Dungeons & Dragons Online

Players can have nice things.

Spoilers for Tomb of Annihilation.

I wanted to share this with you guys because I made one of my players extremely happy by being a bit flexible, and would advise you to do the same.

So in the Tomb of Annihilation campaign I'm running, the dwarf fighter, monarch of a kingdom that was founded in a homebrew we played before this campaign, was losing interest in the party's aims due to his character's unfamiliarity with the jungle and lack of common interest with the other characters in the party.

Not coincidentally, the player was losing interest in the whole as well, because he felt displaced in-character and had mismatched expectations about the campaigns' aims as a player: he expected high-fantasy, LotR-style heroics and ToA is exotic horror that aims to evoke despair.

I was trying my best to come up with ways to engage the player by weaving in backstory, giving him loot, or adressing him in roleplay. None of it worked.

Last session, they were defeated and and imprisoned by a tribe of CE ™ Yuan-ti. The dwarf, stripped naked and in manacles on hands & feet, was assigned to pick mushrooms in a nearby cave under supervision of a guard. Things went sour quickly. The dwarf got hit with green slime, yellow mold, poisoned, got into a fight with his guard, barely escaped a hydra, and returned to the prison beaten, bloody, naked and hairless.

Suffice to say, when the guards promptly brought him to their leader, a powerful necromancer, to be executed, the player was feeling sad and cynical. This is where I felt that I had to throw him a bone. So when the necromancer asked him if he had anything to say for himself and the dwarf said "I'll do anything to rid my people of this curse!", he happily obliged. "Anything?" he asked. I gave the player a meaningful stare at this point, asking him "Are you sure you want to do this?". "I'll go through hell for my people" the dwarf said.

Now, in the ToA book, there is a small sidebar about this particular dungeon that implies that by doing a certain ritual, humans can be turned into a yuan-ti if they roll 1-4 on a d6 (5-6 means death). Those who undergo this ritual also have to roll a d100 to determine what permanent madness/insanity they get as a byproduct.

The dwarf underwent the ritual. Hundreds of Yuan-ti looked on, mesmerized by the hallucinogenic incense and demonic chanting, as the oiled up and freshly tattooed monarch was lowered into a boiling bath of sacrificial blood.

He rolled the d6. 2. He rolled the d100. 100. the other players, that were looking on through the wizard's Arcane Eye (I allowed it), lost their shot when they saw the roll, thinking it should means something significant. I looked at the dwarfs' player, who was still looking a bit sad.

This is where a little voice in my head said 'you gotta do something, and this is the moment'. So I pretended to be very surprised behind my GM screen. "a hundred? jeez, I gotta look that up.. *flips through book*" followed by a "dude, haha, you wanna know what a hundred means??". There, on the spot, I decided I should reward the player for his balls while enforcing a paradigm change in the party interaction. I changed him into a Yuan-ti Anathema.

"As you emerge from the liquid unscathed, the yuan-ti collective lose their shit. You look at your hands and they are claw-like.. you realise you are looking at them through a dozen eyes." for those who don't know, an anathema is a pinnacle of yuan-ti existence, an avatar of their god Dendar the Night Serpent. Suffice to say the players collectively lost their shit as well. I gave the dwarf a new look, gave him some cool racial abilities (nothing OP). Everybody happy. Can't wait for next session.

TLDR; unsatisfied player, gave him something out of the books, everybody happy.


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