Content of the article: "That time a party member had to fail casting a spell in order to save his neck"
Kuddos to the DM for pulling this one off!
Before the 'rona broke our group apart, we were adventuring on Eberron and had briefly exited The Mourning to rest and restock. We had taken a couple of jobs in order to make some much needed gold and one of our missions was to take down a local drug lord.
One of our party members, a character named Bakken, had gone alone to scope out an abandoned house next door to where the drug kingpin was rumored to live. When he rejoins the party, he has a lock on the drug lord and a plan to take him down. We follow him to the abandoned house, break into the back door and as we are walking into the house a trap door gives way throwing all party members, except Bakken, down into the basement.
There doesn't seem to be any way out and everyone is really confused as to what is going on. Then, Bakken starts monologuing about how aggravating we have been to put up with and how he has to take us out in order to protect his empire. Turns out, our party member Bakken is actually the drug kingpin who is a shape-shifter! Our DM had privately contacted the guy who played Bakken's character and they had set up this elaborate plot twist.
We eventually find a way to defeat shapeshifter Bakken with only one party member having to make death-saving throws. We also get out of the basement and back to the main floor to find what looks like the real Bakken tied up in a corner.
We partially unbound Bakken and are all setting around discussing how we are going to handle this situation. Is this the real Bakken? Is this another shapeshifter? Is this the same shapeshifter we think we just defeated?
One odd thing about Bakken is, that in the life of our party, he made only two or three successful spell casts. He was the worst spell-caster I've ever seen and his spell-casting abilities became a running joke for much of the life of our short campaign. Finally, I decide there is only one way to determine if this is the real Bakken or not. I remind the group about his awful spell-casting abilities and that we should force him to cast a spell to see if it fails. If he fails, he is the real deal and if he succeeds, he is an imposter and we should kill him.
I don't remember exactly what Bakken chose to cast but I'll never forget what he rolled. He grabs a d20 and quickly rolls a 4. Spell fails! We all untie Bakken, beg forgiveness for roughing him up a bit, and welcome him back into our party.
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