An Explosive Encounter

Posted on June 05, 2017

Not too long ago, my friends and I were playing some 5th edition, with me DMing. The party consisted of a Kobold Rogue, a Human Fighter, and a Firbolg Druid. Because not everyone in our group was there that day, I decided to make a pretty standard one-off adventure.

In a tavern, they were tasked with rescuing a kidnapped girl from a mysterious tower, and somehow they were able to get the help of a hag. Being a hag and all, she obviously wasn't going to help out of the kindness of her heart, so she demanded some stuff in return. The Fighter happened to have a cloak on. The hag saw the cloak, grabbed it, and started enchanting it. Once finished, she handed the cloak back to the Fighter. When the group asked what she’d done to the cloak, the hag responded, "One use only.”

Soon after, the group headed for the tower, with the hag now accompanying them. After fighting through some big spiders in the tower, they finally reached the top where the kidnapped girl was being held. They looked up to see something drop down. A draegloth, a giant monster of the Underdark, had swooped down to fight.

Obviously, my group of level 3 adventurers were not happy with the draegloth’s sudden appearance. But the hag had a plan, for better or worse.

As soon as the draegloth dropped down, the hag yelled at our Fighter to run up to the beast and recite the magic words to activate the cloak she’d enchanted. The Fighter, following her orders, ran up to it and said the magic words. All the players watched him carefully, knowing that something was about to happen that will make him all powerful, and he would become the brave hero of the day.

After he spoke the magic words, I said, "The cloak begins to glow with a strange aura and then..."

Everyone looked at me, at the edge of their seats.

"It explodes."

They all fell silent, slowly comprehending what I said. What followed was a lot of laughter and panic. The hag, being the evil creature she was, made our Fighter a living bomb, just because she thought it would be funny (so did I but that's beside the point). So our Fighter exploded in a big burst of light, practically killing himself. The draegloth however, was barely harmed.

After the group managed to kill the monster via a deus ex machina, the Fighter woke up. He made all his death saving throws somehow. He was missing an arm, and was ready to kill the hag. But the hag was gone, along with the Druid.

After that, they never really trusted any magic item I gave them. I don't blame them.

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