Posted by Dr. Done on July 18, 2014
One summer we'd just finished an enormous home campaign that had run for almost a year, but my friends and I were itching to play some more. Our DM agreed and dug out a pre-written one-shot. He spent a little while thumbing through supplements before declaring we were ready to play.
We sat down and launched into the adventure. Emerging from a river barge into a shabby village we were met on the rotting wharves by a lone old man, his grey hair filthy and his clothes tattered. He had lost a hand at some point in his life and now sported an oozing stump.
"Best go back the way you came. This place is death for the likes of you!" He cackled.
We gazed at the village and noticed a distinct lack of foot traffic. It seemed the old man was the only person around other than a few drunken river folk and some rough looking dock workers.
I was playing my usual: a hard hitting Fighter who faced problems head on. Remember, we'd just come off of a massive campaign so I was laden down with magical weaponry and armor. I was feeling pretty invincible. I hoisted a massive ax in my hands and said
"I fear nothing this place might hold!”
Sneering at the old man, we headed into town. This must have galled the DM because the old man proceeded to follow our party, laughing maniacally and telling us all how horribly we'd die. We ignored him but finally he got ahead of us and blocked our path. A few villagers regarded the encounter with fear. He thrust his one good hand in my character's face,
"You'll die first, you big fool," he said and laughed.
"And you'll die screaming," I replied.
Now, I’d done a little DM’ing so my story-telling Spidey-sense was going off. This guy was clearly going to cause trouble for us in the future, I just knew it. So I decided to deal with him now rather than later.
"Put that hand in my face again and you'll regret it old man."
"Not likely," the old man laughed again and thrust his finger between my eyes. "You're doomed."
I told the DM I’d like to take a swing at the old man while he was busy laughing. The DM smiled wickedly and I got worried.
"Okay,” he said, “Roll."
The die clacked against the table and settled on a 20. The DM stared at the table glumly.
“Uh… he’s dead. You’ve killed him on the spot.”
Out of nowhere the sheriff and a small army of militia had heard the commotion. They arrested me and detained the rest of the party. The DM rolled a half dozen times behind his screen and began furiously flipping through the supplement.
I thought I'd made a huge mistake and that my character--maybe the whole party--who had just survived unspeakable dangers of a year long campaign was going to the gallows because I'd murdered the senile town fool.
After a long while the DM looked up angrily.
"Adventure's done, you jerk. The old man bled out and died almost immediately. He was a Necromancer, the main villain who had the town held hostage with his army of undead."
The table smiled, we couldn't believe what we were hearing.
"Most of the undead are full-dead now. The sheriff thanks you for your service and lets you go. He tells you the old man's tower is nearby."
We then proceeded to wipe out the remaining undead and loot the guys tower for the next two hours. Now, years later, our gaming group can't remember a thing about the epic campaign that preceded it but this one-shot adventure is constantly brought up, joked about and rehashed. Goes to show you that the most fun and memorable games aren't always the most epic.