Narrated D&D Story: How My Party Burned Down A House To Fix A Creepy Doll Problem

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you always have. How My Paranoid Party Burned Down A Man’s
House To Fix The Creepy Doll Problem The story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the
innocent. This is a story from my time DMing at a local
comic store in my hometown. I had a small table of three players at the
time, which I was very grateful for. I am okay with bigger groups. My limit being eight players and a DM, but
with a smaller group I would have more time to try and develop their individual stories,
using elements from their backgrounds to seed future adventure hooks. This helps with the verisimilitude I strive
to create as a storyteller. I told them all that they would be starting
at a town called Pumpkin Hills, which is located at the south-eastern edge of a country called
Hucroinia. The party consisted of Greethen, a blue dragonborn
storm sorcerer who had come to Pumpkin Hills after receiving a letter from his arcane master,
only to find that the old wizard had died under mysterious circumstances, and that a
strange man was now living in his house — more on that later. He was played by my youngest and yet most
veteran player, M. Next, there was Dren, a half-orc barbarian
who had left his mercenary tribe to seek out fortune, glory, and a wife to bear his child
to replenish his clan’s ever-dwindling numbers. He was guided by ancestral spirits who aided
him in battle. He was not a particularly bright guy, but
he would have your back in a fight. He was played by my newest player, D, who
was kind of quiet but very friendly and cooperative. Lastly, there was an elf rogue whose name
sadly escapes me. He was a member of an adventurer’s guild
and had come to Pumpkin Hills to meet with the local representative, the strange man
living in Greethen’s late master’s house. He was primarily interested in loot but would
never turn on the party, and saved their butts through clever thinking and precise stabbing
more than once. He was played by J, another new player. The party was united in a local tavern one
dark night, when the spirits of those buried in a nearby ancient mound were disturbed by
a pair of necromancers and their wight master lairing in their tomb and using their bones
to create undead minions. The party was hired by the town council to
find out what was causing this haunting, as they were unwilling to send the town guard
to investigate the burial mound because it was hidden in the Witchwood, a supposedly
haunted forest that everyone in town feared and avoided. In addition to the town council hiring them,
they were also approached by the aforementioned man who now lived in Greethen’s dead master’s
house – a half-elf named Dudley Nightshade, who worked for their adventurer’s guild. Dudley looked a lot like a Tim Burton character:
spindly thin, pale to the point of looking sickly, and dressing only in black and grey. He always spoke softly and had a fondness
for dark humor. His sinister name, mannerisms, and appearance
made Greethen suspicious of him. Dudley claimed to be a friend of the dragonborn’s
late master, but Greethen never heard his master ever mention Dudley at all. Greethen suspected Dudley of using some kind
of psychic magic to kill Greethen’s master, as no wounds were discovered on the corpse,
but its expression was one of sheer terror. His suspicion intensified when Dudley agreed
to only let Greethen read his master’s research documents regarding some ancient prophecy
he had been researching, if Greethen would join the adventurer’s guild. All in all, Dudley was aloof, strange, and
pushy. Greethen wanted to investigate Dudley, but
that would have to wait, as the party was itching to plunge into the shadows of the
Witchwood. Once inside the enchanted forest, they battled
against zombies, found an enchanted pool that polymorphed whoever drank from it into beasts,
and negotiated safe passage from the two dryads who lived there. Before long, the party arrived at the burial
mound and proceeded to tear through it, destroying the undead, killing the necromancers and the
wight, and getting a bunch of cool loot, including a magical warhammer for Dren the barbarian. They returned to Pumpkin Hills and were celebrated
as town heroes, showered with praise from the locals. Greethen enjoyed the gold and the glory, but
he was still suspicious of Dudley’s intentions and whether or not he had a hand in Greethen’s
master’s death. He shared his suspicions with the party and
together they made a plan: Dren was not a member of the adventurer’s guild but he
would express interest in possibly joining Dudley, asking him to join him for dinner
so that they might discuss what membership would entail. Meanwhile, Greethen and the rogue would break
into Dudley’s house and examine everything he had to see if they could find any clues
to his intentions. Greethen wanted to find answers but the rogue
really just wanted to rob Dudley. The plan initially went off without a hitch,
as you might expect. Dren and Dudley enjoyed a nice dinner whilst
Greethen and the rogue snuck under the cover of darkness and broke into Dudley’s house. The rogue picked the lock on the door and
they snuck inside and quickly made their way to Dudley’s bedroom. There, they found a strange locked chest,
trapped with a dose of sleeping gas that thankfully did not knock both of them out when it went
off. After the rogue woke Greethen up, they opened
the chest and found a bag of money along with various useless odds and ends, items of sentimental
value to Dudley. One of Dudley’s knick-knacks was a doll. It was a small porcelain doll about a foot
tall that resembled a little girl with pale skin, bright blue eyes, and long dark hair. It was wearing a magenta colored dress and
painted pink lips with a rather vacant smile. Neither Greethen or the rogue gave it much
thought and they just tossed it aside onto the ground. By this point, they were getting nervous that
Dudley might come back at any minute, and I am loving it. They are really roleplaying very well here. Eventually, the stress becomes too much and
they decide to make it look like Dudley was robbed – er, by someone else, I mean. The rogue opens the bag of holding and announces
he is taking everything from Dudley’s chest. “Everything?” I asked. “Yeah, everything, the gold, the books…”
the Rogue answered. “Don’t forget the doll!” Greethen said. “The doll too, yeah.” “What doll?” I asked. “The doll I put on the floor.” Greethen said, a bit exasperated by the exchange. “There’s no doll there. What doll?” I said with a bit of frustration. The Rogue’s face lights up with an “oh
crap” expression. “I turn around and look for the doll!” As you turn you briefly see a flash of movement. A small figure was perched at the edge of
the staircase. When it darts out of sight, it is almost as
if an invisible hand had simply grabbed it and yanked it away. When you run to the top of the staircase and
look down, there is no sign of anything unusual down there. Greethen and the rogue are naturally freaked
out by this, thinking they have just accidentally released some sort of horrible monstrosity
upon the world. When I switch over briefly to Dudley and Dren
leaving the tavern, and returning to Dudley’s home to sign the paperwork that will make
Dren a full member of the guild, the two begin panicking in real life. I duck behind the DM screen to hide my smirk. Desperate to stop the Creepy Doll, as well
as to cover up their crime, the two come to the only obvious solution: they decided to
set Dudley’s house on fire. The two of them busted out flasks of oil and
quickly used magic and tinderboxes to set the place ablaze, hoping it would kill the
Creepy Doll. It didn’t. The two ran into a nearby copse of trees and
hid, emerging only once the townsfolk noticed the fire and began to form a bucket brigade
in an attempt to put out the inferno. Although they kept the fire from spreading,
they could not extinguish it in time. Dudley returned home just to see the last
dying embers smoldering on the blackened husk, that once was his house. The poor guy was devastated, almost catatonic,
and the party seemed to finally realize that Dudley probably was not evil and they had
just ruined his life. The party actually did work to help Dudley
recover. They convinced a local farmer to put the guy
up until he could build another house, and they donated money to him to help him out. Because of this, I refrained from changing
their alignments to evil, as they had tried to make it up to Dudley, albeit without confessing
to what they had done. Dudley never found out what they had done
and remained friendly with the party. He asked them once or twice if they had seen
a doll matching the description of the Creepy Doll anywhere around town, hinting that he
believed that it was responsible for the arson. He otherwise would not speak of the doll,
and seemed hopeful that it had been destroyed in the inferno. As for the Creepy Doll itself, it showed up
occasionally to make trouble for the party. Usually it was juvenile but unpleasant pranks,
like putting nails in their boats, or planting a sharp knife next to their heads whilst they
slept. Another time it alerted a ghostly assassin
to their presence, which nearly resulted in the death of a character. Sometimes they would see it around town, watching
them from behind the windows, but it always vanished before they could do anything about
it. The most trouble it caused them was actually
getting them banished from the town itself during the “Werewolf Incident.” But that is another story… The funniest thing, I think, is that I did
not really have a plan for the Creepy Doll’s origins or anything. It was not possessed by a ghost, it was not
a lich’s animated phylactery, and it was not some sort of evil gnomish contraptions. I just thought it would be a cool thing for
Dudley to have given his appearance and tastes, and my spur of the moment decision to make
it alive and malevolent resulted in excellent roleplaying, suspense, skullduggery, arson,
and ultimately redemption. If there is a moral to be had here, it is
this: players like to do random things, unexpected things, things that you did not plan for. It is only fair to return the favor. So the next time your players are rooting
through a pile of tchotchkes kept in a dark and secret place, maybe introduce them to
Creepy Doll. I am always eager to meet new “playmates…” I don’t care who you are, but dolls are
creepy. And bringing it back to mess with the players
is a stroke of genius! Please let us know what you think! Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel,
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