This is one of those kinda gushy posts that I didn’t think I’d ever wanna write, but it was maybe my favorite session I’ve ran I wanna talk about it. We had been postponing for a while cause one player who was very invested in the current plot point was busy with a huge project for a couple weeks. I didn’t know he wasn’t coming until today, and I had about an hour and some change to come up with a one shot that I could run in my existing world for the returning characters, but that would be engaging for the newbies.
It ended up being a classic arriving at a rundown town being plagued by a mysterious affliction. The villagers had been waking up to find all of their crops trampled. The party on the way into town had heard a thunderous sound, like a thousand horse hooves stampeding, but in the sky. They got drunk in the tavern (which I have learned to alway encourage). The eye patch wearing grumpy old bar keep Old Mac (who the players loved for some reason, which will be important) directed them to the whacky nerdy young local wizard. The wizard tells them he believes it Is a corrupted flock of Pegasus, but that no one believes him, except the blacksmith dwarf (whose voice sounded a little like an even more Irish shrek.) they met the dwarf who volunteered to lead them to the last untrodden field in hopes of catching the Pegasi in the act. They drank and chatted with the dwarf until night fall, where they went to the field to spring a trap. The Pegasi came down, one of them being ridden by a mysterious hooded figure blasting fire. They attacked and fought some Pegasi as the figure escaped on an other. They brought the carcasses back to town, and wanted to see Old Mac at the tavern.
So that’s when I decided to make Old Mac the hooded figure. Where they expected Old Mac, nervous young Tommy was behind the bar, running the night shift. The party proved the Pegasi were the problem, and got taken in by a nice old widow for the evening. But not before getting drunk again at the tavern. One of the first timers, playing a 10 foot tall fairy (basically running as a reskinned air Genasi) seduced the wizard, and they had flying sex through the night sky (I let the player dictate as much as she wanted cause I hadn’t been In this situation before. she kept it tasteful, though specified the sex took place flying through the air) They returned in the morning and the wizard happily provided them a doohicky to track the dark magic of the hooded figure. They asked if it’s the mage himself. I almost wanted to say yes, but because I said no, the twist worked even better.
I thought they would try to spring another trap, instead they returned to the tavern to visit their friend, Old Mac. They couldn’t have set it up better. Our dwarf grew suspicious, and almost on a hunch touched the doohicky to Old Mac. The glass of the device cracked. Our rogue put a sword to Old Mac’s throat, and then the thunderous sound was heard again as two Pegasi burst through the ceiling, and Old Mac turned out to be a battle mage. Roll initiative! The entire table lost their shit. Awesome fight! A fireball almost kills one of the newbies! And I was worried because he hadn’t gotten much to go his way this fight, but he ended up hitting the last shot, pinning Old Mac’s head to the wall with a last desperate arrow. Everyone went nuts.
I just had to write it out cause it was great. I’ve been DMing for maybe half a year and I think this was my favorite session, and it blows my mind how improvised it was. I guess I want people to be not afraid to lean into improvising, I just decided I wanted them to fight an evil Pegasus and it grew from there. Encourage getting drunk! (Whether in game or out, at least at my table) Encourage shenanigans. The rouge (a newbie) had earlier tried to steal the eye patch off of Old Mac’s face. Our dwarf taking it off Old Mac’s corpse and giving it to him, telling him in his gravelly voice that he earned it, was an amazing moment. The flustered wizard being told to keep it professional the next morning by a 10 foot tall fairy was hilarious. Our chaotic evil tiefling tripping a mom carrying her kid wasn’t disruptive, it was a great laugh. The party drinking with their dwarf friend till sunrise on the debris of what was once the town tavern is a memory.
This post is getting long so I’ll wrap it up. The point is to roll with it: all you have to do is make one or two memorable characters and pull off a half decent twist (which is easier than it sounds cause you don’t have to decide until the players set up something to you, like they did by loving Old Mac so much.) the point is you can run something completely made up on the spot if you let your players lead the way. Encourage that ridiculousness because I saw two first timers role play their asses off tonight, and both scream with excitement. I want all the DMs on here to know you can do this and that you just have to relax and let the story go where it will. At the end of the day All the players need is a gentle nudge, some interesting diverse characters to talk to, and a fun bad guy to kill. They will do the rest.
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "Just ran a one shot that I made up an hour before the session for two of my regular players and two first time players and everyone had a blast." specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
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