A couple of weeks ago we had our regular Friday night D&D session with a new player coming to the table. Our group is still playing through Storm King's Thunder (nearly 3 years now), running around the countryside in chapter 3. They are in a home-brew session at this point, on assignment from the Harpers.
Our party was working their way up to Termalaine looking for four other Harper agents. When they arrived in the city they found it to be eerily quiet, with the gates swung wide open. Our monk shadow stepped his way into the city to investigate and found a city that was in ruins from a recent attack by a war party.
The usual D&D banter and roleplaying ensued from there with several of the NPC's. What happened next though caught everyone at the table by surprise, including myself.
I put together a random woman NPC character who was frantically running through the town square searching for her missing daughter. Our heroes, as they are, offered to help find the little girl. After several minutes of searching, while one of the party members tried to comfort the mother they found the girl. She was under the rubble of a burnt and crushed house. Out of a pure, spur of the moment decision, I decided tell the group that the little girl had died in the attack. Her small, frail body was partially charred from the house that caught on fire and her body lay helpless in the burned remains of the building. A small teddy bear was clutched in her arms.
My table fell silent. I surprised everyone, including myself, with an emotional moment that my party was not expecting. Even I had to stop and catch myself. It took a couple of moments for my party to digest the information and try to figure out how to solve this particular encounter. I was truly impressed with how they handled the situation.
Our new player that evening was playing a cleric, which in the D&D world is basically a priest with magical powers. He went to the mother and consoled her on the loss of her daughter. The mother broke down, crying into his shoulder. He could feel the wetness of her tears through his robe.
Our Paladin (a holy warrior), played by one of our high school aged players showed some remarkable maturity in the situation. He cast prestidigitation to clean up the girl and her teddy bear and gently brought the body to the mother.
Later that evening (in game) the little girl was brought to the local temple and our cleric preserved her body, with the intent that they would try to find a diamond to cast the revivify spell. The mother, asked our ranger, Enna (played by Megan) to spent the night with her in the template, stating that she did not want to be alone.
Enna, brought a bouquet of herbs and flowers and went through the process of describing the effect of each of the flowers for the mother. She then spent the evening with the mother in the temple, watching over the dead girl's body.
I was truly floored by this role-play with our group and I think everyone surprised even themselves with how invested they became with the death of this little girl, and on the spot, made up NPC character.
Writing this just reminded me that I really need to give them all Inspiration for this.