In that regard that DM was “fair.” He often said he was just as bound by the rules as we were and he had to stay true to that when we sigiled his big bad. This DM might have been the source of some of my more munchkin tendencies, tbh. It was very hostile and became very much about survival. I had to study the PHB and learn the rules inside out and I think it made me a bit of an asshole. Like you, I also enjoy more story based games that are just have fun and do crazy bullshit. Regardless, none of us went in knowing this guy was a dick. He started the campaign at the student organization for gamers (called the gamer’s guild) of my local community college and we went. He turned out to be just an insufferable rules lawyer and obstructive and we had to be the same. It made us worse players, I think. Cultivated bad behaviors and mentalities that I’m still trying to shake off. But he had to respect the sigil because the rules. He established the lich was always watching us, when he read it the lich read it, then he failed the save. If he had doubled down on being an asshole I think we all would have quit. We were all thinking about it before I discovered the spell anyway. He choose to continue to lord over us instead of risk a walk out. In the end, we all kind of had a bit of fun, even the angry DM. And I think that DM found that if you don’t railroad and death roll your players and ignore the rules for the sake of fun sometimes it’s better for everyone. Still, I didn’t wanna risk playing with him again.
So, I promised I would tell you all the story of how my character became the avatar of Vecna. The TL;DR is that the players I was playing with were jerks so I decided to betray them and side with the bad guy and succeeded. If you want the long version here it is:
Before the garbage DM I mentioned before, I was in another campaign with the gamers guild where I had the misfortune of playing with 5 players who were only concerned with combat and loot but a DM who really had a story in mind. I liked the story and homebrew world the DM had going. I enjoyed interacting with the world and the NPCs, chasing the story and the side stories, and doing things to influence the world. But, most importantly, I really liked his villain. My character, a true neutral halfling bard (in case anyone forgot), was curious about the world and wanted to have an experience and do things to influence the world. But every time she tried to engage with the story beyond just the token amount to keep the gravy train going the players, and their characters, groaned and complained. It sucked, because the DM really lit up when I started interacting. Anyway, she got a bit fed up. At one point, she ran into a way to speak to the big bad and they had a lovely conversation. The DM swore this big bad, a powerful necromancer and devoted worshipper of Vecna who had the Eye of Vecna and was searching for the Hand, was chaotic evil. But I honestly believe this villain was only chaotic evil because of D&D’s deity alignment restrictions. I think this necromancer was chaotic good but like zealously too far and off the deep end. His goal was to get Vecna’s Eye and Hand then become Vecna’s avatar so he could unite the world in true harmony and equality. To end starvation, disease, and suffering, to do away with superficial differences like race and class, and to join all races and nations into one people. One, unified, empire of free-willed undead. No more toiling on the farms to feed the populace, food is meaningless. Everyone would be able to study, to learn, to invent, and to develop technology. They would use summoned elementals to mine and gather the resources necessary to develop and build, treating them well. Under his rule, all people would be led into a glorious golden age of learning, prosperity, and advancement. See? Totally chaotic good.
Since Esther’s party was largely a bunch of greedy chaotic neutrals with no interest in the world the necromancer’s caring appealed to her. So Esther decided to betray them. She began chronicling stories of their adventures and their heroism and doing her bard thing. Singing their tales and spreading their legend to the cities they passed through on their adventures. The players loved it. And when Esther asked her team mates about their lives and back stories, you know to expand the legend, they eagerly gushed about themselves and she added that to the chronicle. In a way, I guess I got them to roleplay a little but it didn’t stick. Just before the final confrontation, I passed the DM a note telling him my plans which I am now going to tell you all. We were level 18 and we had just found the Hand of Vecna. However, the necromancer was already there with the Eye. After a very difficult battle where two of the PCs went into negative HP we won. Esther was ecstatic, calling for a high five. As soon as she touched them all she cast imprisonment on them via a magic item she had had created. All of Esther’s now betrayed allies failed their saves because her DC was huge and they were making it at a -4 penalty since she knew their names and knew about their lives. With the PCs safely trapped beneath the earth, Esther claimed the Eye and Hand of Vecna for herself, became the avatar of Vecna, raised the necromancer, and began enacting his plan with him.
The players, of course, freaked out because they didn’t see this coming. There was quite an uproar. I apologized greatly but Esther had no regrets. I explained to them that the conversation Esther had with the necromancer had won her over to his side. They didn’t even remember that Esther had had a conversation with the necromancer let alone what he wanted. I assured them that as soon as Esther established an undead empire with the necromancer she would free the PCs from their imprisonment and let them be part of undead paradise. They assured me they would coup Esther so hard and I shrugged. I fell out of contact with that DM after I moved states but last I spoke to him Esther and the necromancer were now major villains in his homebrew world and the undead empire existed. He ran many campaigns where the whole goal was to defeat Esther and the necromancer or where they played a role as incidental antagonists. So yeah, that’s how my character became the avatar of Vecna.