Narrated D&D Story: How The Terrible DM Creates The Most Annoying Doom Vortex (Part 1)


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for. How the Terrible DM Creates the Most Annoying
Doom Vortex (Part 1) Let me spin you a tale of the most shockingly
overbearing railroading I’ve ever been exposed to; offensive not merely in its scope but
in its cruelty and foolishness, especially for having been purported by an experienced
DM and player. This was years and years ago, and ever since
then, the term which I coined, mid-way through the second session, “the doom vortex,” has
become a term which is spoken of in sepulchral tones in reference to the worst case scenario
of any campaign. It’s a long story, with many stops along the
way, but I promise that each of them will be as darkly entertaining to you, dear listener,
as it was miserable for me to experience them. As for the characters, I came in at the beginning of the second session
of what would ultimately be a three-session campaign. Playing a lawful neutral human fighter and
the son of a wealthy merchant-lord whose family manufactured and sold weapons and armour. Ray was my best friend, who invited me to
join the game. Playing an elven sorceress. The homebrew setting’s cosmology had all sorcerers’
powers coming from specific extra-planar elemental beings. In her case it was from some fire spirit whose
connection with her was waning and she was on an adventure to rekindle that connection. Tinpot was the one and only warforged in this
setting. Imagine the most mawkish-possible version
of The Iron Giant, at human size, and add nothing, and you get this character. I would later learn that he played this character
in essentially every campaign. Zap was a warlock who was a ten year old girl. Yes, you heard that right. If there was an in-character reason why she
was a part of an adventuring party, I never learned it, but I doubt there was. She was played by the sort of fey young man
who constantly worked overtime to affect every stereotypically gay mannerism he could, and
each and every time he had his character use those warlock powers to attack, he would make
little finger-guns and imitate this classic Simpsons bit. Every. Single. Time. And to the best of my recollection, this was
the sole bit of characterization the character ever got. Doombo the DM – The=DM (naturally) and villain
of the story. Twenty-four years old (which will prove to
be relevant at the end of the story). Running a homebrew campaign setting of his
own devising. I’ll let the telling of the tale inform you
of everything else about him worth knowing for the sake of this story. Here’s what I know about the first session. The three original player characters are gathered
up by the DMPC, a character controlled by the DM, is a bard named Theron who was much
higher-level than them, informing them of mysterious signs and portents that they would
just need to trust which would guide them to some sort of grand destiny. For Ray’s character this involved restoring
the waning connection with her powers. I don’t know or care what it was for the other
two. They were guided to board a ship from the
setting’s main continent towards this crumbling and soon-to-be abandoned island. Apparently, part of the world setting’s
premise was that this main continent was continuously but slowly moving, and in its path it would
come across other islands which would be colonized, mined-out and then abandoned as they collapsed
into nothingness since they’re left in the wake of the departing main continent. On their way across the waters, their ship
was attacked and sunk by an orc boarding party, reportedly from some other unknown land, and
the characters were left to drift at sea on the shattered remains of the boat. My character enters in the second session,
and his story, as it’s relevant to the campaign, is that he was dispatched by his father to
investigate reports of Tinpot – this living, walking and talking weapon – and, if possible,
to acquire it for study and possible replication. As his first session begins, he’s on this
crumbling island already, having somehow beat them there, as the others are washing up on-shore. As my character arrives, both the characters
and bits of salvage from the wrecked ship are being rounded up by the imperial military
– a local garrison answerable to the Emperor in charge of the main continent. As my character spots the magical metal man
he was looking for amidst the salvage, he attempts to investigate, only to be told that
all of the salvage – including the surviving party members – were now the property of the
military, having been recovered from a shipwreck. As far as I can tell, this literally meant
“you washed up on a beach and we found you first, so you’re now slaves forever,” which,
ludicrous as it seems, actually fits rather well with the overall theme of the campaign. My character intervenes. With some fast talking persuasion, he made
the case that his father’s house would like to acquire this property, and that, acting
as his legal agent in this land, I would be happy to broker an arrangement whereby they
receive some top-shelf arms and armour in return for this salvage. One successful roll later, I’ve managed to
link my character to the rest of the party. So far so good. It’s at about this point that we’re attacked
by a swarm of red-skinned orcs with flame powers and there’s a huge battle on the beach. Apparently, these are connected with the ones
who attacked and sunk the party’s boat in the previous session. We win, and I lead the rest of the party off
from the beach, making introductions and whatnot. Fairly quickly, we come to an understanding:
They have business to attend to in the interior of the island, and time is of the essence
issue since the island only has a couple of months left before it’s uninhabitable. However, they understand that I just saved
them from slavery, so if I accompany them on this adventure, they’ll gladly accompany
me back home so that my character’s father can have a look at Tinpot. At this point, we’re all on the same page. The party is established. It’s important to keep this in mind going
forward, that we as players did this on our own without needing DM intervention. Thus endeth session 1. Session 2 starts. My character goes back to the inn where he’s
been staying and gets them rooms as well, and we spend the night sleeping there. In the morning, my character comes downstairs
to have breakfast in the common room, and arranges a magical courier to deliver a letter
to his father, updating him on the situation as it’s developed so far (I actually wrote
this letter up between sessions and gave it to the DM). He has the courier teleport the letter, and
a half an hour or so later as I’m finishing my breakfast I get a reply congratulating
him on the work thus far, but cautioning him not to trust Theron, who was a prince of the
realm who has been exiled. I note this, going forward. My character goes back up to his room to gather
his belongings, and finds that the bedroom window has been broken, and his plate mail
armour has been stolen. Since he’d only been gone half an hour or
so, this has to have happened very recently. My character climbs out of the window and
immediately begins to give chase. Over the course of the next half-hour or so
of play, I engage in various perception, gather information and such rolls as I make my way
through town, attempting to track what is described as a very elderly man lugging my
plate armour along behind him. The rest of the players are completely excluded
since obviously my character didn’t have the time to alert them to what was going on, and
all the while I was feeling both guilty for dominating the game this way and resentful
towards the DM for putting me in a position where I felt I had no other option but to
do so. At last my chase comes to an end when I learn
that the thief has already been arrested and taken away. The last half-hour of play was entirely pointless
and wasted for all concerned. At which point I gather the others to go see
about reclaiming my stolen armour. We go to the offices of the local military
garrison, where we’re told we’re just going to have to wait in line to be helped. We are also told that our characters stand
around in the lobby for a couple of hours, before someone eventually comes to talk to
us about the situation. After explaining everything, we’re told that
the thief has been taken away to the local wizard’s tower for punishment and that my
stolen armour will be in the evidence room there. FINE. As a player I’m getting more and more frustrated
that my meaningless, aimless “he came down for breakfast without his armour on” subplot
is dominating everyone else’s time situation, but I guess we’re doing this now. We go to this wizard’s tower and I’m shown
to where my armour is, and am told that I’m going to have to pay a hefty fee to get it
back in order to pay for the services of the guards who reclaimed it. FINE. As a player and as a character I just want
this to be over with, so my character hands over several gold pieces and proceeds to put
his armour back on. And this is when things really start to get
stupid . . . SURPRISE! I’m told that I feel a stabbing pain all over
my body as my armour constricts around me. Turns out that in the half hour or so that
it was stolen, a curse was laid upon it, and it’s now impossible to remove! I demand to see the old man who took it, and
I’m taken to his cell. It’s this cackling old man who jeeringly informs
me that this is revenge for something my family’s noble house did to him decades ago, and that
in a month or two, I’d be as old as he was, thanks to the curse on the armour which I
couldn’t remove. My character is flabbergasted that this old
man, apparently without there being anything very special about him, could have even done
this in just half an hour. I mean, for him to point out to the jailers
that he has, for all intents and purposes, just killed me… that I would be dead within
months… What did they intend to do to this peasant
who had dealt a lethal blow against a nobleman? “Oh, people around here lay curses like this
on each other all the time,” they reply, lazily. “If we punished everyone who did something
like this, we’d never have time to do anything else! We’ll give him community service for the theft,
though. Raking leaves and such.” Now furious, my character tries to leverage
his social standing to insist that if this old man laid this curse, he must know something
about its specifics, including how to lift it, and demand that he be compelled to help
me. “Well, I’m afraid he’ll be too busy raking
leaves for that. And if you try to interfere with his sentence,
then you’ll find yourself with the same sentence, so I suggest you just leave peacefully now
and not cause any trouble.” My character, furious beyond words, informs
the rest of the party that he no longer has time for their adventure or their goals; he’s
going to need to return home to his father to have him pay a wizard or cleric or someone
to lift this curse. Every hour spent doing anything other than
getting this curse lifted was months of his life gone. He prepared to head home empty-handed, knowing
his father would be disappointed, but that he would care more about the life of his son
and heir than about acquiring this walking weapon, and that he could just dispatch someone
else to round him up anyway. At this, Theron – the DMPC, whom my character
had been told not to trust – told him that there was an elven village further inland
where they would need to go to help Ray’s character with her magical problems, where
there were powerful spellcasters who might be willing and able to help. My character was extremely skeptical, but
kept this to himself. With some persuasion (some of which was me
as a player essentially metagaming here, since BEING persuaded was the only way not to have
my involvement in the campaign end then and there), I agreed to go along, knowing that
I would turn my back on the rest of them at a moment’s notice if this didn’t pan out. They’d spend most of the day on this, and
evening was coming, so we agreed to set out for the village first thing in the morning. My character, I decided, would spend the evening
going around to local blacksmiths to see about having the armour cut off of him. He even spent a bunch of gold on healing potions,
in case it was necessary to simply destroy the armour, by means of acid or tongs or whatever
and repair the damage to his underlying flesh. Doombo the DM decides we need to actually
roleplay through this whole experience, which takes another hour or so because he has to
make it dramatic. At the end of the hour, my character was several
gold pieces poorer and no closer to being free. Now, if I’d been in his shoes, I would have
just told the cursed player, “You spend the evening going around to local shops, plying
craftsmen and alchemists to help you, but in the end, they all inform you that it’s
beyond their limited means. None of them know how to deal with a curse
like this.” I wouldn’t have wasted the other players’
time for an hour on something totally futile which they weren’t even involved with and
which didn’t concern or impact them. Meanwhile, Ray’s character has had her own
share of problems, which are relevant to the tale. She’d needed to go ask some favour from the
local military commander, I think having to do with getting permission to head inland. My memory is a bit vague here since this scene
didn’t involve me, but I think it had something to do with imperial citizens being limited
to the coastline in light of the need to evacuate in the near future. Whatever the case, she attempts to get this
guy to do us this favour, and he demands in return that Ray’s character agree to marry
him. Ray is given some sort of knowledge roll regarding
this guy and is given the information that it’s widely-known that he’s married something
like ten women in the past year or two and they’ve all gone missing on their wedding
nights, and it’s only his important position which has insulated him from a murder investigation. Ray’s character demurs from agreeing, and
the commander makes it clear that he’s not prepared to take no for an answer. The commander earnestly made the following
demands, or commands, if you will: that they would be married, right there, right then,
and that he could call in the military chaplain to do the honours. One charm person spell later and she’d managed
to convince the newly-pliable military commander to let her character go free. Naturally, she was very eager to get going
to this elf village as well when we all met up again. So… We get moving in the morning. My character is furious and miserable, and
along the way, I ask if there are any rivers or streams in sight. Finding the answer to be affirmative, I have
my character wade into the water, pointedly looking away from the party and have him piss
and shit his pants, because with the non removable plate armour over him, he’s physically incapable
of pulling them down to do his business. I don’t do this to be gross; I’m making a
point of just how utterly miserable this curse is and the different dimensions of his need
to be rid of it. He stands there, waiting for the water soaking
through his clothes to wash the filth away as much as possible before resuming the journey. Before we discuss the video on more quick
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no one likes waiting in line in real life why would you make your players wait in line
in game? And this is just Part 1! Please let us know what you think and comment
below! Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel,
All Things DnD. Our next video will be posted in 3 days, so
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100 Replies to “Narrated D&D Story: How The Terrible DM Creates The Most Annoying Doom Vortex (Part 1)”

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  2. This- this only happened 3 or so sessions in? By god, this DM is awful… Him making his dmpc prince of another land or whatever is so fucking lame too.
    Small edit: The guard wanting to marry her also seemed kind of cringy- no matter how grimdark and or corrupt this world is.

  3. There is no android Link for the thing? :O
    edit: works when opening on the android. on my PC it directed me to the apple app store

  4. I'm intrigued about the story, but I'm wondering if it is appropriate to be a two-parter? Not that I don't love it, just think that this is not something that you'd want to have to suffer for waiting two days to find out how the crap hits the fan. Then again, I love all of your videos so I'm willing to wait to see how it turns out. Keep up these fantastic videos and I look forward to your next submission.

  5. You got to love these 2-parters. It leaves the viewers on a sense of suspense on what will happen next.
    I still wait for the day to meet the ancient Tarrasque face to face…………

  6. An easy way to get around this is to simply tell the DM . My character leaves , and a character shows up with the exact same stats shows up.

  7. as a new dm I don't even understand how you decide to do these things even to me all of this sounds stupid to put players through

  8. Notes from a NG Human Idiot;
    Greetings from lovely Restenford(Where it's more Rain than Snow)!
    I get the feeling this GM wants to keep everyone in the game just so he can "sHoW HoW AweSOME HiS WoRLd Is…."
    He/She honestly sounds like a Graig/Karen being A GM to me. If i'dve been that Fighter, i'd be gone from that table regardless after the whole "Cursed Armor" BS….
    May your pantheon ever favor you (and Happy Thanksgiving!)
    Baron Trevelyan of Restenford

  9. I don't really like using curses, just in general. unless they're fun for both me and the player who gets cursed (like vampirism or lycanthropy, or something silly like he has to crow like a rooster whenever he sees a red headed drow maiden). Other than that, they feel like a punishment and should only be used as such.

  10. I was the one who submitted the story to Reddit which is being read here. As requested, I'm opening the floor to any questions about the campaign, with the obvious proviso that a number of the really obvious questions one might as will be answered in part 2.

  11. As a gm I know you should accept the possibility of the players doing something you didnt plan for that me derails things abit but I never saw a GM actively derail their own campaign like this over something so minute.

    Also ive gotta question the logistics of some frail old man: breaking into an inn, putting a curse on something, dragging PLATE MAIL out of the 2nd story window and drag it across the town ALL IN 30 MINUTES!!

    Another thing that really erk'd me is how incompetent these guards are. Plate armour is worth 1500 gold (assuming the prices are the same) so this aint a petty theft, hes committed breaking and entering aswell as criminal damage (pretty sure the inn keeps will want money for the random broken window) and hes inflicted a life threatening curse onto someone, noble or not thats still attempted murder BARE MINIMUM! And if inflicting life threatening curses onto people is this much of a common occurrence then you guards have some big fucking problems on your hands.

  12. Yeah….No…. RPG's are supposed to be fun, collaborative storytelling sessions… DM would have had one less player (at least) before the session was over….

  13. Wow. I am usually on the GMs side because Gming is a hard & sometimes thankless job & we all make mistakes. But this was bad. Hopefully the GM learns from this mistake & grows from it. [email protected]#t happens when you party naked. Remember that.

  14. I am a 57 year old totally and permanently disabled former DM and D&D player going all the way back to the early 1980's , who has nothing to do all day except watch Youtube. I really enjoy watching your videos, they are very entertaining.You are a great story teller. Please keep it up.

  15. That sounds like a miserable and dumb campaign that makes me have no interest in how it ends. I wont be watching the next video…

  16. Wait. The last thing I hear
    Before being told I have to wait three days
    Is that noone likes being made to wait
    In real life, or in their entertainment
    ?????????

  17. "people around here lay curses like this on each other all the time"
    really? allow me, dear reader, to detail to you every single problem with this idea which the DM produced:
    1. why does a significant portion of the population have access to the means to create death curses to apply on items?
    2. furthermore, how does this significant portion of the population has access to the means to apply these curses *in the course of a half hour*?
    3.if this happens all the time, why isn't there anything set up to dispel death curses?
    4. if this happens all the time, why isn't there anything set up to detect death curses on items?
    5. how is the city still populated if people are death-cursing each other all the time?
    6.why are they not classing this as murder when it causes the person to die?
    7.who came up with the idea that punishing an action WOULDN'T reduce the amount that action is done, as these guards say?
    8.why are the guards threatening someone with community service?

    honestly there are probably more but i've ranted enough. if anyone wants to reply with more plot holes present in this singular explanation go ahead

  18. So, been watching a good amount of these videos, and been wondering, where do i have to go in order to get in an online game of these? He mentioned a few times talking to mics and the table game app, so i asume there are online D&D game. any one got any info? Thanks ^^

  19. People do this type of curse all the time, but such a common occurrence has no solutions. They just watch the victim die. Oh and the wizards don't check for cursed items that come into their base. XD That DM is a moron, and probably stalling.

  20. In a way, the campaign and the methodology of "I'm going to die in two months" sounds really cool, it's just done really poorly, and the DM kinda forces it upon the player, without a second thought to how the player would feel. DMs gotta remember that they can tell a story, but they aren't playing the story, it's a game for the players, they HAVE to be considerate torwards them, to not make it a miserable mess.

  21. I feels it's often better to lure players to places you want them to go with the potential for things they want, rather than the threat of death or other horrible things for not going there. Find out what players are hoping to do/get and hint that such things could be found at said place.

  22. I was told in the beginning it would he worth the wait. Then part 2 who knows when. Not worth the wait if there is 2 parts! Your animations dont even move! Stop milking yourself and finish the story before uploading.

  23. What uou have here is a level 11 Dushbag DM, he hasn't done any DMing in his life, he is a theatrical proformance DM and has a control complex. (Note this is my opinion)

  24. I am about to run my first DM story and even I though what that guy was doing was pointless there are better and quicker ways to roleplay something like that

  25. Why would the GM do this it’s one thing to give characters cursed items but giving them a cursed item that out right kills them is never a good idea also you should always give them a chance to find out that the item is cursed

  26. So, randomly cursing people is ok but getting help to get it fixed isn’t? That sounds like some 4th grader BS to me. “Tag! You have super-AIDS now! No givesies-backsies!

  27. Dude, this may have been the first time I’ve downloaded a game that was advertised by a YouTuber.

    Anyway awesome stuff as always. Can’t wait for the next part.

  28. I would beat the literal physical tar out of this DM if he did something stupid like this to me or any other players.

  29. This DM is horrible
    The forceing a marrage
    The curse on the lawful nutral player….

    I know this type of DM, where the players must fallow the DM storyline
    Insted of the storyline fallowing the action of the player and only the favorite players can have fun

  30. I really ignored the minor red flags early on because they are minor and could be redeemed later if the DM was even average in skill and stopped bothering to count when the guards said that horrible, fatal curses happen with such frequency that if they punished them they wouldn't do anything else but the, not even arguably but flat out, easier and likely more common crime of theft is worthy of punishment with, not being locked in a dungeon or stockade or something but, with picking up litter. One crime is easily more horrible and if you were really overworked like that you would overlook petty crimes in any reasonable society, in fact, you'd have to really work hard to justify why theft is the crime more worth while to punish. The guy who did it was also pretty accomplished as the video pointed out to be able to lay down such a curse while walked through town without stop and without any obvious ritual/spell components and they're going to tell this guy to go pick up trash on an island that in a few months will sink into the ocean?

    I would have dug in my heels on that nonsense and refuse to accept any similarly weak excuses the DM might provide for how curses of that type could be so common and yet no one seems to have any working knowledge of them. If they are so common than knowledge of how to go about finding a way to break the curse must be equally common.

  31. Can think of half a dozen ways to keep the party on the island, assuming that's what the DM wants. This campaign has more BS than the player's cursed armor when he went into the river.

  32. There truly are some interesting curses and a couple involve rapid aging. My problem is the math involved. If this is a curse, then we must assume the old man used Bestow Curse. It is a touch spell, uses verbal and somatic components, and only takes one action to cast. All of those fall well within the parameters of the rules. Here's the rub! Bestow Curse is a concentration spell, which only last up to 1 minute. There is no way, throughout the chase and red tape it took to finally retrieve the armor, that his curse would still work. Bestowing a permanent curse would require much more time invested. I just don't think that DM much cared for a plot thread that he didn't start.

  33. I’m writing notes on what NOT to do as a DM. A curse that takes half an hour to apply for the guy who did it is just there? That DM clearly forgot that the players need to have fun while playing and no one like a jerk DM.

  34. I try really hard not to criticize sponsorship because I know you do what you gotta do…but please dont sponsor a bad game. It's bad. Really bad. Google any review. It's a hard P2P app with a limited scope. When an ad for this game popped up on FB, all the comments were from players angrily writing about their experiences and how much false advertising was used

  35. If the guards had that little time for people doing death curses they should have just made it a death penalty on the spot.

  36. Well the first thing I think is part of it is the player though as well. Yes it sounds a bit railroady, but is as players also need a bit of malleability as well. Right from the start. There was a half an hour from theft. "So I give chase" Chase of what? You saw the old man leave? How much effort to run downstairs and outside to get player? So what effort was made on the pc to bring party in or were they excluded out of spite to force a point?

    Even the curse. They are taken lightly and a means of feuding here? Why waste weeks on a ship going home? That was a good clue that curses are way of life so the solutions probably are reasonably obtainable.

    Even the bit about excrement. Full plate does not wrap and bind those cause need to get it on and move. Once more making me think perhaps a sulky player who just wanted to contest dm instead of joining the story.

    Just cause the DM might make something that doesnt fit your meta logic, doesnt make it railroading. Will see what part 2 brings, but as a GM, I have encountered players before that are actually the ones wanting to control/be the hero/allstar. For all the complaining the story was about them, I didnt hear any attempt to roleplay the others into the action.

  37. This dm has already given me an aneurysm
    One does not simply commit murder, and not get punished simply because "oh, people do that all the time"

  38. i was wondering whats so bad about this, even the thieving part and the thief's motive.

    that is, until the guard just shrug 'eh, its just a curse' and gave the thief community service for punishment.

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