There are two main points to this story.
- Drunk players during DnD can make for a horrible DMing experience. This sounds obvious, but we commonly have some drinks during dnd and its been fine until now.
- Its ok to call a session well before intended to preserve the game even if its a special occasion
To begin, I have been DMing a homebrew campaign for roughly 6-7 months for 4 friends of mine. We play online as we all live around different places. The stars aligned and we could all meet up at an apartment to play an in person game together. It sounded phenomenal, people were cooking amazing food a day in advance and everyone was excited. We even invited another friend to guest star as a character for what was basically set up to be a one shot because they had all came to a decision that they were prepping and setting off for a quest next session.
We all met up, had some drinks, it started off very promising. We had a projector for maps and background. People seemed very excited. This is where alcohol comes into play. I'll start off by saying I have absolutely no problem having some drinks during dnd. I often have some drinks when I DM because its just fun to have some drinks, RP, do some silly voices and throw deadly monsters at my friends. Even as a player it can loosen people up for some RP. This however turned into a very different beast.
People must have drank waymore than I thought, because from as soon as we were done going through a recap of last week it all went downhill very quickly. Essentially, last week they all were very interested in a quest to escort a woman who was pregnant with the spirit of a god to a shrine in the mountains so that it can be born there and be born into godhood once again. This is where our guest friend came into play, as he was a paladin of that god sent on this quest through the pleas of his god in visions to fulfil this quest. This is about the point in the night when our main party's cleric and paladin went on a violent drunken rant about how there was only one god(despite them both being loyal to different gods each) and how they dont trust the false prophet housing a demon. They went on a spree of intimidation attempts and violent threats to the visually pregnant woman. No this is not an evil campaign and they are currently level 7. I love when players RP, but levels 1-now have not once produced an RP scene like this so I was caught off guard to say the least.
To top all of that off, I actually had made a pretty good way to insert the guest paladin despite the chaos. They had finally managed to meet. The IRL session could finally progress…. or so I thought. When it came time, the pregnant woman and the guest paladin asked the barbarian of our group if they would help her on her quest and preserve the life of this god. When the barb asked the group, the paladin and cleric blatantly said no, went on about their one god, didn't trust false prophets, and wanted to do a piddly sidequest given to them a month ago.
At this point I was amazed. We did all of this set up, driven 1-2 hours to meet up, I had sheets of prep for this cool adventure through the mountain ruins and even a fun twist for them at the end. On top of that, our close friend who we all love and play video games and talk to regularly has now been effectively turned into a turned down sidequest and now boxed out of the game we invited him to. For a normal week where we didnt have al of this set up, I would be ok with them turning down a quest because they have plenty of directions to go in in-game. I could not see a reason for this turn of events other than people were just too drunk. The icing on the cake is that for absolutely no reason at all, the paladin started lore dumping his backstory just to do it. He had certain knowledge of a missing noble from his backstory and he just randomly started talking about it. Various other intimidation checks were attempted, a one started attacking a support beam in the bar the frequent in the town serving as their hub.
At this point we were roughly an hour in. 3/5 players were visibly annoyed. It was only about 8 pm. I saw no signs of this getting any better, I wasn't gonna have our friend invited out just to watch the group go on sidequests for a couple hours, and after the single longest hour of DMing I have ever been a part of I just said ok, lets just call dnd for tonight and play drinking games tonight since we're all here in person and can play online.
They were disappointed and wanted to play but there was just no coming back from any of that, plus that hour of DMing took more out of me than DMing 6 hours straight. In hindsight I shouldve called it sooner to prevent the bar damage and random loredump even though it was just the tip of the iceberg for his character. I plan on doing a hard reset on that hour span and just picking up like it hadnt happened. We're gonna have essentially what we planned that night next week in what should be a far more tame online session of dnd.
horror story/rant over.
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "A Cautionary Tale" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
- Dragonheist of Frost Maiden for seven players? Lengthy post
- How do I handle law and order now that my player has been thrown into jail?
- Legends of Osiria: A D&D Podcast
- [GURPS][Adventures in Harkwood] The Reptile Men arc, Part 4: Aftermath
- [GURPS][Adventures in Harkwood] The Reptile Man arc, Part 3: Mist-eggs Have Been Made
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