Looking for Warstories

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Hello community!

My name is Ed, and I am a grad school student at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. I am in JHU's MA Writing program, and for my thesis, I decided I was going to immerse myself deep into the D&D community for the next year and write all the stories, thoughts, and games I have.

I've been playing D&D in some form or another since I was six years old. My interest has always been a little more on the general RPG side than specifically D&D, but I always end up coming back to D&D. I choose D&D as the subject of my thesis because, as we all know, D&D is the ambassador to role-playing games for the world as a whole. Everyone's heard of D&D...but surprisingly few people actually know what it is. I'm hoping my thesis will illuminate and educa....oh, screw it; I'M PLAYING DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS FOR A GRADE!!! HOW FRICKIN' COOL IS THAT???

Anyways, if anyone has any great stories or thoughts about the game they'd like to share with me, or suggestions on how I can get the best D&D experience, post here and let me know! 
if anyone has any great stories or thoughts about the game they'd like to share with me, or suggestions on how I can get the best D&D experience, post here and let me know! 

The boards are chock full of stories and advice, but here a few of my own anecdotes:

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies
DM: I want to start a new campaign.
Players: But you promised that you'd continue with this one until the end.
DM: Fine. A giant, 20-mile wide, flaming meteor hurtles towards the party. What do you do?
Player 1: I teleport us.
DM: No good. It still follows you.
Player 2: I planeshift us
DM: No good. this is a *multidimensional*, 20-mile wide, flaming meteor. It’s in every plane you shift to.
Me: I raise my shield
DM: ?!
Me: It's the special shield you gave me two adventures ago. You said it could absorb *any* missile, regardless of size.
DM: Ah. Yes. How many charges does that thing have left?
Me: Seventeen
DM: Yes. Well, interestingly, eighteen more meteors are lined up behind the first one. Shall we start the next Campaign?
Players: Where? Didn't you just nuke the multiverse?

Bite the Bulette
While playing Red Hand of Doom, my DM (who's actually a completely nice, considerate guy) ambushed my elven cleric with a Bulette. Between the surprise round and the Bulette's high initiative roll I actually had no chance to act before I was dead and eaten. This was a problem because the party was on a tight timeline, we were days away from the nearest town, and I was the only one in the party that could raise dead. Much later we both noticed that the Bulette's stats inexplicably said "A bulette attacks anything it regards as edible, choosing the easiest or closest prey first. The only creatures it refuses to eat are elves."

All PC's are orphans
In a previous campaign I made the mistake of mentioning in my rogue PC's background that he only *claimed* be an orphan. I felt it might be an ironic twist that he secretly had a completely normal background. So of course the DM immediately took my family hostage. And I felt obligated to 'care' about them (even though that was implicitly not part of my character concept) so as not to ruin his plot. He then continued the "rogue cares about his family" plot-line for several months until I left.

Wrath of Kong
I promised my players something special for their 3rd session of the 'Tyrant Claw' Lair Assault (set on the Isle of Dread). So since the Isle of Dread was inspired by King Kong (especially the Tanaroa gate where the Lair Assault occurs), I replaced my normal T-rex BBEG miniature with a special King Kong miniature for the occasion. The players' surprise was completely worth it. With a captive female Druid in hand, Kong climbed to the top of the obelisk in the center of the map and started dishing out the hurt while flying pteranodon mounts buzzed past him. He even tossed a couple of barrels at the PC's. The night ended with Kong rolling double-crits (72 HP of damage) in a single action on the last PC standing.

Unbearable
In D&D 3.5e, I created a were-panda(bear) PC that used a reach weapon, and had a 'Large' hybrid form. The Enlarge Person spell also still worked on were-Pandas, resulting in a 'Huge' sized panda threatening a 70 foot wide circle (i.e. the entire battlefield), at 1st level. I used a Kung-fu Panda action figure (from a McDonald's happy meal) as a huge-sized miniature. Luckily the DM decided that this abomination would not continue to level 2.

Rollin’ with my Gnomies
My human barbarian (Mallet) had the heart of a gnomish tinkerer. Despite being illiterate, he carried a book of crazy gnomish inventions with him and frequently (when fellow PC's helped him with the words) tried to make the creations... usually with disastrous results. He eventually learned to read and put considerable skill points into "Craft: crazy inventions". After an untimely death, he was reincarnated and (completely by coincidence) rolled up “Gnome” as his incarnation on the Reincarnate spell table.

How a foolproof plan to use a Deck of Many Things resulted in a TPK
My high level party had found a Deck of Many Things. While we weren’t crazy enough to use it ourselves, another group was about to start a campaign in the same world (starting with 1st level scrubs that had worked for the high level party). Both groups decided to allow these new PC’s a chance to draw from the Deck.

It all took place in the first session of the new campaign. After an evening of playing three-dragon ante (in character, with the PC’s starting money), they then decided to do some serious gambling and take the high-level party up on their offer. Now, to be fair, the high level PC’s made *serious* efforts to help the beginning PC’s:
- We had a helm of opposite alignment on-hand if needed (for the Balance card)
- We had a low level monster standing by in a cage (in case of the comet card)
- We had the Freedom spell ready (in case of the Donjon)
- We asked them to give us all their gear before pulling cards (in case of the Donjon, Talons or Ruin cards).

We thought we had contingencies for everything. Except maybe the Void card.
So:
1) The new barbarian drew first, and drew the Void card.
2) The spellcaster drew next and got the ‘Sun’ card (50k XP and a magical weapon). He handed the magical weapon the high level party (just in case the next card would cause its loss) and drew again… and drew the Void card.
3) The rogue drew next and drew the Flames card. Unfortunately, the resulting outsider (a devil) was a previous ally of the high level party, so they couldn’t really object to the rogue being dragged away to the underworld.
4) The next to draw was an awakened raven PC (the ex-familiar of a Mage from the high level party). The raven drew and got the Skull; meaning it would now have to face a dread wraith. Although his former master had promised to help, it was clear that the wraith would still last long enough to slay the bird. Since being killed by this wraith prevents any sort of revival, the Mage resorted to blasting the raven himself (merely to have a chance to reincarnate it later).
5) The last to draw was the Dwarf Fighter. She immediately got the Fool card (lost 3 intelligence) and chose to draw again. This time it was the moon, which gave her four wishes. She used them all to gain strength.

So, after using the Deck, the new party consisted of:
- A red-headed, female Dwarf with a 22 str and a 5 int.
- An awakened raven reincarnated as an elf, and
- 3 entirely new characters, that were very similar to the ones that were just destroyed.


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Heh, I had a DM who was fixated on beholders for quite a while. One of the players insisted on playing a Kzinti (an intelligent lion-like race from Larry Niven's Known Space). WHY a Kzinti would exist in World of Greyhawk was never explained, but it was 1981 and lots of things weren't explained yet back in those days... So, eventually Ernie's kzinti and Mike's penchant for beholders met, with fairly predictable consequences. The 50d6 damage spiffed up fireball that did for the beholder (yeah, don't ask, its best, trust me) also did for the kzin. Seeing as how he WAS a party member -ok, maybe not the most fondly loved party member- we decided he deserved a resurrection and scraped up a sample off the wall. The only problem was we weren't really sure WHAT it was a sample of, things were a bit comingled as one might say. The resulting beholder headed kzin haunted the underdark for at least the next 10 years -real world time- of campaigning. Strangely he wasn't appreciative of our effort to raise him from the dead!

Then there was my sister's dwarf, Gilladian, which had an INT of 3 and a WIS that wasn't too much better. The party had a mule, which they would command to kick in doors, thus becoming named 'Mule Go Bang!' as its idiotic dwarven master put it. Mules have a 4 INT, there WERE questions about who should be naming whom. Endless fun resulted. Soon Gilladian stuck her hand into a chest in a greedy rush to grab some treasure or other, and it was promptly lopped off by a guillotine-type blade trap. For a long time the character wore a hook. Gilladian also loved to ride on a Broom of Flying the party found, never mind how ridiculous a sight a one-handed dwarf riding a broomstick was, being a flying fighter was pretty nice, at least until a dragon caught her with a fire breath and then it was a flying broom that left a trail of smoke behind it and made a noise like a crashing WWI figher plane in a movie all the time, mmrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Oddly enough Gilladian survived to 9th level and retired. My sister's latest 4e dwarf ran into her and a couple other old-time characters in a bar, which was amusing.

Mike, the beholder obsessed DM, finally made a CITY of beholders in an adventure which he called "Mountain of the Beholders". Needless to say various high level parties got not too far in this adventure on a number of occassions. There was the anti-magic zone that was also the point where a trap landed a 20x20' CUBE of stone which fell from a considerable height. There was the Sphere of Annihilation which for no apparent reason just hung out in the main passage. Then there were just dozens, maybe hundreds of beholders. Finally we sent in the big guns, all 14th+ level PCs. Well, most of us did make it out alive... The wizard was reduced to sticking a Wand of Wonder in the beholder's mouth after getting hit by the anti-magic ray (grass grew, nobody was happy). The rogue finally saved the day by saying the command word on the Dearn's Instant Fortress while stuck to the roof, resulting in crushing 2 beholders (although the rest of them did disintegrate big holes in the fortress IIRC). Needless to say we never quite discerned the reason for this adventure and Mike's beholder fetish had to remain largely unsatisfied thereafter.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Epic level party in the Elemental Chaos is on their way to kill Avandra's exarchs, and the DM is looking for a filler encounter that will challenge them. One of the players realizes that the DM has been rather unoriginal in his terrain, so he asks if they could have something other than a plain with nothing on it. The DM happily obliges and rolls for random terrain of floating pieces of earth that are about 4x4. He then rolls up the worst enemy possible for that terrain, Djinn. For those that don't know, Djinn specialize in sliding their opponents. The entire encounter consisted of the party members making countless reflex saves to keep from falling, one extremely annoying gnome that everyone hoped would die being saved by a ring of feather fall to everyone's chagrin, and a cleric finally stopping the djinn from attacking long enough that they lost interest and ran away.


Heroic level party finds a broken bridge over a rushing river, the fighter carries the cleric on his shoulders and wades halfway through the river. The druid jumps the bridge to get to the other side. The ranger decides to shoot an arrow tied to a rope into a tree to get across via tightrope. He crit misses and aims at the druid. The Druid makes a reflex save to catch the arrow with his bear hands (literally, he was a bear). The druid holds the rope, and the halfling tries to tightrope walk over the bridge. When the halfling is halfway over the bridge, the DM has the players roll initiative for an ambush. The druid, fighter, cleric, and halfling are all compromised as a huge group of kobolds attacks them. To say the least, it didn't end well.


God-killing lvl 30 party is going down the extermely dangerous river through all the levels of hell. After being extremely beat to hell (sorry, couldn't resist the pun), the group reaches their destination. The guy playing the wizard looks at his character sheet, sighs, and slaps his forehead. "What?" everyone asks... "I could have just done a ritual to bypass the hour and a half we just spent on that river..." Is the story over? Nope. Once they defeat Asmodeus, they make their way back up the river (upstream), so it's twice as hard. about halfway through, the wizard slaps himself again and everyone feels stupid because they forgot again.


Opposing God-killing lvl 30 party that has never played at epic level has a rogue specializing in invisibility, a wight cleric with a shroud around him, a death knight fighter, and a necromancer-wizard. need to get to Celestia, they ransack an entire town to get a Astral Skiff, take the skiff to Sigil, fight to make sure that no one recognizes it as stolen, and hire a tiefling to plane shift them by bluffing him onto the ship, then torturing him on board. Once they get to Celestia, they realize that they don't know how to get in, and haven't prevented Moradin from discorporating yet... Angels move in to attack and the group quickly escapes. After this, the DM kindly informs the party that making a plan would be a good idea. Lol.