Pick a God, Any God
Posted on June 12, 2018
I was running a 3.5 D&D game and getting ready to convert to 5th edition when a player provided me with perfect in-game reason for a subtle reset. I don't like killing my PCs, so I always give them a chance to be saved. The house rule for 3.5 was that if a player was taken down to (or past) -10 hit points, they could be saved (stabilized at -10), but only if a healer could get to them and make a DC 10 Healing check before the end of the turn. That usually gave them a fair chance... usually.
Their last adventure in 3.5 culminated in a battle between a powerful Rogue that could step in and out of the ethereal plane, and a group of cultists. It proved a lot deadlier than I’d intended, and out of five players, four ended up being reduced past -10 over the course of four turns. Fortunately for them—or so it would seem—the party's Druid went last in initiative, and so always had a chance to save them, albeit with only a +5 to his Healing skill rolls. But hey, the DC was ONLY 10, right?
The rolls: 2, 2, 4, and 2. And that's how everybody except the Druid died.
Wanting to avoid a TPK, I made a fast decision. Instead of having the Rogue kill the Druid outright, she grabbed him and transported him to the border ethereal so he could watch as she hung the Druid’s friends in her "gallery" to bleed them dry as a blood sacrifice to the cult's infernal lord. She left the Druid there, unable to get back on his own, and then plane-shifted back to where his companions' bodies lay.
That's when the Druid’s player did something unexpected. He called out to the gods—any god that could hear him—and renounced his Druidic ways. He then offered himself up as a Cleric to anyone who wanted him, if they'd just give him a chance to avenge his friends.
I rolled to see how many (if any) responses he'd get. He got two offers: from the god of justice and redemption; and the goddess of healing and mercy. He chose the goddess of healing and mercy.
She swept down, converted his 3.5 Druid levels into 5th edition Cleric levels, and deposited him in the gallery among his dead friends. And because I wanted to award his creativity, the mere power of her presence in the room resurrected all of the recently dead bodies (a.k.a. the PCs, now as 5th edition characters), and gave them a second—more successful—chance to defeat the cult and avenge their own deaths.
Incidentally, the first time the player of the newly-minted Cleric ever made a roll with Advantage, he rolled two 2s. But that's another story.