Content of the article: "My Player killed an important NPC to another character’s story arc in our 2nd to last session and then let themselves get possessed by a Genie. Need some help to resolve the story."
So Like the title says, I've got a problem. I've been playing with this group of 6 players for about 2 years now (roughly once a month or so) on the same campaign. Myself and a couple of the other players wanted a change, so I decided to do a big three session arc to give an ending to this homebrew campaign (that's kind of gotten off the rails if I'm being honest). I'm basically railroading them through a final dungeon to defeat the BBEG, and for each character to get at least some resolution on their stories. 2 players got their resolutions wrapped up in the first of these three, and I was planning on wrapping up a third's arc in this session.
This concerns two players, we'll call one Ed, and the other Fred. There's a lot of context needed, so I apologize for the text wall.
I was to resolve Ed's story by having them run into this NPC, Ed's arc-nemesis and former best friend, who the party has faced off with a few times. But now, the BBEG has revealed themselves to be not what they said they were and they've betrayed The NPC. This means there's a chance for Ed to find a way to work with the NPC because they now have a common enemy, and Ed can try to make his old friend see the light and return to the side of good.
So I have the party go find the NPC, deep in battle with the BBEG's forces underground in these catacombs.
Enter Fred. Fred's chaotic and they have this magic dagger I gave them in session 2 which is just a +1 dagger that talks because it's possessed by a genie. I just thought it was a funny thing. Fred's made it their mission to free the soul trapped inside the dagger and give them a body (which I said could be done reliably with a ritual, unreliably by casting dispel magic on it). Fred has also never forgiven this NPC for having a hand in the death of another Player's old character. The party as a whole needed information out of the NPC to progress the story. In the middle of combat, instead of trying to subdue the NPC as was the party's goal, Fred tried to kill the NPC and put the soul from the dagger into his body, and while he didn't deal the killing blow, contributed in a big way to the NPC's death, before Ed could resolve his story with the NPC.
It got really tense. I could tell Ed was upset, he tried to cast offensive spells at Fred during combat (they missed). Ed loves RP and is heavily invested in this story. Now, his character didn't even have a chance to try (all he wanted was a chance to try) and talk to/confront the NPC character one last time. The info the party needed was also in the NPC's journal (luckily I planned for the possibility he'd die, but not like this, and Fred obviously didn't know that).
Ed's character got upset with Fred's character. Fred's character cast dispel magic on the dagger and elected to choose to fail his saving throw, forcing the soul from the dagger into Fred's character's body.
I… don't know how to resolve this now. Ed's mad at Fred. I don't want to reward Fred for being a wangrod and give him genie powers and the reins to this new genie character, who I've been voicing for 2 years now. Should Fred's character die? The genie has no motivation to help the party, and he'd not give up his new body willingly. Should he help the party by giving them a boon of some kind then leaving? Should this be the same as a Demonic Possession? They don't have a cleric, but they do have a paladin (level 8). If that results in combat, that'll probably mean we need a whole extra session and we're all already started to get into the idea of the new one and don't really want to drag it out.
I'm stumped. I don't know, this campaign got away from me, and I don't know how to finish it in a satisfactory way. It was my first campaign and I've run better ones with other groups and I have done those way better.
TL:DR: What do you do if your player tries to hotswap someone's soul in the middle of combat crushing another person's story resolution moment in your 2nd to last game?
- Need a story beat for a tricky character situation
- Crappy DM or Stupid Players
- How do I create an encounter where two enemies are also enemies with each other? How do I balance CR and run the encounter?
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