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Today, I'd like to share the horror story that was my first tabletop RPG campaign

Hello, Reddit. As you can probably tell if you look at my post history, I don’t post much here on the front page of the internet. Today, I’m going to make an exception to that. The campaign that kickstarted my interest in tabletop RPGs ended some six months ago. In those six months, I’ve wanted to share the complete story somewhere. It was a wild ride of horror stories from beginning to end. 4chan, my usual stomping ground, isn’t really good for a story this long, and I want it to achieve some kind of immortality – not precious reddit gold or upvotes, just somewhere permanent that I can link people when they ask me about my worst RPG experience. As you can probably guess by the subreddit I’m posting this story in, it’s not a particularly pleasant story.
It all starts back in late 2014. I’d had a passing interest in the hobby for the past year or two, having roleplayed on forums, chat sites, and other freeform mediums since 2007. I’d heard about tabletop RPGs and it seemed like a new, interesting way for me to explore roleplaying and collaborative storytelling. One day, one of my oldest online friends, an Aussie I’ve known since 2009 or thereabouts, messaged me saying his friend and him were putting together a group for a tabletop campaign. When he told me who this friend was, I should have immediately turned it down, but I was really excited to do tabletop roleplay and I thought the game would flop within a session or two anyway.
To give a bit of brief background on my relationship with the GM that is as neutral as possible, we’ve always had a clash of personalities. Nothing too major. He’s very anti weeb and he perceived me as a weeb since I met Aussie bro on a One Piece roleplaying forum. He’s very much your typical westaboo, although he never crossed over into full ‘Deus Vult’ territory. My father was dying of terminal cancer back in 2013 and I had a sad quote as my skype status. The dude told me to stop being a sad, whiny bitch and considering he said this when I was ten feet away from my father laying on his deathbed, I blocked him and didn’t spare him another thought for the better part of a year and a half.
Time has a way of healing all wounds though, and while I was very wary of him given him being a dickbag about that, I was willing to give him the benefit of a second chance since he hadn’t really known the full extent of what was going on with my dad. I was also really eager to try out a tabletop RPG, again, so that also played a part in it.
So, with that out of the way, I found out that we were using Warhammer Fantasy 2nd edition, because of course they were. My Aussie friend and the GM have both been major Warhammer fanboys since I met them, so I wasn’t terribly surprised. For those of you reading who don’t know, that system uses rolled stats which can lead to characters of vastly different stat values being in one group. At first, I wanted to play a dwarf, but quickly decided that I wanted to play an elf instead after actually giving the rulebook a read through. I settled on an elf bounty hunter, because I had this idea for a wood elf exile who acclimated well to human lands tossing around in my head for a while.
The GM didn’t like this at all. Firstly, because he was very biased towards dwarves. Secondly, because he thought I was trying to minmax by making an elf who was good at ranged combat, as if the concept isn’t a simple one that’s been done to death since an entire generation got their hands on Lord of the Rings. The dwarf’s stats were rolled with the GM watching. He was busy the day I decided to switch to the elf, so told me to just roll the stats. I had the poor fortune of rolling very, very good stats. The GM was a naturally paranoid person so he immediately assumed something was up. To his credit, he at least apologized in this instance, saying he should have just told me to wait. I proceed to, once again, roll incredible stats in front of him. I feel less inclined to give him credit as he was openly seething by the time my stat block was finished being rolled.
Besides his stinky attitude, there were a number of things that made me think that the campaign wouldn’t last for very long. For instance:
  1. He invited roughly 10 people, 9 of which showed up by the 4th week of sessions.
  2. He had a boner for class diversity and people not stepping on one another’s toes when WF2e had, at most, 5 roles.
  3. He chose a system that was not suited for the sort of game he wanted to run, which was a progressive, zeroes to heroes high fantasy campaign. As I quickly theorized after doing some research and later saw in practice, the system often falls apart at high level play. A problem, if you’ll allow a momentary digression, that I notice with a lot of Green Ronin games.
  4. This was a very grand vision for a first timer’s campaign.
  5. He bastardized the rules of the system to the point where combat functioned almost entirely differently vs. a normal Warhammer Fantasy 2nd edition campaign. I will go more into this point in a future post.
The premise of the campaign was part of what drew me in, despite what I just said. The idea was that the group would be part of an expedition to Cathay. Despite me asking for more details, the GM refused to divulge more – for example, who exactly was leading the expedition, how we’re going to join them, or basic things like that. So, in the absence of concrete motivation, I decided to give my character one: he’d recently been made aware of a bounty target that had fled the Empire for distant Cathay. He was apparently one of the Empire’s most wanted, but I left the exact gold price up to the GM. The GM seemed a bit miffed that I had a motivation of my own to go to Cathay.
When the first session rolled around, I learned why. The group was all in Marienburg and the GM coaxed us all towards a bar on the dockside. I won’t fault him for having the group meet in a bar. I will, however, fault him for the fact that he was very heavy-handed in getting us there. Everyone’s characters were halfway controlled by the GM with the exception of the Aussie’s character. When the GM got around to describing my character’s entrance, I very quickly got the impression that he didn’t like him very much. So, let’s compare how I would have done it vs. how he did it:
GM: Oh, you’re in the corner of the bar. In an attempt to appear mysterious, Pieter, you’ve snuffed out the candle on the table. You’re not talking to anyone.
How I’d have done it: My character is sitting at the bar proper, having a drink. Upon seeing one of the other player characters walk in, he’d pick out the friendliest looking one and try to strike up a conversation. It’s not often he’s in cities and he misses the conversation when he’s out hunting bounties.
Which is what happened anyway, there was just an added step of passive aggression in between. What I quickly realized out of character is that none of the player characters really knew what was going on. With the exception of my Aussie friend, not a single person actually had a motivation for their character to want to go on any expedition to Cathay when the conductor of the GM’s railroad walked in and asked “Hey, who wants to go to Cathay?”. Of course, that didn’t stop everyone from saying yes. We all obviously wanted to play the game. It was just jarring how the GM hadn’t actually let the rest of the players have any drive or show any initiative with their characters.
There was a cherry on top of the warning bells going off in this first session. The NPC who would soon lead our expedition, a halfling by the name of Spankley Huffingpie, gave a speech about what the trip could give us from atop his ogre companion, Tank. At one point, he mentioned glory. Immediately, the GM broke into a French accent and bellowed “DID SOMEONE SAY GLORY?”
Enter Sir Guy, the GM’s GMPC. He felt the need to include his own player character, which he called as such, in addition to the nine player characters we ended up having. When asked about this, his response was that he wanted to play as well and that it wasn’t fair that he couldn’t have a player character too. There was a part of me that sat there dumbfounded at that statement. How could someone presumably read the GM guide section of a tabletop RPG rulebook and not understand the role of the GM? That he was playing every character and he only contributed to the congestion of an overcrowded table?
The session itself wasn’t bad after that. Neither was the next one, or the one after that. The GM actually moved things along at a brisk pace despite there being so many people. My one complaint would have been that the group was split too often. There were times when the half the group or more would sit there in silence for upwards of an hour while a handful of PCs got to chew the fat of a scene.
Before I get into the proper stories of the GM’s shitbaggery, occasional player shitbaggery, and a bit of my own shitbaggery, I feel that it is important to introduce, at least briefly, the cast of characters and their players. We endured four years of bullshit, so someone deserves to know a bit about them, even if it’s only a few people on reddit. Without further ado, the cast of this sordid four year odyssey:
Ocel, a mellow hunter shanghaied into coming along while in Marienburg looking for a part to fix his moonshine still. The character started off as, more or less, a self-insert for his player. He evolved beyond that, somewhat. The player is one of the nicest, most normal people I’ve ever encountered on the internet. He’s a family man and he liked to act like he didn’t take the game seriously despite getting into a heated argument or two with the GM in his time.
Leif, a dwarf entertainer who quickly revealed himself to be a murderhobo with little respect for the law or common decency. There were numerous moments of wanton murder, theft, and other shenanigans that won’t be mentioned in this thread or series of threads because they don’t pertain to the horror stories of the campaign. Leif eventually died after becoming a chaos dwarf. He was replaced briefly by a snotling name Glitz before the player decided to settle on Breadbeard, a halfling pirate who was somehow an amazing and terrible pirate at the same time. The player had previously played with the GM and another player before at their college. Supposedly, he randomly walked up to them as they were playing in the cafeteria, sat down, and asked to join their game. He got handed Leif’s character sheet and is still here. He built up an air of mystery and became a source of memes, but he always came across as a lonely computer science major to me. He rarely had his character act unless prompted after switching to Breadbeard.
Iorveth. Yes, like Iorveth from the Witcher. He was played very much like a random chaotic neutral character, but his player is one of my best friends to this day. One of my greatest takeaways from the campaign is his friendship. The GM calls him an immature child because he’s a passionate person who wears his heart on his sleeve and sometimes had trouble separating in-character from out of character. A problem player, but a great person.
Phineas the Green, a jade wizard. The character was played very much like a crazy old man. He found a weird snotling totem that caused a tribe of snotlings to follow along behind him for the entirety of his time in the campaign. He’s a terrific guy outside of the game but even he admits that he can be a bit of a shit with how he roleplays. He ended up getting kicked from the game for being hard to deal with.
Saul, played by my best friend in the group. Saul was basically a cutthroat asshole of an assassin who got an introduction that clearly wasn’t planned. In his first session, this Estalian Diestro somehow survived assassinating an elector count as a first career character. He subsequently was given one of the most powerful magic items of the campaign as the GM improvised his assassination attempt as being part of a political play by Stirland, orchestrated by Spankley. My friendship with Saul’s player is complicated but ultimately, we’ve been through a whole lot of shit online together and have been the most consistent thing about one another’s lives for a decade now.
Nikolai, a Kislev nobleman played by the Aussie. Nikolai was, for all intents and purposes, the GM-intended main character, whether either of them will admit to that. He had a lot of pre-written backstory and was the only person besides my character with an actual motivation to join the expedition. His character’s family was torn apart by the Storm of Chaos and he needed a way to make money quickly to save his ailing town. The Aussie is a good guy, but he changes his personality too much to accommodate for his friends.
Serafina, played by the Aussie’s girlfriend. Serafina was a Tilean noblewoman with a surprisingly dark past, considering her initial attitude of ‘dour Italian Disney princess’. The player is a nice girl, although I often got the impression that she’d rather just spend time with her boyfriend rather than playing this game with us. Considering that, out of everyone, she enjoyed the most success (and subsequently the most stress) in her professional life, I can’t say that I blame her.
Ulric the Grizzly, an amber wizard. He was more or less a self-insert. In any normal campaign, this guy would be the subject of the horror story. The first thing the player ever told me was that he had autism. This made me very defensive whenever the GM gave him shit, considering I have a nephew with autism, but the rest of his personality eventually made me grow to dislike him. He was oblivious, cocky, and an admitted furry. If someone told me about him out of context, I’d think he was made up like so many other characters you hear about on the internet. The problem was that the player, and subsequently Ulric, was genuinely stupid. Whether he was stupid out of game, in his professional life, I don’t know, but a large majority of his screen time was spent being babysat, whether in-character or myself, Aussie, or the GM looking up wizard rules for him.
Alice, who only came in after Iorveth and Phineas were kicked from the campaign. Alice was introduced in Ind (Warhammer India), two years after the campaign started. Not to jump the gun too much on the story, but the Aussie and the GM gave her almost no guidance on the setting or character creation. So, to her credit, the player showed up to the table with a plucky halfling smuggler eager to save her people from a disease that ravaged them. The problem was that the player and her character hardly talked. The player is sweet, although our personalities clash somewhat.
I don’t describe the GM or myself because a large part of this boils down to me vs. him, so I’ll let his actions and my own speak for themselves.
So, with that said, let’s get to the first instance of the GM being a complete prick. After the party was mostly gathered in Altdorf, Saul and Serafina being introduced in the second session, we ended up outside of a town called Wurtbad along the river. The session in itself was fine. It was actually, for quite a long time, my favorite session of the campaign. The GM did something that left a terrible taste in my mouth considering an interaction we had between game days.
At one point, I described my character as being true neutral along the alignment spectrum, as he never stayed in one place too long to form connections with people or begin to care about them. I told the GM that I would like it if there were opportunities for my character to develop strong bonds and grow into a good person over the course of the campaign. In hindsight, that was coming anyway, but I was also new to tabletop roleplaying. The GM’s response was “It’s not my job to give you character development”. Ignoring the fact that, as the person putting things in front of the PCs, it actually is, that’s a very asinine response, especially given what happened in Wurtbad.
The GM’s Bretonnian Knight-Errant, Sir Guy, was a prick. It turned out he was an overcompensating prick, as he was always too late to a battlefield to win glory. He was a dick to pretty much everyone in the party except the character played by his best friend. When we found ourselves at Wurtbad, what would show up outside the walls of the city if not a band of Bretonnian refugees. I’ve often thought about the logistics of this. The city of Wurtbad was sort of out in the boonies and it would take a lot of effort to get there rather than being a refugee at a major population center like Altdorf or Middenheim. To quote what the GM said about half the things I tried to do, ‘it seemed really convenient’. These refugees show up, berate Sir Guy and his entire nation for the way that the peasants are treated, and suddenly Sir Guy is in a journey of self-discovery spurred on by elements of his backstory.
So, it wasn’t his job to give my character any character development, but he certainly wrote an opportunity for his own character development into his plot.
Some of these refugees were soon kidnapped, which leads us quickly into the next point of contention. Some beastmen that attacked the city ended up kidnapping some of the townsfolk and running them smack dab into Mordheim. As someone not familiar with the lore, it just seemed like a big, freaky, chaos infected city prime for a good dungeon romp.
The party ends up trapped in some haunted chaos mansion, surrounded by chaos spawn. We find the Bretonnain refugees and escort them out through harrowing circumstances. The GM decided to throw a boss fight at us in the form of a mutated chaos hydra. All things considered; it was a fair boss fight. It had lots of heads, which meant that it had numerous attacks for us to contend with a turn. It’s here I’d like to briefly touch upon how I envisioned my character’s role in the group: he was a trickster type who used what tools he had in his arsenal to create opportunities for the front-line fighters when he wasn’t busy being a nightmare with his repeater crossbow.
To that end, his melee weapon was a whip. It had the snare quality. I used it to attempt to briefly hold down the nearest head of the Hydra. It was a risky maneuver I figured would fail, but I assumed that the Hydra could be distracted for just long enough for the nearby party members to get some hits in while it struggled. The GM looked up snare rules and, after I won an opposed agility vs. strength test, proceeded to spill spaghetti and declared the entire Hydra, not just that one head, was considered helpless. It died before it even rolled around to its turn. I left the session feeling unsatisfied, despite what the GM thought.
I later learned from the Aussie that the GM pitched a fit about that in private. He seemed angry that my whip had managed to completely subdue the precious monster he’d created to challenge the party. The GM apparently thought I was some mastermind who was cheating the rules somehow, rather than a guy who chose to have a gimmick for his hand weapon rather than a sword or a shield.
The tone of unease between the GM and myself continued to grow as the group entered Sylvania. As my bounty hunter was now freshly into vampire hunter, I proposed to my fellow players that we hunt a vampire. The vampire we hunt under his direction is a random one that just so happened to walk right into the bar we were staying at. Immediately after it died, the GM had Spankley show up and tell us that he had a line on some cheap wagons that we could use for our expedition to Cathay. After a brief explanation, it became obvious that the person Spank had spoken with was a vampire lord of some kind or another. After the party pointed out that we had just killed a vampire, which we could turn in for a bounty in Stirland, and then use that money to buy wagons, Spank all but said “I’m your boss, do what I say” and forced us onto the railroad.
I’d again like to stop here and say that if the GM had been so inclined, he could have neatly tied in the motivation to hunt a vampire into, well, the story he wanted to tell of us traversing the mountains in search of a dangerous vampire’s lair. He could have put rumors of the vampire’s presence in the mountains and let us do his work for him instead of sloppily pushing us along on railroad tracks.
With that said, we traversed the dangerous mountains of Sylvania and came to the lair of our generous patron – who, of course, turned out to be a necrarch vampire lord by the name of Orlus. Orlus, as it turned out, had tricked Spank into delivering the party to his door step. We were a vampire lord’s idea of takeout. After traversing the fairly standard vampire dungeon, climbing to the top of the tower, we found ourselves face to face with Orlus. Our previous encounter with a vampire had readied most of us for vampire’s mechanics and we made short work of him. Of course, that wasn’t the end of it, because Orlus turned into mist and escaped into the catacombs immediately beneath our feet.
Despite us being at the top of a tower.
That headscratcher aside, we pursued Orlus down into the crypt because we were a bunch of pissed off adventurers who were out for blood after the vampire fucked with us. We make our way to a second ominous boss fight chamber. This time, Orlus had transformed into a Vargheist. He was surrounded by several near-man sized vampire bats. The setup for this fight, in spite of the bullshit that came after it, was actually quite nice. Saul, Nikolai, Guy, Iorveth, and Leif fought the vampire directly while Ocel, Phineas, Serafina, Ulric, and myself kept the vampire bats from harassing the melee combatants too much. I made myself useful by using my whip to snatch vampire bats out of the air, making them helpless fodder for the melee combatants willing to take a swing at them.
The problem came on the turn when all the vampire bats were defeated. As my character was the elf with the highest agility, he started the turn off. The GM admitted that Orlus was probably going to die that round. Because I had nothing else to do, and because it beat shooting him, my character attacked Orlus with his whip. The GM sanely said that Orlus wasn’t going to be held down, but I could, of course, roll for damage. The result of the damage dice was a 10. This 10 soon exploded into another 10. This 10 was followed by another 10. In total, I did somewhere in the ballpark of 60 damage to Orlus. The GM was dumbfounded. He managed to describe the whip catching him in a wound and my character using all of his strength to rip the wound open, causing all of Orlus’s innards to spill out.
If you think that this is a 4000 word something setup for an ‘and then I rolled a nat 20 and won the game’ or this turning into another Grendel story, I, much like Dutch Van Der Linde, implore you to have faith, son.
The group soon found itself in a vast treasure room. Orlus had been alive a very long time, after all, and suddenly we got to get all of his goodies. Allow me to briefly go over what everyone got:
Nikolai: A magic lance-spear thing. Fucktons of money. Armor for his horse. Proper Kislevite armor and materials with which to make a banner.
Ulric: Fucktons of money, a custom set of magic robes called robes of weaving. These robes effectively doubled the bonus to his casting from channeling. A +3 turned into a +6 and so on. Very potent.
Phineas: Much the same as Ulric, plus ingredients for alchemy.
Sir Guy: A magic shield, a magic suit of armor that made him completely immune to fire damage, horse armor, and a fuckton of cash.
Serafina: Some random magical items I honestly can’t remember, plus a magic animal collar.
Ocel: Sir Guy’s magical talking armor told him to stick the recurve bow he bought from Nikolai in session 1 into his arm pit and it turned into one of the best magical items in the game.
Iorveth: The sword of the Aussie’s warhammerfied version of Alexander the Great, Alexandros the Self-Absorbed.
Leif: A magical lute that allowed him to cast one of the strongest offensive magic spells every turn if he passed a perform check.
Saul: A fuckton of money, new armor.
My character: A puzzle cube that drove him insane in the process of trying to solve it, inflicting upwards of 20 insanity points.
Before I go on, allow me to give you some context I didn’t have at the time: The GM thought that I was some sort of super hacker that hacked rolz.org, the site we used for dice rolls, to cheese its dice rolling algorithm so that it gave me a huge crit from exploding dice. Apparently, what made this even worse was that Saul’s player, who greatly enjoyed my character killing the vampire, PMed the GM suggesting that some sort of magic vampire killing whip, or an upgrade of my whip into one, was in order. The GM took this as me cheating and the other guy being in on it, so in a fit of anger he made my character gain a metric fuckton of insanity points. For whatever it’s worth, my character -did- solve the cube and gained a prize. His prize was a tiny amethyst imp my character proceeded to name ‘Tiny’. So, my character is driven insane. I, meanwhile, felt completely cheated. No loot, my character was insane, and everyone besides me now has cool magic items.
After the session ends, I have a conversation with the GM. Eventually, he agrees to just let me roll for one insanity on the insanity table, agreeing to flavor it in such a way that my character isn’t intolerable to roleplay. He also assures me that there’s a story reason for why the cool thing he has planned for me isn’t in there and that it’s coming. Nevermind that the treasure trove had Tilean loot, Kislevite loot, Bretonnian loot, and Imperial loot.
So, we trek on to Karak Kadrin. Here I feel it’s prudent to mention that my character has spent the better part of forty years disguising himself as a human so that he could comfortably live among them. When we got to Karak Kadrin, the dwarves immediately saw through the disguise with no chance for a disguise roll of any kind. My character was treated poorly by the dwarves, which makes complete in-character sense, but certainly doesn’t improve my mood after what just happened.
Eventually, we find our way to the plot hook leading me to my epic weapon, which turned out to be a master-crafted six-cylinder dwarven revolver. It was the life’s work of the same dwarf who invented the drakegun. Said engineer was now an ancient engineer-slayer looking to find his glorious death and promised my character the gun if the party helped him investigate some rumors in the tunnels beneath the dwarf keep.
We end up encountering three minotaurs in chaos armor and a hobgoblin. My character, seeing a soft target, chooses to spend the first action of the combat sniping the hobgoblin off of the minotaur. This results in another series of exploding 10s. At this point, the GM calls the session and tells me outright that he thinks I’m cheating and somehow hacking a website to give me an advantage in a tabletop roleplaying game. I’m taken aback. To their credit, every single other player comes to my defense. They tell the GM that such a thing would be very hard to do and the Aussie, who has known me for quite a long time, tells the GM that I’ve never shown myself in all the years I’ve known him to be capable of programming of any kind. The GM finally relents.
After the right, we find that the hobgoblin is still alive. It feels very passive-aggressive when this happens. The engineer slayer sacrifices himself in an epic way and we make our way back to the surface. After all of this bullshit, the gun turns out to be a joke, stats-wise. The GM conveniently decides he’s not even going to use best craftsmanship rules, depriving me of even the most basic of buffs. Furthermore, it had a quality that made it so that my character, as an elf, couldn’t even properly aim the weapon as it was made for ‘the hands of dawi alone’. Somehow, no other dwarf-made item has this rule. Its single unique quality, ‘rune of the avalanche’, was also incredibly passive-aggressive in the context of the GM making the weapon while believing that I was cheating. For the rune to even activate, I needed to roll a natural 100 while firing the weapon. The effect turned out to be rolling 3 damage dice for impact instead of 2.
The worst part is that I didn’t even want my character to use a gun. I imagined him as a quiet, clandestine trickster. During a discussion about what inspired our characters, I mentioned the Man with No Name from A Fistful of Dollars. To the GM, that seemed to have meant ‘cowboy’. To me, that meant an outsider observant enough to think three steps ahead and manipulate a situation so that they were the one who came out on top in any situation. The GM got defensive and said that it was obvious that I wanted the character to use a gun despite never going out of my way to buy a firearm even when I possessed the money to do so.
At this point, I was done with the character. There was a part of me that somehow thought that the problem was between the GM and my character, rather than the GM and me. The GM said he was never biased against me despite all of the things I’ve said above. He also said very nasty things that, as someone who has always prided himself on his ability to characterize characters well, really stung. He said that my character had no personality at every turn, that he was more defined by his success on dice rolls than as a person, and all sorts of other stuff despite my very best efforts to actually roleplay and engage with the world rather than waiting on his railroad to come to me.
He also didn’t understand that it felt like everyone else had gotten a grab bag filled with hundred-dollar bills, those sea salt and vinegar potato chips you can only buy at KrogeRalphs, and a blowjob from Elsa Jean while I got one that had absolutely nothing inside of it. So, I decided to kill my character off and replace him with a dwarf, since I enjoy playing as non-humans and I thought, perhaps, that we’d mesh better if I played a character he enjoyed.
But we’ll get to that tomorrow. I’ve written nearly 5.5k words of this Odyssey of a campaign and the horror story that the GM put people through. The next part will cover the year and a half out of game we spent in a part of the Warhammer world called the Dark Lands. In the words of someone I’ve told that part of the story to before: you need therapy.
I know that this is probably pretty long-winded, but I genuinely, sincerely hope that this has been enjoyable, funny, cringeworthy, or at least capable of teaching you a lesson on how not to run a tabletop RPG.

tl;dr I'm Odysseus, the GM is every greek god who hates him at once, and I'm trekking on in spite of the fact that there's only more stories of horror awaiting me, not a hot wife or an awesome son.

Edit: Part 2
submitted by CylanCooper to rpghorrorstories

How one decision by a friend running a NPC in my campaign, brought the world to the brink war.

The background of my friend running a NPC:
So about two years ago my best mate sadly had to move states (700+km and a larger ocean between us)
He introduced me and a bunch of mates to DnD and was our DM until the game fell apart (tried to run it via skype but it was hard)
with his departure I decided to take on the role of DM for a smaller group of friends and it has been going really well. When I started the campaign I talked to my mate about the possibility of having him run a NPC in the game (idea from Matt colville early videos)
My friend in question is the leader of a faction mainly consisting of humans, he was the parties first real quest giver and has had an important role in their adventures over the last year and a half.
At first he just made light decisions, where should you send the party, do you want them to tackle a threat to the north or explore rumours to the south etc.
Recently the party travelled to the feywild, with this move by the party, my mate has not had much to do during the last 11 sessions while the party is in the feywild.
So I asked him if he wanted to have a larger role in the game he agreed and over the next 3 days with him we fleshed out the political nature of the lands. We just role played, no dice, with only one pre defined goal to work through a deal to re-open trade routes between the nations.

Some background:
In the Homebrew world 27 years after a large war that decimated the whole world, cities of 100,000 were reduced to 1000s, every nation banded together to fight off the devastation of a world ending attempt to bring Tiamat into the mortal plane, the nations were successful but at the cost of more lives then could be counted.
In the aftermath each nation is divided into sections that largely segregated the races, the evles and dragonborn were the first to close their borders closed this built tension in the other races who did the same.
As the borders to the outside world close the wilds took back the lands, races like the goblin reclaimed abandoned lands, forests retook what was once farm land, wild animals moved into abandoned villages and the world is basically reborn in a new age mainly sue to the lack of population.
Rumours began to stir of someone collecting shards of an artifact used in the war a artifact of great and devastating power, so this is where my players started off.

Back to the story:
As the group ventured into the feywilds to collect one of these artifact's, I rolled on the time dilation table for optional rules and days were turned into months, so that 9 days they spent travelling turned into 9 months when they return to the feywild this weekend.
My friend and I started simple enough, I gave him pointers that he could ask any number of questions to me about the world as he might miss some details we talked at length about what he knew about each empire and their practices (this included points like the Elves attempting to reforest farm land inside their borders and Dragonborn using slaves inside their city, among hundreds of other little bits of information), the Dragonborn had decided to start re-opening their borders to the world, while they were rich in jewels and silk (the dragon born settled in a desert after the war) they were poor in food, water and medicine as a nation, so they invited the Dwarves and humans (my friends NPC) to a negotiation as they were the two largest nations left outside of the elves.
We talked about what opening the borders would do the good and the bad, we talked about options including th need to expand farm land to help support this trade deal, what his nation would get out of it.
After 40 minutes the Humans, Dragonborn and dwarves came to an agreement to reopen trade routes, allow travel through the humans lands to the dwarves and Dragonborn and to supply the Dragonborn nation with food and water, in return the Dragonborn who at the request of my friend would supply as they called it "a workforce" to help expand the humans farms and to work on them, they would also help fill the coffers of Etrion keep (the humans capital) with jewels and goods as part of the deal, the dwarves would supply tools and supplies to help till the land and in return also take a portion of the resources form these new farms.

two months passed in game (the next day) when my friend remembered that dragon-born use slaves, his exact words to me were "ohh sh!t they use slaves don't they" as 2000 slaves arrived into the human lands and began the process of removing forest to constructing more farms and a new town not to far from the eleven border (the most fertile land and where my mate had picked to place the farms I showed him the world map to make his decision) he did not want to offend the dragonborn and decided since the slaves were already there to utilise them.

Two months later The elves and the Orcs sent delegations to the humans as of course were not agreeing with the nations decisions (Orcs aren't just savages in this land think of them closer as a race to Warcrafts Thrall), the Orcs took offence with the slaves, although they consisted mainly Kobolds and Goblins it was the principal of enslaving another race they were against and the elves were against the DE-forestation happening near their borders, after tough negations with the Orcs and the elves, the human nation rejected the Elves protests to stop cutting down the forest but accepted the Orcs proposal to stop using Dragonborn slaves and in return they would help the humans expand the lands through their magic and man power, these negotiations went on for at least 2 hours over text.

Fast forward 5 more months, the dragonborn are on edge with their new allies after having their slaves forced back home after the humans back-flipped on their deal, more so when the humans requested the slaves in the first place.
The Orcs having temporarily moved a large portion of armies over the human lands, left themselves open to decimation at the hand of the Goliaths, who took the moment of weakness in their neighbours as a perfect time to reclaim their "rightful lands"
The Elves with reinforcements from the Tiefling nation (who see a power play happening and aim to take the lands held by the dragonborn) are poised to attack the human/Dwarf/Dragonborn alliance.
Skirmishes are breaking out on the borders of worlds and what was a small town where the group left is now a re-enforced city on the border of the elven lands.
My party left a peaceful world with nations starting to branch out, only to come back to a world close to being on fire, I can't wait for this weekend.
submitted by rykon8472 to DnD

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