This story takes place in a Curse of Strahd campaign, in which I play a half-elven phoenix sorcerer named Krymm Schwarzwulf, who was sent in by his superiors in an unknown guild to Barovia to investigate the recent goings-on in there. By this point of the campaign, I was at Level 5, while the ones who had been at the campaign since the beginning were Level 7, if I remember correctly.
Anyway, we had made our way to the ruins of Berez, where we were tasked by the wizard of wines, Davian Martikov, to retrieve one of the gems that had been stolen from the winery by the druids that had taken over the place. We were then met by one of the Keepers of the Feather, whom we had become allies with at that point, who filled us in on Baba Lysaga, the hermit that was holding onto the gem.
Despite having spent a few of our resources, we decided to forge on, believing that delaying would allow the hermit to use the gem for whatever she has in mind – something most of us didn’t want to happen. In addition, we also opted to head straight to her hut under that same mindset of getting it done quickly. That would turn out to be a mistake, as we would then proceed to fight all of her scarecrow constructs at once, as well as a few undead and Baba herself. Needless to say, we were in for a deadly fight. Fortunately, because we had become allies of the Keepers of the Feather, we were able to call in some backup to even the playing field just a little.
Our primary strategy was to take Baba down hard and fast, as we were informed that she was an incredibly powerful spellcaster; we would then see just how powerful she was when she proceeded to cast Finger of Death on Johanna, the monk that had just joined us that very session. The monk made the save, though the full damage was around 67 necrotic damage, so even with their max HP, the halved damage was enough to knock her unconscious.
Meanwhile, the others were doing well enough in fighting off the other enemies, with Stephanie, the goblin artificer who had a firearm as her main weapon of choice, doing some work on the hermit, whom then promptly commanded the scarecrows to target her. Not too long after, my next turn came up, and a large number of those scarecrows had positioned themselves all around me in their rush towards the goblin, meaning I couldn’t go anywhere without risk of getting attacked myself unless I used Misty Step. I was already at 18 HP at this point, having not fully healed after our venture through the winery and having gotten attacked by one of the scarecrows for thankfully pitiful damage, but I did have my Mantle of Flame on, giving me +4 to all fire damage I roll, and had one remaining 3rd level spell slot, as well as Fireball as my only 3rd level spell at that point. I also figured that the scarecrows were vulnerable to fire, as I had managed to land two Scorching Rays on two of them earlier. So, I made a tough call and, after tossing the Gulthias staff we had obtained earlier over to Stephanie (from whom I pretty much stole the staff from), I proceeded to cast Fireball on top of most of the scarecrows… and myself.
The scarecrows failed their save and, with a total of 28 fire damage, were immediately incinerated. I rolled for my own save, needing to beat my spell save DC of 15 in order to not immediately nearly die from my own kamikaze. I rolled a total of 16, halving the damage and leaving me at 4 HP left. That was my first moment of awesome – but incredibly-stupid otherwise – during this fight, but we weren’t out of the woods yet, as Baba was still not dead and had warped herself into the air, attempting to either run away or get the jump on us with another powerful spell that would likely kill all of us if we didn’t act.
And so, the next round immediately began as Baba was mercifully the last on the initiative order, so almost everyone who would take their turns before me proceeded to focus fire on the hermit. By the time my turn came up again, I recall that both Stephanie and Fridah, the goliath barbarian, had managed to whittle her down by a fair amount. Deciding that it was all-or-nothing from here, I used my last remaining 2nd level spell slot to cast Scorching Ray on Baba. I then rolled for each of the three rays. 26, 25, 26, in that order. All of them hit. I then rolled a total of 30 damage.
As I let out the screeching cries of a phoenix, channeling as much arcane energy as I could into the Scorching Ray, the searing sparks of flame then flashed out from my blazing form and straight through the hermit, quickly burning her from the inside out as she felt the phoenix’s flames take her. And just like that, turned into nothing more than a pile of ash, Baba Lysaga was dead.
Though we missed out on some information we could have gotten from her because of our bone-headed decision, we did manage to find a chest in her hut and ultimately found a couple of items inside. We also met with the ghost of the burgomaster of Berez, who then gave us the Sunsword – one of the items we would need to take down Strahd and get out of Barovia.
Our adventure was just about halfway done, but having been through hell just now, we were quite spent and Berez wasn’t exactly a safe place to stay. We were also quite a ways away from the winery, so as far as we knew, an ambush at night was likely, no matter what we would do next…