Dungeons & Dragons Online

Last night I killed my first PC and it sucked.

Backstory: The party had been in a town for some time. They uncovered a plot regarding a cult of Cyric and a doppelganger trying to replace the mayor. They had determined which one was the fake and they managed to slay the doppelganger, but they didn’t know anything else about the cult aside from its existence and that the town guard had at least some corrupted members.

There was a spring festival in the town which they enjoyed last session. It was meant to be a light hearted session after several sessions of dealing with everything else. They had told me that they would be continuing to investigate the cult for the next session, so I had prepared that stuff.

The session began and it was the evening of the spring festival. For the first bit, they just continued around the festival. I had some followers of Ilmater show up (who are actually followers of Mask, the rogue’s deity). They warned him of the book (Cyrinishad) and to not let a word be spoken otherwise it would turn one mad. They slipped him the message on a scroll, and also slipped him a scroll of silence.

Our group’s Bard has had a bit of an issue with metagaming, as he’s the most experienced of the PCs. The problem is, he has a tendency to metagame when it supports inaction, and avoids metagaming when it would support action. Despite the rogue never doing anything yet which would tip off the party that he’s a rogue, the bard never trusts him. Rather than stating that he knew thieves cant, our rogue said he had been talking to townsfolk and learned that the head of the farmer’s collective wasn’t a good guy and suggested investigating him. He also relayed the information passed to him by Ilmater’s followers as receiving information from a source. The bard said he didn’t trust his sources and didn’t want to investigate the guy. I made sure they knew he was at the festival, and tried to set up the situation to make them feel it would be their best chance to do it.

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The session continued with some small things happening around the festival. They learned of an offering given to the fey of the neighbouring forest. We’d been playing for a few hours and nothing really happened because the party wasn’t taking any of the hooks I was trying to put out. Finally, the rogue started really pushing to investigate, but the bard convinced the druid it wouldn’t be a good idea and they should just sit and enjoy the festival.

The rogue said fine, but he went off on his own to investigate the guy’s office anyway. He managed to break in and uncover a secret door using a key he had taken off the body of the doppelganger. He began to go down the hidden stairs and an alarm started to sound. At the bottom of the stairs he met the guy’s assistant, who was a warlock and he faced him one-on-one for a few rounds before the other guards showed up, at which point he fled. He managed to hide, losing the guards, and got a good attack off on the warlock. The warlock had Strength of the Grave, and managed to make the roll and got one last attack off on the rogue. I fudged some damage rolls earlier, and thought he had a bit more hp than he did, and the final blast knocked him unconscious. I handwaved the Strength of the Grave so that rather than returning to 1hp, he died so at least the rogue would get that win. The rogue rolled death saves and failed.

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Eventually the party found his body, and the session ended shortly after since I could tell there was frustration and sadness and thought it best to do a post mortem.

I talked with the party after and explained that they need to remember that we’re playing this game together, and that the excuse of “It’s what my character would do” doesn’t fly with me because you can always decide that your character does something different. I said it applies both to the rogue choosing to go off on his own, and the other two for letting him. I explained that they are a party, and while inner-party conflict is great, they need to be a bit more focused on playing together rather than constantly looking for reasons to split the group, which has happened every session due to them not working together. Both the bard and the rogue let out some frustrations towards each other, but once that was done we just hung out for an hour to make sure no anger carried away from the table.

So now I’m trying to figure out the right move. I want actions to have consequences, but I also really liked the rogue’s character and had a ton planned for him. The player also doesn’t want to lose his rogue, and said he will make another character if he has to, but he’d rather keep playing the one he made. They could potentially try to find the feywild and strike a deal to resurrect him, or they could travel to the capital and try to have him resurrected by the head of the Ilmater sect. The BBEG has Cyrinishad and was planning to read it at the festival to convert the town. I’d feel shitty turning the town in to fanatic Cyric worshippers, as it is their home base and they’ve made a ton of NPC friends there, but I also don’t feel it would make sense to the story to just have him decide not to read it since the party isn’t around to stop him. I suppose it will come down to save the town or save their friend.

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I’d love some advice on how you would proceed. Ideas you might have to help the situation go forward, or ways that you feel I could’ve ran stuff differently to try and avoid this. I’m not against killing PCs, but I also feel this one would have been so easily avoidable if they had just gone together.

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