The Stupidest Character Decision I’ve Ever Seen
Updated: Jun 21, 2022
A few installments ago, I talked a bit about how important your allies are in a game like Dungeons and Dragons, and how you learn to work together and have each other’s back. Today, I’m going to throw all of that out the window and tell you about the most bonkers thing I’ve ever seen a player character do in-game.
When We Last Left Our Heroes…
Two of our party members, Ceos the dwarf cleric and Teya the half-elf barbarian, were struck down by a blue flash of light, and began talking nonsense about time being “out of joint.” After they woke up, we learned they weren’t the only ones affected… and some of the others were dying…
We stopped back at the town to resupply, and got a mission to carry an important letter to a town called “Powderkeg.” Along the way, we passed a wild man who was talking nonsense – similar to the nonsense Ceos and Teya had muttered earlier…
Then things got weird.
We came to a clearing, and found a huge mass of thorny brambles sitting in the center of the field, glowing slightly blue. Kalan the halfling rogue moved cautiously into the clearing, and the bush fired a thorn at him. It grazed him lightly, and he screamed and collapsed immediately.
So, you know... kind of a red flag.
Ceos moved in next, and took another thorn himself... but instead of screaming, he had a psychic conversation with the plant. Roth the gnome wizard entered and took a thorn as well, and did the same thing. Eventually, Kalan got to his feet as well. Gorg the half-orc barbarian fired an arrow at the bush, and when he hit, Kalan, Ceos and Roth screamed in pain. Clearly, attacking the bush wasn’t a great option.
Then Ceos and Roth walked up to the bush, which offered two seeds. Ceos ate one, vomited, and then sprung to his feet and grabbed the other, and turned back towards the group.
This is where it gets bad. See, the plant was telling them that it had fallen through time from a dark future, and wanted us to prevent that terrible fate. It also said that it was dying, but its seeds would help heal Teya from the effects of the blue flash. It’s worth pointing out at this point that Ceos and Roth were not being controlled by the plant, just communicating with it psychically; they still had their free will. This means he ate the seed of a glowing bush made of living thorns because the bush told him to do so.
They took the other seed, and tried to force Teya to eat it. And they didn't really... tell any of the rest of us what was happening. So, when they tried to feed Teya a seed, we had no context for why they were doing it or what was happening. For all we knew, this was the beginning of a zombie apocalypse.
See? Communication. Try it at your table, it works wonders.
So, as they tried to feed Teya the seed, the rest of us charged to stop them, but Roth fired a color-spray at us to knock us out (my character Calvin, true to form, was the only one hit, and immediately fell unconscious). This led to some shouting and yelling, until Teya finally agreed to eat the seed. The rest of us (not me, I was unconscious) pointed out that this was the dumbest, most reckless thing she could do, but she did it anyway.
Based on the cover for New Avengers: Illuminati #2, by Jim Cheung. I call this one “The Seeds of Mistrust.”
As soon as Teya and Ceos ate the seeds, they got to speak with the plant psychically – it told them that someone had come through to the past from the future, and offered a vague vision of a woman in armor. And it told us that, further down the timestream, time was simply ceasing to be. If we did not act, time would literally end.
By this point, Calvin was awake, and here’s where things stood: Teya started vomiting, the plant started disintegrating, and Xann (human paladin) and I started charging at Roth very angrily.
But we were all stopped short when we heard a voice in all of our heads – the dying thoughts of the plant:
A kingdom of truth will fall
A kingdom of deceit will rise
The light shall meet the dark
And nothingness shall win
The old face with a new will open the door to nothingness.
With that, the plant dissolved, and we all stood stunned. Until, of course, I turned around and punched Roth in the face (in-game – I didn’t actually punch the player), and then said, “All right, let’s go.”
Quick side-note – two of our characters (I believe Kalan and Gorg) secretly made a pact that, if Ceos or Teya started acting funny, they would just kill them. I don’t have any sort of foreshadowing to offer or anything, that didn’t end up happening. It just helps reinforce the whole “seeds of mistrust” thing.
Credit where credit is due, she felt better, they didn’t die, and it turns out this gave Ceos and Teya the ability to speak telepathically with each other at almost any distance. Plus, we got a helpful prophecy about the end of the world. With such positive results, could this really still be said to be the dumbest decision ever?
Well, on the one hand, no. Clearly, Daniel our DM was trying to resolve the fact that they had missed a prior session by tying it into the main plot. It offered vital foreshadowing for the future (no pun intended) of the campaign, and having a pair of telepaths in your party is never a bad thing.
On the other hand, they ate the seeds of a magic time bush made of psychic thorns. I still maintain that this was an ill-advised decision.
But, hey, that’s D&D. Put a crazy ridiculous option in front of your players, and you gotta figure that at least one of them will go for it.