Content of the article: "LMoP: Potential TPK and DM Guilt"
Yesterday, I was running my seventh session of Lost Mines of Phandelver, and the party arrived in Thundertree. Using some advice I found online, I made the situation between Reidoth and Venomfang (named Morentherene because I love long dragon names) a little more complicated, with Reidoth growing a Gulthias Tree in the square of Thundertree.
After speaking with Reidoth, the party walked across town and met with the cultists. I had it so there were only 3 of them, and they were injured and scared after a run in with Reidoth’s blights and the dragon, losing 7 of their original 10. Having unintentionally informed Reidoth that there were still cultists remaining in the old chapel across town, I decided that Reidoth would send the blights that night to finish them off.
The party boarded up the chapel and tended to one of the cultists (names Sheena, she was dying from green dragon poison). In the night, the Gulthias Tree stood up on its roots, and spidered across town to the outside of the Chapel along with most of the blights, willed by Reidoth to finish off the cultists. The god everyone under the fallen bell from the chapel tower (genius plan), with the Ranger who couldn’t fit chugging and invisibility potion from the Redbrand hideout and escaping for the night, suffering 1 point of exhaustion and some fall damage (long story) from the harrowing experience.
The next morning, the party decides that the Druid is a worse problem than the dragon is, and here’s where I fucked up. They walked straight into the tower (almost leaving their weapons at the door as a sign of good faith) and met with Venomfang. I ran them as per the gilded guy in the “What Makes Venomfang Work in LMoP” post (years old by this point). They did their best to convince the dragon that they could be allies, and the dragon “agreed”, telling them that if they would drive away her “half-sister” in the ruins of Conyberry, she would show them the way to Cragmaw Castle. She took them upstairs to her lair to “show them the map”, and they took the bait hard.
I did my best to drop all the DM warnings, hints, and everything imaginable, but after every player made a “leaning in to check the map” motion, I decided that this was just going to happen. Venomfang laughed, thanked them for trusting her, and doused the entire party in poison breath. One of the players was upset, saying that the dragon was not acting in it’s own best interest, and that there was nothing they could have done, and I had given them no clear direction. I told them we would pick up next week at initiative, and ended the session.
After the session, nobody really wanted to talk. No one said they had fun, they just ate in awkward silence and left. The Ranger is on 19 health and almost certainly going to be killed, the cleric will be knocked down if they don’t save. The Wizard will be fine (Yuan-Ti Pureblood), and the dwarf Artificer (upset player) will probably be too (high con, poison resistance, and they’ve already told me they are going to absorb elements). I have a friend who likes to DM, and he told me he wants me to Deus Ex Machina them by pulling him in for one session to help fight, but I said no because I believe this is their hill to live or die upon, and this is how D&D legends are made.
I feel bad, and I don’t want the campaign to end like this. What should I do?
- 5e Lost Mines of Phandelver Venomfang ideas
- My players may have burnt down The Neverwinter Forest. I need help with some consequences.
- [LMoP] Yet again another Venomfang post (Rated S for Spoilers)
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