After Rachel proposed on Christmas Eve, she told me that one of her plans had been to pop the question during D&D, but she chose not to when I said I preferred a private proposal. Three weeks later, she casually asked if she could run a one-shot for our Curse of Strahd campaign, and I said yes, not thinking anything of it. Turns out, D&D Proposal was a go!
Things you need to know for this to make sense:
- I have been DMing a Curse of Strahd campaign for Rachel and our friends for 15 months.
- Rachel plays a character named Ireena, who has been doggedly pursued by the evil vampire bad guy (Strahd).
- While evading Strahd, Ireena fell in love with Szoldar, a beefy sweetheart NPC that I thought would be a throwaway character and instead became integral to the party.
- Ireena and Szoldar’s romance has grown over the past year. At one point Ireena tried to break up with him in order to protect him from Strahd’s jealous rage, but Szoldar insisted that she wasn’t allowed to make that decision for him.
- As played by Rachel and myself, they have a very cute bickering, goofy dynamic that may or may not be very similar to our relationship dynamic *cough*.
Rachel asked if she could run a session as Ireena, and recommended that I play as Szoldar. She said her character wanted to pull a gigantic prank, as Ireena is a trickster cleric who earns favors from her deity by being tricksy. “Sure, just don’t do anything that will upset the overarching plot!” I said, and settled in for a night of chaotic fun.
Ireena, Szoldar, Beldhur, and Seraphina enter Blinsky’s toy shop. Magic! Handwave! That’s not Blinsky, it’s Strahd! And he’s kidnapped Ireena and shrunk the rest of us to the size of toys! Overcome with emotion, Szoldar tears across the now-huge room, heedless of the mutant toys wreaking havoc around him. It is chaos, with toy dragons attacking each other midair while miniatures hurl weapons from one table to another. The other party members are left to pick up the pieces (sometimes literally) as six-inch-tall Szoldar hurls himself at the door and screams, “Ireena!!” I pause from my roleplaying to point at Rachel’s DM glee and tell Frank and Nick, “This is exactly why I fell in love with her.”
Once everyone gathers together and uses their combined tiny strength, they push open the toy shop door into…a stone corridor? Ominous music plays from our television and Nick incorrectly says it is an organ remix of Eminem. Our characters creep forward and realize they are full size again just in time to open the door to a wedding chapel!
This is not the moment you think it is, based on the blog’s title. Strahd stands at the front, holding puppet Ireena in his hand and beginning to say the vows that will wed him to her for eternity. Not on Szoldar’s watch! My beefy NPC cut his way through the baddies, heedless of all the damage he was taking. Seraphina drew the majority of the ghosties and ghoulies her way, so Szoldar drew the sunsword and hacked off Strahd’s hand…only to send Puppet Ireena flying through the air! Beldhur the Druid Dragon batted her back to the ground, inches from Szoldar’s hand.
Cradling his puppet girlfriend in his hands, Szoldar et al wer surprised when the world faded around them. Ireena’s illusion was dispelled! All this time, the group had been at their home. She explained that she had pulled the biggest prank she could think of in exchange for a gift from her deity. She asked for ten minutes of privacy away from Strahd’s scrying eyes. With this completed, she turned and asked Szoldar to marry her.
Guys, I KNOW that Ireena and Szoldar are fictional characters. But I teared up! It was for Ireena and Szoldar, but also it was for us. Then Rachel said, “May I roll for Proposal?” and ROLLED A NAT 20!!
Of course, Ireena is a trickster cleric, and after we exploded into shocked delight, Rachel admitted that she had specially bought a rigged dice that was all 20s! “I wasn’t leaving that to chance,” she said, which is just the sort of intentionality and planning that I look for in a fiancée.
We popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate our fictional characters’ engagement. It was fun, silly, and nerdily romantic. Rachel is the sweetest, most thoughtful and creative person I know. I’m so glad I get to marry her!
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