look at each other stunned as the DM asks what we all do in initiative order. So...we sigh and charge too!

We all figured OK, we're going to have to roll up some new characters before we get to even play these new ones. But no! We're all rolling superb. The orcs are going down one after the other. The cleric is keeping most of our guys from going down (though not the gnome who is too far ahead). Before you know it, we've won!

Though..the gnome paladin did die.

Town guard is on their way in the distance. One of the party members is trained in sailing. We look at the pirate ship...at the guard in the distance...and we cast off.

DM just shakes his head, tosses the adventure to the side, and grabs another one. We're off to a sea adventure now, and eventually an island, and it turns into an epic campaign.
 

WASDHammer

Villager
That's AMAZING. Great example of what I'm finding great about D&D, the flexibility of choice. Really makes you feel like you are immersed in the world and not on the rails of a well-told story.
 

R_J_K75

Hero
As a DM I put a prismatic sphere on a BBEG wizards bed to protect him when he slept. 2E curious gnome sees bright rainbow lights a deicides hes going to touch it. POOF, dead. Its great how one single decision can change a campaign.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
So not stupid so much as careless:

Group (around 4-5th level) has an adventure in a nightmare undead dimension (as one does). Meant to be just a quick side trek.

But when they escape the dimension, I expressly note that they didn't close the portal out. The group not only acknowledges but comments (Something like "we don't have time for that, we gotta get out of here!").

So, scores of undead start appearing in the land. Then more, then A LOT more. Enough that the local kingdom is overwhelmed.

The group gets hired to solve the problem. Over the course of 4-5 levels the finally do. Not only does it never come out that they were the ones that caused the problem, they are hailed as saviors. In addition to everything else, they get deeded a large plot of land that becomes their base for the rest of the campaign (which ran through 20th level).
 

It started with the evil Vizier (never trust a Vizier!) gloating that he had outmaneuvered the PCs in the Royal Court and now they were helpless to stop him from starting a civil war. Helpless!

Then the dwarf said " F*** it, let's do him." and leaped across the desk screaming and swinging an axe.

6 rounds of combat, 5 paralyzed Royal bodyguards, 4 rooms ablaze, 3 save-or-die spells resisted, two teleports burned, 1 invisible stalker arrow-shield banished, and 0 living Viziers later...
 

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