This one time (at D&D camp), I was playing my trusty ranger, Boondin. My friends and I were in the middle of a great battle, and I was doing my best to stay behind the lines and fire my arrows. Unfortunately, our enemies had decided to flank us and my friends were surrounded!
I saw my friend Klara fighting in the distance, using her quarterstaff to block a large badger’s path at the same time. She was a bit overwhelmed, and I didn’t want to wait until the badger was directly next to her before I fired an arrow. I aimed carefully and let it fly.
Now, you might be asking yourself about my level, my skills, and the difficulty involved in a shot like that – even if it wasn’t a called shot Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t know.
I know I was fighting a hard battle to keep the enemies off of my friends, and in the heat of battle, it was difficult to keep track of all the effects of my abilities. Not to mention the DM was staring me down in a very unsettling way.
But I do know one thing: I hit the badger – with a nat 20. Yes, a critical hit. The DM described the arrow as doing a lot of internal damage. The badger, who weighed at least 200 lbs and was 7 feet long, made a great dinner for our characters that night.
Little did we know our taking out the badger had made the DM upset. Good old Ted didn’t show it at first, but after the battle was over and we started to pack up our stuff, he called me over.
“Boondin,” he said. “I need to talk to you about something.”
“Yes?” I asked.
“See,” he started. “You killed that badger. You know, the badger that I was planning for the Dragonlord to fight at the end of the campaign? The badger that I was going to make all the way stronger than the rest of the badgers in the entire forest?”
“Uh…” I said. “Sorry?”
“Sorry isn’t good enough,” he answered. “You need to go back to where that badger was, find its spirit, and ask for forgiveness.”
I looked at him, stunned. “What?!” I exclaimed. “I’ve never heard of that before. The game’s over. What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about the fact that you have ruined my campaign,” he shot back.
“But…but I was just doing my job!” I protested.
“Don’t try to act innocent with me. You know what you have to do. You need to go back to the place where you killed that badger, find its spirit, and ask for forgiveness.”
“Why don’t you ask it yourself?” I yelled.
“Because I’ve already written the campaign, and you’re the one who killed it,” he responded, getting a bit angry himself. “You know you have to do this!”
I was very upset. By this time, Klara and Jason walked over to see what all the yelling was about. “What’s going on?” Klara asked.
“Ted wants me to find the spirit of the badger I killed,” I answered. “And I have to ask it for forgiveness.”
“What?!” Jason exclaimed. “Are you serious? This is some weird Mazes and Monsters shit, isn’t it? If so, I’m Audi 9000…”
Klara rolled her eyes. “Jason,” she said. “Shut up.”
“No, look, I’m serious,” Ted said. “It’s the only way to keep this campaign going.”
“Why do you need it to go on?” Klara asked. “It was my character who killed the badger!”
That was the first time that I realized there was a major plot hole in our game. The Dragonlord was going to be fighting this badger at the end of the campaign, but I’d killed it with a lucky shot, a roll of the dice.
The four of us just stood there, looking at each other, not knowing what to do. Finally, Ted walked away. “Alright,” he said. “I guess that’s it for this campaign.”
We all looked at each other and headed out of the dining room. In the kitchen, before leaving, we huddled up and whispered our plans. “Are you going to do it?” Jason asked.
“I guess there’s no other option, huh?” I sighed. “He’s gonna flip a shit if I don’t do it.”
“Well, you don’t need to do it now,” Klara said. “Ted’s obviously going insane. Let him stew for a bit.”
“I guess you’re right,” I agreed. “What should I say to him? I’ve never had to do something like this before!”
“Just tell him you’ll do it tomorrow. Then we’ll figure out how to fix this problem.”
“Okay…” I nodded.
Ted wanted nothing to do with us, maintaining that the campaign was over.
You might think that we stewed and planned to get Ted back as a DM, but we didn’t.
That’s the week I became a Dungeon Master myself. Klara and Jason were joined by John and Paul, and together we had a great time. I didn’t have to kill no badger spirits, and the Mountain Dew in the fridge was cold and in cans.
Since then, I’ve DM’ed for my friends, and we’ve had some great sessions. Still, I sometimes fear that Ted is sitting in the bushes outside my house, waiting for me to do some crazy real-life thing related to his D&D world.
I guess I’ll always feel a little guilty about that badger.