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15 D&D Players Describe How They Derailed Everything Their Dungeon Masters Planned

In the vast world of tabletop roleplaying games, Dungeons & Dragons reigns supreme in both popularity and accessibility. Players gather around a table and one of them, the dungeon master (DM), carves out a narrative, initiates social and combat encounters, and presides over the puzzles the group must overcome and interact with.

Armed with an outline of the adventure and a general idea of how things are supposed to go, the dungeon master can usually predict how his or her players will tackle the situations placed before them. But no dungeon master can be prepared for every eventuality, and some party members just want to watch the world burn.

Here are 15 of the most unpredictable ways players have foiled their DMs' plans.

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  • A Party Restarted A Civil War And Became The Primary Antagonists

    From Redditor /u/Donkyhotay:

    Playing a campaign right now where we went so far off the rails it was impossible to go back... twice. We were supposed to bust out of prison, escape from the military base the prison was in, find out about a rebellion against the local king, find circumstantial evidence that looks bad for both the king and the rebels, and then make a decision as to whom to support.

    Instead, we broke out of prison, captured the military base, and used the military base as the foundation for our own empire. This was the point where the DM told us what his original plan was and that he was going to have to rethink the entire campaign. We then restarted a continent-wide civil war that had just ended a few years ago (this is in Eberron) so our new empire wouldn't get cornered by an alliance of all the other nations - but in doing so, we ended up splitting the party into three competing empires.

    At this point, the DM admitted his second plan was for us to work together to make alliances with some of the other nations to protect us, rather than pitting everyone against everyone else and ruling the wreckage (and fighting over it). The DM declared that "all of your alignments are now evil for basically starting WW3 and I'm just going to improvise all sessions from here on."

    We all agree, though, that it's been one of the best campaigns we've ever played, especially once the DM started improvising everything. He's turned out to be surprisingly good at it.

  • A Newbie Wore A 'Mask' And Fooled Some Guards

    From Redditor /u/Trexus183:

    So my new group had just started. The monk's first question, after [slaying] a goblin, was, "If I take the rogue's knife, can I cut off its face and use it as a mask?"

    [I sighed and said] "Sure, why not. D20 plus dexterity with a DC of 18." And of course he rolled a 15 +3.

    He then proceeded to walk up to all the guards, and I figured, "Hey, goblins are dumb, maybe it'll work. I'll let them roll for perception with a DC of 5."

    They all f*cking failed it.

    All of them.

  • They Threw A Mandrake Into A Confined Space

    From Redditor /u/radarvan07:

    So our party of five is a bit of a mixed bag of people who mostly haven't played before. Our DM solves this by letting us make mistakes, and then punishing us by giving us nothing or attempting to eliminate us. Fun times.

    When our party got together, most went to hunt for food, but the ranger decided that I, our tiefling druid, could not hunt and had to go look for useful plants. The DM disagreed, and said I found a mandrake instead. That mandrake now occasionally breaks the silence.

    Flash forward a few sessions, and we arrive at a cursed monastery, where we approach a crypt. The DM wanted to teach us that we shouldn't always throw things into the unknown, because our paladin has a habit of throwing his torch whenever stuff happens. He throws the torch into the crypt anyway, so the ghouls inside prepare an ambush. However, I decide that a confined crypt is the best place to throw [an incendiary], and I throw my mandrake into the crypt.

    The DM has me throw a d12. [I roll] 10. The ghouls now take 10 damage and run out in fear. Paladin stands in the way and gets an attack of opportunity, and nearly wipes them out. DM is visibly disappointed with this outcome. The party quickly cleans up and we go on our merry way.

  • Players Ran Off Before Listening To A Warning And Released An Ancient Red Dragon

    From Redditor /u/Benjs1:

    I guess the closest would be when the party rushed off to do a thing before listening to the warning of the NPC not to use too much fire magic... They were fighting trolls, so it was a jerk move on my part (and one that I don't regret at all) so obviously they used fire. [Editor's note: Trolls must take fire damage to be defeated, otherwise they will continue to regenerate health.] However, not knowing that there was an issue with that, they used a LOT of fire, and as a result they released an ancient red dragon who had been trapped in a prison of ice for hundreds of years.

    She quickly laid waste to the countryside, destroying many towns before beginning a war against another BBEG [Big Bad Evil Guy]... It didn't really ruin my plans, but it sure altered the landscape, and will make for some interesting RP when the party goes back to that area of the world.