Stories

That Time My Players Invented an Urban Legend

This one goes back to my first D&D 5e campaign. There was a fairly straight-forward bad guy encampment: a semi-circle of tents, a food prep and supplies area, and guards who patrolled in shifts throughout the day and night. My players at the time had a proclivity towards stealth, but while I fully expected them to hit the camp at night there was no way for me to anticipate the sheer lunacy of their plan.

Warlock: I send my familiar to perch in the trees above the camp. Once he’s there I’ll watch them through his eyes.
DM: You see two guards sitting around a campfire. I third guard is walking the perimeter. As he finishes his patrol he joins the others, and then one of them stands up a minute later and starts walking the same perimeter.
Paladin: I’m going to hide behind some trees on the farthest side. When he gets within range I’m going to cast Charm Person.
DM: The guard fails his save. Brief recognition seems to cross his face and he waves to you like an old friend. “Oh, hello! I’m glad to see you!”
Paladin: “Come with me, I want to show you something.”
DM: You’ve successfully persuaded him. He protests a bit, insisting that he needs to return to his patrol soon, but he follows you.

She proceeded to lead him out into a field, where the Warlock cast Silence on him and the rest of the party beat him unconscious with non-lethal damage. The Rogue then used a magical ability to take his form and finish his patrol.

DM: The two guards narrow their eyes as you approach the fire. “Is everything okay? You’re late coming back.”
Rogue: “I had to take a piss.”
DM: “Right now, on your patrol?”
Rogue: “Yes, goddamn it. It’s been a long day and I had to take a piss.”
DM: You’ve persuaded them. They nod, “No shit. Just had to ask.” One of the guards gets up and gestures for you to take his seat. He starts around on the same patrol you just finished.
Paladin: We’re going to do the same thing with that guard when he comes around back.

And they do so, this time simply leaving him unconscious with the other guard.

Druid: (sighing) I’m going to wildshape into a bear and put on a fez. This is demeaning. I’ll circle around and approach the camp from the front.
DM: As you step forward you’re illuminated by the light of the fire. The remaining guard starts to draw his sword and grabs onto Rogue. “Oh, shit,” He takes a deep breath and starts to yell–
Rogue: “No no no! Shh! I’ve heard about this!” (His eyes widen in faux-awe) “I’ve heard tales of an escaped circus bear who ran away from its cruel masters and now roams these woods. People say that, still longing for human company, it wanders into camps and performs tricks in exchange for food.”
DM: “Bullshit.”
Rogue: “No, I’ll show you!” I take a cooked fish off of the smoking rack, break off a piece, and hold it out. I wave it a bit and call the bear over. “C’mon! Who’s a good bear? Can you sit?”
Druid: (sighing) I sit.
Rogue: “Good bear! Can you shake?”
Druid: (pantomiming shaking hands) Yup.
DM: His eyes light up with wonder. He’s delighted. What do the rest of you do?
Warlock: (who has been whispering with Monk) we’re going to use stealth, quietly cut through the back of the first tent, and slip inside.
DM: No problem, you’ve made all your rolls. You see a young man in armor sleeping and snoring quietly.
Warlock: We cover his mouth and slit his throat.
DM: Jesus, okay. Good rolls. He dies silently and nobody is aware of your presence. What’s next?
Warlock: We go down the line and keep doing it.

They continue to be successful.

DM: What are Rogue and Druid doing? The guard is still amazed but losing his wonder. He might notice something’s up soon.
Rogue: (to Druid) “Can you dance?”
Druid: (pantomiming glaring and dancing)
Rogue: I turn to the guard. “Do you want to try?”
DM: “Can I? What do I do?”
Rogue: “Here, take some fish and hold it out. You can pet it if you’d like.”

Druid ate the fish and let the guard pet her. Warlock and Monk successfully slit the throats of every enemy until the last two tents, where one of them tripped on the way in and woke up a sorcerer. The sorcerer started calling for help.

DM: Upon hearing cries for help, the guard’s neck snaps around towards the sorcerer’s tent. “What the hell-?”
Druid: I bite down on his arm and don’t let go. Then I maul him.

And with that, the party had little trouble cleaning up what remained of the camp.