Content of the article: "Double Down on your Player’s Creations"
This is just a reminder for all you DM’s out there. When your player comes up with a name, an idea, or a part of their backstory in a session; make it a point to be a permanent part of your world.
For example, I am about to run some sessions on a pirate ship. Last session, the player who has connections to the ship claimed it was named the Pink Pearl as a joke. Next session my players will be getting on the ship and sailing with it. I created a prop ship and painted it pink and decorated it with glitter. My player had no idea at the time of making the joke, but now our all male party will be sailing in a very feminine ship named the Pink Pearl and I can’t wait to see everyone’s reactions.
Update: I had some people in the comments asking for an update after we played the session. We just wrapped and it was probably the most intense D&D session I’ve ever run. Everybody loved the ship. Some players were stunned at first but laughed about it. The real enjoyable part of the session was what happened on the ship. So here’s the story for those interested. Forewarning: it’s kind of long.
Before I begin, some context: we are playing in the Storm King’s Thunder campaign. However, I have added a lot of homebrew elements and magic items to keep it extra crazy and exciting. One of my players (a good friend and roommate), my rogue, is moving to a town 3 hrs away so he will no longer be a part of our game for the foreseeable future. After some discussion we decided to collaborate. Our plan: his character turns evil and attacks the other players. They are forced to kill him off. Here’s how we did it.
There are 2 major magic items introduced in my game right now. The first is a modified version of The Deck of Many Things that our wizard, Alaundo the Seer, obtained from his god, Savras. The second is a reworked Ring of Winter, obtained by our Rogue in the thieves guild of Waterdeep (stolen from Artus Cimber).
Tonight’s session began finishing up a combat against some demons on the docks of Waterdeep. Following the fight our Rogue’s Ring of Winter started showing its magic. The ring froze to his hand and nothing they tried could get it off. They shook it off and moved on. After staying the night at an inn, they were rested and ready to set sail. By this point the magic of the ring created a thin layer of ice covering the rogue’s left hand.
The party boarded the Pink Pearl where I got to reveal it to them in all its beauty. They sailed north until they ran into an enemy pirate ship. There was a naval battle as the pirate ship approached. The pirates eventually boarded the pink pearl and hand to hand combat began. I used minion mechanics (1hp) and threw about 15 pirates at them plus a captain. The captain was the last alive when there some discussion about whether or not he should be taken hostage or killed.
In my notes to the rogue pre-game I told him to try to spark arguments around this part of the session. No matter what the party decided on, he would oppose. It was the wizard’s turn to attack. He used a firebolt crit to send the captain flying off the edge of the ship. “Furious”, our rogue argued hard that they should have spared him. He was so convincing that the players decided to use a card that they had previously drawn from the Deck of Many things. This card allowed them to rewind time so that they could replay one event.
The captain was revived and this time the Wizard chose not to attack. Now it’s the Rogue’s turn. Instructed to oppose whatever the party decided, this time he went up to the pirate captain and tried to kill him. The party was upset that they used this super powerful magic card to save the captain that they thought was important, only for the rogue to change his mind and try to kill him. The Rogue was unsuccessful though, and the party figured out that he was being influenced by the ring. The players tied up the Rogue and the captain, trying to figure out what was going on.
The rogue used a freezing spell that I gave him as a new boss, to freeze a couple players in place. His wolf companion came to untie him and the real battle began. The ring had special powers, giving the rogue a ton of firepower. As the fight progressed his powers became stronger and he knocked out one of the players. In a desperate attempt to salvage the situation, the Wizard casted Fireball, knowing allies were in range. The Rogue rolled a 20 on his saving throw while another PC in range rolled a 1. That PC was downed and almost killed outright.
The next turn our fighter managed to do enough damage to finally take the Rogue out. The power emanating from the ring expanded to the point where everything froze over, including the water and all the players. This is where the session ended. Our Rogue along with his ring will be missing and all of the players will be frozen to start the next session.
One of the players in our party expressed to me his interest in DMing (he never has before). He wants to do some type of inter-dimensional travel quest for a one/two-shot. I told him I’d get us to a stopping point and then he can take over for a bit. This is that stopping point and I’m ecstatic to see what he does with it.
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